Tuesday, May 15, 2018

What the What?!

Ahh the world of non-professional theatre!

For those who are interested or curious to know what the heck is going on with Bottle Tree announcing Mamma Mia! and then Meistersingers posting a production of the same title in November - read on. If you don't care - stop here and congratulations.  :)

When I saw the title come available for amateur licensing, I applied within minutes. So did other companies. Amateur licenses for plays and musicals have no restrictions on them. Every single person in Kingston could have applied for the rights to perform Mamma Mia! and they would have all been granted - even if the productions were on the same dates.

Part of what we do at Bottle Tree is creating community (non-professional) theatre, especially large musicals. We think that this is important because it gives a professional level of support to people who love the art and may never get a chance to participate. I knew that Mamma Mia! would be a wildly popular title, and that it was likely that the Meistersingers would also have applied for the rights (and they had). I wanted to avoid the speculation that has happened in the past with productions that were done in the same year, by two companies, so I asked if they would like to do a co-production of the show with us.
 
Anyway - Liane and I talked and tried to figure out what might work and what might not work, and the timeline did not work out for us to work together. That is the short of it.

What people who do not produce don't really understand is that it is hard to book theatre space for shows in Kingston, especially on the big stage at the Grand Theatre. That theatre is booked at least 18 months in advance.  For me, the venue was very important. For Meistersingers, the number of possible performances was key.

I think that Meistersingers will do a good show.

I think that we will do a good show.

There is a bum for every seat. Mamma Mia! is a great title.  Stay tuned for Bottle Tree Productions'  audition and performance run announcement.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Meet Duncan Holt


Duncan Holt owns a well-respected recording studio, teaches drums, plays in many bands and is a musical fixture in Kingston. He lays down the beat for artists that include The Rain Kings, Georgette Fry, and Jenica Rayne, across all genres.

Holt has a quick smile and and a gentle sense of humour and could not say no to joining this outstanding group of musicians to present this music. Duncan is a fan of all of the music in “You've Got a Friend” - when pressed he picks Smackwater Jack and Copperline as two favourites. Despite not being the stand-in drummer for Charlie Watts in the Stone's Steel Wheels tour, Duncan counts his blessings in those shining moments that happen unexpectedly on stage.

We're looking forward to seeing Duncan shine on Saturday May 5 at 7:30pm in “You've Got a Friend” with bandmates Miss Emily, Doug Reansbury, Jamie Campbell, Zak Colbert, Ken Hall and James Wannamaker. Playing in the beautiful sanctuary at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, 130 Clergy St. E @ Princess. Parking is on Queen in the same block as the church. Tickets $25 for You've Got a Friend are available in advance at https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3356784 or at the door on the night of the show (cash only at the door).

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Meet Zak Colbert


Charles and I walk into one of our watering holes (The Ports) and I show my poster to the barman and ask if I can put it up on the wall. The barman takes a look at the poster, there is a big photo of the singers-Miss Emily, Jamie Campbell, Doug Reansbury-and smaller headshots of James Wannamaker (sax), Duncan Holt (drums), Ken Hall (keys) and bass player Zak Colbert. The barman, Rick, smiles and says to me, “Little known fact – I used to play bass-and you know, everyone who found that out asked me exactly the same question, 'Oh, you play bass?! Do you know Zak Colbert?'”

Zak is a musician's musician. He has backed Georgette Fry, Ila Van, Sam Hopkins, and innumerable others. Zak was a founding member of Ghetto Express. He is a consummate player, accompanying any genre on his six string fretted bass. Fittingly, one of Colbert's favourite songs in this latest musical offering is Carole King and David Plamer (Steely Dan)'s 'Jazzman”.

Jazzman Colbert can be seen this Saturday, May 5 at 7:30pm performing “You've Got a Friend” at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church 130 Clergy St. E @ Princess. Parking is on Queen in the same block as the church. Tickets $25 for You've Got a Friend are available in advance at https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3356784 or at the door on the night of the show (cash only at the door).

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Meet Doug Reansbury


photo (c) 2018 Vanessa Head
Doug Reansbury is a household name in Kingston. He is a feature artist at The Stonewater Pub, and on the Island Star dinner cruises who plays soft acoustic rock, mainly hits from the 60's and 70's. His latest gig, singing the music of James Taylor and Carole King with Miss Emily, Jamie Campbell, Zak Colbert, Ken Hall, Duncan Holt, and James Wannamaker is right in his wheelhouse.

“You've Got a Friend” , written by King, was James Taylor's best-selling recording and it is the perfect name for their new show. Reansbury loves the simple/sublime guitar intro to the song, and his co-performer, keyboardist Ken Hall, happily recommends Doug's interpretation of James Taylor's songs. “He's remarkable,” says Hall, “his James Taylor songs are out of this world.”

You can catch Doug and his friends on Saturday May 5 @ 7:30pm, at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, 130 Clergy Street East (Clergy at Princess)/ Parking is on Queen in the same block as the church. Tickets $25 for You've Got a Friend are available in advance at https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3356784 or at the door on the night of the show (cash only at the door).

Monday, April 30, 2018

Meet James Wannamaker


Sometimes, when everything is going right in a performance – everyone is in the pocket- a tune will hit the next level. For saxophonist James Wannamaker, that is an amazing feeling.

James has been a staple in Kingston for many years – a known sax man playing with groups like Filet of Soul, Jenica Rayne, and The Downtown Trio. Drummer Duncan Holt invited him to play in “You've Got a Friend” with Miss Emily, Doug Reansbury, Jamie Campbell, Ken Hall, and Zak Colbert doing songs of Carole King and James Taylor. King's songs lend themselves to sax, and Natural Woman has a fun solo for Wannamaker, and he enjoys chilling and listening to the rest of the band play the James Taylor tunes.

Like all good musicians, James is busy! He has a performance at Homegrown Live with Michelle Kasaboski in the same day that he will perform with Holt and the band for You've Got a Friend, and he plays at Olivea every second Tuesday, with The Downtown Trio.

You can see James' newest venture “You've Got a Friend” live in the beautiful sanctuary at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church 130 Clergy St. East (at Princess) this Saturday May 5 7:30 pm. Tickets $25 for You've Got a Friend are available in advance at https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3356784 or at the door on the night of the show (cash only at the door).