As has become our custom, we offer readers previews of shows that have some sort of Jewish connection - either in the form of performers, writers, people working behind the scenes, or perhaps a Jewish-related theme. Click Read More to see all our previews.

 

Jonathan Mirin

To Bee or Not to Bee: Pollinator-themed Performance for All Ages

Piti Theatre Company, based in the U.S. and Switzerland, are bringing their award-winning international touring play with music for all ages about honeybees To Bee or Not to Bee to the Winnipeg Fringe Festival. To Bee tells Farmer James’ comic, tragic and ultimately hopeful story complete with puppets, clowning, live music and plenty of audience participation. Performances will take place at the Kids Venue (MTYP Mainstage), 2 Forks Market Rd. (The Forks).

In 2006-2007, U.S. beekeepers lost 50% of their bees. In the years since, beekeepers have continued to struggle with 30 – 40% annual losses resulting from factors including pesticide use, loss of habitat, the proliferation of wireless radiation and industrial beekeeping practices. Meanwhile native bee species are simultaneously disappearing.

The response of international touring company Piti Theatre, based in Shelburne Falls, MA and Switzerland, is the creation of To Bee or Not to Bee - a new play with music that inspires wonder and curiosity about honeybees and by extension the natural world. The show raises awareness about the honeybee's plight and gives children and adults tools for helping bees thrive in their communities.

To Bee tells the tale of a farmer-beekeeper named James who gradually replaces his diverse crops with corn in order to fill a growing corporate demand for corn bi-products. The action opens with the audience protesting in front of Farmer James’ barn chanting “There’s no good food, we’re in a bad mood.” Only after James recounts his tale with music and puppets to appease the angry mob does he realize, with the help of his friend the Piano Lady, that by getting some advice (and bees!) from a wise woman beekeeper about reviving his land will his bees again be able to thrive. Children are invited onstage to help James re-transform his farm at the end of the show. The performance connects to a real world grassroots campaign launched in called 10% For the Bees which encourages replanting of 10% of lawns with bee friendly habitat and transitioning to organic lawn care methods.

Piti’s vision for the show is to train other teams from the U.S. and internationally who will bring To Bee to schools and theatres in their region. The performance has been translated into French and has toured annually in Switzerland since 2012.

Featuring  Jonathan Mirin (who also co-wrote the music & book)

 

 

Keir Cutler & his mother

Magnificence
Keir Cutler (Teaching Shakespeare, Shakespeare Crackpot) adapts his mother’s award-winning memoir of her summers in the Laurentians in the 1930s. “Simplicity isn’t easy to find any more and neither is goodness.
“In this story they are stunningly exemplified.” - New York Times review, 1973. “Keir Cutler is a masterful entertainer” - Winnipeg Free Press; “A phenomenal performer” winnipeg-onstage.com “One hell of a storyteller” - VUE
Keir’s 15th Winnipeg Fringe! Directed by Paul Van Dyck, winner of Montreal’s “Revelation Award.”

Cast of 35MM (Josh Bellan at far right)

35MM: A Musical Exhibition
A picture is worth 1,000 words but what about a song? Can a picture inspire a song...or 16? In 35mm, each photo creates a unique song, a story behind a moment frozen in time, a glimmer of a life unfolding, a glimpse of something happening. This multimedia song cycle marries the art of photography and musical theatre to bring you 16 different stories that expose the spectrum of human emotion, from the euphoria of a new fling, the frustrations of a Manny to the darkness that lurks behind the mind of a wanna-be prom queen.With Josh Bellan. Directed by Johanna Reinberg

Judith Mendelsohn as “Myrtle”

A Day in the Life of Myrtle
The story of an extraordinarily enthusiastic and creative girl, Myrtle, who isn’t like everyone else. Struggling to find her voice, she is rejected by her peers and adults need to “fix” her. Seven-year-old Myrtle flees from this rejection by escaping into the adventurous world of her imagination where she is able to be powerful and carefree. Through friendship, Myrtle discovers her voice and a place where her creativity can belong.
Directed by Green Fools Theatre’s Artist Director, Dean Bareham, and performed by Judith Mendelsohn, this original Canadian production was inspired by Judith’s own childhood experiences and explores themes of individuality, equality, empathy, community, creativity and courage. This is a story that celebrates that which is deemed as “different.”

Melanie Gall as Deanna Durbin

Ingenue: Deanna Durbin, Judy Garland and the Golden Age of Hollywood
Melanie Gall, internationally-acclaimed performer, comes to the Winnipeg Fringe Festival with her new historic musical Ingenue: Deanna Durbin, Judy Garland and the Golden Age of Hollywood.

Judy Garland is an icon, loved as Dorothy in Wizard of Oz. But in the 1930s and ‘40s, Winnipeg-born Deanna Durbin was the most famous young star in Hollywood. Her first screen kiss made front page news in the New York Times. The success of her first film, Three Smart Girls, saved Universal Studios from impending bankruptcy. During WWII, Churchill celebrated military victories with a viewing of her films. Roosevelt, Stalin and even Mussolini were ardent fans. She was almost the voice of Snow White in Disney’s animated feature, and was a first choice for the lead in The Wizard of Oz. But at 27, Durbin abandoned fame for a life in rural France, where she lived in happy obscurity for almost 80 years.

