The ‘Main’ Event is About to Begin

Stacy & Angela Main are a husband-wife duo that are taking to the stage together in the VOS production of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, running at Victoria Hall in Cobourg November 6th to the 15th.  VOS had a chance to chat with them before rehearsal.

Stacy & Angela Main
Stacy & Angela Main

VOS: Well, Rita and Phil, you two have done a lot of shows together. Is this one any different?

Angela: This is our 7th show together and I would have to say every one of them has been different! This is what we love to do and I love that we can spend the time together doing it! For me, I am so proud of the work that Stacy is doing. He has put in an incredible amount of hard work and time in on the character, songs, and dancing. I think it is very evident in the what you see! Also, for me, the role of Rita is different than those I have done in the past. It is such a fun character that you can do so much with! I am having a great time playing her and figuring out her traits, accent, and other characteristics. It really has been a pleasure getting to know her over the past few months.

Stacy: I would really like to thank everyone involved with the VOS for the opportunity to be a part of White Christmas. From the moment that I first walked through the door to audition everything has been first class. Everyone involved has been extremely positive, supportive and great to work with. It is also nice to be doing another production with Angela. We try to only do shows together due to the incredible amount of time required, so it’s a good thing that this is how we both want to spend our time.

Angela & Stacy backstage at the Port Hope Festival Theatre production of Mary Poppins
Angela & Stacy backstage at the Port Hope Festival Theatre production of Mary Poppins

VOS: This is your first show with VOS THEATRE. Tell us about your history with theatre? Any favourite memories?

Angela: First off I can’t say enough good things about VOS. I am so happy with the experience working with and being a part of this organization and show. They have been nothing but welcoming and friendly. From day one we have felt like one of the crew.
I have done theatre for many years, starting way back in high school. One of my favourite roles is Grace Farrell in Annie because I have played the role more than once. Other stand-outs to me include Texas in Cabaret as it was my first role that was mostly dancing rather than singing. I also describe working with professional performers in a recent production of Mary Poppins as the best experience of my life. It was a completely indispensable experience and one that I was so lucky to have and will never forget.

Stacy: This is my 5th year in theatre, my seventh show. Five Years ago I did not act, I did not sing, and I did not dance. Now it seems kind of funny trying to imagine not doing this every day, and when I look back it is probably my greatest regret that I didn’t have the courage to be a part of theatre at a younger age – better late than never.
I have always loved musicals and musical theatre and I guess my favorite memory to date would date would have to be performing in Mary Poppins this past summer. To have the opportunity to be part of a professional show was incredible, I learned so much. The fact that I was able to share the experience with Angela made it even more remarkable.

Angela Main in the Northumberland Players production of Annie
Angela Main as Grace in the Northumberland Players’ production of Annie

VOS: Angela – you are killing those dance numbers. Killing them! Tell us about how you feel when you are dancing?

Angela: This has been a wonderful learning experience for me when it comes to dance. Mackenzie has come up with some great and challenging choreography, and she is so patient and supportive when teaching it to all of us. I have no dance training and only experience from a couple of previous shows, and this one has pushed me to do things I never thought I could. I am especially enjoying the tap because that is a form of dance I have always loved never thought I would have the chance to learn even the basics of. My mom did step dancing, which is similar, and I always admired what she was able to do when I had the rare opportunities to see her dance. I think exhilarated is the best way to describe how I am feeling, once the steps are learned and you can just dance! I hope I am doing Mackenzie proud!

Angela & Stacy in a Broadway Revue

VOS: So Stacy, are you a Danny Kaye fan? Did you watch the movie as a kid? How are you making Phil your own?

Stacy: As far as the movie, I do recall seeing it as a child but I wouldn’t say that I am a Danny Kaye fan per say, although though he did a great job as Phil. On the other hand, Vera-Ellen, who played Judy, was quite something. I thought that she was absolutely beautiful; I loved her in On the Town as well. I guess fixating on the pretty blonde is a “Phil” kind of characteristic; all that I need to do now is sing and dance.

Stacy Main Angela Main

 VOS: So as we move into hell week later this month what is your strategy for survival. Very few people think about the fact that community theatre actors have day jobs and work all day and rehearse all night. How do the two of you make it work?

Angela: We share household duties, including cooking! And try to be hyper organized at home and at work. I think the slow cooker helps, along with planning ahead. It is difficult with high demand jobs and having other things happening at the same time, but you figure it out. Sleeping in when you can also seems to be key!

