It was a treat to see “Bruce, The Musical” referred to by a Globe and Mail columnist recently: Rod Mickleburgh mentioned it while writing about local Vancouver politics. And it wasn’t even a direct comment about the show – instead he used the success of “Bruce” as a setup for a joke of his own about departing mayor Sam Sullivan:
Before becoming mayor, Sam said he was jealous of council colleagues who were regularly “thwacked” by the media, while he received mostly “saccharine” coverage.
“But sure enough, I got to feel [the thwacking] myself. And you know, I wear it as a badge of honour.”
So I’m sure the mayor won’t mind my disclosure that, following the success of the Bruce Eriksen musical, a similar production celebrating Mr. Sullivan’s early days in office is now in the works. Called, of course, Spamalot.
Late in the rehearsal schedule for “Bruce, The Musical”, we had a particularly long day of rehearsal – it started at 10 am, and was scheduled to continue until 10 at night. Although some of my fellow castmembers said this was not unheard of, it was longer than I’d experienced, so I thought I would keep a “mini-diary” and take pictures, to show just what a ten-hour rehearsal day is like. Now, weeks later, I’ve finally had a chance to put down, in words and images, just what that experience was like.
10 am: Arrive right on time at the Russian Hall. Dave, Mikal, Anna and Steve are milling about, but the door is still locked. So much for promptness!
10:05 am: Jay, our director, arrives along with Jason in his white pickup truck. The Russian Hall caretaker lets us in. Inside the hall, we get a first look at a bunch of the authentic bar furniture that will grace our set – including the bar itself. It’s certainly authentic-looking… and heavy.
Here’s a fun way to support local theatre – with some great memorabilia from “Bruce, The Musical”! Yes, the Bruce, The Musical Online Store is now open. There, you’ll find everything from “Bruce” mugs, to T-shirts and sweatshirts, to tote bags. And even trucker hats, just like Danny would wear!
“Bruce, The Musical” has come to the end of its 10-day run – and it’s been an amazing experience. I connected with some amazing people, got to have tons of fun on stage with contrasting and crowd-pleasing characters, and was part of something bigger than just another great show – it spoke to an entire community.
Here’s a roundup of the (generally positive) reviews and a couple of background articles that ran in local papers.
“It may sound corny, but you could feel community pride in the air… amazing singers… the jazz is hot and cool.”
“…the music by Bill Sample and Earle Peach is excellent, and ranges all the way from a lovely spiritual, “The Tipping Point”, to the Chinese-inflected “Gold Mountain”… there are times when you can’t help but be affected by Eriksen’s—and this musical’s—demand that the poor be treated with respect.”
“a very pleasant piece of pure propaganda… the singing of these simple tunes is so strong that the show sometimes soars. (It’s) a tribute to the hard-working people who are so often overlooked on what used to be disparagingly known as Skid Road. Taken with that grain of salt in mind, it’s actually quite a sweet experience.”
Bruce, The Musical is in the home stretch with only two more shows to go! This hybrid of political theatre and toe-tapping musical comedy/drama has been getting positive notices from the Courier,the Georgia Straight and the Sun – and we’ve been playing to packed houses every night! It’s been a total thrill and a lot of fun. This show is making a real connection with the community and I’m honoured to be a part of it!
For tickets, contact Theatre In the Raw at (604) 708-5448 or visit the Theatre in the Raw website where you can buy tickets via PayPal.
Want a taste of the music? Click below for a quick one-minute medley of songs from “Bruce”, as heard on our recent Co-op Radio appearance. If you have trouble with the link below, try this link. (The entire one-hour show can be heard here.)
Irish Musical Seeks Actors
My friend and fellow Applause! Musicals alumni Mary Clark has co-written a new musical, “Under the Hawthorn Tree” – and they’re looking for actors! They’re holding auditions on Wednesday, November 19th, at 7pm. This will be at First Lutheran Church, at East 42nd and Wales.
The show will run March 10 – 21 at the Havana Theatre. Auditions will consist of a cold read and singing songs from the show (which will be provided). Most roles have been cast but they are still looking for:
1 young woman (15 – 25)
1 boy (soprano, 10 -15)
1 young man (15 – 25)
1 woman (40 – 70, tall and/or slim)
1 man (40 – 70)