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The Playhouse announces lineup for its 2010-2011 Spotlight Series

by on June 23, 2010
(posted from www.canadaeast.com)

 

Thirty-four interesting acts from across the globe will make their way to The Playhouse stage as part of the venue’s 2010-2011 Spotlight Series.

The series, which includes shows involving performers from 10 Canadian provinces and territories, the United States, China, Russia, Ireland, and the African country Chad, is extremely diverse and features performances of original music, theatre, dance, comedy and magic.

Fans of live classical music will be excited to learn dramatic Canadian tenor Ben Heppner will bring his amazing vocal range to Fredericton in February.

They’ll also be happy to hear the schedule includes beloved folk troubadour Bruce Cockburn, roots-rock supergroup Blackie & The Rodeo Kings, Maritime music-makers Sons of Maxwell, side-splitting stand-up comedians Glen Foster and John Sheehan, contemporary dance troupe Compagnie Marie Chouinard, magician Mike Super, a special Broadway performance of the 2005 Tony Award-winning Monty Python’s Spamalot, and many more cultural experiences.

Executive director Tim Yerxa said it’s always exciting to share the Spotlight Series schedule with the community.

“This is the flagship program of the Fredericton Playhouse. It’s professional touring groups from across Canada and around the world,” he said.

“There’s a little (something) for everyone here, whether it’s children shows for you to bring your little ones to, or big-name artists like Ben Heppner.”

With the launch of the 2010-11 schedule comes the launch of this year’s Spotlight Membership program, which allows regular Playhouse patrons to purchase a membership that provides access to early-bird tickets and special pricing.

He said the program, which is only in its second year, has been well-received by longtime patrons.

“We had over 17,000 people come to Spotlight Series performances last year,” he said.

“The series this year is similar in size and scope. It’s a very diverse program and like I said (before), there’s something there for every taste.”

And what show is Yerxa, who scours the globe for these exciting acts, most excited about?

“The show called Norman, which is done by 4D Art and which is a tribute to the great Canadian filmmaker and animator Norman McLaren,” he said.

“It’s one of the most technically demanding pieces that I’ve ever seen, so I’m really looking forward to presenting that to a Fredericton audience. It’s going to be a real special treat.”

Lots of family events have been included in the program, such as Imago Theatre’s ZooZoo – a wild performance comprised of elements of vaudeville, the circus, and a trip to the zoo, complete with people bringing to life on stage a medley of polar bears, anteaters, rabbits, frogs and more.

More family fun will hit the stage as the DuffleBag Theatre’s performance of Cinderella and the Theatre de l’Oeil’s presentation of Holy Cow arrive in town – with both shows being recommended for those aged five years and up.

A new component to the Spotlight Series is the Onstage series, which will feature intimate performances by artists with audience members strategically seated just metres away from the acts on the stage throughout the performance.

Coun. Bruce Grandy said the city recognizes the importance and the value of these cultural opportunities at The Playhouse, despite the busy construction projects happening nearby.

“As we look at the construction that surrounds us with our new convention centre and office complex, it certainly is a testament to the programs that Tim has provided to us,” he said.

“It’s hard to find parking right now and hard to get here, but still we see a great number of people attending events here.”

Grandy said he believes the new facility will be able to form an important and mutually beneficial relationship with the city’s East Coast Music Award-winning venue.

“As we look next door and we build this convention centre, one of the keys about that is that you’ll see a connecting avenue between The Playhouse and the convention centre,” he said.

“We’re so proud to be investing next door, but it also provides Tim the ability to expand his programs, to offer more.”

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