Best Spirit Moments: On Stage


Hey, blog world! For those of you who don’t know, my favorite place in the world (Spirit of Newfoundland) turns 20 this year!!! Yay!!! I have been a fan of theirs since I was 10 years old. To date, I have been to 33 of their shows and have loved every minute of each one! I loved some so much that I’ve seen them multiple times (I’ve seen “Duet Yourself” and “Where Once They Stood” twice and “ABBA: Gotta Get The Scoop” 4 times!) A few nights ago, I saw their newest show, “The Young and the Rest Of Us” and in it, they showcased their favorite moments from past shows! I thought I would do the same! Here are some of my favorite moments from shows done by Spirit of Newfoundland!

  • Victoria Badcock (whom I heard passed away last year. R.I.P sweet lady) made a special guest appearance in Spirit’s 100th-anniversary celebration of Bowering Park in 2014. She was there on that day 100 years ago when the park opened. Hearing her stories of the events of that day was incredible!
  • In 2014, they remounted “Grinch Dressing & Gravy” for the Christmas season. It was a Newfoundland… or rather “Whofoundland” adaptation of the classic Dr. Seuss story. At the end of the show, there’s quite the plot twist! It’s revealed to the Grinch that all thanks to the night he spent in the back of a Jetta in the Whovelon Mall parking lot with Martha-May Who, he is Cindy-Lou Who’s father. This happens post heart growth, so of course, the news makes him very happy! He gives her a big hug. It’s so sweet!
  • The year before that, they performed “Christmas Around The World”. Michael Power delivered the most beautiful monologue! “Christmas Memories From Around The Bay”. He was Poppy John who was spending Christmas in St. John’s with his family. He doesn’t feel quite at home. There’s so much chaos going on Christmas morning with beeping, buzzing, his grandkids tearing open their presents, etc. Then… the power goes out. Poppy John becomes the center of attention as he recounts stories from his Christmases past.
  • In the summer of 2014, they performed “Beatles: Back In The N.F.L.D” and one of the segments of the show was called “Beatles: Through The Ages”. The best part of that was when they rapped “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer”! It sounded awesome!
  • Whenever Michael Power plays a skeet, he always has a smoke. I don’t know how he does it, but he blows smoke rings! It astounds me every time! It’s the coolest thing!
  • In “Sinatra On The Rocks” last summer, Evan Smith absolutely blew my mind when he played piano backward! He sat on top of the back of the piano, leaned over and played the keys! I couldn’t believe it!
  • I got to perform on stage with Spirit of Newfoundland on various occasions. Peter Halley and I performed “Think Of Me” from “Phantom of the Opera” at the Mother’s Day brunch in 2014. Both of us forgot the words, but we did our best! I also got to perform “The Mummer’s Song” with Janet Cull at the Christmas luncheon in 2013, which was a ton of fun. In 2015, I got to perform “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” on stage at the Christmas luncheon with Shelley and Peter and share with the audience why that song means so much to me. Each time I got to go on stage, it was the absolute most incredible feeling! Getting to perform with my wonderful friends and musical idols was a dream come true for me!
  • Boomer Stamp is Spirit of Newfoundland’s drummer, and was also formerly the drummer for the Wonderful Grand Band. Not only this, but he is also a comic genius! He writes a lot of parodies that are used in Spirit of Newfoundland shows! There is no video evidence of this on YouTube, though I wish there was, but one of his best in my opinion was his parody of “Galway Bay”

Maybe one day I’ll go back again to Ireland, if me dear old wife would only pass away. Sure she’s got me heart broke with her bloody naggin’! She’s got a mouth the size of Galway Bay!

  • In 2014, Spirit of Newfoundland performed in my neck of the woods! They performed their show “Skeets, Snobs & Peppermint Nobs” at the Legion as part of the Kelligrews Soiree. In that show, Erin Winsor sang a “proper English” version of our Newfoundland classic “I’se Da B’y!” This is the original

I’se da b’y dat builds da boat and I’se da b’y dat sails ‘er. I’se da b’y dat catches da fish and brings ’em home to Lizer

And this is Erin’s version

I am the boy who constructed the vessel. I am the boy who navigated it. I am the boy who apprehended the species and transported them home to Elizabeth.

