Since the COVID-19 shutdown, live theaters in the Edmonton metro area have looked like ghost towns gathering dust. The costumes hung on racks, the sets abandoned and the lights turned off. Some wondered if the rooms would reopen.
The theaters bided their time and patiently awaited our return. Now, alongside a provincial government tally of more than 50% of Albertans fully vaccinated, the theater doors are opening for an influx of eager patrons.
One of the first shows to open this summer is the Plain Jane Theater’s ode to Broadway musicals, starring Scenes from the sidewalk: a cabaret turned upside down. A two-day limited run will take place July 18-19 at the ATB Financial Arts Barn.
It’s all in the name. In keeping with the turbulent climate in which we live, producer-director Kate Ryan gives us an upside-down vision of musical theatre. While performers sing and dance outside in the west side courtyard of the Arts Barns, audiences sit on chairs inside and watch the cabaret through the building’s bay windows.
Over the past 15 months of mandated plexiglass, keeping theater and music has been essential to the mental and emotional well-being of many artists. Ryan, a St. Albert Children’s Theater alumnus who developed an encyclopedic knowledge of Broadway musicals, experimented with a similar cabaret format in fall 2020.
“It was a way of checking in and seeing what we were doing. There was so much going on with COVID and Black Lives Matter. As artists, it was our job to put that on the table. As artists, we ask questions like, “How do we navigate these conversations? How can we ensure that we are moving forward to create a better world? said Ryan.
In previous productions of Plain Jane, she selected a theme and chose songs to reflect it. In this uniquely styled cabaret, the subject was a sidewalk, and the actors offered song suggestions about what the sidewalk meant to them.
“It was completely artist-driven and the songs supported their views. We asked them: ‘Where are you and what do you take from the sidewalk? Are you meeting someone? Leave someone ? Did you lose something? Are you discovering someone or something? »
The main cast of Seven Triple Threats includes Althea Cunningham, Daniela Fernandez, Sue Goberdhan, Matt Graham, Rain Matkin-Szilagyi, Logan Stefura and Josh Travnik.
Matkin-Szilagyi and Stefura sing the light and revealing song Tour de France from Amelie while Cunningham sings Nina Simone’s jazzy classic, Feel good.
“His (Feel good) such a rich song and Althea has this incredible range and depth. Her voice is rich and strong,” added Ryan.
Goberdhan takes the stage ready to sing Benj Pasek and Justin Paul ready to be loved of the magazine Edges.
“What I love about Sue is the joy she brings. She has a drive about her. She commands everyone to celebrate every moment.
Fernandez brings a caring and compassionate quality to Adele Hometown Glory while Graham, lyricist-composer, offers In 50 yearsan original card.
“This show is unique in the experience of the actors. It’s really advanced from last year’s show. It became something happier. In the fall, the group was more thoughtful.
Limited tickets are available to maintain safety protocols.
“Last fall, we were completely exhausted. It was such a positive experience. We have received so many good emails from people. It worked wonderfully.
Both shows begin at 7:30 p.m. The Arts Barns are located at 10330 – 84 Ave. Tickets are chargeable. They can be reserved at https://tickets.fringetheatre.ca/event/601:3484/