May
20

And the nominees are…

Yesterday marked the announcement of the 2014–15 Jessie Richardson Award nominations. This always serves as a nice reminder of how fortunate we are to be a part of the Vancouver theatre community. In addition to 19 nominations for the Arts Club, there were countless nods for our friends and frequent collaborators. Congratulations to all of the nominees! We look forward to celebrating with you at this year’s ceremony.

Meg Roe in Saint Joan, which recieved a total of seven nominations. Photo by David Cooper

Meg Roe in Saint Joan, which received a total of seven nominations. Photo by David Cooper

Our nominations and their categories are listed below. Visit the Jessie’s website for the full list of nominees and to buy tickets for the ceremony on June 22 at the Commodore Ballroom.

Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Lead Role

Andrew McNee—One Man, Two Guvnors

Andrew McNee in One Man, Two Guvnors. Photo by David Cooper

Andrew McNee in One Man, Two Guvnors. Photo by David Cooper

Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Lead Role

Meg Roe—Saint Joan

Nicola Cavendish—4000 Miles

Nicols Cavendish isn 4000 Miles. Photo by David Cooper

Nicola Cavendish in 4000 Miles. Photo by David Cooper

Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

Andrew Cownden—Spamalot and One Man, Two Guvnors

Dean Paul Gibson—Saint Joan

Dean Paul Gibson in Saint Joan. Photo by David Cooper

Dean Paul Gibson in Saint Joan. Photo by David Cooper

Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

Lauren Bowler—One Man, Two Guvnors

Terra C. MacLeod—Spamalot

Terra C. MacLeod and ensemble in Spamalot. Photo by David Cooper

Terra C. MacLeod and ensemble in Spamalot. Photo by David Cooper

Outstanding Lighting Design

John Webber—Saint Joan

Scott Reid—Farewell, My Lovely

Outstanding Set Design

Pam Johnson—Saint Joan

Scott Reid—Farewell, My Lovely

Outstanding Costume Design

Deitra Kalyn—Farewell, My Lovely

Graham Percy and Jamie Konchak in Farewell, My Lovely. Photo by Benjamin Laird Arts & Photo

Graham Percy and Jamie Konchak in Farewell, My Lovely. Photo by Benjamin Laird Arts & Photo

Outstanding Sound Design or Original Composition

Alessandro Juliani—Saint Joan

Outstanding Direction

Kim Collier—Saint Joan

Outstanding Production

Saint Joan

Significant Artistic Achievement

Mathew J Baker, Todd Biffard, Jeff Gladstone, Steven Greenfield, Brett Ziegler—Outstanding musical ensemble, Red Rock Diner

Jamie Nesbitt—Outstanding Projection Design, Farewell, My Lovely

The Red Rock Diner musical ensemble. Photo by David Cooper

The Red Rock Diner musical ensemble. Photo by David Cooper

Posted in 2014-2015 Season, 4000 Miles, 50th Anniversary, Arts News, Farewell, My Lovely, General, One Man, Two Guvnors, Saint Joan Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |
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May
15

Critics love IN THE HEIGHTS!

The critics have spoken! Vancouver loves this uplifting and energetic musical. Here is just a sample of the praise being heaped upon In the Heights:

“Dripping with talent”
—Colin Thomas, The Georgia Straight

“Lively and colourful”
—Jo Ledingham, The Vancouver Courier

“Humourous, heartwarming, and a funky departure from your typical musical”
—Myles Constable, VanVantage.com

“Top-notch singing and dancing”
—JJ Brewis, Lords of Dogwood

The cast of In the Heights. Photo by David Cooper

The cast of In the Heights. Photo by David Cooper

“Upbeat, fun and funky”
—Monika Forberger, Entertainment Vancouver

“A fizzy and frothy and sexy salsa evening of energy and enthusiasm”
—Baird Blackstone, Broken Leg Reviews

“The music In the Heights is what makes this show sizzle”
—Mark Robins, Vancouver Presents

“Roderique’s singing and his hip-hopping moves were superb”
—Ed Farolan, Review Vancouver

In the Heights is now playing until June 7 at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage. Tickets start at just $29 and are available online or by calling 604.687.1644.

Posted in 2014-2015 Season, In the Heights, News and Reviews Tagged , |
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May
13

A Brief History of Washington Heights

New York City has long been a mecca for seekers from other places. It was first established as the colony of New Netherland in 1624 by Dutch settlers, who made a so-called “purchase” of the land from the local Aboriginal peoples in 1626. The transaction set off violence and displacement on the island of Manhattan, which was named after a local tribe and home to New Netherland’s capital, New Amsterdam. The English followed the Dutch and, in 1664, Peter Stuyvesant surrendered New Amsterdam to the English, who renamed the settlement New York.

One of the displaced tribes in the island’s early history were the Munsee, who lived in the northwest corner of the island in an area they had named Shokorapok. The area in and around that Munsee settlement is now home to one of Manhattan’s most diverse neighbourhoods: Washington Heights. The Heights stretches from 155th street north to Inwood, and is bordered by the Hudson River to the west and the Harlem River to the east. The neighbourhood is also home to the highest point on the island, in what is now Bennet Park. During the Revolutionary War, both the British and Continental armies used it as a strategic point.

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The George Washington Bridge, connecting Washington Heights to Fort Lee, New Jersey.

Settlement of the area began to take off in the early 20th century, as Irish immigrants settled the area. The Irish were followed by Hungarians, Poles and then Jews, many from Germany, earning the neighbourhood the nickname “Frankfurt-on-the-Hudson.” Greeks followed, then, in the 1970s, immigrants from the Soviet Union. By the late 20th century, Caribbeans dominated the Heights, particularly those from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, who were also joined by African Americans.

The neighbourhood now has a distinctly Latin flavor. The barrio is home to many Latin-owned businesses, including the ubiquitous bodega, a particular kind of family-run convenience store, often stocking products from the Caribbean, that becomes a de-facto community centre for residents of the neighbourhood.

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A local bodega, similar to Usnavi’s shop in In the Heights.

The Heights remains one of the most popular neighbourhoods for immigrants, with the ninth-highest concentration of immigrants in New York, and the only neighbourhood in Manhattan in the top ten. That may change, however, as the neighbourhood is rapidly gentrifying, raising rents, and pushing longtime residents out of the neighbourhood. Between 2013 and 2014, Washington Heights was second only to Bushwick (Brooklyn) for property price increase in all of New York City, with the median home price jumping a whopping 28.8%.

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A local salon in Washington Heights.

In the Heights is now playing until June 7 at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage. Tickets start at just $29 and are available online or by calling 604.687.1644.

Posted in 2014-2015 Season, General, In the Heights Tagged , , |
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