Selected Posts

The ‘Theatre’ Category

Mark McNeil’s Hamilton for Beginners + Les Smith, Thurs Oct 24

September 1st, 2019
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Thursday, October 24, 2019, at 8 pm. $15. Hamilton for Beginners: a show of stories, songs and photos featuring singer-songwriter-journalist Mark McNeil. Followed by a song-swap with Mark and harmonica wiz Les Smith.
Hamilton for Beginners: Fresh from the Hamilton Fringe, singer-songwriter and long-time Spectator journalist Mark McNeil performs a special expanded version of his one-man show about the quirky city we live in. If you’re new to the terrain — maybe fleeing TO’s ridiculous housing prices — or whether you’re a longtime Hamiltonian looking for a refresher, Hamilton for Beginners is a must see. In words, songs and photos, Mark takes you on a tour of the strange history and odd practices of the “the biggest small town on the planet.”
The show will be followed by a song-swap session with Mark and singer-songwriter and harmonica wiz Les Smith. Les has performed around the area for decades with bands such as Crowbar and Trickbag and runs the Hamilton Regional Songwriters Group, an offshoot of the Songwriters Association of Canada.

Event, Music, Music-singer/songwriter, Storytelling, Theatre

James Gordon “Emergency Climate Musical” Fri Oct 4

August 18th, 2019
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Friday October 4, 2019, at 8 pm. $20. Singer, songwriter, storyteller James Gordon returns with his latest project Emergency Climate Musical. Here is his plot:
Before the last federal election, songwriter/activist James Gordon barnstormed his way across the country with his hugely successful one-man show Stephen Harper: the Musical.
It worked. You’re welcome.
Now he’s back with his Emergency Climate Musical: a ninety-minute theatrical investigation of what surely is THE issue in these uncertain times. Filled with compelling songs, videos, images, stories, rants, laughter, tears, audience participation, a creepy puppet and some concrete ways to face this crisis, James promises to entertain, inform, and leave you with homework.
Follow along as he outlines his premise that we need a total political, societal and economic make-over to face the incredible challenge ahead. This time he’s got the cred for the job: James moonlights as a Guelph City Councillor, where he’s introduced climate change motions, and he’s a member of the National Climate Leadership Caucus. 

Event, Music, Music-singer/songwriter, Theatre

Fringe BYOV: Bungalow, six shows July 19 – 28

June 4th, 2019
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July 18 to 28, 2019: Artword Artbar BYOV hosts three plays in the Hamilton Fringe Festival. Tickets: $12 (Fringe Backer Button required)
Advance Tickets: hamiltonfringe.ca/shows/bungalow/
Bungalow is a new play written and directed by Sky Gilbert, performed by Shaun McComb and Tim Walker. Bungalow is a play you might find happening in your front (or back) yard. Sky’s take on gentrification is to write plays in which members of Hamilton’s working class — the ‘hardcore Hamilton’ survivors — take centre stage, and often face off with Hamilton’s more wealthy, sometimes newly arrived, prosperous elites. Kiefer runs a coffee shop and Lloyd is, well — kind of a grifter who likes a drink once in awhile. They are next door neighbours. They meet on Kiefer’s porch. Kiefer would prefer that Lloyd would go away. But he doesn’t, and through their meetings we learn a lot about the two men, and about the class distinctions that sometimes separate us.
Running time: 60 minutes.
Showtimes: 19 Jul Fri: 9:00 pm. 20 Jul Sat: 5:00 pm, 21 Jul Sun: 3:00 pm
26 Jul Fri: 9:00 pm, 27 Jul Sat: 5:00 pm, 28 Jul Sun: 3:00 pm

Event, Hamilton Fringe Theatre Fest, Theatre

Fringe BYOV: Charly’s Piano, nine shows July 18 – 27

June 3rd, 2019
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July 18 to 28, 2019: Artword Artbar BYOV hosts three plays in the Hamilton Fringe Festival. Tickets: $12 (Fringe Backer Button required)
Advance Tickets: hamiltonfringe.ca/shows/charlys-piano/
Charly’s Piano, performed by Charly Chiarelli, written by Charly Chiarelli and Ronald Weihs, directed by Ronald Weihs, songs by Charly Chiarelli.
Charly’s Piano tells the true tale of Charly as a young hippie looking for work in Toronto in 1972. He gets a job in a psychiatric hospital, and organizes a fundraising concert by patients and doctors to buy a piano.
Running time: 60 minutes.
Showtimes:
18 Jul Thu: 9:00 pm,
19 Jul Fri: 7:00 pm,
20 Jul Sat: 9:00 pm,
21 Jul Sun: 7:00 pm,
23 Jul Tue: 9:00 pm,
24 Jul Wed: 7:00 pm,
25 Jul Thu: 9:00 pm,
26 Jul Fri: 7:00 pm,
27 Jul Sat: 9:00 pm