She sang it in an operatic way and my jaw nearly hit the floor! It was absolutely breathtaking!

  • In 2011, I went with my parents to see “ABBA: Gotta Get The Scoop”. Peter told the audience that his favorite ABBA song is one that is sung by the girls, but is from the perspective of two men. He asked the audience if they knew what song it was (click here to find out). I assumed that question answering protocol at a fancy dinner theater show such as this was the same as at school, so I raised my hand to answer the question. Peter was astounded by this! He said he felt like he was back in his classroom! He thought I was very polite for raising my hand. Later in the show, he asked another question to the audience, does anyone have a favorite ABBA song that hasn’t yet been sung. Again, I raised my hand to answer. He was talking to a group of ladies when he saw my hand in the air. He told them that their answer is void now because they were not as polite as I was and didn’t raise their hands! This by far is my most favorite onstage moment at Spirit, because it led to me getting to meet Peter after the show. We very quickly became best friends!
  • “Funerals Are For Dating” is my favorite scene from the show “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change”. The scene is set in a funeral home and the characters in this scene are Margaret, an elderly woman who has accompanied her friend to a wake, and Barry who has arrived early for the 4:30 wake he was to be attending. They cross paths and begin talking to each other and eventually Barry starts hitting on Margaret! This scene, and the accompanying song “I Can Live With That” make me laugh a lot and make my heart feel happy, especially the last line of the song when they say to each other

No matter, I can live with you

Seniors in love is the sweetest thing!

  • Near the end of “Where Once They Stood”, the cast (Kara Noftle, John Williams, Keith Power, Sheila Williams, Shelley Neville and Peter Halley) sing “Willie McBride”. It’s hauntingly beautiful! Especially when they harmonize on the chorus. I got chills both times I heard them perform it.
  • In 2015, they did a show called “Women Doin’ Men”. Please retrieve your minds from the gutter, because the title does not mean what you think it does! Anyway, Kelly-Ann Evans was one of the stars of the show and she is an absolutely phenomenal performer! She did a tribute to Freddy Mercury and not only looked absolutely smot in her outfit, but she brought the house down with her killer performance of “Somebody To Love”! To use one of her words, I thought that part of the show was amaze-balls!
  • Of course, this list wouldn’t be complete without the Spirit of Newfoundland song! That’s my favorite part of any night out at Spirit! It’s such a beautiful song that makes my heart feel warm and fuzzy inside.

There you have it! My favorite onstage moments from Spirit of Newfoundland shows! Come back tomorrow to see my favorite memories away from the stage!

Leah

 

The Young and the Rest Of Us


Hey blog world! 20 years ago, a journalist and a teacher/piano player gave an incredible gift to this province. That gift was Spirit of Newfoundland, a dinner theater company. For two decades they have been making Newfoundlanders laugh, sing and feel proud of their heritage. Last night, they celebrated this milestone anniversary with a brand new dinner and show called “The Young and the Rest Of Us” (name credit goes to Penny Scott who won Spirit’s “Name Our Show” contest. Congratulations Penny!) It was one of the most spectacular shows I’d ever seen!

I was very, very lucky yesterday! I got to spend all afternoon and evening at Spirit of Newfoundland! I worked yesterday afternoon! I absolutely love my job there! I polished the silverware, refilled the sugar dishes, folded the napkins and set the tables. I was flat out busy, but I enjoyed myself. I always have fun at work!

After my shift, I sat in the bar as I waited for my friend who was coming to the show with me to arrive. Little did I know, I was soon going to make a new one! Colleen, one of my co-workers, brought an older lady into the bar and the two of them started dancing together to the music that was playing on the radio. I love dancing so I of course joined in! We had lots of fun! After a couple of songs, Colleen had to get back to work, so I sat down with her friend and we talked to each other. I found out that her name was Mary and that we have a lot in common! We both have special dolls (she has a baby doll and I have a stuffed dragon) and love coloring and country music! We talked for a few hours and those few hours were some of the best of my life. She is such a joy to be around! She told Colleen that I was her new best friend! My heart overflowed! I’ll never forget you Mary and I sincerely hope we’ll get to see each other again someday soon! God bless you!

