Visiting Mr. Green

Mr.Green poster

What can you do with a good set and only two actors? Actually quite a lot. Case in point is the play Visiting Mr. Green. This is a play written by the American Jeff Baron and is currently playing at the Studio/Stage Door staring Michael Grossman as Mr. Green and Jerrod Bondy as Ross Gardiner. This production is directed by Tanya Laing Gahr in, probably, her last opus for the Cranbrook Community Theatre. Unfortunately for local patrons Tayna is relocating to Vernon. The play explores a number of dimensions of the themes of racial and sexual orientation prejudices and how the issues are mirror reflections in the differing circumstances of the two protagonists.

Mr. Green - Michael Grossman

Mr. Green played by Michael Grossman

Ross Gardiner played by Jerrod Bondy

 Mr. Green - Michael Grossman   Ross Gardiner - Jerrod Brody   Mr Green - Michael Grossman  Mr Green and Ross Gardiner      Ross Gardiner - Jerrod Brody  Ross Gardiner - Jerrod Bondy   Mr. Green - Michael Grossman  Ross Gardiner - Jerrod Bondy   Mr. Green  Ross Gardiner - Jerrod Bondy Ross Gardiner and Mr. Green     Mr. Green - Michael Grossman  Ross Gardiner - Jerrod Bondy   Ross and Mr. Green  Ross Gardiner  - Jerrod Bondy  Ross and Mr. Green  Ross and Mr. Green   Mr. Green - Michael Grossman   the set   186. Ross Gardiner - Jerrod Bondy  Curtain CallJeff Baron’s website


As a significant aside I should mention the music selections for the play. As always one of the highlights of the Cranbrook Community productions is their music selections. In the case of Visiting Mr. Green, appropriately, the general mood of the evening was enhanced by a great selection of Klezmer including music by Andy Statman, Geoff Berner and a number of the more traditional ensembles. The outstanding song Weep Bride, Weep by Geoff Berner  almost ran the risk of upstaging the play. Here are some lyrics from the song:

All of the places have been set, I’m so happy all you honoured guests all came
There’s been planning and preparation to put the Normandy invasion to shame
This day is all for you so now there’s nothing left to do but

 weep, bride, weep / weep, bride, weep / weep, bride, weep

Weep, bride weep / now your girlhood is over and your womanhood lies stretched out before you / weep, bride, weep
Like a dull grey matronly corpse on the coroner’s slab / weep, bride, weep
Nothing but the horrifying agony of childbirth for you to look forward to now / weep, bride, weep / While the melodies of yesterday’s parties echo sadly in the past

Weep, bride, weep / Now I’m sorry but it’s time for me to talk about the subject of your husband / weep, bride, weep
 I guess you think he’s pretty ‘cute’ and pretty smart and maybe even pretty deep / well weep, bride weep
‘Cos he’s a closeted marxist who thinks that marriage is state prostitution / weep, bride, weep
So sometimes you’ll have to f**** him just to get him to shut up and go to sleep

Weep, bride, weep / but not too hard, we can’t have you collapsing out of sheer desolation / weep, bride weep
Because we need you functionally depressive so you’ll still get up and drive the kids to class / weep, bride, weep
Well at least tonight your father’s buying all the liquid consolation and the musicians will enjoy the bridesmaids in the ***.