Stacy: We are both type-A personalities, so organization and planning ahead go a long way to maintaining our sanity as our schedules become more hectic. I love my sleep, but I don’t mind forgoing a nap or two in lieu of the chance to work through songs, dances and scenes one more time. I really want to make sure that I have done everything possible to make this production great.

VOS: One word to describe the rehearsal process with VOS THEATRE and director Steve Russell on White Christmas – GO!

Angela: Positive
Stacy: Dedicated

Come see Stacy Main as Phil Davis and Angela Main as Rita in the VOS Production of White Christmas, running November 6th to the 15th at Victoria Hall in Cobourg.

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The Outstanding Ewan Mireault

Ewan Mireault

On October 15th at the Northumberland County Council meeting, Warden Linda Thompson presented Ewan Mireault for his outstanding work in the arts community as a youth volunteer.

Linda Thompson and Ewan Mireault

Ewan has been a youth volunteer with the VOS Theatre since he was 6 years old and appeared onstage in Camelot with the organization. Even though Ewan has a full life that includes school, choirs and volleyball, he is always available to the VOS to assist however he can, whether it is helping his parents paint the Theatre’s street piano or dancing and singing in one of the shows. Ewan has currently taken on the responsibility of Dance Captain in White Christmas, helping the rest of the cast whenever they need rehearsal, and is also taking on the role of Mike the stage manager – a hefty role, in addition the onstage Dance Captain in the show. We’re not sure who he stays on top of it all!

Ewan approaches every project with an incredible sense of humour and a dedication fitting of an adult volunteer.

Ewan Mireault and Family

The Warden’s Arts Awards are a wonderful opportunity to recognize individuals and businesses that support the development and promotion of the arts throughout
Northumberland County,” stated Warden Linda Thompson. “Council applauds today’s recipients for their outstanding contributions to the arts community, whether through volunteerism or sponsorship.”

Sisters

sisters-white-christmas

Sisters, Sisters, there were never such devoted sisters.

We can’t wait to see that number!

VOS recently asked Marlena Sculthorpe and Mackenzie Russell (Betty and Judy Haynes) to tell us about their experiences preparing for the VOS Theatre production of White Christmas, running November 6 to 15 at Victoria Hall in Cobourg.

Marlena Sculthorpe and Mackenzie Russell
Marlena Sculthorpe and Mackenzie Russell in rehearsal for Sisters (the feather fans are coming folks!)

VOS: So ladies, Judy and Betty in White Christmas, huh? Normally a pairing onstage is with the romantic interest. I bet it’s fun to have a sister.

Marlena Sculthorpe: Especially if you’re an only child and never had a real sister! Betty and Judy are a dynamic pair.  Betty is the older, more conservative and often protective sister, while Judy is the fun loving, free spirited younger sister.  Nothing sums up their relationship better than in their famous number, “Sisters”.

Mackenzie Russell: It is fun! Marlena has been so awesome to work with and has really helped me as this is my first time ever in a musical where I have a principal role. The most I’ve ever had is about 5 lines – not to mention the songs! So this has been a huge challenge and Marlena is a great mentor, and sister! She has really just been awesome to work with.

Mackenzie Russell

VOS: Mackenzie you’re doing double duty as choreographer. It’s a huge undertaking and yet the cast just raves about the three hour choroegraphy session. No complaints. They’re loving it. How do you do it and how long have you been dancing?

Mackenzie: I don’t know how I do it! It’s been a crazy challenge but it’s a lot of fun. I have the best group of dancers to work with which makes the whole process so enjoyable. They are at a variety of skill levels but they all work so hard and help each other. It’s a great atmosphere. I’ve really tried to push the dance chorus to reach their full potential and do things they never thought they would. I also try to keep the rehearsals as fun as I can while whipping them into shape! I want each person to feel successful and accomplished after wowing the crowds and hearing the applause. Hard work does pay off and I can’t wait to see the final products.

As for me, I’ve been dancing since about age 4 At studios and schools, university and now as a high school dance teacher. I try to spread my love of dance onto future generations. I can’t get enough and am glad to have the opportunity to have this exciting new challenge with VOS.

Marlena as Betty in White Christmas

VOS: So, Marlena, second time around; same role. You were spectacular in this show. What’s it like taking on the role of Betty for a second time.

Marlena: Taking on the role of Betty for a second time around is much different than I expected.  I assumed it would feel and look a lot the same, but it really doesn’t.  We have amped up the dance numbers and this time around I get to participate in 2 of them that I wasn’t onstage for in 2010.  It is nice to come back to a role because things like the lyrics and the lines come back a lot faster than learning something from scratch.  My blocking is different, my costumes are different , and even parts of the show that I’m onstage for are different. It’s a whole new fresh take on the show.

