Memories and meaning
|Chicago, 2012, photo from Fort McMurray Today|
As I looked through the list of the Top 10 box office hits over the 30 years of Keyano Theatre Company producing shows, memories started coming back, ripe with meaning.
|Beauty and the Beast, 2006, Photo by Photonagic|
At the top of the list is Beauty and the Beast from 2006. The audience it attracted was bigger than anything we had ever seen before or since. Over 5,200 people saw that show directed by Catalyst Theatre's Jonathan Christenson. It had a terrific ensemble, band, and production values that were stunning. There were also more than a few standout performers like Georg MacDonald, Murray Cullen, Lucas Meeuse, Branden Martin, Tim Cooper, Sarah Martin, and so many more.
|Annie, 2005, Photo by Photomagic|
|The Sound of Music, 2004, Photo by Photomagic|
|Jesus Christ Superstar, 2001, Photo by Russell Thomas|
|Wizard of Oz, 1992, Photo courtesy of Keyano Theatre Company|
I watched every performance of Jesus Christ Superstar; I couldn't stay away. The last supper scene remains as one of the most striking images in my Keyano Theatre memory bank. And I'll never forget the heart-shaking ending on opening night as the lights went down and the credits started to roll. The audience, emotionally wracked, not knowing what to do, sat still, a stunned tribute to the performance they had just witnessed.
Chicago has emblazoned a new set of memories on the almost 3,500 patrons that basked in its glow. I think that's exciting. I think it's important.
It fills me with absolute dread that this is an arts fundraising event that I have never been able to attend because it falls on the same weekend as an annual conference that I go to. I particularly wish I was here for this year's edition because it features the fabulous Ukrainian Shumka Dancers. I enjoyed both their performances in the Theatre almost 10 years ago, more than I can possibly articulate. The artistry, athleticism of the dancers, and fantastic costumes are a spectacle for the senses.
So, while I will be somewhere in San Francisco on that Saturday night, the least I can do is encourage everyone who believes in the value of arts and culture to attend, enjoy, and support all the memories created, and yet to be created, by Keyano Theatre and Arts Centre. You'll be so glad you did, and so will I.