Indigo Books & Music Inc. Holiday Preview 2012

This past Wednesday, I was invited by Cammy (@indigogreenroom) to the Indigo Books & Music’s Fall and Holiday Preview 2012. Since I have a genuine obsession with Chapters and Indigo Books and all of their books and products, I jumped at this opportunity to get a sneak peek at what new products I’ll be buying for friends and family this fall, particularly as presents. The event was held at a local BC restaurant: the Cactus Club Cafe down on South Granville. This event also highlighted the Cactus Club’s Executive Chef, Rob Feenie and his brand new cookbook “Rob Feenie’s Casual Classics”, which includes delicious innovative and approachable meals.

I had been wanting to meet Chef Feenie for quite some time. I’ve been a foodie fan of his forever. I was super excited to get my photo with him and got to take home his cookbook and sample some of his tasty food!

Image by Natalie Van Apeldoorn

Image by Natalie Van Apeldoorn

You can purchase chef Feenie’s cookbook through Chapters Indigo HERE. 

And now, onto the preview!

“This season’s inspiration was drawn from luxury farmhouse living and the cosy flavours of fall. Expect to see soft, plush fabrics in warm tones, rustic tableware, “local” thinking and elegant stationary influenced by nature. And don’t forget to warm up from the inside – traditional comfort food never goes out of style.” – Heather Reisman, CEO, Indigo Books & Music Inc, Fall 2012

“The smell of winter in the air- snowflakes falling on trees, the hustle and bustle on the streets and in the shops – twinkly store windows and decorated trees – letters to Santa, Christmas morning and opening the best ever presents. It’s all part of the magic of the holiday season. And it is what inspired us for Christmas 2012. Enjoy this preview and let us know what you love!” – Heather Reisman, CEO, Indigo Books & Music Inc, Holiday Preview, 2012

Despite the sunny August heat in Vancouver, I trekked into the Cactus Club and fell into a winter wonderland of products. Like Heather Reisman describes, I felt the warmth and comfort in rich colours and almost felt the winter season spirit. Here are a few pictures of the products I fell in love with. (And to my friends and family, while I might gift these to you, please also take note for my Christmas list!).

On my shopping list are: owl bookends,  owl salt and pepper shakers, the penguin martini shaker, the lovely blankets, and absolutely every single item on the bright colour table. I can’t wait for these products to come into my Chapters store. Dear Santa…….

Thanks again to Indigo Books & Music Inc. for having me! Happy shopping!!

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All images are by Natalie Van Apeldoorn. Please ask for permission to reproduce.

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Mary Poppins: A Review

Photo Credit: Deen Van Meer

I was ecstatic when I heard Mary Poppins was coming to Vancouver – out of all the Disney Musicals, this was one that that I knew I definitely had to see (and next, Newsies?!?) I did have a hard time imagining what the stage musical was going to be like – the movie has always been a favourite of mine.

Whenever I think about musicals which have already been published and successful in another avenue (novel, movie, play etc), I have learned over the years that I need to change my expectations for the musical – not lower expectations, just change them. For instance, when I was growing up, I fell absolutely in love with the movie of A Chorus Line – and when I saw the musical, I was very unhappy. It wasn’t until years later when I fell in love with the Broadway soundtrack that I regretted my expectations.

There are a few things in the musical Mary Poppins that I knew were not going to translate from the movie. The cartoon scenes, for instance. The beloved carousel and the racetrack. Also, the jumping from rooftop to rooftop during “Chim Chim Cher-ee”. But I was determined that I was going in with an open mind – after all, it’s getting rave reviewers during the tour, and it’s still playing on Broadway in NYC!

What they did for Mary Poppins was absolutely magical.