LOCALS, the November 2013 Coffee House

LOCALS COFFEE HOUSE, Saturday November 15, 2013 at the Studio/Stage Door, Cranbrook. This is the second LOCALS of the season.  MC Stacey OigThings are going really well for organizers and patrons with an excellent lineup of performers and the second sold out show of the season. The MC Stacey Oig set the audience up for a great night with his introduction for Trena Spears. Trena is a vocalist who sang with a back up track of Trena Spearsa rocking rhythm section, solo guitars and saxes. The chorus of the first song I’m Here for the Party kind of said it all : “You know I’m here for the party / And I ain’t leavin’ till they throw me out / Gonna have a little fun, gonna get me some / You know I’m here, I’m here for the party” (Gretchen Wilson). Trena followed that up with Take it Back, then an original piece followed by a Dixie Chicks number called (I think – Some Days You Gotta Dance). Trena has a big voice, looks good on stage and has all the right moves down pat. The only thing she is  Bud Abbottlacking is a hot live band and, who knows, after Saturday that could change. Younger performers these days have made a religion of writing their own material. That is all well and good but Bud Abbott and his accompanist Carol McGrath, on piano, ably demonstrated that there is an incredibly deep well of great songs and tunes that have been kicking around for the past hundred or so years. They ran through a repertoire of With a Little Bit of Luck, Get Me to the Church on Time, I’ll be Seeing You and the tango Spanish Eyes. Bud Abbott also demonstrated that you can’t keep a Sage Grassgood man down no matter what his age. SAGE GRASS is the the Clelland family band (Bill, Judy, Jason, Justin and Wasey) and they have been around for a while and take their music seriously. They rehearse twice a week and have spent the last two summers at the Sorrento Bluegrass camp. Their music coasts along the edges of BlueGrass, Folk and Country and they are not afraid to experiment with unconventional configurations. BlueGrass purists frown on the use of shakers and Djembes but I think it adds sonic texture to the mix so  I say keep it up. They introduced a beautiful new upright bass to the mix and that has really  Madison Keiverrounded out the sound. They kicked off their section of the show with Bill Monroe’s Blue Moon of Kentucky, followed by Doc Watson’s Rising Sun Blues, Old Crow Medicine Show’s Wagon Wheels and the wonderful vocal harmonies of The Sons of the Pioneers Cool Water. Youth must have its day and thank God it comes in such wonderful packages like the charming Miss Maddison (Maddy) Keiver. Maddy revisited the Animal’s version of The House of the Ring Son, Stevie Nicks Landslide and an original piece entitled Going No Where. After the charm of youth and beauty the old and short sighted demanded equal time with the music of, your truly, Rod Wilson  on vocals and 12-string guitar. The first piece song was the traditional Crooked Jack and that was dedicated to all the Radicals, Reformers and Unionists who fought for our current world of social justice. It was a tale of of a strapping young Irishman cut down in  The 12-String guitarhis prime by an industrial accident. I have a liking for instrumental music so as a special treat (I hope that`s what it was) I played the Ashokan Set, a medley of the Ashokan Farewell (from the PBS Civil War Documentary) and the original tunes Paxton`s Parody, and the forever optimistic, Tomorrow is a Better Day. Ferdy Belland took us on a little nostalgic tour of his misspent youth drowning in classic rock while living in rain drenched Bella Coola. He brought back some of his memories with some classic Springsteen, and a song by Kirsty MacColl, daughter of the famous British Folk icon Ewan MacColl. Way back in 1979 Kirsty scored a hit  with They Don’t Know. I like narrative songs and The Streets of Baltimore, written in 1966, is one of the great songs of that idiom and is one that Ferdy obviously enjoys performing. Ferdy finished his set with a piece by the drummer Roger Taylor from the classic rock band Queen. The closing set was by Gold Creek, (Connor Foote, Clayton Parsons). After flirtations with such names as Pine Slacks and Steamboat Hollers  the young guys seem to have settled on a new name, for now, Gold Creek. I think that will work. I rolls off the tongue easily, has some local  Gold Creekconnections to the area and brings to mind images of the “rootsy/country” music that seems to be their trade mark. For this engagement Gold Creek used the talents of the tasty drummer Zach Silver (a drummer who uses brushes instead of sticks can only be tasty) The first out the gate was the original song Box Car Willie (no connection to the well known country singer). Clayton penned the original  September Sunday at 4am in the morning at a location that cannot be disclosed. Connor’s tune Heart Break Blues  was dedicated to Ferdy. The song Tennessee was a new one to me. Connor took us out on the classic quotes from his most well known original song “I met my wife at a family re-union”, “true love never had no reason”, “nothing lasts for ever” and “passion burns like gasoline”. I like their new name and I hope they stick with it. By the way an upright bass player would really fit well with group. Angus MacDonald where are you when we need you?

Trena Spears Carol McGrath   Bill Clelland  Jason and Justin060. Bass

 Madison Keiver  500. Ferdy Belland  Connor Foote of Gold Creek  Bud Abbott  Wasey Clelland  Connor Foote   Clayton Parsons  Zach Silver  Clayton Parsons of Gold Creek  Connor Foote      Clayton ParsonsClayton Parsons090.

Here are some additional images of Gold Creek and me sent by Lorraine

Gold Creek       Rod Wilson



LOCALS COFFEE HOUSE – THE FIRST OF THE SEASON, October 12, 2013, 7:30pm at the Studio / Stage Door, Cranbrook

