5 Minutes 'Til Curtain for Theatre Western

Musical revue borrows classic Broadway tunes to complement its original plot

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Curtain

The curtain is set to open on Theatre Western’s latest production, 5 Minutes ’Til Curtain, next Monday and Tuesday night at the Wave.

The brainchild of co-directors and writers Rosalie Abrahamse and Donovan Bullen, the show takes us backstage at a musical on opening night. With only five minutes to go, the power goes out and choreographed chaos ensues.

Despite being billed as a musical revue, the writers have woven the music together with an original script.

“It’s a review in the sense that all of the music is from other shows,” Bullen says. “We’ve just picked our favourite songs from all of our favourite shows ... Each song flows into the next in context, with dialogue and there is a plot.”

“It’s a musical,” Abrahamse adds. “We just didn’t write the music.”

The music is borrowed from the Broadway repertoire.

“We’ve got everything from classics like A Chorus Line and The Pajama Game ... up to Rent and Avenue Q,” Bullen says. “Right away the music of the show covers all kinds of genres, everything from your typical cheesy musical ‘oompah’ kind of stuff all the way to straight-up rock tunes.”

Creative license has been taken with most of the songs. Rather than simply tribute the original sources, many have been updated to suit this performance.

“We arranged for our band and our singers,” Abrahamse says. “We also have a couple of tunes that we have revamped and I’m really excited because they’re all hit songs and none of the crap songs that develop character. None of the filler, all the killer.”

Both directors are enthusiastic about the eclectic cast they have pieced together. Abrahamse describes it as “the most amazingly talented cast I have ever seen and ever worked with.

“The whole cast has just blown me away. The quality of the singing is phenomenal; there’s such a wide range in the types of voices: rock voices, really Broadway stuff and then even a little more operatic stuff. We’re really pleased they’ve been enthusiastic and pushing the bar every time.”

The talent doesn’t stop onstage, either. 5 Minutes ’Til Curtain brings together a skillfull band to bring the music to life.

“I’ve called in my ringers,” Bullen says, describing his band, who have to cover a wide range of musical styles. “The band has really stepped up and they’re the most talented people that I could think of, so I pulled them together and put them in my band.”

The music has also been adapted.

“I arranged all the music myself based on piano parts and recordings and my own creative influence,” Bullen says. “They could be called original arrangements of the tunes.”

More than anything, 5 Minutes ’Til Curtain is made to make you laugh.

“You will absolutely laugh coming to this,” Bullen says with a smile. “You will probably start laughing as soon as we start and you’ll end laughing about an hour after we’re done. It’s just straight up funny; it’s very much a modern style of humour in that kind of ridiculous, off-the-wall, random kind of thing.”

Abrahamse couldn’t agree more.

“It’s campy, break-down-the-fourth-wall kind of humour. It’s not supposed to be serious. Even some of the serious songs turn out to be something funny; it’s basically ridiculous and hilarious.

“You could definitely use this as an excuse to make up for that terrible Valentine’s Day gift you gave to your boyfriend or girlfriend.”

5 Minutes ‘Til Curtain plays at the Wave Monday, March 10 and Tuesday, March 11 at 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $5 and are available at InfoSource.

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