New Westminster performers are stepping into the spotlight in a pair of productions at this year’s Vancouver Fringe Festival.
The festival, which runs on a variety of Vancouver stages from Sept. 5 to 15, features more than 700 performances and draws more than 40,000 visitors.
For full information, schedules and tickets, see www.vancouverfringe.com.
Among this year’s shows are two with connections to New West:
TOMMY’S AMAZING JOURNEY
New West opera singer-turned-Fringe performer Kevin Armstrong is getting set to “rock the Fringe like it’s 1969” with his rendition of The Who’s classic rock opera, in honour of its 50th anniversary.
“Tommy recounts the story of a boy, locked out of his senses by a traumatic experience, who grows up to become an unlikely messiah,” as a show synopsis notes.
It features classic Who hits such as Pinball Wizard, Amazing Journey and See Me, Feel Me.
The catch? Armstrong stages the whole show alone – including foot-operated drums and a massive eight-string acoustic guitar to recreate the sound of an entire band, while singing every role himself.
Armstrong is no newcomer to the world of Fringe. He first took to the stage at the Edmonton Fringe in 2011 and found himself with a five-star hit on his hands with Opera for Heathens, an opera-rock cabaret. He followed that up at Toronto and Vancouver in subsequent years. Armstrong returned to Edmonton in 2012 with Opera as it Wasn’t Intended, which also earned praise from audiences and critics.
His Fringe career follows a 10-year career performing opera and musicals in German-speaking Europe, after completing his master’s degree in opera performance at McGill. He toured for a season with Night of the Musicals, Europe’s longest-running musical revue, singing his way into German audiences’ hearts and earning himself the nickname Der Kanadische Holzfäller (the Canadian Lumberjack).
He now lives in New West, where he performs regularly with Vancouver Opera and as an actor in film, TV and commercials – his TV credits include appearances on The Flash, Riverdale, Arrow and Lucifer.
Tommy’s Amazing Journey is on at the Revue Stage on Granville Island: Sept. 6 at 5 p.m., Sept. 8 at 7:15 p.m., Sept. 9 at 9:30 p.m., Sept. 11 at 8:30 p.m., Sept. 13 at 8:30 p.m. and Sept. 14 at 3:15 p.m.
Douglas College theatre alumni and New West actors are onstage in this one-act vaudeville show. It follows the lives of siblings Penny (Ashley Chodat) and Ezra Lamb (Christian Krushel), who have been home-schooled on a hippie colony their whole lives. They’ve been dying to visit the outside world, which has been described to them only as “Legoland.”
When the colony is busted for being the largest marijuana grow-op in Saskatchewan, they get their chance – but it’s not all quite as joyful and loving as they expected.
The play is by Jacob Richmond, and the production is directed by Sargil Tongol.
Legoland is onstage at the Vancity Culture Lab at the Cultch: Sept. 6 at 5:45 p.m., Sept. 7 at 3:15 p.m., Sept. 8 at 8:20 p.m., Sept. 12 at 7:30 p.m., Sept. 14 at 5:10 p.m. and Sept. 15 at 2:30 p.m.
Did we miss a New Westminster connection? The communications team at Vancouver Fringe helped us track down local connections, but there’s always a chance we’ve missed a New West actor, director, playwright or other artist. If you have another local connection to share, email Julie MacLellan, firstname.lastname@example.org.