Ian Morton and Sarah Lane will take to the stage as Billy Flynn and Roxie Hart in the Bard to Broadway production of Chicago, with its first performance taking place July 7. — Don Emerson Photo

B2B season has rare Island line-up of shows in Qualicum Beach

Month-and-a-half of performances kicks off with Baskerville comedy July 3

Bard to Broadway is inching ever nearer, with a suite of exciting shows starting July 3 that it says has never been put on by an amateur group on the Island before.

With a spoof of the Sherlock Holmes mystery Hound of the Baskervilles (recently written) kicking off the season July 3, next comes another comedy, Savannah Sipping Society on July 5, then sexy Broadway sensation Chicago starting on July 7. Performances of these three continue until mid-August, all taking place at The Village Theatre (110 2nd Ave. West, Qualicum Beach).

“Not one of these shows has been staged on Vancouver Island by an amateur theatre before so we are extremely excited to bring them to Oceanside,” said Gary Brown, co-chair or B2B’s artistic direction committee, and director of Chicago.

“To be the first company to produce all three of these shows locally is also a feather in B2B’s cap. I think this will be a stellar season and proof is that tickets are selling very well already. I’d love to see sold out shows all summer long,” he said.

Securing the rights to Chicago is a particular thrill, said Brown, who’s wanted to direct the show for more than 17 years.

“I don’t think Oceanside has ever seen this kind of huge dance show before,” he said. “I enlisted a dear friend and choreographer from West Vancouver to work on this show with me.”

The jazzy show will be accompanied by an eight-piece band, adding to the cast of 24, coming from Duncan to Campbell River. “Highly talented singers and dancers will wow the audience,” said Brown.

Baskerville looks to be a high-energy affair, with seven cast members playing 45 characters.

Director Mike Moroz has some experience with this, having participated in the Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged) with just four cast members.

“It’s (all about) cast chemistry,” he said off pulling of a show where few cast members play many characters. “Putting together a group of actors who understand the need for speed, and that timing is everything.”

Moroz has put together a cast of veterans and newcomers that he said are very excited for the play, and who are working very hard on each character.

“(You’ve got) to make sure you’re grounded and focused on each of the characters, treating them individually with the respect that the character itself deserves. So what you’re creating is distinct characters and not just the same character with a moustache,” he said.

The show looks to be a high-paced, high energy event with a strong story and strong acting, Moroz said.

Savannah Sipping Society (directed by Jay Norton) is another comedy, focusing on the lives of four very different women as they sample a wide variety of alcoholic beverages.

“The wonderful part of this scirpt and show is that, although it is an outrageously funny story, you also have the sad, heartbreaking moments that occur in real life,” said Brown.

After the run of these three shows, B2B also has their teen musical production. That’s Disney’s Beauty and the Beast Jr. this year, to be performed August 16, 17 and 18.

Co-directed by Hilary Whelton and Miranda Atkinson this year, B2B’s teen musical theatre is an annual three-week bootcamp for performers ages 13-18. No experience is required. Rehearsals begins Monday, July 30. For more info, or to register, contact Whelton at 250-752-0547 or by email: wheltonc@shaw.ca.

For B2B’s full schedule, go to b2btheatre.com/performance-schedule. For tickets, go to b2btheatre.com/tickets-2, email b2btheatre@gmail.com or call the box office at 250-752-4470.

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