This week on Vancouver stages: stars, Shakespeare and saviours

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11-year old Carly Ronning plays the title role in the Theatre Under the Stars production of Oliver! this summer at Malkin Bowl in Stanley Park. Photo by Tim Matheson.

Always a sure sign of summer in Vancouver, Theatre Under the Stars (TUTS) is set to unshutter the open-air stage at Stanley Park’s Malkin Bowl for its annual offering of family-friendly Broadway musicals. This year, TUTS presents two shows with big heart from opposites sides of the Atlantic. First up is the effervescent Hairspray, with its story of racial tolerance in Baltimore, and the second is Oliver!, the story of the young orphan caught up in a grand adventure through the underbelly of Victorian London. Read more.

Dave Campbell and Natasha Zacher in a scene from The School of Scandal of Vancouver

Dave Campbell and Natasha Zacher in a scene from The School of Scandal of Vancouver

Richard Sheridan’s The School for Scandal would be an ambitious production unto itself. In adapting the 1777 social satire about our collective love for gossip and rumour to appeal to a modern Vancouver audience though, The School for Scandal of Vancouver feels at times like there are two plays competing with each other. Read more.

Jay Hindle, Daniel Doheny and Josh Epstein in Love's Labour's Lost. Photo by David Blue.

Jay Hindle, Daniel Doheny and Josh Epstein in Love’s Labour’s Lost. Photo by David Blue.

This has not been a good year for Shakespeare’s comedies at Bard on the Beach. Like its mainstage counterpart that attempts to out-do Shakespeare, its production of Love’s Labour’s Lost gets lost inside a jukebox musical that obscures, rather than enhances its story. Read more.

Jennifer Lines, Benedict Campbell and Colleen Wheeler in King Lear. Photo by David Blue.

Jennifer Lines, Benedict Campbell and Colleen Wheeler in King Lear. Photo by David Blue.

Clocking in at over three hours, King Lear is not for the faint-of-heart. In the current Bard on the Beach and Theatre Calgary co-production though, thanks to a masterful performance and a laser focus on story, it is as powerful as anything you will ever see. Read more.

The cast of Godspell. Photo by David Cooper.

The cast of Godspell. Photo by David Cooper.

There is a reason that even after forty-plus years, Godspell endures. Not only does it benefit from its source material, it is one of those rare musicals that insists on being reinvented for audiences of the day. In the Arts Club Theatre Company production, director Sara-Jeanne Hosie reinvigorates Godspell, successfully making its central message that much more powerful and relevant. Read more.

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