Why So You Think You Can Act?

We’re so excited, So You Think You Can Act All-Star Edition is only 6 days away, but why should you come? In this blog, we’ve got the answer, or rather the answers, for those of you still on the fence!

 

  1. It’s a fun fundraiser! What’s better than a fundraiser for a non-profit theatre company? A fun fundraiser! We are dedicated to creating transformative theatre, and our next production is a community-based project on mental health. After an interview for the project, one person battling mental illness said “thanks for letting us get our stories out.” Monies raised will support this important initiative! Plus you will have a fun time drinking wine, eating great food and watching your favourite local celebrities try their hand at acting.
  2. Tazz rehearsal2

    Big Daddy Tazz at his rehearsal with local actor Kevin Ramberran!

    Six All-Star Local Celebrities! To celebrate the fifth year of the fundraiser we’ve brought back past winners and favourite competitors to vie for the coveted trophy. We’ve got Big Daddy Tazz, Jenna Khan, Kerri Salki, Al Simmons, and Troy Westwood all coming back to reclaim their title, or redeem themselves by winning it this year. These celebrities are famous for things other than theatre, their only crack at acting was during their last SYTYCA competition, come see if they’ve been practicing!

  3. Awesome Raffle Prizes! As is tradition we’ve collected a wide variety of amazing raffle prizes for you to try your luck with. We’ve got tickets to Rainbow Stage, Theatre Projects Manitoba, Winnipeg Jewish Theatre, Manitoba Opera, Winnipeg Folk Fest, and more. We’ve got gift certificates for acting classes, shopping, car washes, and more. We’ve got a signed Blue Bombers football, a framed, signed Winnipeg Jets photo, and we’ve got even more than that! Come see for yourself before the show and at intermission.
  4. Critical Theatre Professional Judges! All three of our judges are theatre professionals who have vowed not to go easy on our celebrities. Ari Weinberg, Artistic Director of Winnipeg Jewish Theatre, and Andrea del Campo, improv and actor extraordinaire, have promised to be especially tough. Pablo Felices-Luna, Artistic Director of Manitoba Theatre for Young People, on the other hand is our wild card, will he turn out to be the nicest judge of the bunch or the harshest? Find out on February 17th!
  5. 151124 Comedian Rae 3.jpg

    Our emcee, Lara Rae!

    A Hilarious Emcee! Our emcee, aka our referee, will keep everything under control with her quick wit and comedy skills. Lara Rae is the Artistic Director of the Winnipeg Comedy Club after all, so she knows what she’s doing. She will be joined by six fellow local actors who will be acting with our celebrities, filling our stage with a lot of laughs and talent.

  6. Great Wine Reception! After the winner has been crowned, it’s off to the lobby for great food and wine! Included with the ticket price is a glass of wine and food from Charisma of India, Jonnie’s Sticky Buns, and Grrrumpy’s Pizza & Café. Plus our celebrities will be out there too either celebrating their win or dealing with their loss – but with an evening this fun no one can really lose!

What better way is there to spend a night? Don’t miss out, and get your tickets now for So You Think You Can Act on Wednesday February 17th at the Gas Station Theatre! Tickets for the fundraiser are $25 in advance, $30 at the door. Phone 204-586-2236, or click here to get your tickets now!

 

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Raffle licence (#MGCC5542)

All-Star Raffle Prizes, All-Star Food at SYTYCA

During the past five years of So You Think You Can Act, you’ve come to expect a great evening, and we’re ready to deliver! While the celebrities are waiting patiently to meet their scene partners for their rehearsals next week with director Cairn Moore, we’ve been busy in the office preparing for the big day. As always we’ve got All-Star raffle prizes and All-Star food to go along with our amazing celebrities. Here is a sneak peak at what you can expect at this year’s SYTYCA fun fundraiser!

Superhero RaffleIf you love theatre as much as we do, you’ll be just as excited by the awesome tickets you could win in the raffle this year! There are season passes to Rainbow Stage where you’ll get to see Ring of Fire and Shrek The Musical, and tickets to Cairn Moore’s play Shiksa at Winnipeg Jewish Theatre, and Reservations at Theatre Projects Manitoba. We’ve got more than theatre tickets though if you like to sample all the arts! There are also tickets to Manitoba Opera, Celebrations Dinner Theatre, Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, Winnipeg Folk Fest, Winnipeg Jazz, and more!

Do you think you can act? If you’d like to try in a fun, relaxed environment, now you can with gift certificates for theatre classes at Prairie Theatre Exchange, and the Actors’ Training Centre of Manitoba. And if you’ve got a young person in your life you’d like to introduce to the wonderful world of theatre, there is also a gift certificate for classes at Manitoba Theatre for Young People!

