Vancouver's 35-year-old Arts Club Theatre is celebrating its new season with the opening of a new venue, The Stanley Theatre du Maurier Stage.
The renovated heritage facility will be home to four Arts Club productions in the upcoming season, beginning with Swing, a Dean Regan Big Band revue opening on October 20 and featuring a 12-piece band performing hits of the 30s and 40s.
In addition, The Arts Club will stage four Canadian works at its Granville Island Stage, where it is celebrating its 20th anniversary. Three of the eight shows are world premieres.
Following Swing, Morris Panych directs Hamlet, starring Michael Shanks in the leading role. Next is Ken Ludwig's farce about a touring theatre company, Moon Over Buffalo, featuring Shaw Festival regular Norman Browning in the riotous story of a constantly duelling husband-and-wife who are desperate to make a good impression on a famous visiting director.
The final mainstage show next April is the world premiere of Sherman Snukal's Easy Money, a behind-the-scenes look at the Vancouver stock exchange. Morris Panych's play, Lawrence and Hollman, which is premiering at the du Maurier World Stage Festival this April, is the first of the four Canadian plays at the Granville Island Stage. This dark comedy is about a newly found friendship between a vain optimist and determined pessimist.
It will be followed by Nicola Cavendish's It's Snowing on Saltspring, billed as a "holiday comedy" and Axis's Theatre's The Number 14, the international hit play about a racuous bus ride from the burbs to downtown.
Ending the Canadian part of the season is the world premiere of Wang Dang Doodle, a celebration of Harlem music of 1930s Harlem, by Denis Simpson and Leslie Mildiner.
The final production of the season is a revival of the Sondheim tribute Side By Side By Sondheim, which first played at The Arts Club 20 years ago. This version stars Jane Mortifee, Ruth Nicol, Patrick Rose and Bernard Cuffling (as the Narrator).
Stanley Stage: Swing, October 28 to November 22; Hamlet, January 27 to February 20; Moon Over Buffalo, March 10 to April 4; Easy Money, May 5 to May 30.
Granville Island Stage: Lawrence & Hollman, September 30 to October 24; It's Snowing on Saltspring, November 20 to December 27; The Number 14, January 13 to February 6; Wang Dang Doodle, Mar 31 to Apr 24.
Side By Side By Sondheim, April 14 to May 6.
For tickets and information regarding the Arts Club 1998/99 season, call: 604-687-1644.
By Mira Friedlander