Blue Skies - Original Broadway Cast
Blue Skies – Original Broadway Cast

VOS: Ladies – what’s the greatest challenge with this show and these roles?

Marlena: I would say the challenge this time around is in the dance numbers.  Mackenzie has put together some stellar choreography and we have a great dance chorus.  One of my favourite parts of musical theatre is the dancing – as an audience member and as an actor.  It really livens up a show.  These dance numbers will be an audience favourite, I can guarantee.

Mackenzie:  I’d say my greatest challenge is actually the acting as well as the ballroom partner dance because it’s a style I don’t have much experience with. But both are going well so far!

The White Christmas Movie Poster
The White Christmas Movie Poster

VOS: Did you watch the movie when you were a kid, Marlena? Was it a part of your family tradition.

Marlena: I didn’t… I did watch the film once before the production in 2010.  I was more of a “Meet Me in St. Louis” kinda gal.  The story line in White Christmas remains the same, but there are some great Irving Berlin tunes thrown into the stage version that don’t appear in the movie.  If you’ve watched the movie a thousand times, you’re going to find new things to enjoy in the stage production.  If you haven’t seen the movie, you won’t be lost!

Mackenzie & Steve Russell from Shrek the Musical
Mackenzie & Steve Russell from Shrek the Musical

VOS: So, Mackenzie – so you’re working with your Dad again. You were both in the cast of Shrek but is this the first time you’re worked with him as a director?

Mackenzie: Yes. This is the first time I’m working with him as a director. I’ve actually had him as my teacher before but never as director. It’s lots of fun to see him in action doing what he loves. It’s a great bonding experience and he’s very encouraging and has had great advice throughout the process which is always helpful.

Marlena Sculthorpe and Joel Varty

VOS: Marlena – you’ve worked with Mr. Varty (Bob) on Vimy, Oklahoma, Shrek, On the Rooftop since you met him in 2010 the first time you played Bob and Betty. How is this rehearsal process different for the two of you?

Marlena: The last time we did this show, it was only my second major role and I hadn’t done musical theatre in 8 years.  I was more uptight and nervous about the rehearsal process, remembering lines and not looking like an idiot on stage.  For me, it feels more organic this time around.  Because the lines came back much faster, we were able to get into character much faster.  It’s also easier to work opposite an actor that makes you feel comfortable.  We are able to say to each other “that doesn’t work” and no one is getting their knickers in a twist.  I always tell Joel what I’m thinking and I think he does the same to me.  I’m very much like that in real life.  I’m a very bad liar.

Don’t miss your chance to see Marlena and Mackenzie as the Haynes sisters in White Christmas this November 6th to 15th!  Call for tickets (905-372-2210) or see the VOS website for more information.

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The Old Girl’s BACK!

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VOS sat down with long-time producer Liz Clark, co-producer and Martha in White Christmas, running November 6th to 15th at Victoria Hall in Cobourg.

VOS: So how long has it been since you’ve been onstage?

Liz Clark: Long.

I think the last show I did was Kismet with my buddies Blair McFadden and Hugh Stewart but I’m so old I can’t remember when that was. It’s all a blur.

WhiteChristmas2014-largeVOS: Why did you take such a long break?

I have truly loved producing theatre. I got caught up in that area. Each time a role came up that I thought might be fun to audition for I had to decide if I wanted to sacrifice the chance to produce the show in order to be in it. Producing always won. Then you reach the magic age of 40 and parts start to dry up. At my age there’s not much left – Martha and Mame…

VOS: Are we having fun yet?

LC: Rehearsing? Scary fun perhaps. Like that kind of fun when you’re on the top of the roller coaster and you think “what the hell was I thinking getting on this ride?”  Then, by the time you realize you didn’t wet your pants in public you get that you have had fun.

I’ve never been a person who has loved the rehearsal process. I’m not good at it. I don’t even particularly love to sing or perform. But what I love is getting something – a line, a song, a bit – just right, finessing it according to the energy of the audience at that specific performance and feeling or hearing them respond. That’s fun. That’s to come, I hope.

VOS: What made you want take on Martha from White Christmas?

