It's a week away from Valentine's Day - you know, the holiday that was designed for selling greeting cards. Never mind. It never hurts to dedicate one day in a whole year to appreciate the people - and things - we love.
I love my family and friends. Of course I do. I also loooove live theatre. So if I can combine a live-theatre event with a family member or a good friend, well, that is just about a perfect Valentine's Day. I am also open to the option of a box of Purdy's chocolate (just sayin').
I also love tap dancing - even after a three-hour class. If I were a bit taller, and had the opportunity to take lessons while young, I would have set my sights on becoming a Rockette in New York. It didn't happen for me, but local girl Julie Tomaino made it happen for her. Julie performed with many musical theatre companies while growing up here. Then she became a Rockette. She is a lovely dancer, person and performer. The best news is that she is now back in the Lower Mainland sharing her life with us.
Her current directorial gig is The Girl in the Frame, billed as a "wildly sexy musical comedy," presented by Intimate Theatre Productions, now in its second year. This show marks the Canadian premier of a new musical to Vancouver. It plays from Feb. 13 to March 2 at Studio 1398, 1398 Johnston Ave., Granville Island. There is a special deal for Valentine's Day. For tickets ($20-28, HST not included), visit http: //framegirl.bpt.me.
The Girl in the Frame is a modern story of romance, and it is just in time for Intimate Theatre's tradition of its special Valentine's Day performance. The ladies in attendance on Feb. 14 will receive roses and champagne to complete the evening. The company aims to bring high creative standards and strong production values to small-cast musicals by combining some of Canada's finest professional musical theatre artists with new musical-theatre talent. Gotta love that. Costumes are by Chris Sinosich; glad to call her my friend, and I always love her costume designs.
Last week I did trek into Vancouver to see Arts Club Theatre Company's production of Boeing-Boeing. OMG, just loved it.
Vancouver native and Canadian superstar Nicola Lipman is simply fantastic and she poses the question, "Why should people come see this show?" And she has the perfect answer: "Because it's funny." Absolutely.
Boeing-Boeing runs until Feb. 24 at Stanley Alliance Industrial Stage. My theatre companion for Boeing-Boeing had just seen Arts Club's Ride the Cyclone, playing at the Granville Island Stage until Feb. 16. He loved it so much, he plans to see it again. Check out www.artsclub.com for ticket info and trailers for these shows. Super fun.
A little closer to home, New Westminster's Vagabond Players bring the BBC comedy series Fawlty Towers to life on stage at Bernie Legge Theatre, at Queens Park. Tickets are $15 or $13, with two-for-one previews on Feb. 28 and March 1 (call 604-521-0412 or email firstname.lastname@example.org).
In this show, Surrey actor William Valenzuela stars as Manuel, the hapless Spanish waiter - the show-stealing character audiences loved in the original TV series. Born in Burnaby, William became very interested in acting and dancing during his stay in Chile, his parents' home country. Since his return to Canada in 2001, he has taken various acting workshops and has performed in many short films and independent projects, including Duke and Zombie! The Musical, which he also wrote and produced. In 2009, he made his theatre debut in the Fight Like a Girl production of ART, by Yazmina Reza, followed by Almost an Evening, from writer/director Ethan Coen, at Whistler Blank Slate Theatre Festival in 2010. He also starred in the Surrey Little Theatre production of The Unusual Suspects in 2011. And now he is appearing in New Westminster.
On this side of the river, we have a more serious production. Peninsula Productions presents Agnes of God from Feb. 28 to March 9 at Coast Capital Playhouse, White Rock. In this compelling drama by John Pielmeier, faith, miracles, science and love are all put into question when a young nun, Sister Agnes, is accused of murdering her newborn baby.
Agnes of God is the follow-up for Peninsula Productions' highly successful comedy thriller The Mousetrap, staged last summer. The company's artistic director, Wendy Bollard, believes theatre-goers will be just as happy with this production.
"This is a beautifully written piece of theatre and the three actors - Laine Henderson, Becky Hachey and Nancy Ebert - are inspiring performers. I really think audiences are going to enjoy this show." Maybe even love it. Tickets for Agnes of God range from $18 to $23 (or $12 on preview night) via the theatre box office, 1532 Johnston Rd., White Rock; for details, call 604-536-7535 or visit www. peninsulaproductions.com.
So there it is. Share your love and passion for live theatre with someone you care about. My own performance and business schedule is just a little tight right now, so I may have to rely on that box of chocolates. And here is a thought, in a paraphrased Forrest Gump-ism: Live theatre is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you might get. Enjoy.
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