STAGE AND SONG: Spotlight on Victoria arts groups

Learn about some of the city’s favourite theatre and musical entertainment options

Wondering aboutsome of the entertainment options around Greater Victoria this fall and winter?

Here’s a cross section of local theatre and musical companies and student-oriented groups that provide outstanding value for your entertainment dollars:

Blue Bridge Repertory Theatre

Travel the world of great classic drama, as Blue Bridge invites audiences to ‘travel the world’ in the 2018-19 season, with stories from Canada, Ireland, Norway, the U.S. and Russia.

Kicking off the new season Oct. 23-Nov. 4 is Billy Bishop Goes to War by John MacLachlan Gray and Eric Peterson. The story of the First World War flying ace remains one of the most critically acclaimed Canadian musicals of all time. From April 23-May 5, the Irish/French absurdist classic Happy Days by Samuel Beckett takes over the stage at the Roxy Theatre. Blue Bridge fans who remember Waiting For Godot, will wait in eager anticipation for this work steeped in Beckett’s trenchant, existential wit.

Blue Bridge produces its first work by the great 19th-century Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen when The Master Builder shows May 28-June 9. It tells the story of a hugely successful architect and a high-spirited young woman who spurs him to construct “castles in the sky.” Next up, late, great American comedy maestro Neil Simon is celebrated with a revival of his first commercial hit, Barefoot in the Park, running July 2-14.

Closing out the season July 30-Aug. 11, 2019 is the classic musical Fiddler on the Roof, based on the works of the great 19th-century Russian Yiddish short story writer Sholem Aleichem.

Tickets for all events are available in season ticket packages or as single tickets. Early bird buyers can save up to 15% off season tickets and 10% off single tickets, online at bluebridgetheatre.ca or by calling 250-382-3370.

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UVic School of Music/2018-19 Season

Whether you are a music aficionado or curious for new sounds, the UVic School of Music has something to offer your ears. Dedicated to bringing world-class performers and budding musicians to the stage, the 2018-19 season is packed with events.

Attend a student recital or one of the many ensemble concerts by the UVic Orchestra, Wind Symphony, Chorus and Jazz Ensemble. Drop in for weekly Tuesdaymusic and Fridaymusic concerts at 12:30 p.m. for a variety of repertoire.

Faculty Concert Series highlights include a captivating program combining classical and folk music traditions on Jan. 13 featuring trumpeter Merrie Klazek with renowned fiddler Pierre Schryer and guitarist Adam Dobres; and on Jan. 18, jazz personality Patrick Boyle honours the music of the legendary Chet Baker with Victoria veteran pianist Tom Vickery.

The concert season is further enriched by guest events. The Orion Series in Fine Arts offers concerts, lectures and masterclasses with renowned artists from across the globe; and the Emerging Artists Alumni Series welcomes up-and-coming alumni back to the stage.

Many events are free or by donation, and for ticketed concerts, special pricing is available for students, alumni and seniors. For details and tickets visit uvic.ca/music. For live online broadcasts, tune in at livestream.com/somlive

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The Greater Victoria Youth Orchestra presents various public concerts over the course of the year, including a Sunday, Nov. 4 performance at the Farquhar Auditorium at the University of Victoria. Photo courtesy GVYO

Greater Victoria Youth Orchestra

Every Saturday morning, young musicians gather in Victoria, eager for a morning of creativity and collaboration. This is the Greater Victoria Youth Orchestra – expressive, focused, adventurous, and respected as one of the finest youth ensembles in the country. The GVYO has shared masterworks with thousands of listeners in Victoria and beyond.

Guided by Music Director Yariv Aloni, a distinguished GVYO faculty and guest artists, the musicians study and perform symphonic masterworks, developing instrumental technique, musicianship and ensemble skills. Their orchestral experience opens the door to lifelong musical opportunities and friendships.

Now in its 33rd year, the orchestra brings music to life as only young people can, with verve and enthusiasm, orchestrating joy for themselves and their audience alike.

Join the GVYO for three Sunday afternoon concerts at University Centre – Nov. 4, Feb. 3 and April 14. Highlights include Schumann’s Symphony No. 4, Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty Suite, Mendelssohn’s Italian Symphony and works by Brahms, Debussy, Copland and more.

For more information, visit gvyo.org.

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Linden Singers of Victoria

The approximately 50 members of this vibrant, mixed-voice, auditioned choir share a passion for choral music and commitment to creating memorable performances for their audiences.

Integral to creating memorable music is Music Director Brian Wismath, who brings a dynamic energy, focus and sensitivity to his leadership of the choir. With an extensive and diverse background in choral music, he directs a variety of ensembles in Victoria. In 2017, the British Columbia Choral Federation honoured Brian’s contributions to choral music in BC by presenting him with the Herbert Drost Award.

This year Linden Singers ushers in the Christmas season with a concert rooted in traditional carol repertoire, gaily gift-wrapped in colourful settings. The concert features A Christmas Cantata by Geoffrey Bush and Seven Joys of Christmas by Kirke Mechem, as well as an assortment of individual, well-loved carols.

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Victoria Operatic Society – The season of Rent

Five-hundred-twenty-five-thousand-six-hundred-minutes, how do you measure a year? Asks the cast of Rent in one of the show’s most memorable songs, “Seasons of Love.”

VOS is tackling this iconic story for its fall production, showing Nov. 23 to Dec. 2 at the McPherson Playhouse.