Event, Hamilton Fringe Theatre Fest, Theatre

Fringe BYOV: Tiny Bill Cody Sees the Devil, nine shows July 18 – 27

June 2nd, 2019
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July 18 to 28, 2019: Artword Artbar BYOV hosts three plays in the Hamilton Fringe Festival. Tickets: $12 (Fringe Backer Button required)
Advance Tickets: hamiltonfringe.ca/shows/tiny-bill-cody/
Tiny Bill Cody Sees the Devil, written and performed by musician and storyteller Tor Lukasik-Foss.
Tiny Bill Cody Sees the Devil uses story and song to recount the true story of meeting the devil on a Hamilton street in the 1980’s. It also a story about regret, hesitation, a mid life crisis, and the city’s best falafel.
Running time: 60 minutes.
Showtimes: 18 Jul Thu: 7:00 pm, 19 Jul Fri: 5:00 pm, 20 Jul Sat: 7:00 pm, 21 Jul Sun: 5:00 pm, 23 Jul Tue: 7:00 pm, 24 Jul Wed: 9:00 pm, 25 Jul Thu: 7:00 pm, 26 Jul Fri: 5:00 pm, 27 Jul Sat: 7:00 pm

 

Event, Hamilton Fringe Theatre Fest, Theatre

THEATRE: Whoever You Are, a science-fiction play, May 14 to 26

April 25th, 2019
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May 14 to 26, 2019. Call 905-543-8512, or BUY_tix_buttonBook online

Artword Theatre presents Whoever You Are, a play written and directed by Ronald Weihs, based on a 1952 science fiction short story by Judith Merril.

The human race has built a web around the Solar System that traps alien life forms. A SolSys scout ship returns with aliens aboard and is caught in the web. When a young recruit boards the ship and investigates, it becomes evident that the aliens have what may be an irresistible weapon: they love everybody.

Do we dare let them in? On Phobos (one of the moons of Mars), three people must decide what action to take: two men, a military commander and a psychologist, and one woman, the public information officer.

Performed by Jordan Campbell, Paula Grove and Jay Shand as the team at Phobos Base, and Pamela Gardner as Private Fromm, the new space recruit.
Live soundscape by Dave Gould (and voice of Sergeant Bolster).
Video effects by Ronald Weihs and Judith Sandiford.

Show times: Preview $10 Tues May 14 at 8 pm.
Wed to Sat $20: May 15 to 18 at 8 pm.
Tues to Fri $20: May 21 to 24 at 8 pm.
Matinees $15: Sat May 18, Sat May 25 and Sun May 26 at 3:30 pm

Written in 1952, Whoever You Are was Judith Merril’s answer to the “Fortress America” paranoia at the beginning of the cold war, and her protest against the emotional and sexual repression that fueled it. Although the lines today are less sharply drawn, fear of the alien is as prevalent today as it was then.
Like most of Judith Merril’s work, Whoever You Are has fun with the science fiction setting, but uses it to make some serious points. Merril had a major influence on science fiction as one of the main voices for more human themes and complex issues. In her own fiction, and in a series of key anthologies, she championed the position that Science Fiction was about exploring alternative realities.

The play by Ronald Weihs was first developed in 1997, when Ron asked her permission to adapt one of her short stories for the stage. Judith Merril died on September 12, 1997, when the project to put Whoever You Are on the stage was well underway. Just before she went to the hospital, she read a draft of the script. Her most significant comment was that the play must convey the sense of inward-looking paranoia, fear and sexual repressiveness that underlies nationalism and xenophobia.

It seems even more urgent to revisit these themes now, in 2019, 22 years after our first presentation of the play (in our first Artword Theatre on Portland Street), and 67 years after Judith Merril wrote the original story.

Event, Theatre

THEATRE: Langston Hughes vs Joe McCarthy, March 9 to 17, 2019

February 5th, 2019
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March 9 to 17, 2019. All tickets $15.00. Call 905-543-8512
Artword Theatre is bringing back its timely and sensitive piece of documentary theatre, Langston Hughes vs. Joe McCarthy, written and directed by Ronald Weihs and produced by Judith Sandiford. Dancer-choreographer-actor Learie Mc Nicolls plays the role of Langston Hughes and character actor Howard Jerome plays The Interrogator.

Is poetry subversive? U.S. Senator Joe McCarthy thought so. On March 24, 1953, Langston Hughes, renowned poet of the Harlem Renaissance, was summoned before the Senate Committee on Investigations. Did his poems contain communist ideas? In reply, Langston Hughes tells about his personal encounters with racism in America. The script is based on the actual transcript of his testimony, interwoven with the controversial poems, and incorporating dance, music and powerful images of the era.
Only 8 performances! Running time: 60 minutes. Show dates and times:
Saturday March 9 at 7:30 pm, OPENING Special, includes admission to the Beg To Differ concert, following at 9 pm.
Sunday March 10 mat at 3:00 pm, Tuesday March 12 at 7:30 pm, Wednesday March 13 at 7:30 pm, Thursday March 14 at 7:30 pm, Friday March 15 at 7:30 pm, Saturday March 16 mat at 3:00 pm only, Sunday March 17 mat at 3:00 pm, final show.