This was a very auspicious start to the season – LOCALS Coffee House played to a sold out house on Saturday night. The local musicians, from novices to the most seasoned veteran of the coffee house circuit, were all set for the night’s activities. Dennis Kerr (vocals and guitar) moved to area recently and he kicked off the night with songs about his new found East Kootenay experiences. Songs such as I Am Getting Sick of it , Bull River Mosquitoes, Fort Steele and Dean Brodie’s Brothers. Shauna Plant is a well known local performer in The Rosie Brown Band who played a little later in the Issac Plant evening. In the meantime her children are seeking to displace her as the premier musician in the family. Her son Isaac was joined by his sister Meaghan and her friend Morgan Bulloch (the back up vocalists who will henceforth be known as the M&M’s) for a set of Josh Ritter songs that included Joy to You Baby, Certain Light and Kathleen. There is a rumour going around that Issac has resorted to sticking screw drivers into power The Rosie Brown Band - Paige, Cosima, Janice and Shaunaoutlets to get his hair into such tip top shape. The Rosie Brown Band was one member short for their performance. Their dobro player and fellow vocalist, Heather Gemmell, was way off in the boonies on a hiking trip. The gorgeous vocal ensemble is the signature ingredient of their sound and that remained intact for Long Gone and Cosima Wells’ showpiece Oh Suzanna. Janice Nickli on upright bass, Paige Lennox on banjo and Shauna Plant on mandolin shared the instrumental solo chores. The band member were obviously enjoying them selves. Steve Lungall, otherwise known as Pot Luck Steve, with the aid of his beautiful assistants, Shelagh Redecopp and Shauna Plant did the little one scene performance Steve Lungalof the Drunken Scotsman and his prized “member”. Also on the racy side was the Grit Laskin song The Photographers. To ensure that we were not all destined for a quick trip to hell Steve finished his set with a Gospel song.  Larry MacKenzie is a long time song writer and guitarist and over the years has been a staple on the local music scene. In his domestic life Larry tends to over build so when he started building a new wood shed he didn’t realize how much he over built until his wife appropriated the building to use as a car port. Never-the-less he took time off from these construction chores and hooked up with bass player Ferdy Belland to stroll though some of his original material. There was some choice slide guitar on one particular tune. The songs included A Day at a Time, Be a Good Little Boy, A Ha Ha Road, and My Shoes. The last act of the evening was Sheva (Van and Shelagh Redecopp) with Steve Jones on upright bass  Shevaand young Drew Lyle on vocals and mandolin. With a whole new batch of songs that included Next Go Round (Old Crow Medicine Show), Flowers in Your Hair, Trials and Troubles, Stubborn Love and and a wonderful fiddle instrumental called Midnight on the Water. The instrumental was in the unusual fiddle tuning of DDAD. The highest compliment I can pay to any performer is one “where the music takes me some where else”. It doesn’t happen often, in fact the last time was at a concert by the clawhammer banjo player Chris Coole, but on Saturday night Sheva  took me way, way out there. Great job guys.  As always the volunteers make LOCALS possible and thanks must go  to all of those behind the scenes for creating a such wonderful evening. Here are some images from the night.

Meghan Plant and Morgan Bulloch   Paige Lennox   Isaac Plant Shauna Plant   Shelagh Redecopp   Cosima Wells  Janice Nicli  Paige Lennox  Van Redecopp  Meghan Plant & Morgan Bulloch  Drew Lyle  Shelagh Redecopp   Shauna Plant  Steve Lungal (Potluck Steve)   Janice Nicli Drew Lyle   Ferdy Belland   Cosima Wells Paige Lennox  Janice Nicli   Van Redecopp Shelagh Redecopp   Steve Jones  Paige Lennox  Shelagh Redecopp


Beannick Subscription Concert Series #5

Gord Johnston & Terry Miller have just released the line up for the next Beannick Subscription Concert Series (#5) – here are the performers and dates-

Saturday, January 12, 2013: Cahalen Morrison & Eli West, old-time duo from Seattle.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013: The Carlos del Junco Trio, A Maple Blues Award Winner and Juno nominee.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013: Stephen Fearing – Solo

All shows are at the Studio / Stage Door starting at 8pm. This is a subscription series and for more information contact Terry Miller at


It’s a Wonderful Life – The Live Radio Show

CRANBROOK COMMUNITY THEATRE PRESENTS: It’s a Wonderful Life – The Live Radio Show, at the Studio/Stage Door in Cranbrook. Performances December 7,8, 12, 13, 14, 15, 2012.

