Happy new theatre year

Stacee Jaxx is one hot New Year’s Baby. 

Typically, January is a quiet month for theatre companies as we rest and recover after busy Christmas production seasons, but at New Vintage Theatre, we have been working on the very cool remount of the musical Rock of Ages.

We first did Rock of Ages back in April and it was a crazy rock star run where we sold out shows and set RCA records for ticket sales. The crowds, the singing, the dancing-it was all very fun and we all decided we wanted to do it again.

So we are:

  • Jan.5-7
  • Jan.10-13

I promise Rock of Ages, featuring songs by Van Halen, Bon Jovi, Pat Benatar, Foreigner, is going to heat up Kelowna from this holiday cold snap.

You do not want to miss this opportunity to see Julie Masi (The Parachute Club), Jimmy “Legs” LeGuilloux, Mike Jervis, Aaron Anderson and my incredible co-director, Danny Tagle, on keys tear up the stage with my cast/crew of over 25 pros rock Mary Irwin.

I can’t think of a better way to start 2018.

Rock of Ages by Christopher D’Arienzo runs Jan.5-7 and Jan. 10-13 at 7 p.m., The Rotary Centre For The Arts. Tickets are available from www.rotarycentreforthearts.com or The Rotary Centre For The Arts Box Office. 

Other New Vintage Theatre events coming up are equally as exciting:

The Black Cat Cabaret and 10 Minute Play Festival Feb.10-11. Dress in black, red or your sauciest black cat for this annual 10 Minute Play event, which launches our upcoming season.

Plays by Natasha Daley, Kendra Hesketh, George Johnson and Teagan Scott Kirk will be performed and one will be announced as the winner of this annual festival.

There will be a silent auction, raffle for gorgeous sparkling jewelry and more. Tickets are $25 and are at www.selectyourtickets.com.

KFX 2018 & The Debaters-Live! — March 23-25

Tickets are now on sale for our expanded festival celebrating five years of pop culture. Kicking off with CBC’s hit show, The Debaters-Live! and featuring film screenings, animation, artists, panels, workshops and more throughout the downtown core we are thrilled to invite you to join us for the Kelowna Fan Experience.

Tickets come as three-day passes or single day tickets and are available at www.selectyourtickets.com.

So much to look forward to in 2018. Mark your new calendars now.

Happy New Year.


A post-war love story

In the midst of crises — politically, environmentally and economically — artists have always been inspired to create and relate their unique perspectives on life.

This fall has proven to be a rich one theatrically here in the Okanagan with strong productions and large audiences enjoying plays produced from the many companies in the region.

Following New Vintage Theatre’s new play, Hauntings — Tale of The Supernatural directed and written by company member Ashley Armour, we have, just three weeks later, produced Calgarian David van Belle’s highly regarded play Liberation Days.

It is directed by Kendra Hesketh who remarkably also performed in Hauntings.

Liberation Days is the story of a Dutch woman named Emma (played by Dana Murphy) devastated by the Second World War, which has taken her father, brother and her fiancée is missing in action. 

Emma’s relationship with her mother is strained and her best friend even aligned herself with a German soldier and has been branded a pariah. Enter a young soldier, Alex (Adam Weaver), part of the Canadian liberating forces that will rebuild Holland.

Love blooms in the wreckage of war, but like all battles, the after effects of trauma linger and those liberated are not always ready to be free.

This play is one of New Vintage’s fifth birthday, all-Canadian season. It is based on van Belle’s grandparents' story of how they met and fell in love in Holland during the Second World War.  

Dutch dialogue is intricately woven throughout and has necessitated all of the actors to learn the language and take dialect coaching from storied coach David LeReaney (Fargo) and follow up coaching from Tonny Buckley, president of The Veendam Sister City Association. 

Kelowna Museums has also been instrumental in helping with research and will provide a special display of artifacts in the lobby with a museum docent for each show.

The show promises to be another outstanding production in a banner season of Kelowna plays full of brave, touching performances that will linger with you long after the show is done.

Liberation Days runs for three shows only, Nov.8-10 at 7pm in The Mary Irwin Theatre, Rotary Centre For The Arts. Tickets are available now at RCA box office or online at www.rotarycentreforthearts.com.

New Vintage Theatre is a Kelowna-based professional, charitable theatre company that is a proud member of The Professional Association of Canadian Theatres. For more info, check out www.newvintage.ca.

Birthday Bash Theatre

As I get older, I appreciate the importance of a birthday. It is my chance to reflect on the past year, count my many blessings and ponder the year ahead — with cake.

Despite many people’s protestations about getting older, who doesn’t love the recognition of our friends and family and a good party in our honour?