Read Gary Smith’s review March 13, 2019 in the Hamilton Spectator:

Langston Hughes vs. Joe McCarthy is a moving and probing drama

“Langston Hughes vs. Joe McCarthy,” playwright Ron Weihs’s probing drama, packs a lot of power into an hour. This short play, interspersed with elegant stage moves, as well as haunting poetry by the iconic Hughes, is a fusion of art forms that sits neatly on the Artword Artbar stage.

The room is small. So is the stage. But the ideas are large.

Read more…

Event, Theatre

The Purple, White and Green: the story of the Scottish Suffragettes, Thur Mar 14, 9 pm

February 1st, 2019
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Thursday March 14, 2019, at 9:00 pm, $10 or by donation. (This is a late show after the 7:30 performance of Langston Hughes vs Joe McCarthy.) Call 905-543-8512.
COMBO TICKET $20 with Langston Hughes vs... at 7:30, call or Book online   BUY_tix_button

The Purple, White and Green: the story of the Scottish Suffragettes. Written to mark the 1918-2018 centenary of (some) women’s right to vote in the UK, this powerful piece of storytelling is both timely and compelling. Storytellers Nicola Wright and Lea Taylor (from Edinburgh, Scotland) present with verve and vigour this mix of historical facts and prose, where deeds and words come together.

Nicola Wright and Lea Taylor performing The Purple, White and Green: the story of the Scottish Suffragettes.

Photo left: performers Lea Taylor and Nicola Wright marching down the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, 2018.

Their performance has enthralled audiences and even played at the Scottish Parliament before MSP’s and children.
They will also be performing this show at the Toronto Storytelling Festival on or near International Women’s Day.

Event, Storytelling, Theatre

Scroogissimo! is delightful and charming (review by Gary Smith)

December 10th, 2018
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GARY SMITH: Scroogissimo! is delightful and charming

WhatsOn December 11, 2019, 12:02 PM by Gary Smith, Special to The Hamilton Spectator

www.thespec.com/whatson-story/9075444-gary-smith-scroogissimo-is-delightful-and-charming/

It’s the best Scrooge I’ve seen all year.

With apologies to Charles Dickens, this Hamilton version of the transformation of a crusty old skinflint to a giving and caring benefactor of humanity, will make you believe in something more than ersatz holiday entertainment.

We’re in Hamilton, where Bob Cratchit (Jon-Gordon Odegaard) and his family live at 487 Barton St. Cratchit scratches out a living in the office chambers of Ebenezer Scrooge a wily old Sicilian played of course by the irrepressible Charly Chiarelli.

As in Dickens, you’ll go with those three spirits of Christmas, Past, Present and Future (Pamela Gardner, Paula Grove and Valeri Kay) as they force the grumpy old miser to confront the waste of his life. Read more…

Theatre

THEATRE: Scroogissimo is coming back! Dec 1 to 15, 2018

October 20th, 2018
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NEWS: remaining 4 shows selling fast. Fri Dec 14 is SOLD OUT.
Friday Dec 1 to Saturday Dec 15, 2018.
Times: Wed to Sat at 8:00 pm.
Sun matinées Dec 2 & Dec 9 at 3:00 pm.
Tickets: Adults $25,  Child 14 & under $10.
To reserve call 905-543-8512. On-line ticketing no longer available.

Artword Theatre’s delightful Christmas comedy Scroogissimo returns for a fourth time to Artword Artbar. Hamilton’s North End meets Charles Dickens in a wacky script by Ryan Sero and Charly Chiarelli, directed by Ronald Weihs.
With the original cast!
Charly Chiarelli as Ebenezu Scroogie
Pamela Gardner as Christmas Past and ensemble
Paula Grove as Christmas Present and ensemble
Valeri Kay as Christmas Future, Mrs. Cratchit and ensemble
Jon-Gordon Odegaard as Bob Cratchit and ensemble
Jay Shand as Marley’s Ghost, nephew Fred and ensemble
Musical support by Alex Tomowich on piano.

A sell-out hit in 2013, 2014 and 2016, Scroogissimo features Charly Chiarelli as “Ebenezu Scroogie”, a Christmas-hating old Hamiltonian from Racalmuto, Sicily, who finds himself haunted by three ghosts of the Past, Present and Future.

Our favourite review, from the first production in 2013: “Artword Theatre is cramming a whack of seasonal fun into their tiny package of a space. Mixing local Sicilian–Canadian storyteller Charly Chiarelli and “Charly” Dickens makes a Christmas–cracker exploding with musical and comedic goodies that will make an addition to your festive season you will never forget….” Robin Pittis for View Magazine.
(The show is as much fun and even more, as we add new things in each remount.)

