Loving the Swing

Fall in Love with the Swinging Sounds of the Valentine’s Cabaret

With love in the air, Sobeys Live @ the Centre serves up the ever popular Valentine’s Cabaret next week, sponsored by Charm Diamond Centres.

Vocalists Catherine O’Brien and Joey Kitson come together with a trio of Don Fraser on piano, Deryl Gallant on upright bass, and Alan White on drums for this must-see February 14 tradition. The musical union sets the scene for a memorable night of romance, humour, and classic love songs.

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“The Valentine’s Cabaret is a night like no other, one accented by the swinging sounds from another era that is sure to entertain, surprise, and romance,” offers Fraser, director of the Centre’s Choral Music Programme.  “February 14 is an evening out at The Mack where you will hear a varied selection of classics from the American Songbook,”

The jazz trio will back Kitson and O’Brien across two rollicking sets of ballads, blues tunes, and pop standards, including ‘My Funny Valentine’, ‘Time after Time’, ‘Skylark’, and ‘Have I told you lately that I Love you.’ Other standouts include ‘You’d be so nice to come home to’ and ‘Fly me to the Moon’

Showtime is 7:30 p.m. at The Mack and tickets are moving fast! Contact the Centre’s box office at (902) 566-1267, toll free at 1-800-565-0278, or online at confederationcentre.com.

Special thanks are extended to Sobeys, the title sponsor of Live @ the Centre, as well as media sponsors The Guardian, Hot 105.5 and Ocean 100.

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Home for the Holidays

Returning to the Harbourfront Theatre on Friday, December 15, 7:30 pm, is Home for the Holidays featuring all the best of popular Christmas and Holiday music performed by some of PEI’s finest singers :   Kendall Docherty, Catherine O’Brien and Caroline Bernard backed up by a great band, The Reindeer Express, with Deryl Gallant, bass, Alan White, drums, Don Fraser, keyboards, and Perry Williams, guitar.  The icing on this special Christmas cake will be the reading of well known Island entertainer, Marlane O’Brien featuring Island Christmas stories.

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This show, Home for the Holidays featuring classic and contemporary Christmas music and Island stories will be as warm and cozy as a good glass of egg-nog in front of a crackling fireplace on Christmas Eve.  Prepare to have your spirits lifted just as high as that bright shining star so many years ago. This year’s edition has many new songs, as well as old favourites.

Love is in the Air

Love is in the air this Valentine’s Day at The Mack. Join Island serenaders Joey Kitson and Catherine O’Brien for an intimate soiree at The Mack this Valentine’s. Sobeys LIVE @ the Centre’s popular Valentine’s Cabaret returns Tuesday, February 14 featuring the sizzling jazz trio of Don Fraser on piano, Alan White on drums, and Deryl Gallant on bass.

Get a little closer to that special someone and celebrate love with an irresistible set-list of love songs, ballads, and some hearty cheer.

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Enjoy classics of the jazz canon as you sit sipping your favourite drink in the low light of The Mack. “I always enjoy the Valentines Cabaret,” says O’Brien, as she prepares for the annual performance, “It is such a treat to perform with such talented friends. The Mack is a warm, intimate space and couples can cozy up together, sip some wine, and listen to some of the great jazz standards that never get old.”

The trio will back Kitson and O’Brien across two delightful sets of ballads, jazz numbers, and blues gems, including ‘Night and Day’, ‘My Funny Valentine’, ‘A Foggy Day’, ‘Fly me to the Moon’, and ‘The Way you Look Tonight.’

This annual celebration is presented by performance sponsor, Charm Diamond Centres. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. at The Mack and tickets are moving fast! Contact the box office at (902) 566-1267, toll free at 1-800-565-0278, or online at http://www.confederationcentre.com.

Home for the Holidays at The Harbourfront

Returning to Harbourfront Theatre on Friday, December 9, 7:30 pm, is Home for the Holidays featuring all the best of popular Christmas and holiday music performed by some of PEI’s finest singers : Joey Kitson, Catherine O’Brien and Caroline Bernard backed up by a great band, The Reindeer Express, featuring Deryl Gallant, bass, Alan White, drums, Don Fraser, keyboards, and Perry Williams, guitar.

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The icing on this special Christmas cake will be the reading of well-known Island entertainer, Hank Stinson sharing Island Christmas stories. Featuring classic and contemporary Christmas music and Island stories, Home for the Holidays will be as warm and cozy as a good glass of eggnog in front of a crackling fireplace on Christmas Eve.

Prepare to have your spirits lifted just as high as that bright shining star so many years ago. This year’s edition features many new songs, as well as old favourites.

PTN Promotes Island Theatre

A group of six Island professional theatre companies have come together to form the Professional Theatre Network of PEI in order to share resources, collaborate, and work with government, all with the purpose of furthering professional theatre on the Island. The six companies are The Charlottetown FestivalThe GuildHarbourfront TheatreVictoria PlayhouseWatermark Theatre, and Young at Heart.

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These companies collectively hire approximately 500 full time, part time, and seasonal workers each year and they spend over $5.5 million annually, proving that professional theatre is a major employer and economic contributor to the Island. The group defines professional theatres as organizations that strive for artistic excellence and in which the artists are consistently paid for their work at a Canadian Actors’ Equity and Associated Designers of Canada standard or its equivalent.

