By Liz Nicholls, 12thnight.ca
A unusual love story, in which one of our most inventive theatre companies falls, hard, for an inventive show — and makes advances:
Catalyst Theatre has fallen in love with Onegin, a much-awarded original Canadian indie rock musical fashioned from the Tchaikovsky opera and the Pushkin poem. Not only that, Catalyst is bringing it to audiences here Jan. 17 to 28 on their home stage, the Maclab Theatre at the Citadel — for a radically accessible/ you-snooze-you-lose introductory price of 17 bucks.
Onegin is the work of Ariel Gladstone and Veda Hille, the team behind the quirky travelling hit musical Do You Want What I Have Got? A Craigslist Cantata (seen at the Citadel Club in 2014).
The Arts Club production of Onegin that caught the eye of Catalyst artistic director Jonathan Christenson in its premiere run in Vancouver, May 2016, has been widely praised for its irreverent, highly theatrical re-invention of classic literature in a re-imagined musical form. Which is, after all, something that Catalyst does with unusual pizzaz and expertise too (witness Hunchback, Nevermore, Frankenstein, and others). Onegin scooped up an unprecedented 10 Jessie Awards in Vancouver, and ran in Toronto this past May.
Christenson says he particularly remembers one of the songs Onegin sang: “’Amuse me, surprise me, shake me … try and wake me’ And at the performance I saw the entire production was doing just that for the audience!’” You can hear the soundtrack on Veda Hille’s website: vedahille.com.
The presentation run announced Thursday, starring Alessandro Juliani and Meg Roe, introduces a new initiative, Catalyst Presents, designed to bring exciting indie work to town in coming seasons. More on this later; stay tuned.
Meanwhile, Onegin tickets: 780-425-1820, citadeltheatre.com