The acting and singing was superb – Rachel Wallace who shines at Mary Poppins had some large shoes to fill from the film (Julie Andrews). Wallace’s voice and acting were stunning – you could not keep your eyes off of her when she was on stage. The children, Jane and Michael (played by Marissa Ackerman and Zach Timson during my show) were delightful. They were on stage for much of the show and kept up with the fast pace. They were particularly enjoyable during Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious – having to remember complex actions and lyrics. During the performance I saw, the role of Bert was played by Con O’Shea-Creal. Though it may not have been his primary role (he normally plays Northbrook), it appeared as though he had been playing the role of Bert night after night. He was strong in both character and voice. However, he was slightly lost on the stage when the entire cast was one – I wish the costume designers had given him a bright colour or a trademark to follow as they did with Mary Poppins, but they may not have been able to change anything from the Broadway musical.

Sometimes touring productions have to adapt to touring – they cannot always bring entire sets to each city (i.e. the side staircase in Wicked, the rising stages from The Lion King, the helicopter from Miss Saigon etc). I was ABSOLUTELY AMAZED AND ENCHANTED by the sets from Mary Poppins – it looked as though they had brought the entire production from Broadway with them – the entire Banks house was on stage and flowed in and out of the different scenes like water. It was brilliant.

Also brilliant was the bank scene – the cast performed it brilliantly and it totally added to the ‘precision and order” Mr Banks sings about in Cherry Tree Lane. I also have to compliment the entire cast on Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious – the movements were brilliant and added to the excitement. Step in Time was also amazing with their tap dancing. It definitely made me bounce in my seat.

I loved seeing all the children in the audience, all dressed up with their families. I looked at some of the children’s faces as the show was going on and they looked so excited and happy. If I could make one recommendation (and this is for parents, mind you), if you’re going to bring snacks, drinks etc into the theatre, please wrap it in quiet materials. I was tired of the “crackles” interrupting the musical.

While Rock of Ages was definitely an “adult-only” show, this show is perfect for both adults and families – it had just enough ‘adult’ storyline to play with and fun and interactive elements to keep children entertained. Absolutely stunning.

Thank you Broadway Across Canada for bringing these shows to us who may not get another opportunity to see them. The arts are so important to learn from and enjoy. I am so excited to see what else is in store for the 2012-13 year!

Check out what is coming next at www.broadwayacrosscanada.ca and follow them on Facebook or on Twitter for the most up-to-date information about what is coming to a city near you!

Performances in Vancouver run from July 17 – 23, 2012 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.

Tickets are on sale now! Go to www.ticketmaster.ca or call toll-free 1.855.985.5000. Prices range from $38.40-$155.90 (plus service fees).

Tickets (though limited) are still available. There are Rush tickets to Mary Poppins in Vancouver right now! 50% off  – on the day of the show only at box office just before the show.

Photo Credit: Deen Van Meer

Mary Poppins in Vancouver and a Giveaway! [contest over]

So as June brings us a little bit of a break from some of the larger touring theatre productions, we only have to wait a little bit longer until the production of Mary Poppins comes to the Queen Elizabeth Theatre from June 17-22nd, 2012. From what I have heard about it, it has recieved glowing reviews and will be fun for the whole family!

Mary Poppins is only in Vancouver for a short engagement and Broadway Across Canada and I want you to see it! Broadway Across Canada has given me 4 tickets (2 winners) to give away to one of you lucky readers.

Performances run from July 17 – 23, 2012 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.

Tickets are on sale now! Go to www.ticketmaster.ca or call toll-free 1.855.985.5000. Group orders for 10 or more may be placed by calling 1.800.889.8457. Prices range from $38.40-$155.90 (plus service fees).

Now for the contest:

You have a chance to win 2 tickets to opening night of Mary Poppins in Vancouver on July 17, 2012.

1) Write a comment below and include: (Mandatory Entry)

  • Your favourite song from Marry Poppins;
  • What musical you would love to see come to Vancouver;
  • Your email and your twitter handle (if you have one!)