Event, Theatre

CANCELLED: Whoever You Are, a play reading, Tues & Wed Oct 16 & 17

September 12th, 2018
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CANCELLED/ Unfortunately we are not able to proceed with this planned reading. We will try again in 2019….
[Tuesday October 16 and Wednesday October 17, 2018, at 8 pm. $10/pwyc. Artword Theatre presents a reading of Whoever You Are, a play by Ronald Weihs, based on a short story by science fiction writer Judith Merril. Read more…

Event, Theatre

Reviews “The Man in the Vault” an Artword Theatre production

July 26th, 2018
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Reviews! –“Rather than feel satisfied that the play’s wrapping up, you’ll want more.”
–“a play that had me on the edge of my seat, like an unproduced Twilight Zone episode scripted by a young John Le Carré.”
–“a very compelling script. The highlight of this show is the acting.” Click MORE for full reviews. Read more…

Hamilton Fringe Theatre Fest, Theatre

Reviews for shows in the Hamilton Fringe Theatre Festival

July 24th, 2018
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The Fringe reviewers have been busy! Great reviews for all three shows at Artword Artbar BYOV! Here are the links we know about:

https://www.raisethehammer.org/fringe

https://www.thespec.com/whatson-story/8757842-hamilton-fringe-shakespeare-russian-conspiracies-and-three-acrobatic-witches/

Hamilton Fringe Theatre Fest, Theatre

Fringe BYOV Artword Artbar: The Man in the Vault

June 29th, 2018
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July 19 to 28, 2018. Part of the Hamilton Fringe Theatre Festival.
The Man in the Vault
(Artword Theatre).
Performed by Mariam Bekhet, Jordan Campbell, Jason Thompson
Written and directed by Ronald Weihs
Produced and designed by Judith Sandiford
A Russian spy defects with information about Lee Harvey Oswald and the Kennedy assassination. James Angleton, the CIA’s legendary head of counterintelligence, is convinced he is a disinformation agent sent by the KGB. The defector is kept in a concrete vault in a secret location while interrogators try to extract the truth from the man in the vault. Based on true events in the 1960s that resonate with today’s headlines.
Drama, All Ages, Running Time: 60 minutes
Tickets: $10 (Fringe Backer Button required)  hamiltonfringe.ca/tickets/

Show Times: Thursday, July 19 @ 9pm, Friday, July 20 @ 4:30pm
Saturday, July 21 @ 7pm, Sunday, July 22 @ 8pm
Tuesday, July 24 @ 9pm, Wednesday, July 25 @ 7pm
Thursday, July 26 @ 9pm, Friday, July 27 @ 5pm
Saturday, July 28 @ 6pm  (Final show)

Event, Hamilton Fringe Theatre Fest, Theatre

Fringe BYOV Artword Artbar: The Decision

June 29th, 2018
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July 19 to 28, 2018. Part of the Hamilton Fringe Theatre Festival.
The Decision (Gallery on the Bay).
Performed by Jordan Campbell and Jason Thompson.
Written by David Laing Dawson, directed by Ronald Weihs
Produced by Marlaise Dawson, design and lighting by Judith Sandiford
Amsterdam, May 16, 1940: Two young officers in the Royal Netherlands Army meet secretly. Their orders are to report to Gestapo Headquarters in the next morning.

Drama, Parental Guidance, Strong Language. Running Time: 60 minutes
Tickets: $12 for Adults, $5 for Children under 12. (Fringe Backer Button required)
hamiltonfringe.ca/tickets/

Show Times: Thursday, July 19 @ 7pm, Friday, July 20 @ 7pm
Saturday, July 21 @ 9pm, Sunday, July 22 @ 6pm
Tuesday, July 24 @ 7pm, Wednesday, July 25 @ 5pm
Thursday, July 26 @ 7pm, Friday, July 27 @ 7pm
Saturday, July 28 @ 4pm  (Final show)

Event, Hamilton Fringe Theatre Fest, Theatre

Fringe BYOV Artword Artbar: Romeo & Juliet: An Escapist Comedy

June 29th, 2018
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July 19 to 28, 2018. Part of the Hamilton Fringe Theatre Festival.
Romeo & Juliet: An Escapist Comedy (Make Art Theatre).
Performed by Tyler Brent, Natalia Bushnik, Kristian Reimer, Ryan M. Sero, Liz Kalles, Laura Welch.
Written by Ryan M. Sero, Directed by Tyler Brent.
Winner of the Critics’ Choice Award at the 2014 Hamilton Fringe! The sell-out fan favorite returns! Romeo is distraught: his girlfriend just dumped him, he can’t find meaning in the universe, he’s worried there is no God, plus he can’t even get a table at Steinman’s! Shakespeare meets Woody Allen in this comic re-imagining of the Bard’s classic tale.
Comedy, All Ages, Running Time: 60 minutes.
Tickets: $10 (Fringe Backer Button required)  hamiltonfringe.ca/tickets/

Show Times: Thursday, July 19 @ 5pm, Friday, July 20 @ 9pm
Saturday, July 21 @ 5pm, Sunday, July 22 @ 4pm
Tuesday, July 24 @ 5pm, Wednesday, July 25 @ 9pm
Thursday, July 26 @ 5pm, Friday, July 27 @ 9pm
Saturday, July 28 @ 8pm (Final show)