Later on, my friend Laura showed up. I don’t get to see her very often because we both have such busy schedules. It was wonderful to get to see her tonight! Not long after she arrived, the doors to the grand room (the dining and stage area) opened up. We sat down at our table and tucked into the breadbasket. Spirit of Newfoundland makes their own sourdough and it is absolutely delicious! The homemade, whipped butter is really yummy too! There were three different kinds on our table and Laura’s favorite was made with blueberry and allspice. I myself preferred the one made with honey.

The appetizer tonight was a spinach salad with julienne red pepper, beets, crispy won-tons and smoked cheddar with a lemon vinaigrette. The lemon vinaigrette was a tad bit sour, but other than that, the salad was really nice! All the different flavors worked really well together. 8/10!

For the main course tonight, Laura and I both had chicken stuffed with onions. That was paired with broccoli, carrots and mashed potato. Chef Alex, I don’t know what you do to the mashed potato, but please show me! Oh my firetrucking God is it ever delicious! So light and fluffy and yummy! The stuffed chicken was delicious as well! So tender, juicy and flavorful. The onion stuffing inside was superb! It was a big piece of chicken and I couldn’t finish it, but I loved every bite that I was able to eat! 10/10!

Not long after the meal, the show began! Tonight’s cast was Peter Halley, Darrin Martin, Sheila Williams and Shelley Neville. The show started with videos of anniversary greetings from lots of people. Alan Doyle, Petrina Bromely, the Ennis Sisters, even her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, who actually was Shelley. I don’t know how they did it, but they had Shelley’s mouth on a picture of the queen. That was cool and also very funny!

They talked about their first three shows and did a short little skit and song from each. Their very first one in 1997 was “Hard Tickets In High Society”, which by the way is being brought back! In honor of their 20th anniversary, Spirit is remounting this show near the end of August! For more info on that click here, or call 579-3023. When Peter, A.K.A Fonz Cheeseman sang “Woman Of The Island”, it sounded beautiful! So much so that I almost cried!

Then, they went on to talk about their next show, “Wedding at Octagon Castle”. In that little skit, Sheila was playing a bride and as she waited for her husband to arrive, her and her aunt (played by Shelley) started talking about some of her former beau’s. One of whom was named Earl! They then proceeded to sing the Buddy Wasisname and the Other Fellers classic “Chainsaw Earl”! Spirit of NL’s version of “Chainsaw Earl” is now my new favorite cover of the song! I loved the three part harmony Sheila, Shelley and Peter went into on the line “Stunned was Earl!” Click here to see a video from 1998 of this song being performed!

Thirdly, they talked about “Paddy McGinty’s Wake”, inspired by this song. Peter played Paddy’s adopted son and told a story of how his father and his best friend made a promise to each other. They had bought a bottle of rum and made a promise to each other that whomever died first would get the bottle poured over his grave by the other. It was Paddy’s friend who passed away first and as promised Paddy went to the grave with the booze and told his friend “I’m here and I’ve got the rum so you can have a little nip. I just hope you don’t mind if I passes it through me kidneys first!”

It was a real treat to see Darrin back on the stage at Spirit of NL! Correct me if I’m wrong on this, but I believe it’s been 4 years since he last graced the Masonic’s stage! Last time I saw him at Spirit was in “Go Duet Yourself” in 2014. His voice is unbelievable! Last night, Peter held open auditions for “Diamonds In The Rough”, their Neil Diamond tribute show and Darrin showed up and sang “The Long and Winding Road”. My mind was blown! It was jaw dropping, beautiful and all around mesmerizing! I stood up when he was finished and gave him a well deserved standing ovation! My jaw hit the floor once again when Darrin and Peter sang “O Sole Mio”. Those two are spectacular singing on their own, but put them together and it’s absolutely stunning!

Darrin was a cast member of the very first ever Spirit of Newfoundland show that I saw, “Viva Lost Elvis” at the Majestic Theatre in 2007 when I was 10 years old. It was really nice to hear a few songs from that show last night. When the whole cast came together for “An American Trilogy it was captivating.

