The 37th Annual Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards

This year's Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards were held on Monday, July 15th at Bard on the Beach in the BMO Mainstage in Vanier Park. The awards celebrate excellence in professional theatre and salutes all the talent who contribute to Vancouver’s theatre scene. Fifty theatrical productions were nominated from last year's theatre season.The Jessie Awards are divided into three categories –Small Theatre, Large Theatre and Theatre for Young Audiences – along with a variety of special awards and prizes.
CLICK HERE for a complete list of all winners.

Down Stage Right Productions
SILENCE! The Musical music and lyrics by Jon & Al Kaplan, book by Hunter Bell

Dates and Venue July 25 - August 3 2019, 8pm (Friday Aug 2 @ 7pm & 10pm) | Goldcorp Stage, BMO Theatre Centre 162 West 1st Ave.

Director Mark Carter. Choreography Ken Overbey Costume Design Julie White Musical Director Jeremy Hoffman Graphic Design Barret Chapman Sound Design Sebastian Finch Stage Manager tanya Schwaerzle

Reviewer John Jane

Silence! The Musical, is an unauthorized parody of Jonathan Demme’s 1991 psychological thriller The Silence of the Lambs that starred Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins. This stage musical version, though deliberately irreverent, faithfully follows the original storyline. Full review



Ensemble Theatre Company
7th Annual Repertory Festival
Born Yesterday by Garson Kanin

Dates and Venue July 10 – August 16, 2019 at 7.30 pm (Brunch presentations at 11am on Sundays) | Jericho Arts Centre, 1675 Discovery St

Directors Shelby Bushell & Michael Scholar Jr. Costume Design Julie White Lighting Design Celeste English Set Design Naomi Sider Sound Design Rick Calhoun Dialect Coach Erin Ormond Fight Director Richard Meen Stage Manager Talya Kuran

Reviewer John Jane

Born Yesterday is a socio-political drama set in Washington D.C. about a year after the end of World War II, which is the time that the play was written by Garson Kanin. It’s one of three plays performed at this year’s Annual Repertory Festival at the Jericho Arts Centre. Full review


Theatre Under the Stars

Disney’s NEWSIES music Alan Menken, lyrics Jack Feldman

Dates and Venue July 6 - August 17, 2019 at 8pm - even-numbered days in July, odd-numbered days in August | Malkin Bowl, Stanley Park

Director/Choreography Julie Tomaino Music Director Christopher King Set Design Francesca Albertazzi Costume Design Christina Sinosich Lighting Design Robert Sondergaard Sound Design Brad Danyluk Props Design Heidi Wilkinson Stage Manager Collette Berg

Reviewer Erin Jane

Beautiful scenic Stanley Park can’t take all the credit for the atmosphere – set design (by Francesca Albertazzi) featured versatile metal scaffolding meant to overlook the dirty streets of New York, where the newsies tended to hang (often literally). These kids are school-aged but attend only the school of hard knocks, they “got no folks nowhere” and fend for themselves, scrapping for every dime. Full review

Mamma Mia!

Dates and Venue July 5 - August 18, 2019 at 8pm - odd-numbered days in July, even-numbered days in August | Malkin Bowl, Stanley Park

Director Shel Piercy Choreography Shelley Stewart Hunt Music Director Wendy B. StuartSet Design Francesca Albertazzi Costume Design Christina Sinosich Lighting Design Robert Sondergaard Sound Design Brad Danyluk Props Design Heidi Wilkinson Stage Manager Susan Miyagishima

Reviewer Christian Steckler

Theatre Under the Stars productions are virtually always delightfully entertaining evenings of high-quality acting, singing and dancing. Add to this a tremendously popular story with universally familiar music, and you have a potential winner. This production of Mamma Mia! hits the bull’s eye. Full review

Bard on the Beach

All’s Well That Ends Well by William Shakespeare

Date and Venue June 26 – August 11, 2019, 7.30pm evenings + 2pm weekend matinees | Howard Family Stage in the Douglas Campbell Theatre, Vanier Park

Directors Johanna Wright & Rohit Chokhani Costume Designer Carmen Alatorre Set Designer Pam Johnson Choreographer Poonam Sandhu Lighting Designers Conor Moore and Alan Brodie Composer and Sound Designer Ruby Singh Stage Manager Joanne P.B. Smith

Reviewer John Jane

Bard devotees generally consider All’s Well That Ends Well a problem play – and for good reason. Shakespeare’s comedy is about self-deceit and trickery (both in the main plot and subplot). First, it’s difficult to reconcile the protagonist’s motivations in the context in which this nebulous play is placed. Full review

Bard on the Beach
Shakespeare in Love
by Marc Norman & Tom Stoppard, adapted for the stage by Lee Hall

Date and Venue June 12 – September 18, 2019, 7.30pm evenings + 2pm weekend matinees | BMO Mainstage, Vanier Park

Director Daryl Cloran Costume Design Cory Sincennes Set Design Cory Sincennes Sound Design Mishelle Cuttler Voice/Text Coach Alison Matthews Choreography Julie Tomaino Fight Direction Jonathan Hawley Purvis Stage Manager Stephen Courtenay

Reviewer Christian Steckler

Bard on the Beach has adapted the wildly successful movie, Shakespeare in Love, for the Vancouver stage, inspired by its original conception at Edmonton’s Citadel Theatre in association with the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre in Winnipeg. This production continues Bard’s tradition of excellence in its 30th year of delighting and educating audiences. Full review