Event, Hamilton Fringe Theatre Fest, Theatre

Theatre: Swingin’ In St. John’s, the Musical, April 3 to 15

March 2nd, 2018
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Tuesday April 3 to Sunday April 15, 2018, Tues-Sat 8 pm, Sunday matinées at 2:30 pm. Tickets Tues & Wed $15, Thur-Sun $25. Reservations call 905-543-8512 or
BUY_tix_buttonBook online

The Fringe 2017 hit musical Swingin’ In St. John’s returns for a two-week run at Artword Arbar. What if they made an Elvis movie — set in Newfoundland? It’s back and bigger than ever! More singin’! More dancin’! More swingin’! Two brand-new songs, plus the 16 original songs and two Newfoundland classics. Come get Screeched In with us!
Artword Theatre presents A Chasing Shadows Production:
Swingin’ In St. John’s.
Starring Will Gillespie, Rebecca Gilbert Millar, Leonard Cain,
introducing Mariam Bekhet, with Brian Morton as ‘Old Salty’,
and Susan Robinson as ‘The Lobster’.
Written, composed, designed & choreographed by Will Gillespie.
Paintings, props and puppets by Susan Robinson.
Video and lighting technician Judith Sandiford.

In the late 1950’s and early-to-mid 1960’s Elvis Presley starred in some 30 movies. Many of these were campy, light-hearted romps, musical romantic comedies based on what was called the “Presley Formula”: exotic locales, beautiful co-stars and fun songs that blended Rock & Roll with styles inspired by the locations and themes of each movie. What if one of these films was set in Newfoundland? “Swingin’ in St. John’s” is a new stage musical that answers that question. Read more…

Event, Theatre

New Play “Static” by Kevin Land, reading,Thurs Feb 22 at 7 pm

January 6th, 2018
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Thursday February 22, 2018, from 7 to 9 pm, free (call 905-543-8512). Reading of a new script-in-progress by playwright, screenwriter and director Kevin Land. Readers are: Deanna  Stevens, Martha Christianson, Aimee Kesler Evans, Janet Kompare Fritz, Greg Flis, Carlos Jiminez, John Land, Dean Rooney, Julian Nicholson, Paul Rivers.
Attentive listeners with an interest in theatre are welcome to attend. Seating is limited, call 905-543-8512 to reserve.
Static” is a film script about a musician who has never been able to forgive himself for his responsibility in the death of his wife and six month old baby while driving home late after a gig over 25 years ago. Having rejected music, alcohol, and human connectedness in the intervening years, Mitch, now retired as a letter carrier, rents a recording studio to put down nine songs he wrote in the ten years after the accident. There he works with a trans woman who is an intern sound engineer and in the process, the two form a bond out of the redemptive, communal, and restorative nature of music.

 

Event, Literary, Spoken Word, Special event, Theatre

Bar closed while we hold OPEN AUDITIONS, Wed Feb 21

January 5th, 2018
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Wednesday February 21, 2018. Artword Artbar will be closed to the public today. We are holding OPEN AUDITIONS for several upcoming theatre projects by Gallery on the Bay and Artword Theatre. Gallery on the Bay is seeking to fill two roles for men in 20s-30s age range. Artword Theatre doing Get Acquainted auditions for a variety of possible projects, for men and women, any age. To make an appointment for an audition, email: artword@artword.net.

Event, Special event, Theatre

Review of Charly’s Piano, by Brian Morton View Magazine

December 14th, 2017
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“A Celebration of Spirit”
Review by Brian Morton of Charly’s Piano  in View Magazine, December 14 2017

They say it takes thirty years to become a master at something. I can confirm then, that Charly Chiarelli, the Sicilian born, North End Hamilton native, whose newest play, Charly’s Piano, opened this week at Artword Artbar, certainly has the skills to hold an audience spellbound with a yarn.

It takes a great deal of artistry; as a songwriter, an actor, a dancer, and a musician, in order to bring these poignant memories of working at Toronto’s Clarke Institute of Psychiatry circa 1972, as a patient observer, to life on stage. Chiarelli has long been compared to the late Spalding Gray, and his funny anecdotes are similar to humourist Mark Twain, in the essential humanity of his characters. I will suggest, that Canadian writer Stephen Leacock, is a more apt comparison, filtered through Charly’s experiences growing up in the rough and ready world of north end Hamilton, and the hippy ‘counter culture’ of the late 1960s.  Read more…

Theatre

Review: Veteran raconteur hits right notes in Charly’s Piano

December 6th, 2017
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Review Veteran raconteur hits right notes in Charly’s Piano

WhatsOn Dec 5 2017 05:26 PM by Gary Smith, Hamilton Spectator

Charly Chiarelli recalls the world of 1970s Toronto in “Charly’s Piano.”

Want to go back to the early ’70s? To a time when Ian and Sylvia, Bo Diddley and Ronnie Hawkins sang at the Concord and other hallowed Toronto halls?

Coffee houses and bars were still the domain of beatniks and hippies back then. Toronto was less sophisticated than it thinks it is today. Possibilities were endless.

