On Stage: Celtic Christmas, tenors, Scrooge, Sinatra and a couple of Brits among the shows this season

Producer and director, Katy Bowen-Roberts is thrilled to bring her Island grown Yellowpoint Christmas Spectacular production back to the McPherson Playhouse on December 8, 9 and 10.

This year’s singing and dancing extravaganza includes an opening Broadway number from the Oscar winning musical ‘La La Land’, musical tributes to The Beatles, Nina Simone, Rod Stewart and Lady Gaga. Also showstoppers from ‘Mary Poppins’, hit tunes from ‘Top Gun’, a country medley as well as many more classical hits and Christmas favorites including the old classic ‘White Christmas’. Katy encourages the Victoria community to make this show a part of its holiday tradition. “There is something in it for everyone!” she says.

Call 250-386-6121 or visit www.rmts.bc.ca for tickets.

Belfry Theatre presents its lauded production of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, adapted and directed by Belfry Artistic Director Michael Shamata. Veteran actor Tom McBeath stars again as literature’s most enduring character, Ebenezer Scrooge.

Returning with Tom are Gerry Mackay as Jacob Marley, with Brian Linds as Mr. Fezziwig, Amanda Lisman as Belle, Celine Stubel as Mrs. Cratchit, Jan Wood as Mrs. Fezziwig, and John Han and Jessica Hickman as Spirits. Joining the cast for the first time are Evan Frayne as Bob Cratchit and Conor Wylie as Fred.

Playing the Cratchit children are Lauren Alberico (just graduated from Claremont Secondary) as Martha, William Robertson (école Victor-Brodeur) as Peter, 8 year old Azura Lepard (George Jay Elementary) as Belinda and 7 year old Jude Culham-Keays (Brentwood Elementary) as Tiny Tim.

Written in 1843 in response to the social ills of Victorian England, A Christmas Carol profoundly changed western culture, reinvigorating the notion of Christmas and adding the now fundamental idea of charity at this time of year.

Over the course of one evening “tight-fisted old sinner” Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by the Spirits of Christmases Past, Present and Future, who soften his heart and make him truly see the world around him. A Christmas Carol is the perfect story of redemption, reminding us to reach out to our fellow man, now and all year long.

Mustard Seed Food Bank Donations Throughout the run of A Christmas Carol, the Belfry will be collecting food stuffs for the Mustard Seed Food Bank. Audience members are encouraged to bring non-perishable food (Canned fruit and vegetables, canned fish and meat, dry pasta, rice and oatmeal, cereal, pasta and cooking sauces), baby needs (formula, food and diapers) or personal items (soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, socks and underwear).

Tickets for A Christmas Carol range from $20 to $53 available at 250-385-6815 or online at tickets.belfry.bc.ca.

Kick off the holiday season with a festive evening of celtic and yuletide music featuring Cookeilidh with special guests, the O’Brien Irish Dancers. Sure to leave you with a grin on your face, a spring in your step, and the holiday spirit in your heart.

After two sold out shows at Mary Winspear Centre in Sidney, Cookeilidh brings their Making Spirits Bright concert to the new Dave Dunnet theatre in Oak Bay. The Celtic Yuletide show includes a great deal of variety and a few surprises, making for a non-stop evening of festive and celtic entertainment that will get toes tapping andhands clapping Dec. 2. Tickets are $25 available through rmts.bc.ca.

Christmas with Sinatra is part of the Legends Concert Series which first premiered on the west coast in 2008. Dane Warren and his jazz trio bring Sinatra to the Dave Dunnet Community Theatre on Dec. 15. Early birds get a discount on Christmas with Sinatra, an intimate holiday concert showcasing the music of the legendary Frank Sinatra and featuring more than 20 of his most beloved songs.

Christmas with Sinatra stars Vancouver performer Warren and features the Dane Warren Jazz Trio in the Dave Dunnet Community Theatre, 2121 Cadboro Bay Rd. on Dec. 15 at 8 p.m. Tickets $19-$60 available at the McPherson box office at 250-386-6121 or rmts.bc.ca and at the door. Those who purchase ahead of Dec. 1 get a 10 per cent discount.

Award-winning British comedy duo, James & Jamesy, brings holiday cheer to Victoria with O Christmas Tea: A British Comedy.

Fans of Monty Python, Mr. Bean, and Dr. Seuss will delight in a rollicking Christmas romp through a world steeped in tea, as James & Jamesy present their uproarious holiday-themed comedy, O Christmas Tea: A British Comedy, as part of their Pacific Northwest Tour.

