By John Swartz
Mariposa Arts Theatre is celebrating their 50th Anniversary. The company started in 1970. Some of you may have immediately noticed the math doesn’t work. I’m a little concerned about those of you who didn’t.
Like many groups force-delayed by the pandemic, major celebrations had to be postponed. Trying to sort out what to do from 50 years of playmaking is not an easy task, and even though I’m sure this one was in the works before the pandemic, restarting isn’t a picking up where we left off kind of thing. Some people would have turned out then are not be available now, and thoughts change on what to include.
Then, director Michael Clipperton had to decide who of the cast of 24 was going to sing leads on tunes that were originally performed by someone else – and in several cases are not with us anymore –and in some cases the cast member wasn’t even born yet.
The choice was to do it in a concert/revue style, which means some of the tunes were production numbers originally and the logistics of making major set changes wasn’t going to work. They still managed to stage the Cell Block Tango scene from Chicago with all the dancing and choreography we enjoyed the first time around. The end of the first half featured the entire cast in costume for the first time doing Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ The Boat from Guys and Dolls.
The show ends with a series of tunes with the entire cast on stage singing and they fill Gord’s Room with sound.
You can still get tickets online for performances Saturday and Sunday
MAT is also hosting an anniversary party at the rehearsal hall from 1 to 5 p.m. November 11. It’s free to attend.
And, MAT’s Film Night folks got some stage time to talk about the duration and number of films they have presented over the years at Cinema 4 and at the Galaxy. That little program financed the rehearsal hall. The next film night is November 29 with Blue Jean, followed by Jules on December 9. You can only get tickets at the door and hour before showtimes of 4 and 7 p.m.
Through The Magic Of Video
I missed seeing the concert with Jacquie Dancyger Arnold and Hugh Coleman October 28 at St. Paul’s Centre. It was the same night Carl Dixon had his thing at the Opera House.
It was to benefit the Orillia Museum of Art and History and $9,000 was raised from ticket sales, donations and sponsorships. OMAH will use the money for two of its programs. One is the You Are A Superhero, Empowering Vulnerable Youth. program, which is a confidence booster by way of artistic expression. The other is to help fund Camp OMAH in which OMAH partners with other agencies to send vulnerable kids to camp.
I can tell you a bit about the concert because it was recorded and posted to Youtube. The front half of the program was all Classical music and with Jacquie and Hugh playing throughout and joined by soprano Laura Kelly to sing Parto Ma Tu Ben Mio from Mozart’s last opera, La clemenza di Tito.
Gail Spencer then joined on flute to play Saint-Saens Tarantelle for a kind of duet with Hugh’s clarinet playing and piano accompaniment by Jacquie. The half closed out with Jacquie playing solo with Chopin’s Ballade in G Minor.
Chopin didn’t write for mortals. As with this piece, his stuff starts out rather straightforward and the pages get blacker and blacker – more notes, less time. Only really good players would think of playing Chopin’s stuff in public and Jacquie blazed though it.
The second half tunes were all Jazz pieces. Laura returned to start with I Could Have Danced All Night from My Fair Lady. I have an issues with jazz and no drums. The next tune had Gail and Ross Arnold added to the mix to play Lullaby of Birdland. Ross is one of the best tympanists I’ve ever seen. Usually you’ll see him at the back of the stage with the Orillia Concert Band, the Orillia Silver Band, or as he is (almost in the wings, hiding behind Hugh) for MAT’s 50th Anniversary production. I’ve watched him re-tune on the fly, mid performance and get all the notes right; most drummers can’t tune their snare drums and toms properly. So Ross was out to play, except these tympanis were a Gretsch drumset. Birdland is one of those tunes most people know, but don’t always know what it’s called.
Next, Blair Bailey, who was the emcee for the night, joined Jacquie at the piano for a four-hand performance of Dizzy Fingers. This is a Ragtime piece of the style one could associate with cartoons; it’s fun, yet needs good piano playing to make it enjoyable.
Laura and Hugh returned to join Jacquie and Ross to do Sympathique, A French song, and French songs need an accordion. Ross answered Jacquie’s parents, “you’re going to marry a drummer?” question with, “but I can play the accordion too.” I think I liked Laura best on this tune.
Ross hung around to do Indifference with Hugh and Jacquie. It’s another French ditty and Ross got to stretch out more with the accordion.
