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L.A. Beat

New West Theatre ready to rock ’50s and ’60s style in new show “Live At The Drive In”

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New West Theatre, like every theatre company has had to adapt to  a post- Covid world.
 So this year‘s summer production is a limited run ’50s and ’60s show  “Live At the Drive In,” at Exhibition Park, Aug. 12-16.

Patrons will have a full drive in-experience,  they will drive their cars into the Exhibition Park parking lot, park inNew West Theatre is “At the Drive In” at Exhibition Park Aug. 12-16. Photo by Richard Amery front of the stage and tune their radios to a special station to listen. The cast are on the same stage  that acts perform on during The Rotary Dragon Boat Races and Canada Day celebrations, but there are also video screens on each side offering a close up view of the cast.

“It’s all been pretty exciting, and a challenging experience,” said director Kelly Reay, noting in addition to having to put together  the multiple pieces of a show, they have also had to figure out the logistics of getting cars in and out of Exhibition Park.

“Never would we have imagined we‘d be doing a drive in performance. But luckily Alberta Health has some pretty specific guidelines we’ve been able to follow. And safety has been our number one priority,” he continued, noting the cast and crew are tested for Covid regularly.

“We’re also lucky we’re a cohort. We’re like a family,” he said. Patrons can also  roll their  windows down and are welcome to cheer and honk in appreciation.
 Cars will be parked 10 feet apart and the small six person cast are perform apart on stage. They will be performing pop and rock hits of the ’50s and ’60s ranging from Paul Anka to Bill Haley and the Comets.

“It’s the American Graffiti era. This show is more of a concert experience than a performance. It’s not the same as performing at the Yates, so there isn’t as much physical comedy. There‘s more joke telling,” he continued, adding that doesn’t mean the jokes are at about the ’50s and ’60s.

“There are a lot of jokes about that era, but there is a lot of contemporary humour. We couldn’t not do jokes about the Covid issue.”
 The cast included familiar faces including Scott Carpenter, Katie Fellger, Kyle Gruninger, Erica Hunt, Rylan Kunkel, Kathy Zaborsky and musicians Scott Mezei and Keenan Pezderic.
 “And the cast also play musical instruments,” Reay added.

Kunkel plays saxophone New West Theatre is “At the Drive In” at Exhibition Park Aug. 12-16. Photo by Richard Ameryand Zaborsky plays keyboards throughout.


Musical director Kathy Zaborsky is excited to be back on stage.

“I got to choose the music this time. I got to go through all of our favourite ’50s and ’60s numbers and a few  new songs to freshen things up,” she continued.
 “ There’s lots of Four Seasons, Leslie Gore who does ‘It‘s My Party’ and Paul Anka, who is my favourite ’50s Canadian pop star,” she enthused.
“We’ve got music that best suits each performer and some of my favourites,” she said.

“There’s a lot of medleys this time,” she said.

“My feature is a Connie Francis medley. She’s known for ‘Where the Boys Are’ and ‘Lipstick on Your Collar.’”

“My favourite is an a capella Beach Boys medley. That’s one of (former musical director) Paul Walker’s arrangements. So I’m excited to keep that alive,” she said.
 She noted putting “At the Drive In” together  has been an interesting process.

“We rehearsed using microphones and all wearing masks,” she said, adding she is excited about the show.

“I’d love to do it again, maybe in June when things are back to normal,” she said.

“I wish we were doing this longer,” she continued.

Tickets are $80 for a fully loaded car, $40  for cars with single riders
The gates open at 7 p.m.. The show begins at 8 p.m.
 You can pre-order popcorn from the Movie Mill.
 Get tickets through, or by phone 403-329-SEAT (7328)

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
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