Deanna may no longer be a household name, but the joy and hope she brought to millions in the midst of the Great Depression and WWII cannot ever be forgotten. Ingenue tells the true tale of the lifelong friendship - and rivalry - between Durbin and Garland, two great stars of Old Hollywood. Including 12 musical hits made famous by Durbin and Garland, including Always and Somewhere Over the Rainbow.
“An unforgettable delight” CBC; “Gall is Astonishing!” MetroArts

Eytan Millstone (left) and Jay Wells L’Ecuyer

Comedy Records Presents: Jay & Eytan
Jay & Eytan are a New York based professional comedy duo, originally from Canada. They showcase a perfect blend of sketch and stand up comedy in their one hour headlining act - packed with energy, countless punchy premises, and just the right amount of spice. From quick off beat impressions, to honest & relatable stand up, to fully choreographed musical numbers, they go right for the jugular when it comes to the laughs.

Jay & Eytan met at the Humber College Comedy Program in 2004 and trained under SNL & SCTV alumni, Joe Flaherty & Robin Duke. They have since been performing sketch comedy together at The Second City in Toronto, The PIT, Upright Citizens Brigade, and New York Comedy Club, honing their craft and building an undeniable chemistry. Because Jay & Eytan mainly work their sketch material in stand-up clubs, they’ve developed a stand-up comic’s approach to sketch comedy, bringing stand-up jokes to life, and filling sketches with punchlines.
Jay Wells L’Ecuyer & Eytan Millstone are the creators, directors and stars of the show. They’ve written & performed live sketch with Canadian greats Colin Mochrie & Scott Thompson, have had two sketch comedy albums reach #1 on the iTunes Canada Comedy charts, and their web series, “Jay & Eytan”, has won multiple awards at the New York No Limits Film Festival, The New York Short Film Festival, and the Portland Comedy Film Festival. Jay & Eytan bring a high energy laugh riot that has been tested across North America, so if you’re looking for a comedy at this year’s festival, then this is the one!

Jem Rolls

The Walk in the Snow
Physicist, fugitive, pioneer. –forgotten Jewish heroine, On Christmas Eve 1938, two refugees from the Nazis walk out into the Swedish snow. Lise Meitner is chiefly famous for NOT getting the Nobel Prize.
“When she is perhaps best remembered for thirty years of scientific achievement, as a pioneering woman, and for the walk in the snow.” The Nazis wanted this Jewish woman out of History: Did they succeed?
This show seeks to set the record straight. Sat on a tree trunk, they make a shocking scientific discovery. And the world changes forever. From the creator of The Inventor of All Things: 5 STARS CBC, Winnipeg Free Press, Edmonton Journal How did a shy Austrian, who graduated high school at 23, open so many doors and achieve so much? Jem Rolls tells the life of a remarkable and forgotten woman. “I will have nothing to do with a bomb.”

cast of Silence! The Musical Music Director - Phil Corrin

SILENCE! THE MUSICAL
(The Unauthorized Parody of The Silence of the Lambs)
Rookie FBI agent Clarice Starling matches wits with the brilliant but insane cannibal, Dr. Hannibal Lecter in order to catch the serial killer known as Buffalo Bill. Clarice faces her own demons while racing the clock to unlock Lecter’s clues before another innocent girl is killed and skinned by Buffalo Bill.
This laugh-out-loud naughty satire features a singing chorus of floppyeared lambs narrating the action as Buffalo Bill gleefully dances a hoedown while kidnapping hapless Catherine Martin. Even Dr. Lecter, scary as ever, sings about the life he’d like to lead some day outside the prison walls.

Fueled by a rabid cult following since the songs debuted online in 2002, SILENCE! was expanded into a live stage show and shattered every box office record at the 2005 NYC Fringe Festival, winning the NYC Fringe’s Best Musical Award. A successful two-year Off-Broadway run began in 2011. SILENCE! The Musical combines whip-smart dialogue and shocking songs to make a musical parody of The Silence of the Lambs that’s sure to be popular with seasoned fans of the movie and FBI rookies alike.
Music Director – Phil Corrin

 

Adam Schwartz

Anna and the Substitute Teacher
Gemini-nominated comedy writer Aimée Beaudoin and autistic novelist and stand-up comedian Adam Schwartz (Aspergers a tale of a social misfit, 5 STARS) present Anna and the Substitute Teacher. This funny, heartfelt, family-friendly play is about an exceptional day in the life of a charming young lady with autism/Aspergers. When Anna’s beloved teacher, Ms. Cobweb, is replaced by a spooky substitute and Stephanie the bratty bully becomes the new teacher’s pet, it’s up to Anna to save the day!

 

cast of Almost, Maine featuring Nina Eilberg

 

Almost, Maine by John Carian

A series of vignettes take you on a journey to the same fictional town, on the same night, under the same mysterious and magical Aurora Borealis. Cariani’s off Broadway hit broke box office records for a reason; In his characters we see our selves in the universal struggle of love, loss and the search for human connection. In doing so, we are reminded of the importance of having a place to call home; a place where the temperature often drops well below zero—a place not unlike Winterpeg, Manisnowba!
With NINA EILBERG

About the Director:
Cairn Moore is a director and playwright and teaches first year performance at the University of Winnipeg. Her award winning play SHIKSA premiered with Winnipeg Jewish Theatre in 2016.