New West Theatre is starting to get ready to put on some Christmas-themed “Razzle Dazzle” at the Yates Theatre, Dec. 16-Jan. 4.
Richie Wilcox is excited about being part of his first New West Theatre show.
“It is so exciting. The first show I saw when I moved here last year was ‘Party On,’ their summer show,” Wilcox said.
He is pleased to be part of the “New West family,” particularly because there are a lot of ’80s moments in the show, which usually includes the greatest hits of past New West shows.
“I get to sing a Rick Astley song. And I get to do a beautiful duet with Kyle (Gruninger) on ‘Dust In The Wind,’” he enthused.
He is excited about working with the cast including New West veterans Erica Hunt, Scott Carpenter, Kathy Zaborsky and relatively new additions Jocelyn Haub and Devon Brayne. He is also excited about working with director Jay Whitehead, who he works with in their own theatre company at the Bordello as well as professors at the University of Lethbridge. “It is a privilege to be able to work with these people,” he said.
“And I definitely have a close relationship with Jay through Bordello and at the University of Lethbridge. He’s doing some choreography, too. It really is a well-greased machine” he said.
“And we have Kathy Zaborsky as vocal director. So it really is a tight-knit group. We have a lot of fun in rehearsal which will come through to the audience,” he enthused.
“There’s some really great musical moments happening because of the talent happening. It will be worth it just to see them do Queen’s ‘Somebody to Love,’” he continued, adding he is enjoying working with the band including keyboardist Bente Hansen, guitarist Scott Mezei, bassist Greg Paskuski and drummer Paul Walker.
Devon Brayne is excited about finishing his third season with New West Theatre with this show.
“We try to mix serious songs with humourous songs,” Brayne said, taking a break from rehearsing comedian Tim Minchin’s “If I Didn’t Have You.”
“And I’m told Tiny Tim may be coming back,” he said.
“I’m the comedy person at least for musical numbers,” he observed.
“And we haven’t even looked at the comedy for the show,” he said, adding he hopes to bring back his popular clown character form the last show.
“We’ll be doing the Scots for Plaid Day (Friday, Dec. 6),” he continued.
“I get to sing two of my favourite songs and some new stuff as well, so that’s interesting,” he continued.
After five days of rehearsal, the group is just starting to hit their stride.
“We’ve done vocal rehearsals and on choreography rehearsal. Jay is doing some very wonderful things,” he said.
“It will connect quite nicely with the lights and set,” he said.
“I enjoy working with the band. We’ve just had one rehearsal with them and everyone gets to rock out,” he added.
New West Theatre often lets Brayne show off his instrumental prowess as well.
“No guitar this time round, but I get to play drums on a Stevie Wonder song, ‘For Once in My Life.’ I usually play slower songs, but this one is a lot faster and I love that. And with Tiny Tim, I get to play ukulele,” he said.
He is also looking forward to hearing the group perform Queen’s “Somebody to Love.”
“Erica sounds fabulous. We have a really cohesive group of singers who really bring it to life,” he promised. He always looks forward to the show, and he’s not the only one.
“I’m excited about opening night. I want to get in front of the audience. Their applause will lift us up,” Wilcox enthused.
Show runs at 7:30 each night Dec. 16-Dec. 21 and Dec. 26-Jan. 4 except New Year’s Day. Tickets cost $21 in advance for adults and matinees Dec. 21, Dec. 26 and Jan. 4 at 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m., Dec. 28.
Tickets cost $26 at the door. Students and seniors tickets cost $18 in advance and for matinees and $22 at the door. Tickets for children 12 and under cost $12 in advance and for matinees and $15 at the door.