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And The Oscar Goes To…

Stage West’s Movie Music Revue Pure Magic

Theatre Review by Jason Clevett (From GayCalgary® Magazine, November 2016, page 18)
And The Oscar Goes To…: Stage West’s Movie Music Revue Pure Magic
Image by: John Watson
And The Oscar Goes To…: Stage West’s Movie Music Revue Pure Magic
Image by: John Watson
And The Oscar Goes To…: Stage West’s Movie Music Revue Pure Magic
Image by: John Watson

Since the announcement earlier this year that Stage West would finally be doing one of its popular musical revue’s with a movie theme I have been incredibly excited. While music provides us with the soundtrack of our lives, movies provide an escape and opportunity to explore different worlds. Some of the greatest songs ever created were for films, and Stage West does a fantastic job of bringing those songs to life over the 2-hour production of Hollywood Hits: The Songs that Rocked the Movies.

Stage West has changed up some aspects of the format. Large screens enhance the experience with videos. Andrew McGillvray takes on a narrative role and continues his string of incredible impressions that include the likes of Charlie Chaplin & Ed Sullivan. A hilarious moment sees McGillvray bust out the Oscar winning Hard Out Here For A Pimp – full of bleeps for language. It is, after all, Stage West. It adds a different level to the breaks as the cast is frantically changing backstage to bring artists like The Bee Gee’s, Simon and Garfunkle and Adele to the stage. Every time McGillvray performs he knocks it out of the park.

The baseball euphemism is appropriate to describe many of the numbers in the show. Tara Jackson brings Tina Turner to stage for a sultry Goldeneye and later appears in a full Mad Max outfit to belt out We Don’t Need Another Hero. She scores a trifecta of awesome with a chill inducing Run To You – one of the more underrated Whitney Houston tracks from The Bodyguard.

JJ Gerber’s tribute to Prince from Purple Rain brings about tears especially during a ensemble rendition of Purple Rain. Seeing Elodie Dorsel and Jesse Weafer glide across the stage during I’ve Had The Time of My Life & Up Where We Belong added to those already legendary tracks. There is even a hip-hop segment featuring Gangsta’s Paradise, Lose Yourself & For The Love of Money that was excellent both in delivery and the fact that rap songs were being performed at Stage West.

It definitely makes one realize how many songs have been from soundtracks. Neither Bryan Adams or Celine Dion, who have famous songs from multiple films – were included. Another multi-soundtracker Whitney Houston was just one song. The themes that were used were often clever – a series of songs from James Bond Films or Hollywood Heroes featuring a hilarious rendition of Ghostbusters – as examples. Animation was not forgotten with the show wrapping up with Can You Feel The Love Tonight (complete with an incredible intro), Let It Go, The Bare Necessities, and Happy. The entire cast is excellent, and as much as I would like to highlight each one and a standout number, there is just not enough space and too many great songs to list them all.

It’s a perfect show. My companion for the evening was a friend that I have grown up with and spent many hours in dark theatres or in our living rooms watching movies. After we reminisced about how certain songs, and the movies associated with them brought back so many wonderful memories of family and friends. That is part of why Hollywood Hits: The Songs that Rocked the Movies is so incredible. It’s part nostalgia. Part concert. All Magic.

Do not miss this one.

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Writer Jason Clevett

Locale Calgary

Topic Theatre | Stagewest


Image by: John Watson
Image by: John Watson
Image by: John Watson
Image by: John Watson
Image by: John Watson

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