News from Around the Barrio

There are a lot of great theatrical ventures going on across our country in the next few days! Here is a round-up.

michael hughes

First of all, Toronto’s own singing sensation Michael Hughes has been invited to join the David Foster and Friends Tour when it stops in Vancouver, British Columbia this November. Foster, a 15 time Grammy Award winner, whose PBS Great Performances Special, “David Foster and Friends” was the highest pledged PBS show in history, will perform with his friends some of the hits that have paved the way for many artists that he has worked with over the years. The concert features David Foster, Philip Bailey from The-Chart-Topping Earth, Wind and Fire, Oprah Protégé, Charice, Chicago’s Peter Cetera and American Idol’s Michael Johns and Ruben Studdard. David Foster and Friends hits the Vancouver General Motors Place on November 8th, 2009. 8pm. 800 Griffiths Way, Vancouver, British Columbia. For tickets please visit

stephen sondheim
Vancouver, it seems, is luring many American legends these days, as Stephen Sondheim, the world’s most beloved contemporary composer-lyricist, recounts stories and anecdotes from his decades in musical theatre in a conversation with Jerry Wasserman at the Vogue Theatre (918 Granville Street, Vancouver) tonight October 27th, 2009. This conversation will include fascinating glimpses into the inner workings of Broadway, as well as his legendary collaborations, inspirations, and rich theatrical and cinematic resume. This event begins at 7:30pm. Ticket prices are as follows: Orchestra: $65 + $1.50 Facility Fee + $5 Service Fee. Dress Circle: $55 + $1.50 Facility Fee + $5 Service Fee. Upper Balcony: $40 + $1.50 Facility Fee + $4 Service Fee. Order By Phone: 604.684.2787. Additional $3.50 per order for phone orders. How I wish I was in Vancouver tonight!

It’s almost Halloween! And thus, I have three events for you to check out if you happen to be in Edmonton and want something haunting to give you a spook. Firstly, Fringe Theatre Adventures presents The Bone House, the theatrical thriller by award-winning Edmonton writer Marty Chan, makes its highly anticipated return to the PCL Studio Theatre of the TransAlta Arts Barns (10330 – 84 Avenue) October 22 – November 7, 2009 for 21 terrifying presentations. Within the four walls of Marty Chan’s The Bone House, lecturer and self-proclaimed mind hunter Eugene Crowley tells the story of the notorious serial killer known only as the Midnight Cowboy. Throughout his lecture we are made to question the ‘celebrity’ of serial killers. We are reminded of the forgotten victims as well as the largely unknown captors. In this we begin to understand a little more about ourselves and in turn, the mind of a killer. How is it, as a society, we are more interested in the murderers and not our defenders? With the help of his assistant Jacob and a surviving witness of the killings, Eugene takes us into the mind of the Midnight Cowboy whose modus operandi is to commit his murders in front of an audience. Will the audience help Eugene to find the Midnight Cowboy or will they be a part of his next performance? Considered a brilliant 5-star scare-fest which earned top pick of the 2009 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Village Theatre’s The Bone House is directed by Courtenay Dobbie and stars Chris Fassbender, Kyle Horton and Tracey Power. Oct. 22 – Nov. 7, 2009 8 PM (excluding Sundays) 8 PM & 10 PM performances on Fridays & Saturdays. PCL Studio TransAlta Arts Barns 10330 – 84 Ave.Edmonton, AB. $19.95 Adults. $14.70 Students/Seniors [+ GST & $1 facility fee]. Pay What You Can (Monday) $10 Tuesdays.