My favorite show that Spirit has done was “ABBA: Gotta Get The Scoop“! It’s the favorite of many people, 6 years later and the show is still running! In fact, it’s playing tonight! I saw it during it’s original run in 2011, and then again in 2014 and twice more last year! It’s one show I’ll never tire of seeing! It’s so much fun! Last night, they sang “Mamma Mia” and my heart overflowed with happiness! So much so that I almost cried a few happy tears!

The ABBA show holds a very special place in my heart. The night I first saw the show (April Fools Day 2011), Peter asked the audience a question, which song by ABBA is from the perspective of two men, but yet is sung by the girls? (click here to reveal the answer). I raised my hand to answer the question and Peter was astounded! He said he felt like he was back in his classroom! I got to meet him after the show and he recognized me as “The girl in the back who was raising her hand”! We talked to each other about the show and other things. I really liked him, he was a very nice person. I could tell that he liked me too. We kept in touch and very quickly became best friends!

Another performance that made my heart overflow with happiness was when Anne Murray (Sheila) came out onstage! I heard the beginning piano riff of “Daydream Believer” and a smile about a mile wide came on my face! That is one of my all time favorite songs! It makes me feel so happy! Sheila does a fantastic job of singing it! She sounds so much like Anne!

When it came time for the intermission, there was of course screech cake! I love it and Laura did too! It’s to die for! One of the best cakes that you will ever eat! The Screech caramel sauce paired with it perfectly balances out the strength of the flavor of the screech in the cake with the right amount of sweetness. Yum yum!

In act 2, they did a special “In Memorial” segment. In remembrance of Sheila’s mother Rosemary, they played a radio interview Rosemary did with Paul Raynes talking about her favorite Spirit of NL show. She said that it was “Nunsense”. I have never seen that one. I am disappointed that I missed out when they remounted it a few years ago. After the audio clip of the interview, Shelley and Sheila sang “Just A Couple Of Sisters”. I have heard that song many times and every time I hear it, I can’t breathe because I’m laughing so hard!

Peter’s mother Margaret (Frenchy) was next. Her favorite show was “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change”! It’s one of my favorites as well! Her favorite scene from the show was “The Family That Drives Together”. Not only is that scene really funny, but it’s also really cool! During the song they actually are driving! The “car” is made up of four steno chairs!

Next, we heard an audio clip of Shelley talking to her dad John and asking if he remembered what her favorite Spirit of Newfoundland show was. He said she loved the Patsy Cline show. Reprising her role as Patsy, Shelley came out dressed like Patsy Cline and sang “Walkin’ After Midnight”. She sounded wonderful! I can’t remember the name of the song that was sung next, but Sheila came out also dressed as Patsy Cline and they had a sing-off to see which was the better Patsy. I think they were both excellent! They sounded so lovely when they sang together!

After that, Peter and Darrin came out onstage and sang the theme song from “The Beverly Hillbillies” by Flatt and Scruggs. Every now and then they would stop singing and point the mic at us so we could finish the line. That was fun! After we sang, the band played an instrumental version of the song. Sandy Morris, the guitar player absolutely blew my mind!

Another duo paid tribute to in the show last night was Kenny and Dolly! I love it when Peter and Shelley perform as them! Peter wears a stocking over his face and looks so silly! Then, when he starts to sing I’m amazed by how incredible he sounds and by the fact that he is singing with a stocking over his face! That does not seem easy to do!

Sheila Williams looks smot (one of my favorite Newfoundland terms, smot is the words “Some” and “Hot” smushed together into one word) as Tina Turner! She brought the house down with her killer performance of “Proud Mary”! It was one of my favorite performances in the show!

They ended the show in the same way that they end each performance of “Sinatra On The Rock“, by singing “My Way”. It was so powerful and emotional! What a way to end the show!

At the end of the show, as the band played “Time Of My Life”, on the projector screen in front of the stage there was a slideshow of pictures from the past 20 years. This was one of them!

Beatles Back in the N.F.L.D 013

I was so touched by this! Peter, Darrin and everyone else at Spirit are all so special to me, it was so heartwarming to see that picture in the slideshow and know that I mean as much to them as they do to me!

