Atomic Vaudeville had a big year in 2011. Their musical Ride the Cycle, written by Jacob Richmond and Brooke Maxwell was a hit at the Belfry and went on to a sold-out runs at the Arts Club in Vancouver, the Yukon Arts Centre and Toronto’s Theatre Passe Muraille.
Now Ride the Cyclone is shortlisted in three categories of the 2011 M Awards; Favourite Overall Production, Favourite Director (For Jacob Richmond and Britt Small), and Favourite Musical, taking first place in all three categories, as voted by Monday readers.
I sat down with Jacob and his father, Blue Bridge Repertory Theatre Artistic Director, Brian Richmond (who was also nominated for Favourite Director for Blue Bridge’s production of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, which was also up for Favourite Overall Performance) the day before the results were revealed at Club 9ONE9 (Tuesday, April 24) for a chat about friendly competition between generations in this theatre dynasty.
“All my life we’ve worked together,” says Jacob. “It’s a funny thing because Ride the Cyclone and Virginia Woolf are two very different things.”
Ride the Cyclone and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Even ran concurrently last summer.
“It wasn’t a conscious choice for them to run together,” says Jacob. “But it wouldn’t have made a difference anyway,” says Brian. “They’re very different experiences.”
“But he had the bigger theatre,” says Jacob.
Virginia Woolf was a huge success for Blue Bridge, attracting its largest crowds ever to one of their productions. “It was the best selling show we’ve ever had. It’s very bizarre that a show about people cannibalizing each other would do so well,” says Brian. “But it’s Jacob’s show that got the Canadian tour.”
Ride the Cyclone is booked to tour Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Saskatoon next season.
“It will be great to be back at Persephone,” says Jacob. “I almost grew up there.”
Brian was the first aritistic director at Persephone and apparently he used to use Jacob as a “human experiment” when he was younger. He remembers a time making Jacob run past a video camera naked for a multi-media portion of a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
“It was only his bum,” says Brian with a laugh.
“Then I was the kid at school that everyone had seen his bum,” says Jacob. “I was in Grade 4.”
Now the tables have turned. And although Jacob won’t be forcing his father into any nudity any time soon, he will have bragging rights for future Sunday dinners in the Richmond household. Ride the Cyclone is clearly Monday readers’ choice for best production, best musical and best direction this year. M