Since the COVID-19 shutdown, live theaters across the Edmonton metropolitan area have resembled ghost towns collecting dust. The costumes were hung on shelves, the sets abandoned and the lights turned off. Some wondered if the premises would reopen.
The theaters were biding their time and patiently awaiting our return. Now, alongside a provincial government tally of more than 50 percent of Albertans fully immunized, the theater doors are opening for an influx of enthusiastic patrons.
One of the first shows to open this summer is Plain Jane Theater’s ode to Broadway musicals, featuring Sidewalk scenes: a cabaret upside down. A two-day limited race takes place July 18-19 at the ATB Financial Arts Barn.
It’s all in the name. Corresponding to the upside down climate we live in, producer-director Kate Ryan gives us an upside-down view of musical theater. While performers sing and dance outside in the west side courtyard of the Arts Barns, the audience sits on chairs inside and watches the cabaret through the floor-to-ceiling windows of the building.
In the last 15 months of Plexiglas mandated, keeping the theater and music alive was 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 the fall of 2020.
“It was a way to check and see 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 do we make sure we move forward to create a better world? ‘ Ryan said.
In previous Plain Jane productions, she chose 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 driven by the artists and the songs supported their views. They were asked, “Where are you and what are you taking on the sidewalk?” Do you meet 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 vocals Tour de France of Amelie while Cunningham sings the jazzy classic by Nina Simone, Feel good.
“His (Feel good) such a rich song and Althea has this incredible scope 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 commands. She has a drive within 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 years, an original card.
“This show is unique by the experience of the actors. It’s really advanced from last year’s show. It has become something more joyful. In the fall, the group was more reflective.
Limited tickets are available to maintain security protocols.
“Last fall we were sold out. It was such a positive experience. We have received so many great emails from people. It worked wonderfully.
Both shows start at 7:30 p.m. The Arts Barns is located at 10330 – 84 Ave. Tickets are chargeable. They can be booked at https://tickets.fringetheatre.ca/event/601:3484/