“The Christmas season is a magical time of year that brings people of all ages together; a time when we are encouraged to dream big, embrace imagination, and celebrate a childlike excitement for merriment,” explained Alastair Knowles, who plays Jamesy, the quirky and playful half of London’s three-time Impresario Award-winning duo. “This year’s production maintains the joyous holiday spirit sweeping spectators into an immersive adventure, leaving them bubbling with laughter and brimming with holiday cheer.”

After writing a letter to Santa requesting tea, the duo must deal with the catastrophic repercussions that come from having their wish granted. Audience members of all ages join them in their action-packed quest to save the world, ever finding innovative and hilarious solutions to keep them, and their hopes, afloat in a sea of tea.

Aaron Malkin, who plays James, added that the duo will be incorporating more of the vibrant fun, meticulous choreography and playful Christmassy adventures that sold out houses last year.

“We have new developments to make the whole family squeal with joy: dazzling costumes, floor-to-ceiling projections, new songs and choreography, and magical effects, providing more adventure and wonder than ever before,” he said. “While awash in holiday sparkle, this show has delight enough for Santa-followers and abstainers, both.”

James & Jamesy have toured across North America and the UK since 2012, performing their original works – including High Tea, 2 for Tea, and In The Dark – earning rave reviews and lifetime fans. Among other accolades, the physical comedians are winners of the Canadian Comedy Award for Best Live Ensemble (2016), and 2-time finalists for the Just for Laughs Best Comedy Award. They are 20-time “Best of Fest” winners.

O Christmas Tea is Dec. 17 at 7:30 p.m. in the Royal Theatre. Get tickets ($25 to $35) online through jamesandjamesy.com.

The Civic Orchestra joins Festive Brass to bring a performance that is guaranteed to leave the audience filled with holiday cheer in Oak Bay.

Whether you identify with Santa Claus, or if the Grinch is more your style – this concert has something for all. Be prepared to lend your voice to some carol singing, hear some sublime music inspired by the season, and laugh out loud at the comedic skills of four of Vancouver Island’s silliest musicians.

A Family Holiday with the Festive Brass, under music director Brian Wismath, is Saturday, Dec. 9 at 2 p.m. in the Dave Dunnet Community Theatre at Oak Bay High School. Tickets are available at Long & McQuade Victoria, Ivy’s Bookshop, Munro’s Books, Tanner’s Books, and The Shieling.

‘Tis the season for surprises, and you won’t need to go far to enjoy them. Through Dec. 31, visit the Chemainus Theatre Festival to tag-along on the Cornwalls’ All-inclusive Cancun Christmas. This hilarious, precarious Christmas vacation is packed with family secrets that keep you wondering if they’ll even make it to New Years. Be prepared to laugh at the wacky ups and downs, and marvel at the reminders of your own holiday gatherings. Tickets are available now by calling 1-800-565-7738, or online at chemainustheatre.ca.

It’s the mid-1980’s, and The Cornwalls are getting ready to celebrate the holidays. But this year, the same-old traditions just aren’t going to cut it. Harry Cornwall has been married to Judy for 25 years, and his beloved wife has dreamt of having a grand adventure for almost as long. He is determined to make her wish come true, and has found the perfect holiday getaway – on sale too! But as Harry’s act of devotion edges toward disaster, he may need a Christmas miracle greater than even Santa could deliver. Newlyweds Sissy (Cornwall) and Kyle have been summoned to the airport by dad. Arriving with their suitcases packed, and a rather conspicuous carry-on, they decide to wait until Christmas Eve to spring their big news on the family. If a special delivery doesn’t surprise them first. Young Tommy Cornwall is stoked. With his first love at his side (his guitar, Ethel) he’s ready to have a rock n’ roll good time in the sun. When his most precious possession disappears, a frantic hunt begins – and leads him to discover a whole new kind of love.

The Cornwalls’ All-inclusive Cancun Christmas is the second holiday play centered on this quirky family, co-written by local playwrights Nicolle Nattrass and Mark DuMez, and directed by Barbara Tomasic (who last visited the Festival to direct the wildly-popular Footloose). The authors were inspired to revisit the Cornwalls because of the way audiences connected with the family. “While the Cornwalls may be more quirky than most, it is their love and the values of their family that help them face any challenge that comes their way on this All Inclusive Cancun Christmas” says Nattrass.

Playing the perfectly imperfect family are a cast of talented comedic actors: David Adams as Harry the too-frugal, but well-meaning, patriarch; Marlee Walchuk as mom Judy, a soft-hearted artist; Mack Gordon as Tommy their rowdy son who still has a lot to learn; Andrea Pizarro as Dalila, an ambitious resort attendant who catches Tommy’s eye; Emily Henney and Alexander Nicoll as doting newlyweds (with a rather obvious secret) Sissy and Kyle; Alen Dominguez as eager-to-please resort activity leader, Fernando.