2) Tweet the following and include the hashtag #MaryPoppinsVancouver (1 extra entry)

I entered to win 2 tickets to #MaryPoppinsVancouver via @natalievana & @BACTouring. http://wp.me/p2pexc-3P RT + COMMENT to Enter. #Win

All submissions will be entered into a random draw. The winners of the contest will be announced via twitter (@natalievana) and posted on this blog. The contest giveaway is to win 2 tickets to the July 17th, 2012 performance of Mary Poppins at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver. There will be 2 winners. Don’t worry if your comment doesn’t come up right away, I need to approve them!

Fine Print:

This contest is open to everyone 13 years of age and older. Contest will run from 12:00am PST June 8, 2012 until 11:59pm PST June 22, 2012. I will draw a winner at 11:00am PST June 25, 2012. Two entries only. Winners must respond with 48 hours. You must be able to travel to Vancouver for the performance. Tickets cannot be resold.

Update: June 25, 2012 – Every entry was assigned a number and then two numbers were chosen by random.org. The winners are Linda O. and Cecilia J.! Congratulations!!! I’ve sent you both an email – please get back to me within 48 hours or I will have to choose another winner.

Update: June 27, 2012 – Linda never got back to me (sorry Linda!). Random.org chose Jen W. as the next winner! Congrats! Check your email and please get back to me within 48 hours or I’ll have to choose another winner (please email me!)

Mary Poppins in Vancouver, presented by Broadway Across Canada, is part of a three city tour in Canada including dates in Edmonton July 24-29, 2012 and Calgary July 31 – August 5, 2012.

For more information, please visit MaryPoppins.com

Step in Time! Photo Credit: Deen Van Meer

Rock of Ages Movie Review and a Giveaway! [contest over]

This past Wednesday I was able to attend the movie screening for Rock of Ages courtesy of Warner Brothers Pictures Canada. I had just seen the touring theatre production (see my review HERE), so I was definitely excited to see what this amazing cast and production team had put together.

This was truly an all-star cast, including Tom Cruise as Stacee Jaxx, Russell Brand as Lonny, Alec Baldwin as Dennis Dupree, Catherine Zeta-Jones as Patricia Whitmore, Mary J. Blige as Justice Charlier and Julianne Hough as Sherrie Christian.

Here’s the official movie trailer:

I am also a huge fan of the director Adam Shankman and the choreographer, Mia Michaels. Adam Shankman has such a great eye and makes every scene come alive. He also directed the movie-musical Hairspray! – and did you know he’s a choreographer too? Mia Michaels is always fantastic. Anyone who has watched So You Think You Can Dance! knows just how fabulous she is. She brings movement and body to the stage of this movie.

I admit, the movie did start out a little slow and cheesy (think teenybop) – but it grew on me. I thoroughly enjoyed the 80’s music and the dance numbers. For those not necessarily interested in “musicals”, this is a perfect movie to try out! While the actors do just “stop their talking and begin singing”, the songs are awesome rock songs from the eighties. Everything from hits by Journey, Whitesnake, Foreigner, Bon Jovi, Pat Benatar, Twisted Sister, Poison, and more. Some of the songs from the stage musical were sung but different characters in the movie and also some of the plot was shifted to adapt for “movie magic”. I was actually surprised by some of the “raunchiness of one of the characters – but it suited perfectly for the character’s persona. The highlights were Tom Cruise, Russell Brand and Mary J. Blige. Overall, I really enjoyed myself – I promptly bought the soundtrack have been playing it on my iPod ever since!

After the movie ended, Warner Brothers Vancouver hosted a special “after party” for those who received movie passes. It was held at Roxy Burger in Vancouver and offered some free appys, drinks and the best part, swag!

