A brand new stage and the premieres of two Canadian musicals are some of the highlights of the Arts Club’s programming for its 52nd season, which artistic managing director Bill Millerd describes as historic for the theatre company.
The purpose-built West First Stage in the Olympic Village, which will open in mid-November, will host productions including the Canadian premiere of Onegin, a musical by Veda Hille and Amiel Gladstone.
“While still maintaining our roots at the Stanley and Granville Island stages, this exciting new addition will help us to expand our production of new works and allow our artists and playwrights to experiment with different seating configurations and original staging,” Millerd said in a news release.
Also on the bill for the Arts Club’s new season is a premiere of Spirit of the West singer John Mann’s musical The Waiting Room.
The collaboration between Mann and Canadian playwright Morris Panych draws on the musician’s experience coping with cancer from 2009 to 2011. The production will debut at the Granville Island Stage from October 1 to October 31.
"These are works that we commissioned, that we've been working with them for a number of years," Millerd told the Straight in an interview after announcing the Arts Club's lineup in the Olympic Village today (March 16). "To see them both in the same season, to me, is what we're really about."
The theatre company’s lineup includes more than 10 other productions, including: Billy Elliot; A Christmas Story, The Musical; Pride and Prejudice; It’s a Wonderful Life; and Rock of Ages, the musical tribute to the ‘80s.
The season will also feature: the Canadian premiere of Pulitzer Prize-winning play Disgraced; the comedy Good People; Boom, a mixed media work from solo performer Rick Miller that incorporates historical videos and photos and impersonations of more than 100 historic figures; Peter and the Starcatcher, a “Peter Pan prequel”; and 4000 Miles, a story by Amy Herzog about a 91-year-old New Yorker and her 21-year-old grandson, Leo, who turns up after cycling across the country.
Millerd noted the West First Stage, which will replace the Revue Stage, will also be rented out to arts groups. The theatre has four seating configurations, which can be changed in four hours by two people.
“As far as I know it’s one of the only new theatre spaces to open in Vancouver itself since who knows when,” Millerd said. “The fact that this is new…is very exciting.”
More information about the Arts Club's 2015-2016 season lineup is available at www.artsclub.com.