From dancing teacups to infernal lovers, symphonic concerts to country crooners, a diverse world of music and theatre awaits Red Deer residents this fall and winter.
Red Deer College theatre students are planning to stage two well-known works: The fairy tale Beauty and the Beast will be presented as a Christmas-time musical at the RDC Arts Centre, while an original version of Emily Bronte’s brooding novel Wuthering Heights — a stark tale of cruelty and thwarted love — will be a melodramatic Valentine’s offering.
October’s season opener will be a bit of a Canadian time-capsule — students will stage Michel Tremblay’s play Bonjour La Bonjour, which takes place in the turbulent Quebec of the 1970s.
Central Alberta Theatre will celebrate its 40th season of community theatre with five new lighthearted dinner theatre comedies at the Black Knight Inn. Among the plays are The Love List, which takes a humorous poke at the travails of dating, and the Western comedy Outlaw. The two productions, written by popular Canadian playwright Norm Foster, are opening in January and February.
Among six professional offerings from Ignition Theatre, in its fifth season, is a radio play version of the perennial film favourite It’s a Wonderful Life, which will open at The Matchbox in December. The Drawer Boy, an award-winning play about art appropriating life by Canadian playwright Michael Healey, will run in October.
In March, Ignition will present the world premiere of the play Fertile Choices, based on a local poetry/sculpture exhibit about the choice to remain childless.
A new group of local thespians, Against the Wall Theatre, plan to stage two dramas this fall and winter, including one about disaffected youth called Suburbia, by Eric Bogosian. It opens in November in the Scott Block.
In the meantime, local youth might be clamouring to see Disney’s High School Musical, a splashy, touring stage spectacle that will stop at the Centrium this month.
On the other music front, a steady stream of big-name, high-calibre country acts are coming to the city this fall, starting with Doc Walker at the Memorial Centre in mid-September, and continuing with separate concerts by George Jones and Brooks and Dunn (with local singer Gord Bamford as the opening act) at the Centrium in October. Alan Jackson and George Canyon will perform at the same venue in November.
Fans of classical music can enjoy a whole new season of six concerts with the Red Deer Symphony, as well three concerts with a reduced chamber orchestra.
The biggest change this season is that two of the RDSO’s Mainstage concerts — on Dec. 5 and April 24 — will not be held at the RDC Arts Centre, but rather at Gaetz United Church, since the orchestra needs to borrow the church’s massive organ. Among the featured guests this RDSO season are the vocal group Voicescapes for the Christmas concert and soprano Nancy Gibson for the last concert in April.
Of course, there will be alternatives for those who like to rock, or listen to jazz or the blues.
Performing in Red Deer this month are The Bop Ensemble, featuring musician Bill Bourne. A Case of the Blues, a local Blues Brothers tribute, is coming to The Matchbox on Sept. 25 and 26. Folk-rockers Tanglefoot and blues artists Lester Quitzau and Jack Semple are also bound for Red Deer this fall and winter at the invitation of the Central Music Festival Society.
Four new bluegrass concerts are planned by the Waskasoo Bluegrass Society, Red Deer College has jazz and big band concerts scheduled, and the Red Deer Chamber Singers will be putting on a Renaissance Feast in December.