All the merriment is boosted by a diverse range of holiday music. Nico Rhodes, on keyboard, directs the live tunes – and is joined by Marisha Devoin on bass, and Brad Shipley on guitar.

Visiting the Cornwalls takes you back to the ‘80s, courtesy of The Festival’s production team whose colourful skills do the decade justice. Designers include: Carolyn Rapanos (sets), Michelle Lieffertz (costumes), Conor Moore (lighting). Stage manager Nicole Lamb and assistant stage manager Koh McRadu complete the experience of bringing joy, music, peace, and love.

Kaleidoscope Theatre for Young People presents the classic British pantomime, Peter Pan, running from Dec. 28 to 30 at the McPherson Playhouse. Esteemed director and long-time friend of Kaleidoscope Stephen Andrew brings a long career of pantomime direction back to Kaleidoscope for his second year as our winter production’s director. Last year’s Snow White was a smash hit, and this year promises to be even bigger.

Based on the unforgettable story by J.M. Barrie, our unique adaptation of Peter Pan is suitable for young people of all ages and adults with a love of fun and fantasy, and it features a family story of its own: Astrid Braunschmidt, who takes on the role of Tinkerbell, is joined by her son Tristan on stage. Tristan will be among our volunteers taking on the roles of the Lost Children of Neverland, performing alongside both professional and volunteer actors. “I’m so pleased to return to the stage this holiday season with a wonderful cast of friends,” Astrid says. “To share the spotlight with my son is a particular thrill.”

Astrid and Tristan aren’t the only families working together on the piece. Several pirates face off against their relatives in the Lost Children and Tyger’s Lilies. As family feuds go, this one will be worth watching. In addition to Astrid, Peter Pan stars Victoria Operatic Society actor Jeffrey Stephen as the titular boy who never grew up, with actor/singer Cati Landry as Wendy Darling, Kaleidoscope favorite Scott Clarke as Dame Nanna Nelly, Stephen Andrew in the villainous role of Captain Hook and acclaimed singer and actor Maria Manna as the Singing Mermaid.

Tickets are available through the Royal McPherson box office.

Yariv Aloni will conduct the Victoria Chamber Orchestra playing German and Italian Baroque hits from the 1650s. The Italian works are by Albinoni, Vivaldi and Locatelli; CPE Bach, one of Bach’s most famous sons, and Telemann, the composer of 4000 works, are the Germans.

Victoria Chamber Orchestra Baroque Concert at Oak Bay United Church, 2:30 PM

Music students are admitted free and will have a chance to enter 2 draws each for $50 worth of work or merchandize by Kim Tipper (Tipper Violins) and Tapestry Music.

Tea, coffee and baked goods are available at the intermission for the price of a donation of your choice.

Come and chat with the players in the only Victoria Chamber Orchestra concert to take place in Oak Bay in our 2017-18 season .

Tickets at the door or on line at our website www.victoriachamberorchestra.org.

Blue Bridge Sings with a celebration of Blue Bridge and the musical Nov. 30 to Dec. 3. Starring Sara-Jeanne Hosie and Kholby Wardell.

The theatre’s Christmas Classic Radio Series returns Dec. 14 to 17. with perennial favourite It’s A Wonderful Life adapted for the radio by Phillip Grecian and Shop Around the Corner adapted for the radio by Andrew Bailey.

Visit http://bluebridgetheatre.ca for ticket information.

Making their second appearance at the Charlie White Theatre in less than a year, The Celtic Tenors return Dec. 5 and 6 with their festive Christmas concert.

Their holiday program includes a performance representing their pasts and signature harmonies. The song selection comes from their holiday album The Celtic Tenors Christmas, and includes Oh Holy Night, The First Noel, and Wexford Carol.

The Celtic Tenors have established themselves as the most successful Classical Crossover artists to have ever come out of Ireland, and continue to re-invent the whole “Tenor” idiom. The Celtic Tenors continue to stretch musical boundaries while paying homage to their traditional Irish roots. Signed on the spot to an international record deal in London in 2000, their first album went on to achieve double platinum status in their homeland, Number 1 in Ireland and Germany, Number 2 in the UK, and won them countless awards.

Their eclectic mix of classical, folk, Irish and pop will leave the audience applauding for more and demanding a return engagement. Visit marywinspear.ca for ticket information.

editor@oakbaynews.com

 

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