Sports RaffleAnd don’t worry sports fans, there are raffle prizes for you too! We’ve got a signed, framed photo of Blake Wheeler from the Winnipeg Jets and a signed Blue Bombers football. We’ve also got great gift certificates to a variety of cool places, including $100 for the Foxy Shoppe and Anthropologie, plus gift certificates from Chamois Car Wash, Movie Village, Into the Music, and Academy Lanes!

All of these prizes and more will be part of our raffle draw at SYTYCA on Wednesday February 17! And after the prizes have been drawn and the SYTYCA 2016 winner crowned we have a great reception in the lobby. There will be food from Charisma of India, Jonnie’s Sticky Buns, and Grrrumpy’s Pizza & Café, plus wine, which is all included in the ticket price! To get in on the fun and support the transformative theatre work of Sarasvàti Productions purchase tickets here or phone 204-586-2236!

Raffle licence (#MGCC5542)

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!!

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.

Andrea del Campo hs#2

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.

151124 Comedian Rae 3.jpg

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.

 

 

 

Drum Roll for the Winner of SYTYCA 2015!

There were prizes, wine, food, and amazing celebrities bravely taking the stage for the first time! While they were all amazing, only one can go home with the trophy. This year’s vote was close and we were worried there would be another tie, but ANDRÉ LEWIS won by a nose!

SYTYCA2015_IMG_6467

André Lewis and scene partner Danielle Savage were hysterical as a married couple who are only together to spite each other in a great scene from Jessy Ardern’s play Harold and Vivian Entertain Guests.

Our terrific judges Trish Cooper, Toby Hughes and Gord Tanner entertained with many witty comments on height, English accents, safety and Chekhov’s crackers. Our host Jon Ljungberg kept everything on track as we announced the 12 lucky raffle prize winners! After all the winners were drawn and the SYTYCA winner crowned it was time for wine from AD Beverages and food from Bothwell Cheese and Jonnies Sticky Buns.

Group ShotIt was an amazing successful evening and the proceeds will help us continue to bring you transformative theatre! A huge thank you to all the celebrities who braved the stage, and our judges and host for all their hard work. We would also like to thank Cairn Moore for her great directing, Tori Popp for keeping everyone organized as stage manager, Sandy Klowak for assisting backstage, all the playwrights for allowing us to use their work, and all the actors who took the stage with our celebrities!

Raffle TableAnd of course we can’t forget to thank all the local businesses who donated raffle prizes, our amazing volunteers, our staff and board, and of course the SYTYCA committee members who organized it all! Finally, we’d like to thank you, the audience for coming out to support the transformative theatre work of Sarasvàti Productions!

We’ve got some fun twists planned for SYTYCA 2016 that we can’t wait to share with you, so stay tuned! In the meantime, we will be keeping busy with our International Women’s Week Cabaret of Monologues coming up on March 7 and Miss’N Me, tickets for both are available on line now, just click here!

Are You Ready for the Power of SYTYCA 2015?

The stars, the judges, the wine, the raffles, the nerves! It’s all coming together. So You Think You Can Act 2015 is less than a week away (6 days and 7 hours to be exact, but who’s counting…). Most of the celebrities have all had their two hour rehearsals with director Cairn Moore and have met their scenes partners. All that’s left for them to do is bite their nails and practice at home.

It can be very frightening to step out onstage with little acting experience, which is why Kelly Linehan got smart and asked for some advice! But she didn’t want advice from her co-worker, last year’s CTV participant Kris Laudien – she wanted advice from the winners.

SYTYCA 2014 winners Troy Westwood & Big Daddy Tazz

SYTYCA 2014 winners Troy Westwood & Big Daddy Tazz

Big Daddy Tazz, who knows a lot about hair, suggested that the key to success was getting “your hair done professionally.” Meanwhile Ace Burpee offered reassurance. SYTYCA actor Lorraine James looped in with the best advice yet, passion is key and go big or go home! Troy Westwood also piped in to support fellow Bomber Chris Cvetkovic and told him to “just let go brother! No inhibition!”