In 1972, Charly Chiarelli, born in Racalmuto, Sicily, but raised in Hamilton’s gritty North End, found himself wandering the streets of what was once called Hogtown.

He found an attic abode next to a Primal Scream Clinic near Kensington Market. He found a job, too, at Toronto’s prestigious Clarke Institute of Psychiatry. Called an observer, he was paid to watch patients. Memories of many of these institutionalized folk permeate his new play “Charly’s Piano.” Read more…

Theatre

THEATRE: Charly Chiarelli’s new show Charly’s Piano, Dec 7 to 16

October 31st, 2017
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December 7 to 16, 2017. Charly’s Piano, Charly Chiarelli’s heartwarming Christmas show about how he organized a fundraiser to buy a piano for the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry in 1972. An Artword Theatre Production, directed by Ronald Weihs. Charly’s Piano is the true story about how Charly went to work as a psychiatric assistant at the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry in Toronto. The year was 1972, Toronto was full of music and hippies, and the Clarke was exploring new techniques in mental health. Charly, harmonica and all, fit right in. Pretty soon, he’s organizing a fundraiser to buy a piano for the patients to play. At first, no one signs up, but when the “Cat Lady” says she’ll sing a song, the idea takes off. Patients, doctors, nurses perform in a sell-out concert. But the story isn’t over. Charly and a patient known as “The Duchess” travel by public transit to a mansion on the outskirts of Toronto and buy the piano. And at Christmas, the piano is in the lounge, where Charly leads patients and staff (and audience) in Christmas songs and carols.
Script by Charly Chiarelli and Ronald Weihs, new songs by Charly Chiarelli on harmonica with Ronald Weihs on guitar. Produced by Judith Sandiford.

Reserve 905-543-8512 or  BUY_tix_buttonBook online.
Show times and prices:

Thurs, Fri & Sat, December 7, 8 & 9, at 8 pm, $20; Sun December 10 matinee at 3 pm, $20
Tues to Sat, December 12 to 16, at 8 pm, $20.

The Two-Show Deal: If you came out to Cu’Fu? and loved it, you are eligible for the two-show package discount. By phone only: 905-543-8512.

Event, Theatre

Charly Chiarelli’s hit show Cu’Fu? returns: Sept 28 to Oct 7

August 18th, 2017
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Thursday September 28 to Saturday October 7, 2017. Charly Chiarelli‘s classic hit show Cu’Fu? (So Who Did It?), Stories of a Sicilian Family, returns to Hamilton, for a two-week run at Artword Artbar. An Artword Theatre production written and performed by Charly Chiarelli, directed and dramaturged by Ronald Weihs.
Cu’Fu?, the show that made him famous, is Charly’s hilarious and touching tribute to his crazy Sicilian family in the North End of Hamilton. His father’s bewilderment at the automatic record changer, his mother’s uncanny ability to read faces, and the unexpected reaction of both when they discover Charly is smoking “Mario Lanza”, create a portrait that is both affectionate and achingly funny.
Show times and prices:
Opening Festitalia Special, Thurs Sept 28, at 8 pm, $20
Fri & Sat Sept 29 & 30, at 8 pm, $20. Sun Oct 1 matinee at 3 pm, $20
Tues to Sat, Oct 3 to 7, at 8 pm, $20. Final show is Sat Oct 7.

Event, Theatre

“A real gem” Review by Lyla Miklos: Langston Hughes vs Joe McCarthy

July 19th, 2017
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“…a truly enchanting hour showcasing some of Hughes’ moving, political, and still frighteningly relevant poetry.”

2017 HAMILTON FRINGE FESTIVAL MINI REVIEW FROM CENTRE STAGE WITH LYLA MIKLOS ON 101.5 FM THE HAWK

This Fringe show was a real gem and a pleasant surprise. Writer/Director Ronald Weihs takes us back to 1953 when Harlem Renaissance poet Langston Hughes was summoned by infamous Senator Joseph McCarthy to speak to the Senate Committee on Investigations. Combining projected pictures from the era, jazz music, movement and two amazing actors Weihs transports his audience into both a frightening and inspiring time and place. A time and place that reminds us of the fragility of our democracies as we still so easily allow ideological demagogues to take away our collective powers.

What makes this production really sing is when Learie Mc Nicolls brings to life the words of Langston Hughes. More than once the audience would burst into spontaneous applause at the end of one his powerful recitations. Not only did his voice bounce off the walls, but his feet and body were bouncing and moving all over the stage. Mc Nicolls was utterly captivating to experience and witness in this fully realized performance. The counter point to his poignant energy was the brittle intensity that Howard Jerome brought to his role as the nefarious McCarthy. Read more…

Hamilton Fringe Theatre Fest, News, Theatre

“Acting powerhouse” Review by Lori Littleton, Langston Hughes vs Joe McCarthy

July 19th, 2017
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“top-notch actors and a unique, artful structure”

Jul 24, 2017, by Lori Littleton,  Hamilton Spectator

Langston Hughes vs Joe McCarthy
Artword Artbar, 15 Colbourne St. — July 25-27 at 9 p.m., and July 28-29 at 8:30 p.m.