As a Christmas story “A Wonderful Life” ranks right up there with Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol” and it is obvious that the director Terry Miller really, really likes this script. He directed the show two year ago and he is back with a new production for this year’s Christmas season. Some actors have returned for this production (Peter Schalk, Sioban Staplin, Jennifer Inglis) and are joined by David Popoff (fresh from the radio flavoured Babe Ruth Comes to Pickle River), Sean Swinwood and a cameo appearance by Bud Abbott. Based somewhat on the old black and white film “Miracle on 34th Street” (or at least I remember it as black and white, maybe they have colored it up by now) that is screened on network TV every Christmas. It is the story of an adventurous youth trapped by circumstances that in turn leads to despair and finally redemption. That’s all very well of course but I don’t think that the actual story line is the reason that this play works so well. For me it’s more about the power of imagination. Before TV there were ‘Motion Pictures’ and Radio and of the two, radio was the one that really fired the imagination. I remember radio and the serialised adventure shows (Superman, The Phantom, Biggles, and the like) with larger than life voices, dialogue and sound effects that enthralled the mind with endless possibilities. Those possibilities have been captured on this stage in a marvelous period piece of a time before our time. A time when people dressed up, men wore double breasted suits and women pulled compacts out of their purses instead of cell phones. And when was the last time you saw a young man stand with his hand in his pocket just so? For most people the play will invoke images from the film and that is fine. However, may I suggest that the play and the production share a sensibility that was displayed in Woody Allen’s 1985 film The Purple Rose of Cairo. Maybe I am stretching it, but David Popoff could have stepped down off the screen in that Woody Allen film. Once again the Cranbrook Community Theatre actors  and director have managed to master a multitude of roles, voices and a mountain of dialogue to add substance to our imagination in this well known entertaining story.



Steel Magnolias

In days of old the Islamic world had Harems. In modern western society we have Beauty Salons. Both, I suspect, serve very similar functions. They are both exclusively the domains of women. Men are excluded and under normal circumstances would not want admission. Steel Magnolias is a glimpse into this world of sisterhood. The play is set in a home based beauty parlor in Chinquapin, Louisiana and is an exploration of the lives and transformations of the six protagonists over a three year period. Annelle (Hannah Van Der Roest) is the young miss fresh out of school trying to come to terms with an unsatisfactory relationship and is desperately seeking employment and independence. Hairdressing in Truvy’s salon is the first step in her transformation from naivety through worldliness to born-again Christianity.


Shelby (Kirsten Kasner) could be a stereotypical prom queen. In this instance she is an attractive young woman with an obsession for the colour pink and suffering from a very serious diabetic condition. She gets married, and against medical advice has a child and ends up with terminal renal disease. Throughout the process she goes through her own emotional and physical transformations that include a hair make over and dealing with the outcomes of her decisions.  M’Lynn (Michelle McCue) is her long suffering mother who tries to deal with the decisions of her willful daughter and is left to cope with the consequences. Among the constellation of characters there is Clairee (Elizabeth Ross). A very attractive wealthy matron who starts out as an avid football fan and ends up as a radio station owner. Ouiser (Joanne Wilkinson) is the eccentric in the pack. She behaves the way she does because people expect her to wear outlandish hats, clothes and act as a crazy old lady. That’s what people expect so that’s what they get. Despite that, this crazy old lady does undergo some moderation of her eccentricities within the the turmoil of the Salon. Truvy (Susan Hanson) seems to be the least affected by change. She reacts to the constellation of characters that inhabit her salon but she under goes no significant changes or transformations. In fact she doesn’t even get her hair done. She seems to be the rock solid centre of what is after all her salon. She’s a hairdresser and therefore it’s her business to bring about change. “There is no such thing as natural beauty”, or so she thinks. So in addition  to the meaningful personal transformations of the protagonists there is the manic outcomes of the hair styling process and the behavior of the patrons and their families (including the gun toting husband of M’lynn and Ouiser’s hairless dog – all of whom are off stage).

Here are some images from the life and times of Steel Magnolias:


The play STEEL MAGNOLIAS, written by Robert Harling and directed by Bob McCue is playing at the the Studio / Stage Door in Cranbrook. The shows are Friday and Saturday of November 16th and 17th of November, Wednesday to Saturday November 21-24th, 2012 and Wednesday to Saturday November 28, 29, 30 and December 1, 2012. All shows are at 8pm and Tickets are available from Lotus Books.


“Babe Ruth Comes to Pickle River”



Babe Ruth Comes to Pickle River

at the Studio / Stage Door

Thursday, Friday and Saturday

October 4, 5, 6th, 2012

Tickets are $15 and are available at Lotus Books

This charming play is about the early years of radio in Canada’s hinterlands.  In 1932, Jane, a 30-something woman pursuing one dream while avoiding several other bad ones, accidently arrives in Pickle River, a far-flung mining town in northern Ontario. There she meets Roy, a young entrepreneur who is launching a fledgling radio station just as the medium is beginning to take the country by storm. In Babe Ruth Comes to Pickle River, two talented actors portray six characters to create a magical staging of the people and places of Pickle River, Ontario. Local Director Tanya Laing Gahr has assembled a stellar cast, starring Lisa Aasebo and David Popoff.

Here are some images from the full dress rehearsal:                                                            This is such a fun play that it would be a shame to miss it … be there.