On Thursday night, Joanne and I had tickets to opening night at the Shoctor Theatre for the 50th anniversary of The Citadel Theatre in Edmonton. It was a wonderful evening with extras that I hadn't expected.
As the play was to begin at 7:30, there was a lovely ceremony(?) opened by Her Excellency, the Lieutenant- Governor of Alberta, Lois Mitchell, who spoke briefly about what The Citadel has meant to Albertans. She was followed by the widow of Joe Shoctor who spoke eloquently about his dream of a 'Broadway' equivalent of the stage in Edmonton and the ensuing life of The Citadel. There were eight more speakers before the play began.
Joanne was an usher in those very first days of the Citadel (in the old Salvation Army building) and I lived in the YWCA at the time. The "Y" was a block away from The Citadel and occasionally, when the play wasn't sold out, tickets would be send over the the 'Y' and we could attend. (The first show I saw was The Fantasticks and Joanne was an usher for that one.)
As the speeches ended, three actors spoke from the audience about their experiences with The Citadel then we were treated to a flash mob performance of Impossible Dream from Man of LaMancha. (One of the singers actually sat next to me!)
Three minutes later, as promised, (I timed it), the performance of BOOM began. Boom is a performance of the music, culture and evens that shaped a generation from 1945 to 1969. It was written, directed and performed by Rick Miller.
It really has to be seen to be believed. Rick Miller not only plays three different characters: a young man who has been through WWII in Vienna, Austria (plus his parents); the daughter of a a returning WWII Canadian veteran (plus her parents and brother); and an African-American young man (his parents and grandmother). He also performs in character the singers 26 songs that typify the 25 Baby Boomer years. (The recent VW scandal was even worked into the storyline. - I wondered how he would do that?!?)
The staging/lighting is incredible - and make the show!
When I read the original write-up in The Edmonton Journal, I wasn't too sure how I would feel about it. But this was definitely a standing ovation performance.
Rick Miller ordinarily stays on stage so attendees can give him their own memories but due to Her Excellency's attendance, that didn't work last night.
After the performance, there was a champagne reception. We stayed for a short time and Joanne was able to speak with Mrs. Shoctor and tell her of her memories of the original Shoctor Theatre.
Absolutely wonderful evening!