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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: Dillon, SC – Stop and Stretch Your Legs in Dillon

If you’re getting stiff from all that driving or the kids are just suffering from cabin fever from being in the car for so long, here is your perfect solution. The City of Dillon’s Wellness Center is approximately half way between New York and Miami. Why not stop and workout the kinks of travel or walk off that lunch while enjoy their facility. IMG_0456

You are welcome to use (for FREE) the 1/2 mile lighted outdoor walking path outside the complex , which is open 24/7 and dogs on a leash are always welcome.

You can buy a day pass for a mere $5 to go inside and use the city of Dillon’s 40,000 sq ft indoor sport and fitness complex that includes state-of-the-art cardiovascular equipment, weight machines, a free weights room and an aerobics & dance room. At the indoor sports complex you can let the kids play basketball, volleyball, or compete in a game of  ping pong.IMG_0460

In addition they have a gym, dry sauna, locker rooms/showers, lounge, wireless internet, cable TV and trained staff.  not Take a break and take advantage of this very inviting and clean gymnasium and fitness center.

Location: 1647 Commerce Dr, Dillon, South Carolina
Hours: Mon – Fri 5:30am – 8:30pm , Sat 8am – 5pm , Sun 2 – 5pm
Tel: 843-774-5115
cityofdillonsc.us/residents/wellness_center.php
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: cityofdillonsc.us

US: Dillon, SC – Dillon Wellness Center – Exercise Gym is only $5

The City of Dillon’s Wellness Center is approximately half way between New York and Miami. Why not stop and workout the kinks of travel or walk off that lunch while enjoy their facility. IMG_0456

You are welcome to use (for FREE) the 1/2 mile lighted outdoor walking path outside the complex , which is open 24/7 and dogs on a leash are always welcome.

You can buy a day pass for a mere $5 to go inside and use the city of Dillon’s 40,000 sq ft indoor sport and fitness complex that includes state-of-the-art cardiovascular equipment, weight machines, a free weights room and an aerobics & dance room. At the indoor sports complex you can let the kids play basketball, volleyball, or compete in a game of  ping pong.IMG_0460

In addition they have a gym, dry sauna, locker rooms/showers, lounge, wireless internet, cable TV and trained staff.  Why not take a break from all the driving and take advantage of this very inviting and clean gymnasium and fitness center.

Location: 1647 Commerce Dr, Dillon, South Carolina
Hours: Mon – Fri 5:30am – 8:30pm , Sat 8am – 5pm , Sun 2 – 5pm
Tel: 843-774-5115
cityofdillonsc.us/residents/wellness_center.php
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: cityofdillonsc.us

Belgium: Museum of Immigration to the New World

When you hear the words “Ellis Island“, you think of the immigrants pouring in from Europe yearning for a new life. The flip side of the North American tale of immigration is now on display at the Red Star Line Museum in Antwerp, Belgium. The brand-new museum presents the experience of the over two million people who emigrated from Europe between 1873 and 1934 aboard the ships of the Belgian-American company Red Star Line.
Immigrant Family

Visitors of the Red Star Line Museum get a glimpse of what an immigrant’s journey was like – from the docks of Europe, across the churning waters of the Atlantic, to starting a whole new life in North America.  You can read personal tales of present and past immigration as well as view the plates used on the ships, smell the scent of the disinfecting showers, and try your hands at a puzzle once used to assess newcomers’ intelligence. Anyone can search the genealogical database, or even add personal comments and family history.

Among them were famous passengers such as Albert Einstein and Golda Meir. The museum lets you trace their travel across the ocean. When you sing “God Bless America” or “Puttin’ on the Ritz,” you’re paying tribute to a Red Star Line immigrant named Israel Baline (better by his Americanized name, Irving Berlin). By the time of his death, his songwriting included 1,500 songs, 19 musicals and 18 feature films.

www.redstarline.be/en