“I hope I make it to the top 7”

We’ve been so caught up preparing to compete that we’d almost forgotten what great acting is really about; vulnerability.

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Amid trash-talk and competitive call-outs Big Daddy Tazz swoops in to steal our hearts with some genuine human insecurity.

We asked Tazz to share his strategy, and our hearts grew three sizes as he complimented the strengths of each and every celebrity he’ll be competing against instead of trying to scare them away.

“Maybe I don’t have a Juno like Al Simmons. Maybe I’m not all muscley and athletic like Troy Westwood. Sure, I can’t dance like Tracy Koga. Nor do I have the voice for apps that Kerri’s got. There’s no way that I have the same amount of energy for the radio that Jenna Khan’s got. But I have one thing all these other people don’t have – insecurity.”

And we ask, who, in their right mind doesn’t love a gracious underdog?

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Continuing on with this week’s trash-talk-free theme; rumor has it that former Blue Bomber Troy Westwood has been undergoing a mindful acting intensive in order to prepare for the competition. Although we were unable to reach him directly, we were able to reach his theatre instructor who gave us this statement:

“Troy is unable to answer questions right now as he is immersed in becoming the colour blue. Is he going to win the competition? That’s like asking if Leonardo DiCaprio is going to win an Oscar. I mean, I don’t know why not.”

We’re at a loss for words when it comes to speculating who is most likely to take home the title, but we can’t wait to find out.

For those who were there in 2014, you know that Troy Westwood and Big Daddy Tazz tied for the trophy. Now is your chance to see them compete for the ultimate win–or support one another selflessly– February 17th at So You Think You Can Act.

SYTYCA 2014 winners best

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Local Talent Wild Card

We’ve heard from four of six celebrity competitors as they prepare to kick butt and takes names in this year’s Rage on the Stage. They’re talented, they’re motivated, and they’re hungry for the win, BUT they aren’t the only factors in this competition…

It’s time we introduce the Local Talent Wild Cards! Each one of these wonderful, talented, Winnipeg-based actors will be teamed up with a non-actor celebrity in order to help them compete for the ultimate So You Think You Can Act title.

Thought you knew who was set to take this year’s trophy? You might want to think again.

“In it to Win It” Jenna Khan is the only competitor who mentioned working with her scene partner as part of her game-plan. This is likely music to the ears of local talent wild card Lyle Morris (The Dance-Off of Conscious Uncoupling and Launched, Sarasvàti Productions’ FemFest). But if Jenna Khan “channels her inner diva” as promised, this team’s co-operational advantage will quickly become a distant memory. We’ll have to wait and see what happens when Jenna and Lyle bring Michel Tremblay’s Johnny Mangano and His Astonishing Dogs to the stage.

Tracy Koga, a self-described “warrior” is not one to shy away from competition. Is her scene-partner-in-crime Grant Burr (For, Union Station Theatre; The Naked Woman, Sarasvàti Productions) prepared for the “blood, sweat, and tears” Tracy expects him to shed along their path to victory? This team will bring David Freeman’s Jitters to the stage and leave their own jitters at home.

Kerri “Angry Skills” Salki partners up with the mesmerizing Johanna “Beast of” Burdon (Mars One, Winnipeg Fringe 2015; Heartbreak, A Bizarro Cabaret) to bring us Sky Gilbert’s Lola Starr Builds Her Dream Home. These fierce challengers share an affinity for competition. What happens when you mix one lethal compound with another? Explosions, baby.

“Shakespeare like a butterfly–Chekhov like a bee” Al Simmons has been calling out the pretenders left, right, and centre! Will coach Simmons be able to take Ian Bastin (Lion in the Streets, Black Hole Theatre; The Club, FemFest 2015) from actor/pretender to ruthless contender in order to bring this title home? We’ll watch as they perform the fittingly titled Opening Night by Norm Foster.

The pressure’s on for Big Daddy Tazz as he prepares to face-off with Troy Westwood yet again. His right-hand man Kevin Ramberran (Tape, Rope, The 28th Minute; The Pinkertons, Buffalo Gal) better be prepared to go to any length in order to bring this title home. This dynamic duo cuts their chops on Zastrozzi by George F. Walker. And this time, it’s personal.

With stakes just as high, Tazz’s rival Troy Westwood joins forces with Cheryl Gensiorek (Launched, FemFest 2014; Empty, Sarasvàti Productions) to take a crack at the All-Star Edition victory.  They’ll be performing Self-Help by Norm Foster, and they’ll be seeking it if they fall short.

Lookout for these Local Talent Wild Cards spicin’ up the competition!

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Not only does a ticket to So You Think You Can Act 2016 grant you the entertainment of seeing six celebrity non-actors compete for the championship title, it also grants you the chance to admire some serious Winnipeg acting talent. That’s double the entertainment! All for one good cause.

 

 

Al Simmons vs. Kerri Salki

So You Think You Can Act 2016 is gearing up to be the most ferocious acting competition in Winnipeg history! To celebrate five years we’ve invited past winners and crowd favourites to compete for the ULTIMATE TITLE!

Last week, celebrity competitors Tracy Koga and Jenna Khan did their best to intimidate remaining competitors with big talk and video messages!

Not to be scared-off so quickly, competitors Kerri Salki and Al Simmons weighed in this week to offer their two cents on the epic competition ahead.

Kerri Salki

Kerri Salki, radio producer and host on UMFM, fueled the fire when we asked her about her acting skills,  “Skills? Mine are MAD. Actually they’re angry and they’re out to win!

