Neil Simon comedy
The White Rock Players Club’s next production is the comedy Laughter on the 23rd Floor by Neil Simon, previewing tonight and Thursday, and opening formally on Friday (June 14), at White Rock’s Playhouse, 1532 Johnston Rd.
It’s a semi-autobiographical piece based on Simon’s experiences writing for volatile comedy genius Sid Caesar in the early days of live television in the 1950s, alongside such talents as Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks, Larry Gelbart and Woody Allen.
In his play, seven wisecracking writers – of varying degrees of eccentricity – toil in a Manhattan skyscraper office for ‘Max Prince,’ star of a weekly comedy-variety show.
Director Lance Peverley notes that Laughter on the 23rd Floor provides an opportunity to shine for some versatile acting talents from recent and former productions at the Playhouse, along with newcomers to the White Rock stage who have been featured notably with other groups in productions across the Lower Mainland.
“We wanted to cast actors who are close to as described in Simon’s masterful blueprint,” Peverley said in a news release.
“And that means mainly younger personalities in their 20s and early 30s, (similar to those) who worked under Caesar’s leadership in Your Show of Shows, Caesar’s Hour and follow-up ventures.”
Nikolas Perry (Royal Canadian Theatre Company’s A Bedfull of Foreigners) returns to the White Rock stage – after a long absence – as Max in a fine ensemble cast that also includes Adrian Shaffer (Harvey, Comedy of Tenors) as Simon’s counterpart Lucas Brickman, Rebekah MacEwan (most recently seen in FVGSS’ Seussical), Janelle Carss (Present Laughter), Charles Buettner (Ninotchka), Daleal Monjazeb, Yukon DeLeeuw, Callum Henderson and Adam Beggs.
Performances are Wednesday to Saturday at 8 p.m., with Sunday matinees at 2:30 p.m.
For tickets ($22, seniors and students $19 – all tickets $10 on Wednesdays), visit whiterockplayers.ca or call 604-536-7535.
Memorial Park movies
The White Rock BIA and Freshair Cinema are presenting some all-time favourite family movies in free outdoor shows at Memorial Park, on Marine Drive (next to White Rock Museum and Archives), on three successive Thursday evenings this month.
First up tomorrow (Thursday, June 13) is Mamma Mia! – the original 2008 musical starring Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, Stellan Skarsgard, Christine Baranski and a ton of ABBA tunes (and not to be confused with the recent, appalling Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again).
On June 20 it’s the classic 1987 cult spoof of swashbuckling adventure movies, The Princess Bride with Robin Wright, Cary Elwes, Mandy Patinkin, Chris Sarandon, Christopher Guest, Wallace Shawn and Andre the Giant.
And on June 27, it’s the original 1977 Star Wars movie (now known as Episode IV – A New Hope) with Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Alec Guinness and Peter Cushing. Screenings begin at sunset, but participants are encouraged to come early to secure the best seating.
Crescent Legion’s Club 240 (2643 128 St.) is the location for Friday-night dances organized by the Semiahmoo Music Consortium, along with other special Saturday events throughout the year and a regular Wednesday bluegrass jam.
Coming up this Friday (June 14) will be something different: a Blues Jam Night starting at 8 p.m., and featuring some of the best blues musicians in the Lower Mainland and beyond in an informal setting.
Tickets for consortium dances ($20) are on sale at www.brownpapertickets.com and at the legion box office (604-535-1043), which is open daily from 4-9 p.m.
Blue Frog Studios
There’s always something hopping at White Rock’s Blue Frog Studios, the city’s unmatched intimate venue for up-close concerts by national and international touring acts, as well as local and B.C.-based artists.
Upcoming highlights include A Night of Bowie starring Syl Thompson (tickets still available for an added show June 20) and folk-pop icon Shari Ulrich and her five-piece band (June 22, tickets still available for the second show).
And on July 5, there are still tickets available for the second show of vocalist D.L. Car’s tribute show Classic Ronstadt – The Legacy of Linda. Visit bluefrogstudios.ca or call 604-542-3055.
Arts Umbrella South Surrey’s Expressions Festival, celebrating the creativity of young local students in art and design, continues until June 22 at White Rock’s Landmark Pop-Uptown Gallery in Central Plaza (at 15140 North Bluff Rd.). Opening hours for the exhibition are 1-5 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visit artsumbrella.com/expressions
White Rock Traditional Jazz Society’s regular series of Sunday dances may be on hiatus at Crescent Legion Branch’s Club 240, but the sounds of live New Orleans and Chicago jazz and small-band swing can still be heard every Sunday, 2-5 p.m., at the venue, thanks to a new summer series by the society’s house band, veteran pianist and vocalist Rice Honeywell Sr.’s Red Beans N’ Rice.
Starting this Sunday (June 9), they’ll be keeping the jazz going until the return of regular society sessions in the fall.
Honeywell’s elegantly rhythmic piano stylings and vocals are complemented by all-star sidemen Jim Armstrong on trumpet, Ray Batten on trombone, Gerry Green on clarinet and tenor sax, Don Ogilvie on guitar, Casey Tolhurst on bass and Scott Robertson on drums. The venue is at 2643 128 St.; admission is $10; $12 (non-members) and $6 (students with ID).