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Hatrix revisits familiar faces in A Comedy of Tenors

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It’s fun to revisit familiar characters. Hatrix Theatre is doing just that with their production of Ken Ludwig’s 2015 comedy A Comedy of Tenors, which runs May 24-26 at the Eagles Hall.The Three Tenors Clive Abbott, Greg VanDeurzen and  Colin Bluekens are ready for a Comedy of Tenors, May 24-26. Photo by Richard Amery
The play is an unofficial sequel to Ludwig’s 1986 comedy Lend Me A Tenor, picks up shortly after the antics of  “Lend Me A Tenor, ” in 1930’s Paris, where apoplectic producer Henry Saunders is ready to put on the concert of the century, if his cast doesn’t either quit or kill each other first.

 Several familiar characters return in this production including constantly quarrelling couple Maria (played by Vicki Gibson) and Italian tenor star Tito Merelli (played by Clive Abbott), Saunders, ( played by Stephen Graham), who also played Saunders in Hatrix’s 2014 production of Lend me A Tenor,) and Saunders’ ever faithful dogsbody Max (played by Colin Bluekens) who has not only  become an opera star in his own right, but also is worried about his pregnant wife, Saunders’ daughter Maggie, back home in America.

 Add in  Merelli’s daughter Mimi (Emilie Kidd), her new beau, up and coming opera star and Merelli’s rival Carlo Nucci (played by Greg VanDeurzen) and sultry Russian soprano Racon (Carrie-Ann Worden), slamming doors, plenty of misunderstandings, misidentifications, sexual innuendos and operatic references and you have a good time.

 Clive Abbott wears multiple hats  in the show, as he is not only playing Tito, but Tito’s bellhop twin Beppo, plus a talking tongue and is also building the set.
“I like the idea of playing dual roles and using different voices for each of them,” said Abbott, a veteran of many Hatrix productions including last November’s “12 Angry Jurors.“
“I really like this cast and being directed by Karolyn Harker,” Abbott continued.

Vicki Gibson, who was also in 12 Angry Jurors got the acting bug from Karolyn Harker.


Geomatic Attic, Owl and the Slice all shaking this week

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The last couple weeks of  May are going to cook with lots of great shows happening.Taylor Ackerman’s Global Acid Reset has a couple of shows this week. Photo by Richard Amery
 Hamilton singer songwriter Royal Wood and his band play two sold out shows at the Geomatic Attic, May 22 and 23 with Vancouver twins Fionn opening the shows.
 The Geomatic Attic really is the place to be this month, as they also bring back Ottawa blues/rock duo MonkeyJunk, May 25, who return to Lethbridge fresh off winning their second Juno award for their most recent CD “Time To Roll. Tickets are $37.50 in advance, $40 at the door. The show begins at 8 p.m.

 On June 15, the Geomatic Attic wind up their season with Vancouver rockabilly trio Cousin Harley, who are touring in support of their new tribute to Merle Travis “Blue Smoke”. Tickets for that show are also $37.50 in advance, $40 at the door. The show begins at 8 p.m.

 Then the Geomatic Attic gets ready for the second annual Wide Skies music Festival, which will be an impressive three days filled with music in the Southminster United Church and outside as well. The first night, Monday, July 30 features Saskatchewan roots/ blues band Little Miss Higgins opening for acclaimed South Carolina folk duo Shovels and Rope, who are playing the Calgary Folk Festival on the weekend. Tickets for that show cost $60. The music begins at 8 p.m.
 There will be a free outdoor show the next day, July 31 featuring the Weber Brothers, Vancouver blues duo Harpoonist and the Axe Murderer, Shakura S’Aida Skinny Dyck and the Chicken Catchers and guests. There will be a beer gardens as well as food trucks, vendors, artisans and lots of fun. Skinny Dyck will also be organizing an after party at the Owl Acoustic Lounge as well as the side stage during the festival including a lot of talent including Calgary songwriter Tom Phillips.
 Frazey Ford, formerly of the Be Good Tanyas, returns to Lethbridge for another ticketed event inside the Southminster United Church, Aug. 1 with Seattle indie rock band the Cave Singers. Tickets for that show are $50, or you can get a festival pass for $90 including admission to all of the events.
 But that’s not for a few months yet.

