Steve Charles and Lauren Bowler perform in Chelsea Hotel – The Songs of Leonard Cohen at the Belfry Theatre until Nov. 15.

Belfry heats up with cool Cohen show

Chelsea Hotel - The Songs Of Leonard Cohen premiered at the Firehall Arts Centre in Vancouver in 2012

In Chelsea Hotel, Tracey Power interprets the songs of Leonard Cohen and transforms the theatre into a cabaret.

“Leonard Cohen’s lyrics are open to interpretation, when I listened to them I could hear the arrangement in my head,” says Power, creator and director of the show. “This carnivalesque world formed in my head.”

Raised in the Comox Valley, she attended theatre school in Edmonton and has performed across Canada and internationally.

“I found six performers, multi-instrumentalists, singers, dancers, actors. … It’s pretty amazing how many artists do have those kind of skills,” she says. The most highly sought skill, however, was that of storyteller. “Once I knew who those people were: great. Replacing them gets more difficult as the roles were really pieced together around the people.”

Chelsea Hotel – The Songs Of Leonard Cohen premiered at the Firehall Arts Centre in Vancouver in 2012 and has toured the country. The Belfry Theatre presents the show until Nov. 15 as part of its 40th anniversary season.

“I’m happy to bring it home. All my mom’s family is from Victoria. Every summer and holidays we spent time in Victoria. Bringing it to the Belfry is pretty fantastic,” she says.

In the stylish musical, the audience checks into New York’s infamous hotel and is transported into a world of music, mystery and desire.

“It’s almost like a concert in a way, a theatricalized concert,” says Power. “The songs spoke to me. It’s a poetic journey.”

With extraordinary new arrangements, six performers play 17 instruments in this exuberant tribute to Cohen’s most transcendent songs. “Some are very different than audiences are used to hearing them. I think that’s fantastic, it’s like hearing them for the first time.”

Other songs will be more familiar, she says. “The audience wants to hear certain songs, so you have to find out what context will work best in the piece.

“It’s an exciting and moving music and theatrical experience. It’s unique and yes, if you love Leonard Cohen music, you’ll love the show and if you don’t know his music at all it’s just as exciting and fulfilling a musical and theatrical journey.

 

Just Posted

Madcap British farce comes to Langham Court Theatre

Communty theatre company winds up successful season with Noises Off

BEHIND BARS: Nothing common about this place

Commons bartender Geneviéve Turgeon makes what’s old fashioned new again

Victoria Drum Fest continues to attract topnotch international talent

Festival founder Murray Creed expects 10th anniversary event May 26 will be the best yet

MATHIEU POIRIER: New Island brewery tour book a great resource for beer fans

Learn some of the background of local breweries in Island Craft, by Jon C. Stott

Choir offers a capella take on Beatles hits

Soundings will perform concerts in Oak Bay and Sidney May 24 and 25

WATCH: Maya mixes the ancient with the contemporary at the RBCM

New ‘world-leading’ exhibit offers many pieces not seen before by the public

Mamma Mia! poised to be biggest Chemainus Theatre show ever

Plenty of buzz as Island dinner theatre schedules ABBA-fueled romp

Special Report: Front line work by caring emergency doctors

Dr. Jason Wale uses unique program to help people with addictions in Greater Victoria

Action on climate change a moral commitment: author

Dahr Jamail to speak in Sooke on June 4

Put your love of reading to good use June 1

Bolen Books hosting Summer Readathon to help the Victoria Literacy Connection

Most Read