O’ Donovan back in the spotlight in White Rock

Well-known musical director showcases his singing and piano skills at Coast Capital – with guests Phil Dickson and Steffanie Davis

Kerry O'Donovan is back at the Coast Capital on Sept. 16 in the circumstances in which he said he feels most comfortable – 'just me

It’s no news on the Peninsula that locally-raised Kerry O’Donovan – who cut his performing teeth in Gilbert & Sullivan Society shows, in the long-retired EMS-based alt-rock band Svelte and the musical theatre quartet The Group On Stage – is a mega-talent.

A gifted singer, actor, pianist and songwriter, the Marriott grad has also established a formidable reputation as a musical director and rehearsal pianist for Lower Mainland musical theatre productions over the past two decades – in part because of the kind of understanding that comes from having been in the spotlight so many times himself.

But there’s a down-side that comes with that ability – you can end up spending all of your time music directing for other people’s shows.

That won’t be the case with his upcoming production at Coast Capital Playhouse – an evening billed simply as Kerry O’Donovan with special guests Phil Dickson and Steffanie Davis (Sept. 16, 7:30 p.m.)

As he laughingly refers to it, it’s “The Kerry Show’ – a simple pared-down, informal evening in which he gets to do what he loves best, sing and play the piano, along with guest numbers by singer-songwriter Dickson, a close family friend, and Davis, a frequent musical theatre collaborator.

“I’ve been moving away from just music directing lately and getting back into performing,” said O’Donovan, whose last major role at the Coast Capital – outside of being musical director for the G & S Society’s HMS Pinafore in 2014 – was starring as Seymour in the White Rock Players/Fighting Chance co-production of Little Shop of Horrors in 2012.

He acknowledges that being asked to play the role of Motel the Tailor in Fiddler On The Roof for Royal City Musical Theatre earlier this year – he first played the character for them in a production 16 years ago – is “part of what caused to want to get my feet wet again.”

In many ways, the upcoming role will be an extension of the kind of work he’s been doing in his Wednesday night residency at Vancouver’s XY Lounge since last October, he said.

“It’s a musical theatre/show tune sing-a-long night,” he said. “People fill out a request sheet and sometimes they’ll get up and do the song.”

But there’s usually a set in which O’Donovan ends up playing and singing whatever he feels like playing and singing (“I call it my hour of indulgence,” he said) and that’s the same feel he wants to reproduce at the Coast Capital.

“I’m not going to print out a song list, because that’s limiting. The format is basically just my favourite songs – songs that have meant something to me over the years, including the first song I remember my dad (Pacific Showtime and First Capital Chorus stalwart Denny O’Donovan) teaching me and getting me to sing along to.

“It’s not going to be ‘This Is Your Life, Kerry O’Donovan’ – I’m only 37 – the songs I’ll pick will be because I like them. There’ll be everything from Billy Joel to Flanders and Swann, Rodgers and Hammerstein to Fleetwood Mac. There’ll be songs that people know and songs that people have never heard of, and I’ll probably throw in a couple of originals, too. Not just musical theatre – although there will be some – but also pop songs, rock songs.

“I want everything to be a surprise.”

One thing he is willing to give away is that, during intermission, audience members will be asked to fill out request slips for Broadway tunes.

“I’m going to try to do a little bit of what I do on Wednesdays – I’ll pick three and hope I can do them,” he chuckled. “Fortunately I have hundreds of songs on my iPad.”

One thing there is no question about is the calibre of his guests, he said – both of whom have a strong White Rock-South Surrey connection.

“Phil is a great talent, and he’s had a lot of success with his music. And the Dicksons and the O’Donovan’s have been friends since I was three years old. I’ve seen Phil from when he started learning guitar to becoming a fantastic guitar player.

“I remet Steffanie when I was accompanying a production of The Rocky Horror Show at Capilano University. I’d forgotten that she was in The Wizard of Oz at Gateway when I was 20 and she was one of the Munchkins – she was 11.

