Monday Magazine contributor
Victoria Operatic Society is celebrating 75 years with a bang. The community theatre company has a certain 1999 Broadway smash spandexed and ready for its fall show, with the play’s director David Brillinger certainly excited.
“I think it’s a great launch for our 75th season because we’ve never been able to do Mamma Mia before, because the royalties have been restricted. It’s such a fun show. It’s high energy, the tempos are great,” he says.
The production, on stage at the McPherson Playhouse from Nov. 22 to Dec. 1, will also be the first for the company under their new name; rebranding as Victoria On-Stage Musical and Theatre Society. Brillinger hopes the new name eliminates confusion in the community.
“Victoria Operatic Society has always had a connotation of opera, whereas we do Broadway musicals,” he says. “We wanted to keep VOS the best of the best so that people still knew us, and tie in what we really do which is musicals and musical theatre.”
Mamma Mia was picked by the Society’s executive committee due to its popularity, Brillinger says, which isn’t hard to see. Multiple groups have undertaken the show this year, he adds, including the Peninsula Players current run, and Chemainus Theatre’s production this summer.
In fact, VOS wasn’t even able to announce its fall show until the Chemainus show finished Sept. 2, Brillinger says. After that, they jumped right in.
“We started rehearsals right away on Sept. 3 … It’s a lot of work co-ordinating a schedule with choreography and music direction and stage direction, as well as sets and costumes.”
Brillinger revs up the cast with the ABBA soundtrack, which he calls “quite unique.”
“There’s lots of layers to the music, so having a large cast to be able to cover those different harmonies is great,” he says. “From there, it’s choreography and blocking the scenes. We try, as soon as the cast has learned the music, to put them into choreography,” he says.
“(There’s) “Super Trouper,” “Mamma Mia” – all those great songs that some of us grew up listening to – but even if you didn’t grow up in the 70s, I’m sure that people have heard it many many times over.”
Tickets start at $21.75. For more information, check out rmts.bc.ca.