The concert wrapped up with Birth of The Blues. It’s sing-songy kind of tune meant for Broadway, rather than a smokey southern roadhouse, which sent everyone home in a bouncy mood.
- St. Paul’s Centre has a couple of concerts happening with Sloan’s Chris Murphy Nov. 16; Pub Night with John MacDonald, Michael Martyn and Sean Patrick Nov. 17 and the Skydiggers Dec. 14 for a Christmas concert. You can find tickets for all those online. They also have A Christmas Carol with Don McIsaac, Adam Chambers, Krista Storey, Raquel Ness and Carey Moran on Dec. 1; you can get tickets for that here.
- The Opera House November line up looks like this; Tim Hicks is in Nov. 19; Ballet Jorgen’s The Nutcracker is in Nov. 25; comedian Ryan Belleville is in Nov. 30. The December lineup includes Lunch at Allen’s Dec. 8, the Barra MacNeils Dec. 11; Serena Ryder Dec. 15 and the Orillia Silver Band Dec. 17 Get tickets for any of those online.
- The Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital Foundation annual gala is Nov. 18 at Casino Rama. The event is moving into the Entertainment Centre, so there’s more room for more people. It’s in there because the entertainment is Cirque Under the Stars. There is an online auction tied to the fundraiser (wait until Nov. 10 to bid). Tickets are available online.
- The annual Orillia Regional Arts and Heritage Awards happens Nov. 22 at Creative Nomad Studios. The 6 p.m. event is free to attend. See a rundown of the nominees here. Creative Nomad also has a Christmas Market and Ginger Bread House competition happening Nov. 17 and 18; see all the details here.
- The Leacock Student Humorous Essay Competition is open for submissions. Students age 14 to 19 can enter to win $1,500 and $750 for each of 2nd and 3rd place. The deadline is Apr. 15 and winners are announced May 15 and get to attend and read their essays at the Meet the Author night June 21. An important thing to note is the word June. It looks like the medal dinner is moving back to June and in fact will be June 22.
- Fred Addis wrote a book about Don Gallinger a Boston Bruin who was banned from the NHL in for betting; Fred will be at OMAH Nov, 30 from 5 to 6:30 p.m to launch Gallinger: A Life Suspended; RSVP online… Steph Dunn has a book launch too; it’s an illustrated children’s book called I Will Carry You Now, and she’ll be at OMAH Dec. 2 at 11 a.m.; RSVP online.
- The Orillia Museum of Art and History also has 50 Years Of Mariposa Arts Theatre, A Close up on Carmichael (showcasing OMAH’s collection of related items) and Jennifer Zardo’s Home Sweet Home to see; meanwhile in the basement see The Orillia Police And The Sir Sam Steele Memorial Building; a special night of comedy with the Old Dance Hall Players happens Nov. 25 at 8 p.m. as they do Glue As The Romans Do (tickets); Nov. 30, thre of the artists, John Notten, Luci Dilkus and Peter Fyfe with pieces in the annual Carmichael Landscape Show will be in to tlak abut thier art at 5 p.m. … St. Paul’s Centre has the Call to Action 83 Art Project in the Ogimaa Miskwaaki Gallery… Hibernation Arts’s guest artist for October is David Crighton and he’ll be at the gallery Nov. 4 from 1 to 3 p.m. Peter Street Fines Arts has Kate Greenway in as guest artist for November… Cloud Gallery continues their fall series of exhibits with art by Julie Veenstra; Patricia Clemmens has her work up Nov. 25 and Dec. 9 it’s a group show with many of the artists represented by the gallery in attendance; look for a story about the success of the gallery and these artists here.
- Quayle’s Brewery has Jojo playing Nov. 11; Jess Bowman Nov. 12; Sam Johnston Nov. 15; Burke Erwin Nov. 17; and Kyle Wauchope Nov. 18… Couchiching Craft Brewing has Tamica Herod and Sean Cotton in Nov. 11 Will Davis and Chris Robinson are in Nov. 12; Cam Galloway plays Nov. 17; and the Boathouse Blues Project Nov. 18… Jakob Pearce plays the Sunken Ship Nov. 11..the legion has a Country and Rock Open Mic happening Nov. 25 from 2 to 5 p.m.; $5 cover… the Renaissance Band plays at the ANAF Club Nov. 25.
(Photos by Swartz – SUNonline/Orillia and Images Supplied) Main: Cast and crew of Mariposa Arts Theatre’s 50th Anniversary show (MAT photos by Deb Halbot).