To all cast, crew and staff of Spirit of Newfoundland, I’d like to thank you all for your help each night, for bringing laughter, smiles and friendship and making everything alright. You have made such a huge impact on my life and for that I am forever grateful! Here’s to another 20 years! Long may your big jib draw!

Leah

Back to Work 2017


Hey, blog world! Today was an awesome day! I got to go back to work!!!! For those of you who don’t know, I am a seasonal jack of all trades at Spirit of Newfoundland. By that I mean I work there during the summer and do pretty much everything! It’s the best job in the world and I miss it and my co-workers very much during the school year.

Last night I couldn’t sleep at all because I was so excited! I wanted the sun to hurry up and rise so I could wake up and start getting ready for work! When it eventually did, I was thrilled! As 12:30 (my start time) grew closer and closer I got more and more excited! In the car on the way to work, I nearly burst I was so giddy! Even more so when I arrived at the Masonic Temple! The smile on my face was about a mile wide!

I entered the building and went to the bar to sit for a while until my shift started (I arrived a half hour early.) There I met Julia, one of the newest members of the Spirit family. I introduced myself to her and we talked for a bit while I waited for my shift to start. She’s a lovely person. I look forward to working with her this summer!

Some familiar faces were in the bar as well! It was so nice to see Colleen, Kara, Peter and Paul again! They are such kind, compassionate, funny, all around wonderful people.

At 12:30 my shift began. I started by folding napkins and putting them in the mugs, one of my favorite tasks to do at work. Once that was done, I moved on to polishing the silverware, then I refilled all the sugar dishes and replaced all the tealight candles. As you can see, I had a busy afternoon! I’m always flat out when I work at Spirit and I absolutely love it!

After a short juice box break, I did some administrative things in the boardroom for Paul, then I headed upstairs to offer a helping hand to whoever was setting up the dining room. Today it was Liam! He’s a great guy and a pleasure to work with, heck, everyone at Spirit is! I couldn’t ask for any better co-workers or bosses!

Liam and I went around the dining room setting each table. It’s been a long time since I last did that, but I remembered where mostly everything went! The things I forgot, Liam helped me with. Yay teamwork!

Before I knew it, it was 4:30. My shift was over for the day. Time flies when you’re having fun! I had such a wonderful first day and can’t wait to come back on Thursday and then again next Tuesday and every workday after that!

Leah

Donuts and Dragons


Hey blog world! I love board games! They are one of my favorite things to do with my friends. In fact, I have a game night at my house once a week! My top 3 favorite games are Ticket To Ride, Exploding Kittens and Party Encore. About a month ago, mom and I were on our way to Costco and along the way, I noticed a new building with a picture of a dragon on its sign. I leaned a little closer to the window for a better look and saw that this building was called “Donuts & Dragons Board Game Café”. I got really excited! A new board game café and it’s a little bit closer to my house than Mochanopoly, the other one downtown! I couldn’t wait to try it!

Yesterday was the big day! I had nothing on the go, so I thought I’d kick off my summer break by having a game day with some friends! I invited my board game buddy Kristen who loves board games as much as I do and comes to my weekly game nights, and my friend Erin who I love hanging out with but don’t get to see very often.

We got there and one of the first things I noticed was balloons!!!!! They were everywhere! I felt really uneasy and anxious. I’m a globophobe, which means I am absolutely petrified of balloons! I made sure to pick a table that didn’t have any nearby!

Another thing I noticed when I came in was how friendly the staff are! Literally seconds after we walked in the door, an employee greeted us with a big smile on his face! He welcomed us to the café, asked if we were here before and when we said no, he gave us a rundown of how everything worked. I loved everything about that encounter.

We paid for our games as soon as we came in. The prices were very reasonable. $2.50 for the first hour of gaming and if you stay any longer than that, it’ll cost you only $6.00! $6.00 to sit down for however long you like and play board games I think is a great deal! It should also be noted that mini meeples, children 8 and under play for free! That’s awesome!

Yesterday was a beautiful and hot day! Summer actually came to Newfoundland this year! Yay! Because it’s hot out, Erin, Kristen and me each decided to try a milkshake. Erin and I had a creamsicle shake and Kristen had french vanilla. I thought the shake was delicious! It tasted just like a creamsicle! It was very smooth, not too sweet and had lots of yummy whipped cream on top. 10/10.