Self-described as a “fierce competitor on and off the stage” her experience with voice over acting may give her an upper hand in some aspects of the competition, but every stage actor knows that it takes absolutely everything: voice, mind, body, and spirit to act–especially if you’re going to impress our distinguished panel of judges.

“I’m bringing my A PLUS PLUS game, or about 119% if you’re more into numbers”, says Salki.  Salki has been preparing for this year’s competition, and she warned other competitors “watch out, because my acting chops have been sharpened since the last round! Yours would too if you watched Coronation Street every darn day.”

Al Simmons

Salki appears to be stacked for victory…but what if we were to pit her against the “Thomas Edison of entertainers” physical and musical comedy genius Al Simmons?! We asked the man himself. “No one, not even Kerri, stands a chance against me… Al ‘Brando’, ‘Olivier’ Simmons. Shakespeare like a butterfly — Chekhov like a bee.”

Still not convinced? Al sent over a little video that might just make you change your mind…

Come see these celebrities compete in what will be the most entertaining act-off of the century So You Think You Can Act 2016 and support local theatre! Advance tickets are just $25 and include a wine reception!!

Tracy Koga vs. Jenna Khan

Tracy Koga, Host and Producer of Shaw Television’s Backstage and Energy 106 Host Jenna Khan have the experience that comes from a career in broadcasting on their side–perhaps they’ll even know a thing or two about how to project Ari Weinberg out of the water. But this advantage also makes them prime competition for one another in this year’s championship showdown. You do not want to miss seeing them on the stage of the Gas Station Arts Centre on February 17th in So You Think You Can Act. Recently, we asked Jenna and Tracy to talk strategy.

Jenna Khan

Jenna Khan’s career in broadcasting began in television in 2006. She is a staple of radio morning radio on Energy 106, where she co-host’s Energy Morning’s with Frankie and Jenna. “I am in it to win it, and someone who has the drive to wake up at 3AM everyday definitely does not lack motivation! My strategy is to channel my inner diva (not necessarily a stretch!) and trust my talented partner from our dynamic theatre community.”

As the actors know, Jenna’s ability to commit to something will serve her on stage.

“I am a highly competitive person. Every time I go out to a Games Night with friends I have to begin the evening with a disclaimer: “I apologize in advance for any yelling/swearing/name-calling that may ensue. You are my friends and I love you…”

Just when I was thinking that Jenna may have a soft spot she sent this video with a message to her opponents –

 

Tracy Koga

Tracy Koga’s background in ballet could be a huge asset in this competition.”I am not afraid of competition, the stage is my home.” Stage fright can’t touch her, and she’s got more than enough determination. “Years of training with the RWB has made me a warrior. Under a mask of beauty and grace I know what blood, sweat and tears are all about.”

She also has a way with words. Her message to opponents? “After this fierce pas de deux the only one getting an encore and taking a bow will be me!

 

These fiercely talented women have set the bar for the rest of the competitors. Come see Jenna Khan and Tracy Koga dominate in So You Think You Can Act 2016! Get your advance tickets at the $25 early bird rate.

Listen Here, You Celebrities!

As our six returning celebrity champions prepare to compete for the ultimate title in So You Think You Can Act 2016, our judges weigh-in on the incredible challenge that awaits them.

Ari Weinberg.JPGWhile barely suppressing his excitement for this highly anticipated battle, judge Ari Weinberg, Artistic Director of Winnipeg Jewish Theatre laid out his expectations: “I am expecting a full on West Side Story- type rumble of acting talent; I know the competition is going to be that fierce!”

Prepare yourselves for a judge who self-describes as “one part Judge Judy, one part Blake Shelton with a dash of Stanislavsky.” Weinberg is already throwing out challenges to competitors, “I’d like to challenge all the competitors to work on their voices- first and foremost you must be heard.” Celebrities would be wise to heed that call and come prepared to project Ari Weinberg right out of the water if they hope to impress him. I asked Ari if he had any advice for the celebrity competitors, to which he replied, “BRING IT ON!!!!” A message that has now set the tone for the entire competition.

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When I caught up with judge Andrea del Campo, actor and founding member of Outside Joke I was immediately taken aback by her intimidating disposition and stern stance on the subject of being a judge. She offered but one succinct sentiment which she stated ruthlessly enough to make any competitors blood run cold: “I expect blinding success or devastating failure from the competitors. Anything between is trivial.”As she effortlessly mounted her all-white thoroughbed I implored her to offer competitors some words of advice. She said nothing as she rode off into the distance. I deduce that competitors will face the challenge of a lifetime if they aim to impress her.

Pablo photo.jpgLastly, I spoke with Artistic director of MTYPjudge Pablo Felices-Luna who cautioned competitors about his style of judgement, “think of me as your good cop trying to be the bad cop. It works out to a mildly irritated cop.”Is Pablo a window of hope for our competitors, or is he their worst nightmare? There’s only one way to find out.

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And finally, our ref and emcee for the evening, Artistic Director of the Winnipeg Comedy Festival Lara Rae describes herself as “fair, but firm.” But as they say in sports games, ‘She who undervalues the referee undervalues the win.’ Lara explains that she is new to gender transition and therefore possesses “the combined wisdom of menopause with the fierce insanity of late puberty.”

She will personally “challenge every performer to take huge risks and be true to themselves regardless of how others might react.”

Stakes are high. Our competitors have their work cut out for them. You can catch the live action rumble of So You Think You Can Act on February 17 7:00 pm at the Gas Station Arts Centre. Tickets for the fundraiser are $25 in advance, $30 at the door. Phone 204-586-2236, or visit our website to get your tickets now.