Sunday, 19 February 2017

LES BALLETS TROCKADERO DE MONTE CARLO KEEP ON TROCKIN'

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo was founded in 1974
(Photo courtesy Ballets Trockadero)

It was one of the greatest entrances of all time: Montreal drag queens Mado Lamotte and Madame Simone waited until the last possible moment to step into their private loge at Place des Arts to see Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo some years ago, just before the red curtain went up.
Then the 3,000 people in Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier turned their heads to watch Mado and Madame Simone – who resembled Marie Antoinette, Queen of France during the French Revolution – and let out a collective gasp.
It was like a command performance.
But when it comes to entrances, no one beats Les Ballets Trockadero, or "Les Trocks" as they are more affectionately known. Back in the 1980s, during a performance at UCLA, the curtain actually fell onto the stage!

Sunday, 12 February 2017

REMEMBERING MONTREAL THEATRE LEGEND ROGER PEACE

Chris Barillaro recording the Curtains Up theme with Roger Peace
(Photo courtesy Curtains Up)

Following a lengthy battle with cancer, legendary Canadian theatre director Roger Peace died peacefully in the palliative care unit at the Montreal Jewish General Hospital on February 10.

Peace brought his love for live musical theatre to North America when he sailed from London to Montreal in 1957 aboard the ocean liner SS Columbia at the age of 21 and experienced the tail-end of Montreal’s famed and infamous golden Sin-City era.

Roger Peace
The Montreal theatre scene wasn’t quite London’s West End, where Peace had landed a bit part in the musical Call Me Madam at the London Coliseum in 1952 at the age of 16. But he spent much of his professional life as a director and producer casting larger-than-life divas in his productions, notably his longtime muse, Montreal jazz legend Ranee Lee, and another of his favourites, soul singer Michelle Sweeney.

When another glorious diva, Juno Award-winning soul singer Kim Richardson, starred in his 2013 revival of Ain’t Misbehavin’ at the Segal Centre for Performing Arts, theatre critic Pat Donnelly wrote in the Montreal Gazette that Peace “directed Montreal’s first Ain’t Misbehavin’ at Le Stage dinner theatre at La Diligence restaurant in 1986. That one ran for more than a year and did a Canadian tour. There were only four singers, Michelle Sweeney, Ranee Lee, Dorian Joe Clark and Anthony Sherwood, with musical director Ari Snyder alone on piano.”

“We couldn’t afford a fifth performer,” Peace said.