 There is still a lot going on this week.
 The Smokehouse hosts another great punk show, May 23 with Montreal psychobilly veterans the Gutter Demons plus local bands Chief Mountain, the Hockey Moms and 13 to Go. Doors open at 7:30 with the bands beginning at 8 p.m. Admission is $10.
 For rap fans, local rap collective the Blood Rez Crew have an official CD release party at the Owl Acoustic Lounge, may 23 with  Amber AKA Shorty, Chuckbones, Heidi Mason,Olivia Tailfeathers, Fox Eyes, SMG (Killa Cam and Doggystar), UKS, Cat Storm and the Reckless  Gents and  DJ hooligan Admission is  $10.


MonkeyJunk cap off tenth anniversary by winning Juno for “Time To Roll”

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Ottawa based blues/ swamp rock trio MonkeyJunk are pleased to celebrate their tenth year, by not only playing some of their favourite rooms including the Geomatic Attic, May 24, but to win their second Juno Award for their most recent  album  “Time To Roll.”MonkeyJunk return to the Geomatic Attic this week. Photo by Richard Amery
“I haven’t spent much time at home,” admitted baritone guitarist/ vocalist/ harmonica player Steve Marriner, waiting for a sound check to start in Dauphin, Manitoba. He was pleasantly surprised to see the new album won the Juno award.

“I don’t think we expected it. It was a pleasant surprise. It‘s our second one. We also won one in 2 012.  But this one caps off a great tenth anniversary run,”  he said, adding the trio, including drummer Doug Sobb and lead guitarist Tony Diteodoro are visiting some of their favourite places. While the band calls Ottawa home, Marinner has lived in Toronto  for the past two years, Diteodoro splits his time between Edmonton where his girlfriend lives and Ottawa and Sobb lives in Ottawa full time.

“We’ve had a lot of sold out shows on this tour. We sold out a hometown show in Ottawa the National Arts Centre, which is a great feeling because 10 years ago , we were playing small clubs for about 60 people,” he said, adding the trio is celebrating their tenth anniversary by visiting some of their favourite places to play and playing with some of their favourite musicians.

“ In Winnipeg we played with Joey Landreth of the Bros. Landreth, Big Dave McLean, who is a big influence of mine and in Hamilton, we played with Steve Strongman,” he said.
 The tour has featured some of the biggest crowds they have played for.

 In Sault Sté Marie, we played for 200 people, which is more people we have played before,“he said adding they also have some big festivals booked for the summer including the Salmon Arm Blues and Roots Festival, The Harvest Jazz and blues Festival in Fredericton, and the Edmonton Blues Festival.

 In addition to touring cross Canada with MonkeyJunk, he also just completed a tour with Colin James which stopped by the Enmax Centre for the Lethbridge Jazz and Blues Festival, which was the last time he was in Lethbridge.


Royal Wood inspired by diverse life events for new music

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Toronto multi-instrumentalist, and songwriter Royal Wood is excited to make a long awaited return to Lethbridge, when he plays two shows at the Geomatic Attic with his band, May 22 and 23.Royal Wood returns to the Geomatic Attic this week. Photo submitted
“It’s been a while. So when we had a hole in the schedule, I knew where I wanted to play,” said Royal Wood, who is embarking on a touring in support of his new CD“ Ever After the Farewell.”

 Two monumental events inspired the music — the death of his father from Alzheimer‘s and meeting and marrying the love of his life.

“It really is a paradigm shift,” Royal Wood said, noting he wrote the CD  pretty much  on the spot in a London studio with producer Jamie Scott, who has worked with  Rag n’ Bone Man and Ed Sheeran.

“I never planned to do it this way. I’ve recorded CDs on my own and with my band, but I got hold of Jamie and he cleared his schedule and I cleared mine. I got up in the morning, and had the basics of a song done by noon and filled it it out by the end of the day. Then we did it again the next day,” he described, adding he played most of the instruments himself, except for the horns and string sections on the catchy new single “California Nights.”


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