Based loosely on Puccini’s “La Boheme,” Jonathan Larson’s Rent follows a year in the life of a group of impoverished young artists and musicians struggling to survive and create in New York’s Lower East Side in the late 1980s. How these young bohemians negotiate their dreams, losses, loves and conflicts provides the narrative thread to this ground-breaking musical.

With songs that rock and a story that resonates, Rent is about falling in love, finding your voice and living for today. Winner of the Tony Award for Best Musical and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Rent has become a pop cultural phenomenon. Exploring themes surrounding the fragility of life and the power of friendship, the show also deals with social problems including drug addiction, gentrification and the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Still, Rent is primarily a celebration of life. As Mark proclaims in another notable song, “La Vie Bohème,” “the opposite of war isn’t peace, it’s creation.” This is theatre at its best – exuberant, passionate and joyous. How do you measure a year? Measure in love.

Visit the company at vostheatre.ca.

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The annual Yellow Point Christmas Spectacular returns to Victoria for three shows Dec. 15 and 16. Photo contributed

Yellowpoint Christmas Spectacular

The McPherson Playhouse is excited to welcome this popular show back for a third season!

It’s another beautiful new show, one that creator and producer Katy Bowen-Roberts has been busy planning since February. The costumes are as dazzling as ever. The variety in musical genres and styles will have you dancing in the aisles. You don’t want to miss this spectacular event: with three shows scheduled Dec. 15-16.

This year’s singing and dancing extravaganza includes musical tributes to Buddy Holly and Richie Valens, Nat King Cole, Michael Jackson, Edith Piaf and the Rat Pack, plus a collection of Disney classics, a Motown medley starring the Supremes, Bing Crosby’s classic ‘White Christmas’ and many more classical hits and Christmas favourites.

It’s fast moving and colorful and will take you on an emotional journey through a wide variety of music and dance, from rock & roll to Broadway, jazz and classical, interwoven with touching readings and stories.

Looking to start a new holiday tradition? There’s something in it for everyone! Book your tickets now so you don’t miss out. Call the McPherson box office at 250-386-6121 or visit in person, or go online to rmts.bc.ca. For more information about the show, visit yellowpointchristmasspectacular.ca.

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Kaleidoscope Theatre for Young People

Learn what it is to love, as Kaleidoscope unveils the Canadian premiere of Kate DiCamillo’s award-winning The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane.

This heartwarming story follows the journey of a china rabbit, Edward Tulane. Vain and self-centered, Edward journeys through a cast of loving and suffering characters, on a long trip back to the girl who lost him, as he learns to value the people around him and to love others selflessly. Directed by Roderick Glanville, the show runs Nov. 3-4 at the McPherson Playhouse.

Then in December, go on an adventure with Pippilotta Delicatessa Windowshade Mackrelmint Efraim’s Daughter Longstocking – Pippi for short!

Pippi Longstocking: The Family Musical is a glorious musical production for the whole family. No school, no parents, no bedtime or rules. Pippi’s on her own to live as she pleases! Also directed by Glanville, with music directed by Yanik Giroux and choreography by Rachel Carlson. Runs Dec. 28-30 at the McPherson.

Single tickets for all Kaleidoscope productions, and subscriptions to the season, can be purchased through the McPherson box office by phone at 250-386-6161 or online at rmts.bc.ca.

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Dane Warren performs as Ol’ Blue Eyes in Christmas with Sinatra, Dec. 13 at the Alix Goolden Hall. Photo contributed

Christmas with Sinatra

The Alix Goolden Hall is hosting the world premiere of Christmas with Sinatra this holiday season. This vibrant and exciting production stars international actor and singer Dane Warren and celebrated musicians Rick Kilburn, Roy Styffe, James Darling and Graham Villette.

With vibrant staging, superb musical arrangements, bold lighting, rich vocals and a beautiful venue transformed with a striking holiday theme, Christmas with Sinatra is sure to transport audiences back to the heyday of the Sinatra concert circuit.

Guests are invited to take a sentimental and nostalgic musical journey Dec. 13, with the concert starting at 8 p.m. For tickets visit ticketfly.com or drop by the Alix Goolden Hall box office at 900 Johnson St. Groups of 10 or more receive 15% off. For other tour dates and locations visit facebook.com/ReneeJamesUK

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Theatre Inconnu

Theatre Inconnu continues a three-decade long mission to bring acclaimed cutting-edge theatre to local audiences.

The company has a proven track record for producing work that entertains, provokes and surprises! All this happens in our welcoming and intimate theatre space directly across the street from the Belfry Theatre.

This fall Theatre Inconnu celebrates Halloween and the 200th anniversary of Frankenstein, with a production of David Elendune’s adaptation – winner of the 2017 Classical Theatre Company’s Play Writing Competition. The winter holiday season is aptly suited to Trad, Irish playwright Mark Doherty’s biting and hilarious satire on “tradition.”

2019 starts off by leveling the religious playing field with the recent alternative smash hit, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot by American playwright Stephen Giurgus. And spring is welcomed in with acclaimed Canadian playwright, short story writer and novelist Rachel Wyatt’s (recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal) intimate and heartfelt look at relationships and camaraderie in The Best of Friends; her stage adaptation of her irresistible novel: Letters to Omar.

For more information please visit theatreinconnu.com.

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