Giveaway

I asked Lindsay, one of the Warner Brothers staff if I could offer up some of the swag for this blog and she agreed! So here’s what I have for you to win:

  • Movie passes for you and a friend to the Warner Brothers Vancouver screening of Rock of Ages held on June 13, 2012 at Scotiabank Theatre in Vancouver, BC (starts at 7:00pm).
  • 2 t-shirts – a “His – Arsenal Band Shirt” and “Hers – I ❤ Stacey Jaxx Tank Top” (see picture picture below)
  • 1 mini movie poster for Rock of Ages (see picture below)

How to Enter

I’ll make it really easy. Really really easy:

1. Tweet “I want to win #RockOfAges Passes from @natalievana. http://wp.me/p2pexc-4k RT to Enter!”

2. OR Comment on this blog post if you don’t have twitter. (posts don’t show up right away – I moderate)

Good luck!!!!

Note from June 12, 2012 – The winners have been selected by random.org as @brittybritz and GrantQ! Please check your twitter and emails!!!

Fine Print

This contest is open to everyone 13 years of age and older. Contest will run from 12:00am PST June 8, 2012 until 11:59pm PST June 11, 2012. I will draw a winner at 11:00am PST June 12, 2012. Winners must respond with 12 hours or else I’ll redraw. You must be able to travel to Vancouver for the show.Tickets and swag must be picked up at the theatre the evening of the show. Tickets for screenings are always overbooked. Please show up early (I recommend 1.5 hours before the show).

Disclaimer

I went to the screening by winning a contest. I was neither expected to nor paid for writing a review. I asked for screening tickets and the t-shirts to give away on my blog specifically because I enjoyed the movie and want others to see it as well.

Let’s talk wine.

I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me – Winston Churchill

Free images from FreeDigitalPhotos.net 

So I have a little bit of a confession to make. I enjoy wine. It’s something that I will order with dinner and also have a glass on the patio with friends. There are so many different flavour profiles for wine. It can be crisp, refreshing and fruity to woodsy, dark and thick. It can be paired with so many types of foods from snacks such as cheese, big hearty meals of fish or red meat and even with sweet desserts. In recent years I’ve found quite a few wines that I absolutely love and I am always on the hunt for more.

This past weekend, I was out for a walk to Granville Island with a friend when she brought me past this lovely little wine store in Kitsilano that I hadn’t been to before. I will admit, a lot of the time I avoid these small independent stores – I find that they overcharge for these fantastic wines that I fall in love with, and then I have to keep going back because they are the only ones who stock it. However, this is not the case with this lovely little store which is why I am blogging about it.

The wine store was called Village VQA Wines. They actually have three locations: Kits on 1st Ave, and then there’s on in the Dunbar area of Vancouver and one in Edgemont Village in North Vancouver. Here’s what I noticed first about the store: It looked small from the outside, but upon entry: the walls were filled with wine up to the ceiling and there were rows upon rows of VQA BC Wines. We were immediately greeted by three female staff members wearing some fantastic aprons with wine quotes.

Image

Kitsilano location: 1811 W 1st Ave.

What drew us in in the first place was that Village VQA Wines offers wine tastings on local British Colombian wines every Saturday from 2:00-5:00pm (at the Kits location – please see the website for the other location). This past Saturday, May 26th, Sabrina Hira, a wine representative from Quail’s Gate Estate Winery was there to offer us tastings from the 2011 batch of wines.

We started with the white wines which were their Dry Riesling, their Chenin Blanc, and their Gewurztraminer. My favourite was the Gewurztraminer – I found this to be very nice and refreshing on my palate – excellent for the sunny, hot weather we were having (note were).

They had their Rosé as well – while not my favourite type of wine, this one was quite pleasing.

The red wines included their Pinot Noir and Merlot. I’m not typically a red wine drinker – only with meals and then, only in the winter months. These were quite tasty, but I’ll probably stay away from them until I have a good meal to settle down with to enjoy them more.

As I was tasting the wines, I began asking some questions about the store itself. Here’s what I learned which makes me excited: This wine stores policy is that they maintain VQA standards and also match the price that the BC winery sells them for!