Fringe Theatre Adventures Society also presents The 1st Annual Fringe Fright Night: A Cool Killing. October 31st. 10pm. TransAlta Arts Barns 10330 – 84 Ave. Edmonton, AB. Show your The Bone House ticket and get $5.00 off. This alternative Halloween event promises a bone-chilling experience, the likes of which only the Fringe can provide. Party-goers who dare to walk the hallway of horrors will find their way to a killer costume party complete with a DJ-driven monster mash, cadaverous cocktails and a ghoulish, but dandy, candy bar provided by Carol’s Quality Sweets. Five local emerging theatre directors will design and implement their own interactive horror-filled showcase in the dark and ominous hallways of the TransAlta Arts Barns. Fringe Fright Night will incorporate the talents of Edmonton’s young theatre professionals and local high school drama students, allowing them to take their creative and technical abilities to frightening heights. All proceeds of the event will go to support the Fringe and its efforts to present unique and thought-provoking theatre to Edmonton. Fringe Fright Night: A Cool Killing is presented by Fringe Theatre Adventures and TransAlta, Big Rock Brewery, The Edmonton Journal, Global Edmonton and Carol’s Quality Sweets.

susanna patchouli (mark meer)

And of course, what would Halloween in Edmonton be without the OH SUSANNA! HALLOWEEN SPECIAL. SATURDAY, OCTOBER 31st @ 7:30PM. VARSCONA THEATRE 10329-83 AVE. On Halloween night, Edmonton’s hilarious Euro-style variety spectacle salutes the spirit of Samhain, with All Hallows antics guided by international glamour-ghoul SUSANNA PATCHOULI and her co-ghost EROS, GOD OF LOVE. Spooky Songs! Creepy Cocktails! SKELETONS!!! Featuring the unholy talents of the Compania del Mambo, the sinister sounds of the Oh Susanna! Jug Band, and a bewitchingly bizarre array of special guests. *Audience members are encouraged to attend in costume for a chance to win frugal yet fabulous Halloween prizes! **Since this year’s show falls on All Hallows Eve itself, we’ve moved the performance to a special PRIME TIME of 7:30PM, so there’s still plenty of Halloween left after the curtain falls! Tickets are $10 (just $7 for Die-Nasty members/Teatro La Quindicina subscribers), and are only available at the box office, starting at 7PM.

tim meadows

In Toronto, The Comedy Bar is celebrating its first birthday with eight whole days of Special Events in Improv, Comedy and Sketch. It all begins Sunday November 1st, 2009 with Sunday Night Live with host Colin Mochrie. 9pm $8.00. Monday November 2nd, 2009 6pm-6pm is Pat Thornton’s 24 hour Stand-Up Set $5.00 (what!!??!?!). Tuesday November 3rd, 2009 8pm is the Standup Showdown $7.00 and 10pm is Sketch Wars. $5.00. Wednesday, November 4th is projectproject Cumbustion night! At 8pm come see crumbs for $10.00 and The Doppelganger Video Project at 9:30pm. $5.00. Thursday November 5th is DON’T YOU FORGET ABOUT PATRICK SWAYZE (improvised re-imaginings of three Patrick Swayze films). Ghost is at 8pm, Point Break is at 9:15pm and Dirty Dancing is at 10:30pm. $12.00. Friday, November 6th at 8pm is Catch 23 featuring Tim Meadows (Saturday Night Live 1991-2000) and friends and crumbs $8pm. 10:30 is Tim Meadows and friends with Mantown $25.00. Saturday November 7th is Tim Meadows and Friends with The Carnegie Hall Show (7pm) and Monkey Toast (9pm). $25.00 and the week ends with a smash with Sunday Night Live on the 8th with host Tim Meadows at 9pm. $8.00. You are NOT going to want to leave The Comedy Bar all week, my friends! Get advanced tickets here– they’re going to sell-out quick!

