Musicals in every hue of the rainbow mark July’s big arts shows. From the annual tradition of Theatre Under The Stars in Stanley Park, to The Phantom of the Opera gracing the big stage at the QE, it’s no business like show business this month.
Some daring new artists are also mixing things up for your entertainment, debuting timely, local plays at a variety of smaller venues. Whether you’re walking on sunshine or getting down to some dark and timely issues, Vancouver’s theatre scene has you covered.
Here are 10 of July’s hottest arts shows.
Bard on the Beach continues to be one of the best ways to beat the heat this summer. Two Gentlemen is a classic Shakespearian comedy featuring an all-too-recognizable love triangle. This epic rom-com stars two bros living through the turmoils of friendship and love, plus one scene-stealing dog.
By Canadian playwright George F. Walker, Problem Child is about a dysfunctional family trying to get their child out of the system. Absurd, dark and surprisingly funny, Pacific Theatre’s up-and-coming apprentices put on this one-act play. Highlighting the stark social-economic differences at play in our public institutions, Problem Child is for anyone who’s ever come across “the system” and its shortcomings.
It’s the 29th anniversary of the festival this year, which, as the name suggests, pushes the edges of contemporary dance. Alongside strong Canadian talent and choreography, the opening performance features an exploration of life and death by the Beijing Modern Dance Company. Closing out the festival is No Fun from Montreal-based company Helen Simard, an interdisciplinary piece on punk icon Iggy Pop.
TUTS is switching things up from its steady diet of family-friendly staples with this five-time Tony Award-winning musical. The Canadian parody packs all the glitz and glam of the 1920s Jazz Age into a musical homage. Equipped with all of the saucy innuendo you can handle, this production will surely heat up Stanley Park this summer.
Musicals set in iconic eras seems to be the trend this summer, and City of Angels transports us to 1940’s Hollywood—the height of glam and decadence. Put on by a group of independent local artists, the musical spoofs the film noir crime genre and brings to light Hollywood’s treatment of writers.
A brand new Canadian play, Still The Kettle Sings is about the conversations women have about the big and small moments of everyday life. Based on actual interviews with older women, the play reveals the extraordinary hidden within storytelling and shared experiences.
“The Phaaaaantom of the Opera…” with one of the most memorable musical refrains of our era, Phantom is back at the QE big stage this summer. One of the most successful musicals ever, this rendition features a newly designed stage and scenic design. Featuring 52 cast members and orchestra, Phantom will run in Vancouver for two weeks before continuing to other major cities.
Ensemble Theatre Festival is now five years strong, and this year’s collection of three plays examine current affairs with a fresh perspective. But none stand out as much as the self-acclaimed “vibrator play,” which takes a close look at doctor-patient relations. From contemporary US playwright Sarah Ruhl, In the Next Room is a new comedy of manners for our changing times.
Fresh blood in the new theatre scene, these millennials are putting on their first production about scary road to adulting. Set in Trump-era New York, three privileged teenagers do all the things you do in your twenties, while growing up in our politically-correct world.
Witnessing the complexities of age and wealth from the viewpoint of a nine-year-old Portuguese girl, Lion in the Streets is by Toronto playwright Judith Thompson. Taking inspiration from her own Toronto neighbourhood, the play doesn’t sugar-coat the widening social-economic divide within Canada. Put on by a group of UVic Theatre alumni, the show presents glimpses into the strangers you walk by on the street.