Hey blog world! There are some great spots to view performing arts all around the world. New York, London and Toronto just to name a few. Newfoundland gets quite overlooked. We have a fabulous and thriving arts community!
We have some absolutely beautiful venues for viewing the arts. For small, intimate crowds we have spots like the Barbara Barrett theatre located in the basement of the Arts and Culture Center and the D.F Cooke recital hall at MUN. For larger groups of people we have places like the Holy Heart Theatre and the Arts and Culture Center (for fun try and count all the lights in the auditorium next time you go. I’ve tried but can never count exactly how many!) We even have a venue that will feed you! The Masonic Temple. Your mouth will water at just the thought of chef Shawn Halley’s food! The screech cake at the Masonic is to die for! Another thing I really like about the temple is that it’s full of history. There are lots of references to the Masons that still remain in the building like the All Seeing Eye. For a video tour click here.
Also we have a wide variety of performances for you to take in. Improv, musical theatre, even the circus! There’s something for everyone! If you’re a fan of musicals we almost always have one on the go. Everything from the silly (“Hairspray”, “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change”, “Avenue Q” and coming in February “Spamalot”) to the serious (“Fiddler On The Roof”, “Les Misérables”, “The Sound Of Music” and coming in March “Jesus Christ Superstar”). I’ve been to Broadway and have seen two musicals there and neither held a candle to the shows I’ve seen here at home! I’ve seen so many of our local productions! Way too many to count! My favorite one by far was “Les Misérables”. Also we always have something on the go so you’ll never be bored! At Christmas for example we have “Our Divas Do Christmas” which is a HUGE Christmas show put off every year by TaDa Events, Peter MacDonald Productions does “Scrooge” almost every year (tickets are on sale now. Click here for more info) and Spirit of Newfoundland starts their Christmas season in November with a seasonal show and delicious Christmas menu. This year they’re doing “Grinch Dressing & Gravy” (click here to see my review of that show). If you’re a parent or grandparent who wants to expose your youngster to our local arts we have plenty in store for them! We have an astounding local circus called Wonderbolt Circus. You and your child will laugh out loud at Cozmo the clown and watch in amazement the graceful aerial acrobatics of Anahareo Doelle. We also have musicals for kids. In the past Best Kind Productions brought us “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee”, “Freckleface Strawberry” and “Honk” and last year Theatre St. John’s did “Mary Poppins” (it was absolutely magical when Erin Winsor flew across the stage as Mary and Stephen Roberts walked on the walls and ceiling of the stage as Bert). We also have the Teddy Bear Picnic every year. An outdoor concert for kids, grownups and of course teddy bears hosted by Terry Rielley the teddy bear man. I’ve been attending the picnic for as long as I can remember and I always have a great time! You’re never too old for it. If you’re into comedy I highly reccommend taking in a performance by Stanley Braxton a local improv troupe. I’ve yet to do that myself (it’s on my bucket list) but I have seen them on YouTube and they are really funny! “Boris” is my favorite.
The actors and actresses here in Newfoundland are second to none! Calvin Powell and Shelley Neville are both beautiful opera singers. Calvin was absolutely astounding last year as Javert in “Les Misérables” and his performance of “Toreador” in the benefit concert for Les Mis “Do You Hear The People Sing” was great. Shelley takes my breath away when she sings! She has such a lovely voice. She’s a lovely person too. Very kind. I’m glad to know her. In the musical theatre scene two of my favorites are Jeremy Wells (Donkey in “Shrek”, Feuilly in “Les Misérables”) and Peter Halley (Thenardier in “Les Misérables”, Fagin in “Oliver”, Daddy Warbucks in “Annie”, countless roles in Spirit of NL shows ). Jeremy is a fantastic actor and singer. His performance of “She Loves Me” in “Do You Hear The People Sing” was absolutely hillarious! He did a marvellous job in Les Mis as well. If a theater company ever does “Book of Mormon” here in NL I think Jeremy would be a PERFECT Elder Price! With his voice I just know he would do a killer “I Believe“. Peter was by far the best Thenardier I’ve seen (and I’ve seen the movie and 10th anniversary concert DVD. He blew Alun Armstrong and Sacha Baron Cohen out of the water!) He amazes me in every role I’ve seen him play! I’d love to see him as Joseph in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”. His voice is perfectly suited for the role in my opinion. Both him and Jeremy are very versatile. They can play any role and do it amazingly! We have some great female actresses too. Erin Winsor (Mary Poppins in “Mary Poppins”, Eponine in “Les Misérables”, Miss Stacey “Anne of Green Gables”, various roles with Spirit of Newfoundland) and Kiersten Noel (Fantine in “Les Misérables”, Loggaine Schwartzy in “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee”) to name a few. To say the least both these ladies are practically perfect! They have impeccable acting skills and beautiful voices! Kiersten nearly made me cry when she played Fantine. She played the role with so much emotion. She did make me cry when she sang “All I Ask Of You” with Peter Halley last year in An Evening With Andrew Lloyd Webber. Erin is a very versatile performer as well. I’ve seen her in funny and serious roles and she’s done them both incredibly! Her most impressive was Mary Poppins. We even have some young stars! Nicolas Keough (Michael Banks in “Mary Poppins”, Queen of Hearts in “Alice in Wonderland”, Gavroche in “Les Misérables”) and Lauren Davis (young Eponine in “Les Misérables”) to name a few. They may be teens but these two are overflowing with talent! I’ve also gotten to know them (I went to summer camp with Lauren and Nicolas has voice lessons right after I do) and they’re both very nice people. I think of Lauren each time I hear “22” by Taylor Swift LOL (she sang it all the time at Newfoundland to Broadway)!
Speaking of Newfoundland to Broadway that is one of the musical theatre summer camps that are offered here in NL. Another one that we have is Camp Hollywood. At these camps your kids will play improv games, make their own sets and props, learn to act sing and dance and put off a show for their parents at the end of the week. I’ve been to both of these and they are a lot of fun! I highly reccommend them for your tiny thespians.
If you’re a CFA (Come From Away) or even a local looking for a night of performing arts come to Newfoundland! In my opinion we’re 10 times better than Broadway and the West End! Have you seen (or been in) any local productions? What did you think? Tell me in the comments!