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Canada: Choir Boy “Sings” in Montreal Before It Hits Broadway

A half century ago, a creative actor/director and immigrant (from South Africa via England), Maurice Podbrey, together with his equal half, Elsa Bolam (and Herb Auerbach and Peter Duffield) managed to knit together a theater company, Centaur, which was and is no easy feat. If that wasn’t nerve wracking enough for a person, Bolam then went on to start another successful one, Geordie Productions.

In an unintentional but perfect nod to the past, Eda Holmes, Centaur’s new artistic director, brings us Choir Boy set in a boys’ prep school while Podbrey’s first production, The Prime of Miss Jean Brody, took place in a girl’s school. The play is written by Tarell Alvin McCraney, who comes with a pretty flashy CV: he’s the Chair of Yale’s School of Drama, where he is also the Playwright in Residence at the Repertory Theatre. and he was also Playwright in Residence for Stratford-Upon-Avon’s Royal Shakespeare Company – and happens to be a member of the renowned Steppenwolf Theatre Ensemble. And let’s just throw in here that he wrote the story of Moonlight which won Oscars for best picture and for the writing.

The story is mostly about Pharus (played by Steven Charles), a gay student making his way through a very traditional private school. Charles commands the stage throughout, and we can’t wait to see where his star takes him (to the Broadway production?). His fellow students talk, yell, fight and sing a cappella as they share intimacies and rivalries when the old school values conflict with our modern world in rules, nepotism, faith, sexuality and school board traditions.  Tight direction by Mike Payette keeps you riveted throughout, while Lighting Designer Andrea Lundy’s magic creatively moves you around the set (loved the purple).

Floydd Ricketts, the musical director and arranger, was the right man in the right place to be able to create new arrangements of spirituals, gospel and jazz songs for a cappella harmonies.  Ricketts notes, “Even though this music comes from pain, there is also joy in it”. Dayane Ntibarikure, assistant director and choir movement facilitator, did a brilliant job of  having the actors move “slave slowly” around the scenes, adding foot stomping  to song and subtly evoking a chain gang in the shower scene.

Holmes has tweaked the play runs slightly this year by adding (less expensive) preview shows to get the performance just that more perfect for opening night. You know how much I like a deal, and Centaur offers much for FREE with behind-the-scenes info to enrich your  theater experience: Talk Back after the shows , Sunday Chat Up, Thursday Pre-Show Convo and the Saturday Salon.

How perfect that this golden Centaur season started by lifting our spirits with the power of music blended with this timely story. See Choir Boy in Montreal before you can’t get tickets on Broadway (Dec 2018)!

Location 453 St-Francois-Xavier
corner: Notre-Dame
Tel: 514-288-3161
Dates: til Oct 28
www.centaurtheatre.com
Metro: Place d’Armes

US: Dover, DE – Where Kids Can Shop For Craftsy Xmas Gifts

Join the The Biggs Museum of American Art to kick-off the holiday season with their 2nd annual Happy Holidays Dover celebration. This event, which takes place from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., will coincide with the Downtown Dover holiday celebration and it will end with the start of the Downtown Dover holiday parade.Happy Holidays Dover2017-11-13_10-42-52

This all day family fun event offers a Special “Kids Only” Holiday Shop, where children ages 4-12  can purchase gifts (ranging from $1-$10) for their friends and family and decorate their own gift bags/gift cards. Items include handmade ornaments, jewelry, key chains and  bookmarks.Happy Holidays Dover Xmas Card2017-11-13_10-42-52

Highlights will include:  crafts,  live artist/craftsmen demonstrations, an expanded gift shop of handmade holiday items, food trucks, performances from children’s choirs, and a  special display of miniature holiday themed dollhouses.

Happy Holidays Dover Scarfs2017-11-20_11-55-51Tentative Schedule of Events: TBD – 9:30 -10 AM
Christ Church Dover Children’s Choir – 10-10:30 AM
Smyrna High School Select Group Choir – 10:45-11:15 AM
Smyrna High School Jazz Band – 11:30-12 PM
En Pointe Studio, selections from “The Nutcracker” -12:15-12:45 PM
Smyrna Church of Christ and Christian School Choir – 1-1:30 PM
Campus Community School First State Club “Mummer’s Play”- 1:50-2:15
Campus Community School Choir – 2:30 PM – 3 PM
TBD – 3:15-3:45
TBD – 4-4:30 PM

Free Admission

Location: Biggs Museum of American Art, 406 Federal St., Dover, DE 19901
Date: Sat, Dec 2nd, 2017
Time: 9 – 5 pm
Tel: 302-674-2111
biggsmuseum.org
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants, & Attractions: visitwilmingtonde.com

US: Wilson, NC – Whirligig Festival for Art in Motion, Touch-a-Truck and a Dive Into a Cake

Wilson, NC Exit 121: The North Carolina Whirligig Festival is a 2-day hometown annual arts and crafts festival features arts of the region, including the giant Whirligigs created by late local artist, Vollis Simpson. Like the whimsical outsider art, the Wilson Whirligig Festival,  in Historic Downtown Wilson, is a community celebration of people and art in motion.V. Simpson 2017-10-10_10-52-15

The Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park is hosting their Grand Opening the Thursday before the festival weekend, Nov. 2nd starting at 4 pm.

With Over 200+ vendors, 3 stages of live entertainment, a showcase of local and interactive art,  delicious food, beer gardens, Non-Profit organizations, free Whirli-Kidz Zone, Special events, 5K Whirli-Run, Whirli-Kidz Stage & Choir, Cup Cake Challenge, Photo Contest. New this year is a Ninja Whirligig Warrior Zone where you can meet local American Ninja Warriors, watch them compete and get a chance to test out the course yourself.

Kids Stage2017-10-10_11-00-39

The ever popular cake dive is back, Sun @4pm: witness the festival’s messiest event, a “dive” into a large 10 ft x 10 ft anniversary cake for a variety of prizes.

Touch-A-Truck is a fun event for the whole family, allowing children three + an all access pass to explore, climb and touch city of Wilson trucks and emergency response vehicles. Kids can sit in vehicles, honk the horn and talk with the equipment operators. Horn free hours will be offered throughout the day for kids with noise sensitivity.Police Vehicles2017-10-10_10-59-06

Douglas Street will transform into a space to build, create, and envision. With Brick Scholars, Greenlight, and Imagination Station Science & History Museum. Kids five + will be able to make Lego creations, even a whirligig! Showcase your creation with the onsite photo booth.

It’s a colorful 2-day celebration that sparks creativity in the people of Wilson, so get inspired and take part in the community’s largest celebration. (rain or shine)Logo 2017-10-10_8-27-06

Location: Historic Downtown Wilson,NC 27893
Dates: Nov 4 – 5, 2017
Times:  Sat, Nov 4 -10 am – 5 pm , Sun, Nov 5  noon – 5 pm
Tel: 252-289-9650
whirligigfestivalnc.org
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: wilson-nc.com