When a theatre company makes it to a milestone birthday, it is even more momentous. It is such a difficult, expensive and oftentimes all-consuming entity that it often leaves those who are not overwhelmingly passionate about it behind.

Those who stick with it they know what an accomplishment it is — even just to turn five.

Partying is exactly what New Vintage Theatre Company is doing this Saturday night at The Black Box Theatre.

In our trademark, unique theatre experience style, the company is inviting audiences to an evening adventure of cabaret performances, night market shopping and food and glow dancing in the dark with DJ Joe Otoo — all in celebration of our fifth birthday season.

We have come a long way, baby. Our first performances were in the packed winery tasting room at The Vibrant Vine Winery.

Since then we have performed in venues throughout the valley — Benvoulin Church, The Hub in Vernon, Creekside Theatre, parks, Kelowna Community Theatre, schools and The Mary Irwin and Black Box Theatre to name just a few.  

New Vintage has also paid over 150 different artists on 30+ productions. Some of our shows been modest, some grand, but I truly believe each and every play has been created with love, integrity and an earnest desire to create an inspiring experience for our patrons .

Since its inception, New Vintage Theatre has become a member of The Professional Association of Canadian Theatres, a prestigious group, and we now perform to audiences of over 10,000 each season.

We also have a home — The Hot House Theatre, Studio 100 at The Rotary Centre For The Arts.

Artists performing at our Saturday Night Party event are favourite New Vintage Theatre performers from the past and present.

Later in the evening, the lights will go down and black lights will be turned on for glow dancing with Kelowna favourite performer/DJ Joseph Otoo. 

This 16+ event is also an important fundraiser for New Vintage Theatre’s upcoming shows. There will be the opportunity to partake in a Night Market where patrons can try their luck for prizes, shop from Perch Vintage Clothing bus, buy tasty treats from Okapop and mini-donuts and enjoy cold beverages from the noir bar.

Of course, there will also be birthday cake served.

If you would like to get your glow on come out to The Night Party Aug. 26, at The Black Box Theatre.

Doors open at 8:45 p.m., show at 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 and available from www.selectyourtickets.com or at the door.

What's New, Pussycat?

The doldrums of winter can always be broken up with the heat of a warm fire, great company and something fun.  

Something I always look forward to in February is New Vintage Theatre’s annual fundraiser and season launch, The Black Cat Cabaret, because it is a chance to show the community our fantastic artists and warm up the crowd for our upcoming shows.

Heating things up, indeed. This weekend’s event, held at The Black Box Theatre, will feature over 40 artists.  We’ll be singing cabaret classics and sending up our favorite shows in sometimes bawdy skits written by yours truly.  

The big deal is our annual 10 Minute Play Competition. Four finalists were selected by jury from our fall call out for plays:

  • The Grind by Andrew G. Cooper of Kamloops
  • Green Alibi by Catherine Cunningham-Huston of Kelowna
  • Cancel My Appointments by Natasha Daly of Kelowna
  • The Hammer Shop by past winner Logan Mullin from Vernon. 

The winner is awarded $150 and a ridiculous, but coveted trophy, The Black Cat Cup. 

Directors this year are:

  • Ashley Plomp
  • Kendra Hesketh
  • Graham Daley
  • Logan Mullin, who will be directing his own play. 

Believe me, they take their job seriously and although the cup is goofy, they want to win.

Our audiences also get into The Black Cat by dressing up like underground cabaret partiers, lover’s red and black cat prevail, and they also vote on the winning play. 

Fifteen local businesses have also contributed hotel packages, jewelry, wine and collectables to The Black Cat silent auction and raffles because this event is our major fundraiser for the year. 

One lucky audience member will also get to take home a pair of diamond earrings worth $500 from Premier Jewellery and Loan.

If you are looking for the perfect Valentine’s event-may we encourage you to bring out your inner Love Cat?  

Throw off the parka and dress up in lover’s red or black cat and pop down to our party, set in London’s Kit Kat Club.

It’s going to be a hot one.

The Black Cat Cabaret runs Feb.11-12 at 7:30 p.m. at The Black Box Theatre. It is a 16+ event.

Advance tickets, $25, are available from www.selectyourtickets.com or $35 at the door (cash only).  For more information about our not for profit, charitable professional theatre company, check out www.newvintage.ca.

More Bonnie on Stage articles

About the Author

Bonnie Gratz is an actor, director, and playwright. She is the Artistic Director of Kelowna's New Vintage Theatre, and a member of the Playwright's Guild of Canada and The Literary and Dramaturges of North America. 

For more on Bonnie, check out www.bonnie-gratz.com or check out www.newvintage.ca

Contact Bonnie at:  [email protected]


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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