VQA Canada

The Vintners Quality Alliance is a contract between the vintners of Canada and the consumer. The VQA medallion is a commitment to quality and a guarantee that the wine expresses the highest aspirations of the vintner’s art.

VQA is to Canada what AOC is to France, DOCG is to Italy and QMP is to Germany: quality control from the vineyard to the glass.

Every wine-growing country has a body of regulations which sets standards for its finest products. A wine bearing the VQA symbol ensures the consumer that:

  • The wine is made from 100% Canadian-grown grapes;
  • The wine has been made to the VQA standards set by British Columbia and Ontario;
  • The wine has been approved by a provincial tasting panel.

There are many ways to measure success, and when it comes to the products of Canada’s vineyards, recent praise from the wine press is an excellent barometer. The medals awarded to Canadian VQA wines at competitions at home and around the world are testament to the internationally recognized quality of our wines. (from the Village Wines website)

I find this to be excellent news, considering some of my favourite wines cannot be found in the government regulated liquor stores. I either have to go to the winery (ha!) or my typical other location is through Everything Wine, which is like a wine Costco. It’s another fantastic store, but they do mark up their prices for a lot of their wines.

Here’s a comparison:

Therapy Vineyards has my one of my favourite wines: Feudian Sip.

750ml bottle at Everything Wine is $20.99 vs. $17.00 at Village Wines.

Calliope Sauvignon Blanc by Burrowing Owl is another one of my recent fav’s (thank you Italian Kitchen)

750ml bottle at Everything Wine is $17.49 vs $17.00 at Village Wines.

I encourage you to go to both websites and seek out the best deals for yourself! I’ll definitely be trying Village Wines more often, particularly because it’s in my area and that I got such great service.

Note: I still love Everything Wine – their service and selection is impeccable. They also offer tastings and occasionally even have local food companies come in to pair. As well, they don’t limit their selection to just BC wines – they are world wide which helps when you want a broad selection of wines. They also carry some extremely pricey wines (i.e. Portugal’s Taylor Fladgate Scion Port is $3,495.49) and they do carry over 1200 wines under $20.00 which is not too shabby.

So this little bit is just a little food (or wine) for thought. Welcome to my wine talks.

Rick Hansen Celebration 25

Just a little bit about the amazing Rick Hanson today. Twenty-five years to the day Rick Hansen and the Man In Motion World Tour returned to Vancouver, Rick Hansen Celebration 25 will inspire a new generation to challenge what is and to envision what can be.

Celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Man in Motion Tour from around the world! Undertaken in 1985 – 1987 by Rick Hansen – paralyzed from the waist down after an accident – the tour was a 40,000 kilometer journey through 34 countries to raise awareness about the potential of people with disabilities, to create accessible communities and to finding a cure for spinal cord injuries. Cheer on medal bearers and attend events across the Lower Mainland as the 25th Anniversary Rick Hansen Relay comes to an end after 273 days in Vancouver, British Columbia!

I was fortunate to be able to attend the Celebration 25 concert at the Pacific Coliseum on Mar 22, 2012, thanks to @LondonDrugs. The seats were fantastic (Floor, Row 7, right in the middle). On a side note, I call London Drugs “The Mothership” – I get everything there!! I could live inside these stores quite comfortably!

I have a few personal stories reflecting on Rick Hansen and his journey. First and foremost, I was inspired by his story and journey when he came and spoke to my Grade 12 class… oh 13 years ago. This is probably the first time where I had actually given serious thought to working with people as a profession. I ended up doing a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and throughout I worked for a not-for-profit agency working with children with special needs. It was here where I really learned about how the world and society which actually makes people “dis” abled when these individuals could be fully-abled people. Curbs, vans, malls, grocery stores, impatient people all contributed to the days where I took out clients in the wheelchair accessible vans (or not even, depending on the availability of the van itself) to locations around the city. I experienced it all – finding skytrain elevators that were actually working, navigating aisles in stores, facilitating lifts, seeking resources such as beds and lifts for homes. It is a very complex system to navigate. During my Master of Social Work degree, I was fortunate to do some work in specific areas of the hospitals treating both spinal cord injuries (SCIs) and acquired brain injuries (ABIs). While my current employment has veered from these areas, I still work with people in a counselling capacity and helping people is my life. I also did a walking tour a few years ago where we walked through a local Vancouver neighbourhood and evaluated how accessible the community was – which was severely lacking, unfortunately.

