Celebrate Summer and the Arts
at River Run
by Anna Contini
It’s new, it’s exciting and, best of all, it’s right at your doorstep! This season the River Run Centre has expanded its repertoire to feature summer programming and new program partnerships. The 1999-2000 line-up includes several returning series encompassing theatre, music, concerts, dance, family entertainment, comedy cabaret, lectures and a variety of special performances. (Early subscribers who purchase a series can save up to 26 per cent off the single ticket price while getting a shot at the best seats in the house.)

Guelph’s burgeoning talent pool has given rise to several new professional program partnerships. This year seven partners have come together to provide an impressive variety of arts and entertainment. Returning are Musica Viva with the Choral Series, and the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony with the Symphony and Recital Series. New partners this year encompassing theatre and music include Circle Theatre Company, Hagen Productions, Touchmark Theatre, DROG (Dave’s Records of Guelph) and CBC.

The summer season kicks off with the world premiere of Jump, Jive & Swing produced by Ken Albanese. Written by Guelph playwright Don Macrae, the original musical features some 25 songs from the golden age of swing, combined with current tunes from the retro-swing craze, performed by a 10-piece live swing orchestra under the direction of Danny McErlain. Local nightclub singer and recording artist, Derek Hines of Waterloo, stars alongside former Welsh child star Deano Wilson in the portrayal of two star-crossed crooners.

Circle Theatre Company (formerly Theatre Alive) has been successfully producing live theatrical productions for over five years in the Guelph area. Local producer/director Ken Albanese says that Jump, Jive & Swing is a timeless musical that “combines the two eras of swing, from Sinatra to Benny Goodman, right up to the new sounds made popular by Louis Prima and BIG Bad Voodoo Daddy.” A team of five dancers provides back-up to the star-crossed lovers, with lively choreography by Guelph-based dance artist Sarah Jane Burton.
Jump, Jive & Swing runs July 20 to 24 at the River Run Centre. Tickets are $24 to $26 with group discounts available.

Another exciting new development at River Run is the Summer Musical Theatre School. Under the direction of Hagen Productions, teenagers (ages 12 to 19) interested in singing, dancing and acting will experience the thrill of producing the fully-staged Broadway musical Godspell. Designed to give young people a chance to discover how a professional rehearsal and show works, the school will also give participants the opportunity to learn vocal, dancing and acting techniques in additional to some backstage skills.

The Summer Musical Theatre School runs August 3 to 28, culminating in three performances of Godspell, an uplifting musical filled with lively dance, humour and rock music. The school will be led by two well-known local professionals. Lisa Hagen, of Hagen Productions, has directed more than 50 musicals in the past 19 years. She has worked with community groups (including Royal City Musical Productions Inc), professional theatre and education programs across the province. Bonnie Dyer is a local choreographer well known for her work in musical theatre and a director of the Canadian National Tap team. She is also known for her involvement in staging national and regional dance competitions throughout the country.
The three action-packed performances of Godspell will take place at River Run August 26 to 28, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $12 each.

This summer, don’t miss your opportunity to enjoy great entertainment offered by an impressive showcase of local talent. For more information about River Run programming during the 1999-2000 season, pick up a program brochure or call the Box Office at (519) 763-3000 for your ticket to live entertainment!