Bard on the Beach
The Taming of the Shrew
by William Shakespeare

Date and Venue June 5 – September 21, 2019, 7.30pm evenings + 2pm weekend matinees | BMO Mainstage, Vanier Park

Director Lois Anderson Set Designer Cory Sincennes Costume Designer Mara Gottler Lighting Designer Gerald King Sound Designer Malcolm Dow Dow Fight Design/Choreography Jonathan Hawley Purvis Stage Manager Stephen Courtney

Reviewer Christian Steckler

This summer’s offerings at Bard on the Beach promise the continued high quality and enjoyment that have become hallmarks of the annual event, this year celebrating its 30th anniversary. Imaginative approaches to traditional Shakespeare mark some of the plays this time around, and such is the case with the production of The Taming of the Shrew. Full review


A Room Somewhere
Hello and Goodbye by Athol Fugard

Dates and Venue June 27 - July 6, 2019 @ 8pm, (June 30 & July 6 @ 2pm) | The Nest, 1398 Cartwright St. Granville Island

Director Bo Petersen Lighting Designer Keagan Elrick Sound Designer Thomas Beckman Fight Direction Ryan McNeill and Mike Kovac Stage Manager Olivia Etey

Reviewer Christian Steckler

Athol Fugard wrote a deeply thought-provoking play in Hello and Goodbye. Thanks to Bo Petersen’s insightful direction and Riaan Smit and Deborah Vieyra’s sensitive portrayals of the main characters, the audience walks away wondering about its meaning in their own lives. Full review




Arts Club Theatre Company
Mom’s The Word: Nest ½ Empty by Jill Daum, Alison Kelly, Robin Nichol, Barbara Pollard, and Deborah Williams

Dates and Venue June 6 – July 20, 2019; Mon–Thu at 7:30pm, Fri & Sat at 8 PM, Wed at 1:30pm, and Sat at 2pm

Director Wayne Harrison Choreography Anna Kuman Set Designer Pam Johnson Costume Designer Pam Johnson Lighting Designer Marsha Sibthorpe Sound & Projection Designer Kate De Lorme Props Master Carol Macdonald Stage Manager Pamela Jakobs

Reviewer John Jane

The kids may have left home, leaving their parents with a mix of relief and anxiety, but the small problems with small children have been replaced with the bigger issues that come from guiding twenty-something kin without seeming to interfere. Add to that, issues with creeping middle-age bring a jolt to any zealous matriarch’s mortality. Full review


Arts Club Theatre
Matilda The Musical
book by Dennis Kelly, music and lyrics by Tim Minchin, from the novel by Roald Dahl

Dates and Venue May 16, 2019 - July 14, 2019, Tue – Thu at 7:30pm, Fri & Sat at 8pm, Wed at 1:30pm, and Sat & Sun at 2pm | Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage

Director Daryl Cloran Musical Director Ken Cormier Choreography Kimberley Rampersad Assistant Director/Choreographer Anna Kuman Set and Costume Design Cory Sincennes Lighting Design Gerald King Sound Design Brad Danyluk Stage Manager Allison Spearin

Reviewer John Jane

Matilda The Musical is based on Roald Dahl’s dark children’s story, adapted for the stage by Dennis Kelly and songs added by Tim Minchin. Set in England, roughly in the time it was written, it follows the misadventures of a five-year-old girl who doesn’t fit into her family’s self-centred dynamic. Full review



Pacific Theatre
The Cake by Bekah Brunstetter

Dates and Venue May 17 – Jun 8. 2019, 8pm Wed-Sat with 2pm Sat matinees | Pacific Theatre, 1440 W 12th Ave.

Director Angela Konrad Set Design Lauchlin Johnston Costume Design Kaitlin WilliamsLighting Design Michael K. Hewitt Sound Designer Rick Colhoun Props Design Ariel Slack Stage Manager Julia Lank

Reviewer John Jane

Della is dedicated to her craft of baking “cakes for all occasions.” She truly believes that any problem could be solved with one of her cakes that she claims contains the all important ingredient of love. Della and her husband Tim are a childless couple with conservative Christian values. So when Jen, whose mother was a close friend of Della, shows up to ask the cake shop proprietor to cater her wedding cake, it leaves our ‘cake lady’ with a decision that she would prefer not to make. Full review



xDelta Youth Theatre
Mary Poppins, Jr.

Dates and Venue May 8-12, 2018 at 7pm. (Matinees at 11am & 2pm Sat and Sun) | Genesis Theatre, 5005 45 Ave., Ladner

Reviewer Ed Farolan

I saw Cast 3 last night of this show and I was impressed with the professionalism of these elementary and high school kids perform this 90 minute show led by the talented Claire Bidulka as Mary Poppins.
Full review


The Great Leap by Lauren Yee

Dates and Venue
April 25–May 19, 2019; Tue – Thu at 7:30pm, Fri & Sat at 8pm, Wed at 1:30pm, and Sat & Sun at 2pm | Goldcorp Stage at the BMO Theatre Centre

Director Meg Roe Set Design Heipo C.H. Leung Costume Design Stephanie Kong Lighting Design John Webber Sound Design Alessandro Juliani Projection Design Sammy Chien Art Director Shang-Han Chien Movement Coach Agnes Tong Stage Manager Caryn Fehr

Reviewer John Jane

Lauren Yee’s play is placed in San Francisco, California and Beijing, China in 1989. At the storyline’s centre is an exhibition basketball game between college teams representing the two cities. The game reunites the team’s respective coaches: Saul (Toby Berner) and his former protégé Wen Chang (Jovanni Sy). Full review