Music, stories, cabaret, ‘infotainment’, opera, and plays: a weekend of trick and treat on Edmonton stages

Noah Walker, Khari Wendell McClelland, Tanika Charles in Freedom Singer, Project: Humanity. Photo by Dahlia Katz.

By Liz Nicholls, 12thnight.ca

It’s a musical journey that cuts to the soul of a turbulent history. In Freedom Singer, which arrives at the Citadel Club starting tonight as part of a cross-country tour, the Detroit-born Canadian musician Khari Wendell McClelland retraces, in music, a journey towards freedom.

The show, which he co-created with Project: Humanity’s Andrew Kushnir, charts the journey of his great-great-great grandmother Kizzy and her African-African contemporaries in the 1880s as they escaped slavery in America en route to freedom in Canada — on the Underground Railroad.

The production, which opened in Toronto last February, weds storytelling to music — music that reimagines the period in contemporary hip hop, rock, rock, and soul. McClelland, who commands a dizzying array of instruments himself, appears onstage with Toronto soul singer Tanika Charles and the Vancouver guitarist Noah Walker. The show runs Wednesday through Sunday. Tickets: 780-425-1820, citadeltheatre.com.

•At this time of ghostly mysteries and spooky interventions, Theatre Network hosts an alluring duo of seasonal shows this weekend. Friday night, it’s the Halloween edition of Hey Ladies! the unclassifiably sprightly work of Leona Brausen, Cathleen Rootsaert, and Davina Stewart. Entertainment advice, music (the acclaimed Ben Sures), booze (assorted thematic concoctions), games, interviews, prizes…. The Ladies use the word “infotainment” for this; hell, they own the word in this town.

Saturday night, the wonderful actor/singer Patricia Zentilli is back, with the next in her series of themed cabarets, PattyZee@TheRoxy.  For Face Your Fears, she’s enlisted the deluxe pianist/ musician/ arranger Don Horsburgh, a frequent collaborator — and songs from Jason Robert Brown, the reigning monarch of urban angst Stephen Sondheim, Ben Folds, and others. Her guests for this Fear edition are singer/ songwriter/ actor/ playwright Andrea House, and up-and-comer Jessica Andrews.

Curtain time for both shows is 8 p.m. at the Roxy on Gateway (8529 Gateway Blvd). And tickets are available at 780-453-2440, theatrenetwork.ca, and TIX on the Square (780-420-1757, tixonthesquare). a 

•ALSO: Friday is your last chance to see the wonderfully operatic storytelling of Quebec star playwright Marc Michel Bouchard: Les Feluettes at Edmonton Opera. Friday is your first chance to see The Testament of Mary, Colm Toíbín’s provocative solo show about Jesus’s mom, opening the Northern Light season. And Thursday, launching the Shadow Theatre season, is a love story of rarified structure it borrows from quantum physics: Constellations. Meet the stars, in preview, at 12thnight.ca. And, spookiest of all, Catch The Keys’ 10th annual edition of Dead Centre of Town, an exhuming of our long-buried past in a ghostly midway at Fort Edmonton.

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