Onto the concert!

The event was hosted by Michael Landsberg (of TSN’s SportsCentre fame) and Leah Miller (host of So You Think You Can Dance Canada). The Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver was filled with more than 5,500 people anticipating a show surrounded with hope, tears and a celebration. The evening was filled with a mix of performances by some of Canada’s top musicians and artists (Sarah McLachlan and David Foster) with stories of various Canadian “Difference Makers” who relayed their inspiring stories and charities to the audience.

Sarah McLachlan. Photo Credit natalievana

I won’t go into detail about each and every performance, but some notable performances were by Sarah McLachlan, singing Angel and Ordinary Miracle, Jann Arden, singing Good Mother and Insensitive, Marianas Trench with Fall Out and Beside You, Johnny Reid and the Canadian Tenors, and finally, to end the evening was the epic song made famous by Rick Hansen’s journey – a stunning rendition of St. Elmo’s Fire (Man in Motion) sung by Sean Jones and the Canadian Tenors with the piano played by the amazing composer, David Foster.

There were many inspiring stories interwoven into the performances. Everyday heroes included Jane Ekong, Josh Dueck, Hannah Taylor, Josh Nelson, Mark Burger were honoured along with remarkable Canadians, including David Suzuki, Craig Kielburger, Lauren Woolstencroft, David Foster and Sarah McLachlan.

Rick Hansen ended the evening with overwhelming gratitude to the support given to the past 25 years from his original around-the-world journey to today, on the 25th anniversary. Here’s to 25 more years of hope!

Rick Hansen. Photo Credit natalievana

Here’s some links to the fabulous charities mentioned throughout the evening:

  1. Rick Hansen Foundation – http://www.rickhansen.com
  2. Sarah McLachlan School of Music – http://www.sarahschoolofmusic.com/
  3. Jane Ekong and the Emmanual Charitable Foundation’s Purple Computer Project – http://www.emmanuelcharity.org/
  4. Hannah Taylor and the Ladybug Foundation – http://www.ladybugfoundation.ca
  5. Mark Burger and Josh Nelson – National Kids Cancer Ride – http://joshnelson.snkcr.com/
  6. David Suzuki Foundation – http://www.davidsuzuki.org
  7. Craig Kielburger and Feed the Children – http://www.freethechildren.com
  8. David Foster Foundation – http://www.davidfosterfoundation.org

Thanks again to London Drugs for the tickets!

Disclaimer: Please note that this review was of my own initiation. I was not expected to nor paid for writing commentary of the event. Any thoughts are my own and not of any business affiliated.

Rock of Ages Vancouver: Review

A little bit of review from Rock of Ages in Vancouver for everyone today.

I went to the opening night of Rock of Ages on May 8, 2012. Rock of Ages began their final Canadian tour production in Vancouver, BC. Broadway Across Canada gave me 10 tickets to get a large group together for this fantastic musical. We decided to get fully decked out in our 80s wear.

We spent the few hours before the show at my place getting ready. We teased our hair, found leg warmers (surprisingly!), and found some hysterical eye-makeup to show that we could  dress for the best rockin’ 80s party there ever was! We even had one friend cut up her high school prom dress to wear.

Kathryn and Natalie. Photo credit to Natalievana

Jenn and Natalie. Photo credit to Natalievana

The 80’s Group! Photo credit to Natalievana

Unfortunately, we were desperately running late for the performance. It’s amazing how long it takes to tease hair! We got a few snaps, but unfortunately one girl was camera shy and three others had come from work so they couldn’t join in the 80’s fun.