Rosemary-Clooney-Mary-Wickes-front-desk-611x343LC: Two things. I’m no Mary Wicks – I don’t have that kind of timing. So it had to be something other than the chance to play the old lady behind the desk. Martha’s music is great. But, the opportunity to work with Steve Russell as a director was a motivating factor, probably the biggest. I worked with Steve on Spamalot and Shrek and have such incredible respect for his work as an actor, his process and the way he treats his fellow actors, I knew I could really learn from him. He’s spent his career teaching children so I knew he would get me.

Anytime you get the chance to work with David Bryson as music director you just jump at it. No questions asked. He is the most supportive guy I ever worked with as a performer. If you can make David smile you know you’ve done something right and it feels great.

The chance to be a member of a cast was huge too. I produce in a way that allows me to be very close to the casts I work with, but until you’re digging your false eyelash out of your bra in a room full of actresses twenty seconds before you’re needed onstage you just aren’t “one of the guys”. I missed that.

Oh, oh and this time I wanted to be onstage with my friends when it snowed! Wait that’s four things.

VOS: You’re wearing three hats, co-producer, costume designer and actor? Which is the most challenging?

LC: Well that was dumb, huh? If not for my dear friend Florence Fletcher I would not have the chance to be a cast member in this show. She agreed to co-produce and is carrying the bulk of the responsibility. Costume designer, now that’s an overstatement. I am fortunate to be able to use some of the costumes that designer Ann Hancock brought to the 2010 production but we have bigger dance numbers, actors of different shapes and sizes and a new director – a new show! So the costumes are not simply recycled. Most of the costumes for the 2014 production are new. They are my idea of classic musical. Suits fit well, sequins sparkle, shoes are important and where there’s Christmas there is satin and velvet.

Most challenging? That would be learning that some days I will be a decent cast member, some days I will be a competent producer, other days I’ll solve a costuming issue but never all three in the same day and being ok with that. The people I am working with have made it easy to learn that lesson because they’re very forgiving and supportive. That’s what community theatre should be about.

VOS: VOS is often described as an organization that puts people first. How is that exemplified with this production?

LC: The script itself and the movie focus on relationships. Bob and Phil put the General’s needs above their own, the soldiers come to the inn for Christmas rather than celebrating in their own homes because the General is their family. Martha takes care of him because she knows beneath his crusty exterior there’s a big heart. Betty falls in love with Bob because he shows her that he is the guy who gets all of that.

countyourblessings-bingThis type of script tends to attract people who want to have fun and travel back to a time when the holiday season was about sharing the good stuff. Those people tend to be generous actors and pretty decent humans. Steve, Florence and David are leaders who respect what folks are trying to accomplish and their individual strengths. Mix that all together and it’s a recipe for a pretty wonderful time.

VOS: You co-produced the 2010 production and you’re co-producing again. Why? Do you have an attachment to it?

rose-clooney-black-dress

LC: I wanted to be Rosemary Clooney when I was a kid. That voice was velvet. That iconic black dress designed by Edith Head – I wanted it. I remember watching it at Christmas in the living room, laughing at Danny Kaye, loving Bing’s voice, marveling at how anyone as stick thin as Vera-Ellen could even stand up. It’s just Christmas to me. Holiday Inn, The Grinch be damned. I’m White Christmas all the way.

I’ll be honest, I was enthusiastic about this project because the 2010 production was so special. It re-energized an organization that made a substantial contribution to my quality of life. It brought new people to the forefront of VOS Theatre. I made great friends. This is a new production and I am thrilled by the challenge. It is different in so many wonderful ways, but the same in that, like the 2010 team, the folks I’m working with seem to have that same appreciation for what can be created when attention is paid to the work, the goal and the respect for each other. In other words, they understand magic.

VOS: What should people look forward to in this production?

LC: Notwithstanding what I just said about the great cast, if I start naming names and forget someone I’ll end up opening night with my shoes missing. Every producer gushes at some point but I kid you not, the dancing is spectacular. Choreographer Mackenzie Russell has done incredible work. The tap number, I Love a Piano and Blue Skies will blow you away. The voices – Ms. Sculthorpe, Mr. Varty, Mr. Main and Ms. Russell are very special – glorious. Charles Varty, our General, is the original story teller and his General is lovely. That moment when the soldiers sing “We’ll follow the Old Man”……can’t you just feel it? So there’s great music, a live band made up of the area’s finest musicians, amazing tap, sequins, Christmas and SNOW all inspired by one of the most popular classic movies ever filmed.

Look forward to that! Start your Christmas season with that!

The VOS Theatre Production of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas runs from November 6-15 at Victoria Hall in Cobourg.

Call the box office for tickets today at 905-372-2210.  Tickets are going very quickly!

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