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Playgoers of Lethbridge explores keeping a happy marriage in farce ’Til Beth Do Us Part

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 Playgoers of Lethbridge is excited to bring the farce “ Til Beth Do us Part to Country Kitchen, Oct. 23-27.John Ford and Christina Peterson rehearse a scene from ’Til Beth Do us part’ running at Country Kitchen, Oct. 23-27. photo by Richard Amery
While they have done several plays penned by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten, who among other things , have written for the Golden Girls, for this production Playgoers welcomes aboard new director Lori Garner, who has  a long history working with the Raymond Playhouse.

 “The first show I did with Raymond was Anne of Green Gables about 35 years ago and I played Anne, so that shows how far I go back,” Garner chuckled, adding she is excited to work with Playgoers of Lethbridge for the first time.
“I always wanted to work with Playgoers, so I offered my services as a director to the board so myself, Linda Johnson and Rita Peterson read some scripts. I’ve seen many of their shows, so I knew what to expect. I know they like to do something lighter for their dinner theatres,” she said.

’Til Beth Does Us Part is the tale of career-driven Suzannah Hayden who needs a lot more help on the home front than she's getting from her husband, Gibby.

“Lately, nurturing his marriage of 27 years hasn't been the highest priority for Gibby, but pretty soon he'll wish it had been. Enter Beth Bailey, Suzannah's newly-hired assistant, a gregarious, highly-motivated daughter of the South. To Suzannah's delight, Beth explodes into the Hayden household and whips it into an organized, well-run machine. This couldn't have happened at a better time for Suzannah, since her boss, Celia Carmichael, the C.E.O. of Carmichael's Chocolates, is flying in soon for an important make-or-break business dinner. Gibby grows increasingly wary as Beth insinuates herself into more and more aspects of their lives. In no time, she exceeds her duties as a household assistant and interjects herself into Suzannah's career. As Suzannah's dependence on Beth grows and Gibby's dislike of the woman deepens, Suzannah gives Beth carte blanche to change anything in the household that ‘will make it run more efficiently.’ And the change Beth makes is convincing Suzannah that Gibby must go. When he realizes it's Suzannah's career Beth is really after, a newly-determined Gibby sets out to save his marriage aided by Suzannah's best friend, Margo, a wisecracking and self-deprecating divorcee and her ex-husband, Hank, who is in the midst of his own mid-life crisis. Their effort to stop Beth at any cost sets up the wildly funny climax in which things go uproariously awry just as Suzannah's boss arrives for that all-important dinner,” according to the official synopsis.
“He needs to help out more around the house. So basically Suzannah hires Beth to help out and she helps Gibby right out of the house,” Garner chuckled.

“ It’s only after he’s living in a broken down apartment with his best friend, that he realizes how important it is for him to work on his marriage and help his wife,” she continued.

“It’s been a blast. The cast are a lot of fun and it’s always exciting to work with new people,” she said.

“ It’s a little scary not having an actual theatre and only being able to get in two days before. In Raymond, we have a theatre and we can build the sets in advance. But we’ve got cast here who have done this before,” she said.

 The cast includes some familiar faces who have performed with Playgoers of Lethbridge and Hatrix Theatre including Marci Stork playing Celia Carmichael, owner of Carmichael’s chocolates and Suzannah’s boss, Shelly David playing Beth, Kirk Boehmer as Hank and Jocelyn Steinborn as Suzannah. It also includes new faces including Jack Ford as weatherman  Gibby and Christina Peterson as Celia.
 John Ford is excited to make his Playgoers of Lethbridge debut as Gibby, who wasn’t expecting  to get the lead role.


Kat Danser coming back to Lethbridge with PHd and new CD

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It has been a long, long time since we’ve had new music from Kat Danser. She released her fifth CD “Goin’ Gone‘  three months ago and it has since gained excellent reviews, chart positions and airplay on CKUA.Kat Danser returns to Lethbridge , Thursday, Oct. 18, to play the Geomatic Attic. Photo by Richard Amery
“The album’s been sitting in my basement since 2017. I wanted to finish my PHd. I’ve been studying  folk and string band music from  the 1920-40 for the past six years. I’ve been spending a lot of time down south and I’ll be going back to Nashville and Memphis to deliver my dissertation,” Danser said  from Edmonton, where she teaches American Pop Music History at both the University of Alberta and Mount Royal University.
“ But I couldn’t do both— release an album and finish my PhD,” said Danser She brings her band The Tall Tales including guitarist Jimmy Guiboche, bassist Chris Brzezcki, drummer Kelly Kruse and special guest Steve Dawson to the Geomatic Attic, Thursday, Oct. 18.

