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Arts & Culture(Archives)


The Epic Season

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How does Keyano Theatre Company top a season that included Hometown…The Musical!, a show that continues to be praised for the way it inspired an unparalleled love of place and participation levels that had never been seen before? One way is to program one of the biggest musical productions of all time, one of the most successful, the most renowned, the most epic - Les Misérables.

As the creative team at Keyano Theatre Company put the stunning production of Chicago to bed in 2012, there was a grave concern about the talent they were losing, going on to other communities, colleges and universities, and what the local capacity was going to be to produce work that required large casts. As Claude Giroux described in his recent TEDx Fort McMurray talk, shooting to get 100 performers on stage for Hometown was truly a leap of faith. It was a leap that turned out better than anyone could have imagined. Doing Les Mis is a leap of a completely different order of magnitude.

As KTC gathers talent for the musical production slated for February 2014, the ensemble of the season’s opener, Boeing Boeing, will be hard at work in the rehearsal hall crafting what promises to be a fantastic farce. Written by French playwright Marc Camoletti, Boeing Boeing centres on Bernard, a 1960s-era bachelor juggling the affections of three airline stewardesses, rotating in and out of town in carefree synchronicity. When a faster Boeing jet comes along, his delicate dalliances devolve into mayhem, as the three unsuspecting beauties end up in town at the same time.

Directed by Paul Gélineau (Extremities, Strangers Among Us, Jesus Christ Superstar, Annie), Boeing Boeing runs from September 26 – October 5.

Edmonton’s Catalyst Theatre returns to Keyano Theatre in November to develop and stage their latest new work, Vigilante. The award winning creative team of director/writer Jonathan Christenson and designer Bretta Gerecke has birthed a number of world-renowned shows in our community including Frankenstein, Nevermore and Hunchback. Each stunning piece was elevated by the singular voice and look for which Catalyst Theatre has become known.

Having recently seen The Soul Collector, an acclaimed new show produced in the Westbury Theatre, my appetite is completely whetted to see how they tell the story of the infamous Black Donnelly family, a dark chapter in Canadian history, that shook a small town to its foundation.

Co-created by Christenson and Gerecke, Vigilante runs from November 28 to December 7.

Seen by over 65 million people worldwide, Les Misérables will become the focus as we say goodbye to 2013 and hello to 2014. Doubtless to sell out, as there are few shows in the Broadway canon that have more box office clout, this show will be the hottest ticket in town. Written by Boublil and Schönberg, Les Mis is a sweeping musical that takes us to19th Century France. Jean Valjean is on the run, hunted by the relentless Javert, yet determined to raise and protect the young orphaned Cosette. But with revolution in the wind and Javert closing in, Valjean is forced to fight for his life and sacrifice everything to protect those he loves.

Directed by Claude Giroux, Les Misérables warms up our Fort McMurray winter from February 13 to 23.

The epic season comes to a close with the Ira Levin classic Deathtrap. With a devilish mix of comedy and suspense, this play chronicles the machinations of a playwright whose latest efforts have flopped, a writer who will stop at nothing to pen the blockbuster of his dreams.

Deathtrap runs from April 24 to May 3.

Looking ahead to a season like this, I would suggest exploring a season subscription. Not only does this save you a little money, you get four shows for the price of three, you also guarantee your seats, ensuring well in advance that you are the proud owner of the hottest tickets in town when everyone else is scouring the town looking for seats to Les Mis.

From a couple’s perspective, becoming a subscriber – we have been for years – guarantees four wonderful date nights. Of course, there are times when the best laid plans get torn asunder, and being a subscriber enables you to quickly and easily exchange your seats to another night. The box office staff is super helpful and they bend over backwards to make it work – they want you to see the shows.

From fantastically funny to creatively cutting-edge, from musical magnificence to suspenseful silliness, the 2013-2014 Keyano Theatre Company TELUS Drama Series promises to be epic entertainment, epic fun. For tickets or information, you can visit Keyano Box Office, call 780-791-4990, or purchase online at Discover live theatre; there is nothing like it.


Russell is a 19 year resident of Wood Buffalo, a community builder, facilitator, social media practitioner, actor, director and artist. He began his Middle Age Bulge blog as a way of capturing his journey to wellness. It has morphed into a daily journal about all aspects of life in the north. Russell works with The United Way of Fort McMurray and co-owns Birdsong Connections with his wife Heather.