“She’s one of the best singers I know – she has a voice that could fill the entire Coast Capital without amplification.”

Coast Capital Playhouse is located at 1532 Johnston Rd.

Tickets ($23 including service charge) are available from the box office, 604-536-7535 (open 1-5 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday).

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The peninsula’s Community Christmas Day Dinner at White Rock Baptist Church – seen here in 2019 – has been cancelled for 2020, because of pandemic-inspired limitations on gatherings. (File photo)
Annual Community Christmas dinner ‘just not possible’ this year

Organizers vow that 40 years-plus Semiahmoo Peninsula tradition will return, post-COVID

Sources volunteers face off at the organization’s ‘Enchanted’ gala – one as a fairy and the other as her magic-mirror reflection – held in 2019. (Tiffany Kwong photo)
‘Rising infections’ prompts move to virtual Sources gala

Silent auction, raffle opens to public at 9 a.m. Oct. 30

This year’s annual Lighted Boat Parade has been cancelled. (File photo)
White Rock’s annual Lighted Boat Parade cancelled

COVID-19 cited as main reason for cancellation of popular winter tradition

Strawberry Hill Hall is being renovated and moved to another location on its existing corner lot in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zillich)
Surrey’s historic Strawberry Hill Hall being moved a few metres in $1.2M reno project

Childcare spaces coming to corner lot where hall has stood for 111 years

A surveillance camera in a photo posted to the Project Iris page on surrey.rcmp-grc.gc.ca.
Quality surveillance video helps catch crooks, Surrey Mounties say

Charges laid in connection to break-and-enter in Guildford area

A woman wears a face mask and plastic gloves while browsing books as a sticker on the floor indicates a one-way direction of travel between shelves of books at the Vancouver Public Library’s central branch, after it and four other branches reopened with limited services, in Vancouver, on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
B.C. reports 234 new COVID cases, 1 death of senior who had attended small birthday party

Roughly 5,700 people are isolating due to being exposed to a confirmed case

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry speaks Thursday (Oct. 29) during a news conference held at Fraser Health office, in video posted to Facebook. (Photo: Government of British Columbai/Facebook)
COVID-19 ‘disproportionately’ affecting Fraser Health: Henry

Health region has about 75 per cent of B.C.’s active cases

Burnaby RCMP responded to a dine-and-dash suspect who fell through a ceiling in March 2020. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Suspected dine-and-dasher falls through ceiling of Burnaby restaurant

A woman believed to be dashing on her restaurant bill fell through the kitchen ceiling

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A can of Canada Dry Ginger Ale is shown in Toronto on Thursday Oct. 29, 2020. The maker of Canada Dry Ginger Ale has agreed to pay over $200,000 to settle a class-action lawsuit launched by a B.C. man who alleged he was misled by marketing suggesting the soda had medicinal benefits. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Joseph O’Connal
B.C. man’s lawsuit over marketing of Canada Dry ginger ale settled for $200K

Soda’s maker, Canada Dry Mott’s Inc., denied the allegations and any liability

Vancouver Island-based Wilson’s Transportation has expanded to fill some of the routes left unserviced by Greyhound as of Nov. 1, 2018. (Black Press files)
B.C. bus companies say they need help to survive COVID-19

Like airlines, motor coaches have lost most of their revenue

A deer was spotted in October 2020 in Prince Rupert, B.C., with a bright pink yoga ball stuck in its antlers. (Kayla Vickers/Chronicles Of Hammy The Deer Official Page)
Hammy 2.0? Prince Rupert deer spotted with bright pink yoga ball stuck in antlers

The BC Conservation Officer Service is aware of the deer roaming around the city

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Kelowna Mountie hit with 2nd lawsuit in 2 months for alleged assault

Const. Julius Prommer is accused of breaking a woman’s knee during while responding to a noise complaint

Most Read