Steve Dawson will also be performing an opening set.
Complicating matters was having to undergo surgery related to turning 50.

“I had to get an embolization and a hysterectomy, which brought on menopause early. I’ve lost 135 pounds deliberately since you last saw me,” Danser said.

 In the process she rediscovered her love for punk music.
“I went to go see Joan Jett. And she’s 70 and looks great and is still rocking. She had one foot on the amp and yelled ‘I don’t give a fuck about my bad reputation.’ She’s 70, she’s in great shape and still rocks and I asked myself ‘why can’t I do that,’” she said, adding that lead to taking a heavier bent on the new album.

“I’ve definitely moved away from solo blues.  For the first time I didn’t record one gospel song for the album,” she said.
She recorded the CD in Nashville with Steve Dawson for his record label Black Hen records.


U of L presents a happening about community in inVISIBLE (too) to open season

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The University of Lethbridge is having a “happening” for their first theatrical production of the season.Alex Watz tells a story  in inVISIBLE (Too). photo by Richard Amery
“inVISIBLE (too)” happens at the David Spinks Theatre, Oct. 9-13.
 The intimate show is a collaborative effort between The University of Lethbridge and Handsome Alice Theatre in Calgary welcomes the audience in to a dorm built into the David Spinks Theatre to listen to stories and songs from the cast including  Kathryn Jaymie Brennan listens to a story in inVISIBLE (Too). photo by Richard AmerySmith, Alex Watz, Makambe K Simamba, Jaymie Brennan, Sheadene Morrison and Hannah Stobbe, who draw from their personal experiences as they share stories with each other and the audience.

Facilitated by Handsome Alice Theatre’s creative team, which includes artistic director, Meg Farhall and Faculty of Fine Arts alumni, Makambe Simamba (BFA ’14) and Kathryn Smith (BFA ’12), inVISIBLE (too) is the second iteration of this devised project.

“We sit around and tell stories and sing songs for 90 minutes,” described Kathryn Smith, who tells a story about helping several friends undergoing mental breakdowns.

“ But sometimes, we’ll tell stories, or play an instrument or dance,” she added.

“We spent the past three-four months telling stories to each other for this show. They’re all true. The stories range from being about being with family to mental health,” she said, adding there is no script for this interactive production. The actors will tell stories or play music.


Lots of roots and blues in Southern Alberta this week

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There are all kinds of roots and blues shows happening this week. The Windy City Opry has an awesome line up on Wednesday, Oct. 10. Host Shaela Miller returns from tour and welcome Fosston, Saskatchewan songwriter Belle Plaine to the Slice in support of her brand new CD “Malice, Mercy, Grief and Wrath” which  is officially out Oct. 19. She has released the first single and video for “Golden Ring.”Rotary Park return to lethbridge this weekend to play the Lethbridge Folk Club, Oct. 13. Photo by Richard Amery
 Yukon blues/ roots musician Gordie Tentrees is also on the bill with the D-Rangers’ Jaxon Haldane. As always, the Opry begins promptly at 8 p.m. Admission is $10.

 That same night, Texas songwriter Sam Baker stops by the Empress Theatre in Fort Macleod. The show begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $28.

 The next night David James‘s Johnny Cash tribute Big River  performs at the Yates Theatre at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 11. Tickets are $48.50.
 Dueling pianos with Cal Toth return to Average Joes on Friday, Oct. 12.

It is only one of many cool local shows happening on Friday. Local funk rock trio Adequate bring the funk and the noise to Casino Lethbridge, Oct. 12 and 13. Max Hopkins opens for Manitoban songwriter Heather Jordan on Friday.

 And The Slice welcomes Edmonton based alternative rock trio Moving Bodies that same night.
Winnipeg blues trio the Perpetrators stop by the Slice on Saturday to knock out some high energy blues rock. The show is scheduled to start at 8:30 and Tickets are $15.
 That is competing with a lot of other shows.


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L.A. Beat is Lethbridge, Alberta's only online arts and entertainment magazine.

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