UNICEF has become as much synonymous with Halloween as tricks and treats, and therefore it seems fitting that Albert Schultz, General Director of the Young Centre for the Performing Arts, should announce that the Canwest Cabaret Festival, which takes place over the Hallowe’en weekend (Oct 29 – Nov 1), will support UNICEF Canada. 50% of all ticket sales of A Tribute to Danny Kaye, a cabaret performance starring Albert Schultz and Don Francks, will be donated to UNICEF. The Young Centre also invites festival audience members to make donations to the giant UNICEF box located in the Sandra Faire and Ivan Fecan Atrium. Albert Schultz, a long-time friend of UNICEF, and Canadian artist and activist Don Francks take their musical and charitable inspiration from the late and beloved entertainer. Schultz and Francks will be backed by an amazing trio of musicians: Colleen Allen, Steve Hunter, and Dave Young. “Kaye was the original UNICEF celebrity representative,” said Schultz. “And he was a Goodwill Ambassador from 1954 until his death in 1987. To coincide with our tribute to his work as an entertainer, we’re honoured to acknowledge Kaye’s generous spirit with this donation to UNICEF.” For 33 years, Kaye circled the globe on UNICEF’s behalf, making speeches, giving performances, acting as master of ceremonies for special events, and informing the public about the needs of children worldwide. “I believe deeply that children are more powerful than oil, more beautiful than rivers, more precious than any other natural resource a country can have. I feel that the most rewarding thing I have ever done in my life is to be associated with UNICEF.” – Danny Kaye.
A Tribute to Danny Kaye – Saturday, October 31, 2:00 p.m. and Sunday, November 1, 6:00 p.m. The second annual Canwest Cabaret Festival brings together over 150 of Canada’s most diverse and exciting artists under the same roof for more than 60 unique performances. Every corner of the Young Centre is teeming with activity all weekend long. The Canwest Cabaret Festival begins on Thursday, October 29, and runs until Sunday, November 1, at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts, located at 55 Mill Street, Building 49, in the Distillery Historic District. Ticket prices: Concerts $20. Buy 3 concerts and save 20%. Gala Opening Night $100 (includes exclusive pre-show reception and 3 concerts). Student Festival Pass $30 (access to all concerts 5 minutes before show time, subject to availability) ID required. Tickets are available by calling the Young Centre box office at 416.866.8666 or online at or

If you are in Halifax this Halloween, have I got a spooky fundraiser for you! LUNASEA THEATRE invites you to a fundraiser that you’ll never forget!! Experience the scariest movie of all time- The Exorcist— as it was meant to be seen and heard. Dare ya!! One night only!! Halloween at Midnight at The Oxford Theatre on Quinpool Road. $10.00. Plot Synopsis by Hal Erickson: Novelist William Peter Blatty based his best-seller on the last known Catholic-sanctioned exorcism in the United States. Blatty transformed the little boy in the 1949 incident into a little girl named Regan, played by 14-year-old Linda Blair. Suddenly prone to fits and bizarre behavior, Regan proves quite a handful for her actress-mother, Chris MacNeil (played by Ellen Burstyn, although Blatty reportedly based the character on his next-door neighbor Shirley MacLaine). When Regan gets completely out of hand, Chris calls in young priest Father Karras (Jason Miller), who becomes convinced that the girl is possessed by the Devil and that they must call in an exorcist: namely, Father Merrin (Max von Sydow). His foe proves to be no run-of-the-mill demon, and both the priest and the girl suffer numerous horrors during their struggles. The Exorcist received a theatrical rerelease in 2000, in a special edition that added 11 minutes of footage trimmed from the film’s original release and digitally enhanced Chris Newman’s Oscar-winning sound work.

On a more sombre note, on Sunday evening I joined about a thousand other people at the Christopher Skinner vigil marching down Church Street to Adelaide and Victoria (where Christopher was viciously attacked and run over with a black SUV on October 18th) with candles in hopes to light the way toward a world of equality, peace and love. “We Will hold our candles high, with eyes pointed towards the sky to let Chris know that he is not there alone.” If you have any information on this crime, please come forward and call police at 416-808-7410 or 416-808-7406.You can also call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477), online at, or text TOR and your message to CRIMES (274637). Thank you.

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