Onto the show! I was definitely excited to see Rock of Ages. I had bought the soundtrack from iTunes a few weeks ago and l have had it on repeat at my home and office. The music from the show incorporates classic 80s music combined with some of the storyline from the show. From listening to the music, I knew it was going to be easy for me to love the show.

The opening stage for Rock of Ages. Photo credit to Natalievana

Rock of Ages is described as a rock/jukebox musical because it combines storyline around classic rock hits you may have heard on the radio growing up. It features 28 classic rock tunes including “Don’t Stop Believin’”, “We Built This City”, “The Final Countdown”, “Wanted Dead or Alive”, “Here I Go Again”, “Harden My Heart”, “Can’t Fight this Feeling”, “Renegade” and “I Want To Know What Love Is”.

The story is set in 1987 when a small-town girl (Sherrie, played by Shannon Mullen) who moves to California to become an actress. She meets a city boy rocker (Drew, played by Dominique Scott) – (cue Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey) on the Sunset Strip in California. Their love story is interrupted by some drama happening to the Strip. The Strip is changing from the “sex, drugs and rock-n-roll” lifestyle of the Sunset Strip into *gasp* big box stores and “clean living”. The main bar in peril is the classic Bourbon Room, owned by Dennis Dupree (played by Matt Ban). The Bourbon Room is where the world famous band Arsenal, fronted by Stacee Jaxx (played by Matt Nolan) got their start and are now breaking up. There’s lots of memories in this bar and the locals aren’t going to take it!

The musical is narrated by Lonny Bennett (Justin Colombo) who frequently breaks the fourth wall rule of theatre and talks to the audience. Out of all the characters, Lonny brought the comedic timing and made the audience feel the excitement (and give us a more detailed storyline, which was one item that Rock of Ages has a little bit of trouble solidifying).

I found the singing to be amazing, particularly with Shannon Mullen and Matt Nolan. They had very strong voices and fantastic vocal ranges which were heard well above the rock band (which played on stage the entire time). Dominique Scott was amazing as rocker Drew, but I often lost his voice in the music. This is often a problem I have with seeing live musicals – the microphones either aren’t turned up enough to overpower the band or orchestra, or the actors speak to fast and don’t enunciate their words clearly. The acting and dancing of all the cast members were superb for a musical in which the main focus is on the 80s rock music.

The audience definitely made the musical shine. I have heard various things about the musical on Broadway, and the audience is encouraged to sing along and rock out. I did see a few children in the audience, and unfortunately they did end up leaving due to the sexual connotations. This musical is definitely not for children.

I have to admit, my favourite character was Stacee Jaxx (Matt Nolan). I had a little crush on Matt when I watched him on “Grease: You’re the One That I Want” reality show, where the cast were vying for the roles of Sandy and Danny on the Broadway production of Grease! I was excited to see Matt perform, but honestly, the character Stacee Jaxx took control – this character is a slimy rock star who is a “love ’em and leave ’em” type of guy. My eye was drawn to Jaxx whenever he was on stage (The llama!). And don’t get me started in his abs.

Overall, Rock of Ages was one of the best touring performances I have seen in recent years. I encourage anyone who has a fondness for the music in the 80s or an idea of what life was like then to go see this musical. And don’t just sit there! Sing out and have some fun!

Rock of Ages is on a short engagement from May 8th through 13th in Vancouver at the Centre in Vancouver for the Performing Arts. Performances run Tuesday – Saturday evenings at 8pm, Sunday evening at 7:30pm with Saturday and Sunday 2pm matinees. Tickets are still available from Ticketmaster.

Thanks again to Broadway Across Canada for the tickets. We had a ton of fun!

Disclaimer: Please note that this review was of my own initiation. I was not expected to nor paid for writing commentary of the event. Any thoughts are my own and not of any business affiliated.