Writer/ director Ronald Weihs has assembled an acting powerhouse for this 60-minute drama. Dora Award-winner Learie McNicolls is Langston Hughes, renowned poet of the Harlem Renaissance, and Howard Jerome is Joe McCarthy, a U.S. Senator known for his pursuit of anyone affiliated with Communism in the 1950s. The play is based on actual transcripts of Hughes’ testimony before the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations in March 1953. But this isn’t a courtroom drama and there’s no thundering climax. Instead, the play features McCarthy asking Hughes questions about his poetry. Seated, Hughes answers but then rises to narrate a poem. A skilled dancer, McNicolls artfully adds to his delivery of these poems, which punctuate issues such as workers’ rights, racism, inequality and religion. Weihs also tackles more philosophical topics such as whether a writer’s views be separated from his work. Read more…

Hamilton Fringe Theatre Fest, News, Theatre

Fringe 2017: Langston Hughes vs Joe McCarthy, an Artword Theatre producton, July 20 to 29

June 19th, 2017
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July 20 to 29, 2017. Artword Theatre participates in the 2017 Hamilton Fringe Theatre Festival with a timely and sensitive piece of documentary theatre, Langston Hughes vs. Joe McCarthy, written and directed by Ronald Weihs and produced by Judith Sandiford. Dancer-choreographer-actor Learie Mc Nicolls plays the role of Langston Hughes and character actor Howard Jerome performs as The Interrogator.
Is poetry subversive? U.S. Senator Joe McCarthy thought so. On March 24, 1953, Langston Hughes, renowned poet of the Harlem Renaissance, was summoned before the Senate Committee on Investigations. Did his poems contain communist ideas? In reply, Langston Hughes tells about his personal encounters with racism in America. The script is based on the actual transcript of his testimony, interwoven with the controversial poems, and incorporating dance, music and powerful images of the era.
Running time: 60 minutes.
Tickets: $10 + one-time Fringe button:  BUY Tickets Fringe website
Showtimes: Thu July 20: 6:30pm, Fri July 21: 9:00pm, Sat July 22: 9:00pm, Sun July 23: 8:30pm, Tue July 25: 9:00pm, Wed July 26: 9:00pm, Thu July 27: 9:00pm, Fri July 28: 8:30pm, Sat July 29: 8:30pm
[The poems by Langston Hughes are used by permission granted by Harold Ober Associates Incorporated, as agents for the Estate of Langston Hughes.]

Click here for full PRESS RELEASE pdf

Event, Hamilton Fringe Theatre Fest, Theatre

Fringe 2017: Chéri, a play by Sky Gilbert, based on Colette novels. July 22-23, 28-29

June 18th, 2017
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July 22-23, 28-29, 2017. The 2017 Hamilton Fringe Theatre Festival at Artword Artbar Bring-Your-Own-Venue: Chéri, a play by Sky Gilbert and Dustin Peters, based on novels of French author Colette (photo). Directed by Sky Gilbert, with Peggy Mahon as Léa, an elderly ex-courtesan who is performing a musical based on her life story. The lady becomes distracted by her pianist (Dustin Peters), who reminds her of her lover from many years ago — Chéri. The play deals with issues of aging and the true nature of love.
Running Time: 50 minutes
Tickets: $10 + one-time Fringe button:  BUY Tickets Fringe website
Showtimes: Sat July 22: 3:00pm, Sat July 22: 7:00pm, Sun July 23: 3:30pm, Fri July 28: 4:30pm, Sat July 29: 2:30pm, Sat July 29: 6:30pm

Event, Hamilton Fringe Theatre Fest, Theatre

Fringe 2017: The Lost Years by Peter Gruner, July 20 to 29

June 17th, 2017
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July 20 to 29, 2017. The 2017 Hamilton Fringe Theatre Festival at Artword Artbar Bring-Your-Own-Venue: The Lost Years: a Renurg Production by Peter Gruner, directed by Al French, performed by Deb Dagenais and Peter Gruner.
Travel through The Lost Years… Having kids is crazy! You start out young and suddenly “wake up” old. Ben and Carly start off happy and naïve, but where will they be after their journey through parenthood? The Lost Years is the time spent raising children. For parents, parents-to-be, children or anyone in a long term relationship. A comedy from the creators of Minced, Laund-o-Mat at the End of the World, and Mommy’s Mask.
Running Time: 50 minutes
Tickets: $10 + one-time Fringe button:  BUY Tickets Fringe website
Showtimes: Thu July 20: 8:30pm, Fri July 21: 7:00pm, Sat July 22: 5:00pm, Sun July 23: 6:00pm, Tues July 25: 7:00pm, Wed July 26: 7:00pm, Thu July 27: 7:00pm, Fri July 28: 6:30pm, Sat July 29: 4:30pm.

