Student actors pulling out all the stops for Crazy show

The Canadian College of Performance Arts comes unhinged for year-end performance

Jacqueline Martin stars as Polly Baker in Crazy For You.

April can be a crazy time of year for post secondary students, but those studying at the Canadian College of Performing Arts are actually looking forward to it.

The 65 students in the first and second-year programs are getting ready for their year-end performance when On Broadway! presents the Tony Award winning Gershwin musical, Crazy For You at the McPherson Playhouse.

Crazy For You is a high-energy comedy with huge production numbers that include plot twists, mistaken identity and classic Gershwin tunes.

Twenty-two-year-old Jacqueline Martin is one of  27 second-year students who will be graduating from the school this year and moving on to a career as an up-and-coming triple threat.

“I play the role of Polly Baker — she’s the only cowgirl in an all-cowboy town — so she’s quite the tomboy. It’s not a stretch for me because when I’m not here, I try to be out playing sports and doing activities,” she says.

Martin auditioned for the program after spending two years studying biochemistry at UVic.

“Maybe one day I’ll go back and finish my degree, but this is really a field you have to do when you’re younger and willing to train and learn when you have the chance. I was very excited to find out I got in,” she says.

Students are rehearsing six days a week from early morning until well into the evening, working hard to perfect some of the “huge production numbers that will blow the audience away,” says Darold Roles, CCPA’s new artistic and education director, who is directing and choreographing this show.

“It’s my directorial debut in Victoria,” Roles says. “This show is really fun because it’s reminiscent of all the old Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers movies.

“It’s an exploration of style for the students and that style and that era is one that I’m very fond of and suits my style of choreography.”

Roles had help from tap experts Janice Tooby-MacDonald and Michael Boston, and they collaborated on some of the big song and dance pieces, including “I’ve Got Rhythm.”

“[‘I’ve Got Rhythm’] was a nice little two-minute ditty that Judy Garland sang in one of the movies, then they incorporated it into the show and it has an instrumental break that is about seven minutes long. The whole number is about 10 minutes long, so everyone is huffing and puffing — including the audience because they empathize with the dancers,” Roles says.

Written by Ken Ludwig, with lyrics by Ira Gershwin and music by George Gershwin, this musical comedy is largely based on the brothers’ 1930 hit Crazy Girl, but includes songs from some of their other productions as well; including “I’ve Got Rhythm” and “They Can’t Take That Away From Me.” M

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