The cast of Edmonton’s Grindstone Theatre doing a scene from ‘Jason Kenney’s Hot Boy Summer, The Musical Convoy Tour’ — one of a long line-up of entertainment events coming this spring to Red Deer’s Memorial Centre. (Contributed photo)

The cast of Edmonton’s Grindstone Theatre doing a scene from ‘Jason Kenney’s Hot Boy Summer, The Musical Convoy Tour’ — one of a long line-up of entertainment events coming this spring to Red Deer’s Memorial Centre. (Contributed photo)

Kenney spoof is among many spring events at Red Deer’s Memorial Centre

More concerts are booked than before the pandemic, says operator

A theatrical spoof about Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is hitting Red Deer — not coincidentally? — on the same weekend as his UCP leadership will be challenged through a membership vote at the Cambridge Hotel.

Edmonton’s Grindstone Theatre will bring Jason Kenney’s Hot Boy Summer, The Musical Convoy Tour to Red Deer’s Memorial Centre for three performances April 8-10.

The show includes a frat-boy version of Jason Kenney and a Rachel Notley character whose boyfriend — at arm’s length — is Justin Trudeau.

The lampooning plot is summarized as: It’s 1983 at Alberta University. Newly-elected student union president Jason Kenney and his friends are planning the hottest year-end party ever — “rodeo-themed, of course. But Kenney’s nemesis Rachel will do anything to stop him….

“Soon…(Kenney’s) new friend Deena, and even his frat mates are turning against him. Can Kenney save his hot summer party, and his frat at the same time?”

The musical that’s touring Alberta is part of a growing list of entertainment events that will light up the Memorial Centre —a venue largely left in the dark when COVID restrictions prevented live performances for much of 2020 and 2021.

The list of spring concerts — including Our Lady Peace, Johnny Reid, Big Wreck and The Beaches — is longer than before COVID hit, said the Memorial Centre’s operations director Darrel Dixon. “It’s definitely picking up. We don’t normally get this many concerts this time of year…”

While ticket sales are still a little below normal — perhaps reflecting ongoing concern about crowds or cancellations — Dixon’s thrilled by the number of bookings.

Upcoming shows at the centre will benefit from a new $200,000 sounds system, acquired with some government grants. Dixon said it’s made by the same company that outfitted Albert Hall in London, the Sydney Opera House and the Lincoln Centre in New York.

He believes listeners will be thrilled with the more consistent, even sound.

At the Our Lady Peace concert on June 12, the Canadian alt-rock band will bring hologram technology. “After not being able to tour for a while, we have committed to pushing the boundaries of what a live show is on this tour,” said the group’s lead singer and co-founder Raine Maida.

Big Wreck will perform at the Memorial Centre on March 29, pop singer Johnny Reid on April 20, a Capella band Home Free on May 3, soloist Josh Ramsay (of Marianas Trench) on May 4, Legends country music tribute show on May 22, Toronto girl group The Beaches on May 23, and Chicago-based vocalists The Lovettes on June 15.

As well, Dixon said there’s a local comedy show The Booze Buds (April 23), and the St. Francis of Assisi musical Beauty and the Beast on April 28-30.

Even the usual run of spring dance school performances are drawing from as far as Didsbury, Rocky Mountain House and Stettler, instead of just the Red Deer area. Dixon said, “I think maybe people want it to feel a little more special because they haven’t been able to do this for so long.”

For more information, please visit reddeermemorialcentre.net/events.



lmichelin@reddeeradvocate.com

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