The allure of Chicago and Shumka


The online portal of Keyano Box Office is going to be hopping tomorrow morning as tickets for two major shows go on sale: Chicago and Shumka at 50.


Chicago, sponsored by TELUS, is a no-brainer, a scintillating musical that has been part of our culture for decades, but taken to a whole new level of popularity when the Weinstein brothers produced a full-length feature film version in 2002.


I asked Artistic Director Claude Giroux to send over some talking points a few days ago while he was waiting for baby Madeleine to arrive.  I love his description of the Keyano Theatre Company production that opens in February.

"Chicago is naughty, it's sexy, it's dangerous, it's anxious, it's got a lot of swagger, it's forbidden.  In a word, it's everything we were always told we shouldn't do delivered in a potent musical cocktail of humour and mayhem.  The polite thing would be to look away or ignore it, but like a giant train wreck, it's way too compelling to ignore!"

In a community where size really does matter, shows don't get any bigger than Chicago!  Featuring a gargantuan two-level set with two ladders, four movable staircases, multiple pieces of flying scenery and over 300 costumes, this production screams SPECTACLE; it defines SPECTACULAR!

You can read between the words on Facebook that the cast members of this production - 26 souls strong - are boiling over with anticipation about the start of rehearsals.  They absolutely live for this stuff and can't wait to turn on the heat on this fantastic story.

A word to the wise:  BIG MUSICALS SELL OUT IN FORT MCMURRAY, and they sell out quickly.  TIckets are available tomorrow; there may not be any left come February.  Enough said.


The other marquee illuminating show coming in 2012 is Shumka at 50!  The feature attraction of the annual CBS Construction Curtain Raiser in support of Keyano Theatre Company on March 10th, Canada's Ukrainian Shumka Dancers have only performed here once before, almost 10 years ago.  It sold out then when our population was a pittance of what it is today.  It is going to sell out again.

I was there 10 years ago when Shumka lit up the Keyano Theatre stage with colour and movement.  Coming from a very Ukrainian-influenced part of Saskatchewan, I felt right at home and completely swept away by the performance.  Designated as the resident company of the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, Shumka is Edmonton-based and world renowned.

Edmonton Journal veteran dance writer Pamela Anthony wrote that "Shumka has turned the idea of folk dance into a living, breathing art form and emerged as one of the most contemporary dance companies around."

You'll have two shows to choose from when you go to buy tickets for Shumka at 50!  They are doing an afternoon family matinee and a formal evening performance that will be preceded by a wine tasting event. This is a major fundraiser for Keyano Theatre Company and a night that promises to be the best bang for your charitable dollar in town.

Thanks to the wonders of technology, you no longer need to stand in a line-up at the Box Office, or struggle to get through on phone lines that used to crash on days like this, though you are welcome to use  either of these two methods if that is your comfort zone.  Now, all you need to do is go online here, scroll down to your show, pick your seats, pay using your credit card, and print out your tickets.  I personally like the simplicity and infinite convenience of the latter method.

Want to be the ultimate Santa this Christmas?  Delight your loved ones by sticking tickets to Chicago and Shumka at 50! in their stockings.

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