We walked over to the board game shelf, and along came that same employee that greeted us to explain how their color coding system on the game boxes works. Did I mention how prompt, friendly and awesome the staff are?! He explained what all the different color stickers meant and when Kristen had a few questions about the Sushi Go expansion pack she’d found, he answered them for her.

I looked at the shelf and to be honest was a little disappointed. There were not many games I recognized. Only a handful. For a listing of their games, click here. However, we did manage to find two games that we know and love and one that I had been dying to try since I heard that the café had a copy!

That game was “Snake Oil”. You know how in some movies/tv shows/musicals  there are sleazy people trying to con folks into buying some sort of miracle elixir that they claim will do amazing things for you, but really nothing will happen, like Pirelli from “Sweeney Todd” for example? That’s basically the premise of this game! We are salespeople trying to sell our customers outlandish things! In each round, one player is the customer and the rest are salespeople. The customer picks a customer card and the salespeople pick 6 word cards. The sellers have to pick two word cards out of their hand and combine them to make a product to sell the customer.

For example, in one round Erin, the customer, was a zombie and I was a salesperson. Using two of my word cards, I created the Cliff Stool (TM)! Zombies, they come in all shapes and sizes right? Some may be a little bit shorter than others! For those particular zombies it may be hard to reach humans who are in high places, like cliffs for example! That’s where the Cliff Stool comes in handy! Small enough to fit into your pants pocket, pull out the Cliff Stool, set it on the ground, step on and it automatically lifts you up to the top of the cliff so you can chase after that delicious human brain that you were once too short to reach!

After the salespeople are finished pitching their products, the customer has to pick which product they liked best. The salesperson who pitched that product gets to keep the customer card! The Cliff Stool (TM) was the chosen purchase of Erin the zombie so I won that round! In the end, it was Erin who won with 4 customer cards. Kristen got 3 and I had 2. Even though I lost I still had an absolute blast playing! All three of us did! “Snake Oil” is such a funny game! Once I save up a bit of money I’m going to buy it on Amazon!

The next game we played was one of me and Kristen’s favorite games to play together, “Sushi Go”! This is one of our go to games at our weekly game nights. It’s simple, quick and lots of fun! Erin had only played the game once before at my Birthday party and wasn’t as familiar with it as we were. She couldn’t remember exactly how to play so we explained it to her again and she caught on pretty quick! She managed to come in second place! I was happy for her.

Playing “Sushi Go” made me hungry, so I went up to the counter to see what they had to offer in terms of snacks. I saw a very enticing cupcake in the display case called (and read this in your best Gollum voice) “My Precious”! It was a chocolate cupcake with cream cheese frosting topped with a mini donut! I had very high hopes for this. I took a bite and was sadly not impressed. The cupcake and donut but tasted kind of bitter. I didn’t really like that, the cream cheese icing was really good though! 4/10.

Our last game of the day was Exploding Kittens! Another favorite of Kristen and I on our game nights. Erin really likes it too! It is a very cutthroat game. There are no friends in Exploding Kittens! Kristen kept screwing me over and trying to blow me up! Little shagger!

As we played this game, Erin noticed something interesting on the TV screen nearby us. “That game they’re playing looks interesting!” she said. I turned my head and on the screen were the guys from the YouTube channel Dice Tower playing “Concept”. I thought it was really cool that as we played games we could watch them play too! Dice Tower is one of my favorite channels to watch on YouTube. I love their top 10 list and board game reviews.

Once I blew up and ended our game of “Exploding Kittens” it was time to go. I thanked both my friends for coming out today and said that I had a lot of fun and they were both great players of all three of our games! I didn’t care that I didn’t win at all today, I had a ton of fun and that’s what mattered most to me.

The service is awesome, as are the milkshakes and the fact you can watch Dice Tower on a big screen TV, but the food was rather disappointing and there weren’t enough games I recognised. I give Donuts and Dragons a 5/10. It was nice to go yesterday and try it out, but once was enough for me.

Have you been to Donuts and Dragons yet? What did you think? Tell me in the comments.

Leah