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Saturday, November 26, 2016

Just Like the Movies, at Stage West Calgary...


Hollywood Hits
Stage West Calgary

Nov 18 to Feb 5

courtesy Stage West Calgary

Breaking from their more consistent tradition of pop or country music hit showcases, Stage West has taken a chance on gathering big songs from the movies as their focus on the brand new revue Hollywood Hits. The gamble pays off. You won’t go too long without recognizing most every song that creators Timothy French and Howard Pechet have included here.

That includes a wide variety of songs from an even wider variety of musical styles, Hollywood Hits brings back the backdrop of movies that became cultural icons for a variety of generations - Bond movies, Beatles movies, coming of age films, and even animated classics. 

Once again I have to hold back much of my commentary ahead of my upcoming official Calgary Herald review (link here as soon as that goes live!), but I can say that plenty of thought went into curating these soundtrack classics, many of which have gone on over the years to become standards played at weddings, or fill dance floors when djs spin those tracks. 

Many familiar faces return to the stage to bring the songs to life - David Cotton, Chelsey Duplak, Daniel Greenburg, Tara Jackson, Andrew McGillivray, Tiera Watts, and Jesse Weaver. New talent showing their chops include √Člodie Dorsel, Eric da Costa, JJ Gerber and Cary Shields. As I have recently screwed up the names of various actors TWICE in various roles, I’ll stick this time around to just highlighting performances - of which there are plenty of standouts.
courtesy Stage West Calgary

Going back in time, early films are mined for songs like Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, Rock Around The Clock, and Hard Day’s Night. Adele’s Skyfall is bang-on, as tracks like Tina Turner’s We Don’t Need Another Hero, and a handful of Sixties-era folk rock hits.

In between these segments of songs (far too many to perform in their entirety) you’ll enjoy the over-the-top hilarity of host Andrew McGillivray, who gets a chance to portray a number of figures from the movies, and a few figures plucked from a fertile imagination. As hilarious as he gets to be as this collection of characters, when you hear his all too brief version of Bare Necessities, you’ll wish he had a few more opportunities to sing - which that man can 
do exceptionally.
courtesy Stage West Calgary

By the time this settles down though, you’ll have been walked through a smattering of disco, a trio of funkers via Prince from Purple Rain, love songs, rap and hip-hop, right up to Pharell’s Happy. Most all of those tracks brought appreciative hoots and hollers from the audience, as well as a standing ovation by the end.

If you’re a fan of memorable songs from movies, you’ll certainly enjoy Stage West’s Hollywood Hits - 5 out of 5 stars!