The PTN are planning and have planned several new initiatives. First and foremost is the desire to rally government and corporate support for a large scale marketing initiative promoting Prince Edward Island as a theatre destination. Similar to previous campaigns featuring golf courses and local food, the PTN sees professional theatre as a way to draw more tourists to the Island.

This year, the PTN, along with governmental agencies, began a Mentorship Program in which 16 interns were trained this summer with theatres across the Island. This program will continue into 2017 and beyond.

The PTN is also looking at new ways to offer packaged ticket offers where audience members may buy a “Theatre Passport” to see productions at numerous theatres throughout the summer months. Other coordinated ticketing possibilities are also being explored.

Possible collaboration opportunities include joint Events (March 27th), joint marketing opportunities, additional training or development partnerships, and sharing resources whenever possible. A theatre blog has been launched at http://www.peitheatre.com as a way to promote all the theatres productions at one location.

In addition to their monthly meetings, representatives of the PTN have already, and will continue, to attend outside meetings and conferences voicing the concerns and wishes of the group, all in the hopes of furthering attendance to theatrical events and fueling the provincial economy.

For further information and/or to set up an interview with any of the member theatre companies please contact Catherine O’Brien at cathjobrien@gmail.com or 902-393-9419.

(Post) Mistress Delivers, First Class!

When you cross a truly unique set (Scenic Design by W. Scott MacConnell, who did a great job creating a post office/cabaret hybrid) & light show (designed by James Clement & technically executed by Dave Nicholson) with musical direction on keyboards by Holly Arsenault, & Ken Fornetran on Saxophone & then let Martha Irving go to town with her magical conversions of a bunch of random letters into song, you get a stage that absolutely beams of enthusiasm & star shine!

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Postmistress Martha Irving (Director of the musical Anne & Gilbert for 5 years) began her career at Victoria Playhouse in Barefoot in the Park in 1977 & returned last year to star in Sexy Laundry. This year, from August 6 to September 4, she owns the stage as a charming postal worker with a lovely French Canadian accent named Marie-Louise (whose raison d’être, she admits during the show, is her service to her post office), a role she originated at Ship’s Company Theatre in Parrsboro, NS, in this dynamic one-woman show by Playwright Tomson Highway (who is the recipient of 10 honorary doctorates & is a member of the Order of Canada, today enjoying an international career as a playwright, novelist, pianist, composer, & songwriter). In The Postmistress, Irving is quick on her feet, hitting all the notes in a variety of catchy tunes from both of Canada’s official languages (the soundtrack album of The (Post) Mistress, received a Juno Award in 2015 for Aboriginal Album of the Year), & taking the audience to school in terms of comedic timing. She also makes very effective use of props.

In many songs she was shelling out the dirt on residential gossip, but nonetheless remains a class act the whole way through. Most of the numbers required a delicate balance of sentimentality, phrasing, & punch-line ad libs (usually with a nudge & a wink) & she was very impressive. I thought the story she told about her younger days in Buenos Aires was just adorable. Director Catherine O’Brien (who is also playing the role of Rachel Lynde in this season’s production of Anne & Gilbert at The Guild), who has demonstrated her talents as an actress & vocalist on many occasions over the years must no doubt be very proud of this performance.

I’m sure the collective abundance of theatrical experience between everyone involved had a lot to do with the seamless flow of a range of emotions from sadness, to madness, to seduction, to utter silliness (sometimes even bordering on going absolutely postal), & huge rounds of applause were definitely not in short supply. Unless you find the thought of listening to a French-Canadian accent for a couple of hours annoying there’s a pretty good chance you’ll have a great time watching Martha Irving strutting her stuff. If you can get a ticket to this feel-good, must-see PEI theatre event, it’s well worth the drive out to the Victoria Playhouse.

Review by PL Holden. Used by permission. Originally posted on http://www.onrpei.ca.

 

A Small Town Musical with Big Secrets

The Victoria Playhouse is delighted to present award-winning aboriginal Canadian Tomson Highway’s one-woman musical The (Post) Mistress. The production stars popular Halifax-based actor Martha Irving performing under the direction of Catherine O’Brien, with musical direction and keyboards by Holly Arsenault and Ken Fornetran on saxophone.

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Irving was first approached by Matthew Tiffin, past Artistic Director of Ship’s Company Theatre in Parsborro, Nova Scotia to play the title role of Marie-Louise.

“The idea terrified me! But I like to do things that terrify and challenge me,” Irving recalls.

She pushed her fears aside and discovered that she loved the role. Since then, she has performed the part of Marie-Louise, not only at Ship’s Company, but also at Neptune Theatre in Halifax and the Thousand Islands Playhouse in Gananoque, Ontario.

The Chronicle Herald of Halifax, Nova Scotia wrote of The (Post) Mistress, “Martha Irving gave an astonishing performance … that drew shouts of bravo and standing ovations as she became the colourful French-Canadian Marie-Louise running a village post office.”

The (Post) Mistress is at the Victoria Playhouse August 6 through September 4.