Event, Hamilton Fringe Theatre Fest, Theatre

BYOV 3 shows at Artword Artbar: Hamilton Fringe Theatre Festival, July 20 to 30

June 16th, 2017
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July 20 to 30, 2017. Artword Artbar is a Bring-Your-Own-Venue for three theatre projects in the 2017 Hamilton Fringe Theatre Festival. Full schedule of the Festival BUY Tickets on Fringe Festival website
The productions at Artword Artbar are:
#1: The Lost Years: a Renurg Production by Peter Gruner, directed by Al French, performed by Deb Dagenais and Peter Gruner.
#2: Cheri: by Sky Gilbert and Dustin Peters, directed by Sky Gilbert, performed by Peggy Mahon and Dustin Peters.
#3: Langston Hughes vs Joe McCarthy. An Artword Theatre production, written and directed by Ronald Weihs, performed by Learie Mc Nicolls and Howard Jerome.

Hamilton Fringe Theatre Fest, Theatre

Artword Theatre: Seven Duets +Night Journey by Learie Mc Nicolls, June 21-23

May 21st, 2017
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Wednesday to Friday, June 21 to 23, 2017, at 8 pm, $10 advance (call 905-543-8512) / $15 at door. Artword Theatre presents a Contemporary Dance Showcase, curated by dancer-choreographer Learie Mc Nicolls. The program will be repeated for three evenings.
Featured is a new work, Seven Duets, choreographed and danced by Learie Mc Nicolls with Tanis Macarthur, exploring the lifts and falls in dance that can only be done with a partner.
Learie will also perform a new version of his solo work Night Journey, choreographed to selected recorded music by solo bassist Wilbert De Joode. This work was first presented in February. Lighting and visual design by Judith Sandiford features real-time projections.

Dance, Event, Theatre

Artword Theatre: Charly’s Piano w. Charly Chiarelli, Wed & Thurs May 17 & 18

April 16th, 2017
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Wednesday May 17 and Thursday May 18, 2017, at 8 pm, pwyc/$10. Artword Theatre presents Charly’s Piano, a new work-in-progress. A young man looking for work in 1971, a psychiatric hospital, and a piano. Performed by Charly Chiarelli. Written by Charly Chiarelli and Ronald Weihs.

This is the fourth in a series of monthly theatre projects-in-progress, with Artistic Director Ronald Weihs. The February edition (#1) was Langston Hughes vs Joe McCarthy, a reading based on testimony from the interrogation in 1953 interspersed with some of his poems. The March edition (#2) was Mind Wars: a theatre exploration about the 1960s, when politics became a struggle over reality and perception, with readings from actual testimony and interviews of the Yippies, Black Activists, the CIA, the FBI. The April edition (#3) was The Man in the Vault by Ronald Weihs, a staged reading of a new script based on actual events. The play explores how a CIA counter-intelligence scandal in the 1960s telescopes into the present. What is the truth? How do you know if you have found it?
To find out more, call 905-543-8512 or email: rweihs@artword.net, artword@artword.net

Event, Theatre

Artword Theatre: The Man in the Vault, Wed-Thur Apr 12-13

March 8th, 2017
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Wednesday April 12 and Thursday April 13, 2017, at 8 pm, pwyc/$10. Artword Theatre presents The Man in the Vault by Ronald Weihs. Based on actual events, the play explores how a CIA counter-intelligence scandal in the 1960s telescopes into the present. What is the truth? How do you know if you have found it? A staged reading performed by Val Kay, Tom Dusome, Sean Emberley and Learie Mc Nicolls.
This is the third in a series of monthly theatre projects in the works, with Artistic Director Ronald Weihs. The February edition (#1) was Langston Hughes vs Joe McCarthy, a reading based on testimony from the interrogation in 1953 interspersed with some of his poems. The March edition (#2) was Mind Wars: a theatre exploration about the 1960s, when politics became a struggle over reality and perception, with readings from actual testimony and interviews of the Yippies, Black Activists, the CIA, the FBI.
To find out more, call 905-543-8512 or email: rweihs@artword.net, artword@artword.net

Event, Theatre

THEATRE: play-readings for The Future is Female Festival, Wed Mar 22

February 12th, 2017
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Wednesday March 22, 2017, at 7:30. Hamilton’s Make Art Theatre presents an evening of three play-readings as part of The Future is Female Festival. The plays featured are:
** How to Date a Politically-Correct Feminist (Or, the Compassion Experiment) by Emma Harr
** Press  by Alice Stanley Jr.
** Low & Away by Demetra Kareman
Readers: Cadance Allen, Liz Buchanan, Sean Emberley, Carlos Jimenez, Kenneth Johnson, Tina Kocic, Amy Noelle Milligan, and Amber Wood

The Future is Female Festival is a festival of readings of short plays by women of all backgrounds on the subject “the future is female” and what that means to them. The festival is happening across North America throughout the month of March. It is an expression of the hope that the future will hold equality for all and a celebration of women in theatre. https://thefutureisfemalefestival.com/

Event, Special event, Theatre