While the celebs have been getting support from SYTYCA alumni, here at the office we’ve been desperately searching for a Superman costume and wrapping raffle prizes. Lots of raffle prizes. Twelve raffle prizes. Here are a select few of them:

“The Power Play” Package: 2 tickets to Royal MTC’s The Woman in Black, Royal MTC’s 50th Anniversary Book, Winnipeg On Board Game, Leo Mol Card Set

“Training Day” Package: Goodlife Fitness for Women Gift Set, 10 Class passes from Moksha Yoga, Nails by Donna gift certificate, fused glass earrings & necklace set from Diane Longfield, Turquoise Handbag, Leo Mol Print

Raffle Prizes“Attitude is Everything” Package: 2 tickets to WJT’s Bad Jews, Winnipeg Squash Club apparel, 4 “All U Can Bowl” passes from Academy Lanes, $10 gift certificate to Shawarma Khan, 1 Gold Car Wash from The Chamois Car Wash

“Beginner’s Luck” Package: Free month of “Acting Essentials” classes from Actors Training Centre of Manitoba, 2 tickets to any show at Celebrations Dinner Theatre, Movie Village coupon book

And that’s only four of them! To see all of them make sure you come out to the Gas Station Arts Centre on February 18th! Plus a reception follows the show with wine from AD Beverages, Bothwell Cheese and Jonnies Sticky Buns. Buy your tickets now to avoid disappointment by clicking here or phoning 204-586-2236.

Raffle licence (#MGCC5542)

A big thank you to all donors: Academy Lanes, The Actors’ Training Centre, anARCHI Design, Assiniboine Park, Celebrations Dinner Theatre, The Chamois Carwash, C’est ta Vie Jewelry (formerly Leather and Lace), The Children’s Museum, Coteau Books, Cover to Cover, Andrea Geary, Girl Candy Shop, Goodlife Fitness for Women, Val Goodridge, Hollie’s Cakes, Corey Lakusiak, Landmark Theatres, Bill Lobchuk, Diane Longfield, Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, Manitoba Opera, Patrick McCauley, Moksha Yoga, Movie Village, Nails by Donna, Oak Hammock March, Radiance Gifts, Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, Shawarma Khan, Scirocco Drama, Al Simmons, Tali Sitschkar, The WAG, Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Winnipeg Jazz Festival, Winnipeg Jewish Theatre, and The Winnipeg Squash Racquet Club.

Who’s Got the Power?

Banner SYTYCA 2015Superman, an environmental terrorist, a creepy date and a widow whose husband was eaten by a bear. These are just some of the characters that this year’s celebrities will tackle at So You Think You Can Act. This year’s event is only two short weeks away and rehearsals have begun! It’s been a pleasure introducing the celebrities to their acting partners and hearing these hilarious scripts come off the page. Under this year’s theme of Power Play, we have found writing by a mix of work by emerging Winnipeg writers and some of Canada’s most established playwrights. Although each get only 2 hours to rehearse under the direction of Cairn Moore, they have great material to work with. Keep reading to see what scenes and which actors each celebrity is working with!

Rana Bokhari will be playing Maria in Michael Healey’s political dark comedy Generous with Kevin Gabel. This play was produced a couple years ago by Theatre by the River and of course Healey’s play Proud was produced by Theatre Projects this past fall with Kevin Gabel also appearing in it. We are also pleased to announce that Kevin will be in our spring production of Miss N Me!

Chris Cvetkovic gets to play Superman opposite Lyle Morris in Ken Mitchell’s play Heroes. What happens when Superman and the Lone Ranger meet in their Chief’s office waiting room? We are pleased to have Lyle on board after his great performance in Launched at FemFest 2014.

André Lewis with Danielle Savage will be playing the title characters in Harold and Vivian Entertain Guests by Jessy Ardern. This piece won our first Bake-Off at FemFest 2012 and was fully produced at FemFest 2013. Danielle Savage helped take Troy Westwood to victory last year – can she do the same this year?

Kelly Linehan will be tackling the character of Lorrie in George F. Walker’s play Featuring Loretta with Spenser Payne. Lorrie’s husband has been eaten by a bear and she needs to figure out what to do with her life. Kelly should have a blast working with Spenser, who is also part of the Talentless Lumps.

Romi Mayes will be playing the wannabe terrorist Melissa with Cheryl Gensiorek in Terroristas by Ginny Collins. Last year we included Ginny’s piece Good Intentions, which had premiered at Winnipeg Jewish Theatre in 2013. This will be Cheryl’s third time in this event and in 2013 she helped Kerri Salki win the trophy.

Doug Speirs will be playing Man in Eye to Eye by Christopher Graybill with Nan Fewchuk playing Woman in this hilarious ten minute play about a first date gone awry. Nan has appeared in multiple pieces with Sarasvàti Productions, most recently The Naked Woman at FemFest 2014. Hopefully she can stay focused as Doug Speirs lays it on thick.

Taz Stuart gets to try his hand at romantic comedy as Rudy in Norm Foster’s Wrong for Each Other with Liz Whitbread. Liz is about to appear in our International Women’s Week Cabaret of Monologues. She also appeared in a Norm Foster scene at last year’s event, helping Big Daddy Tazz tie for first with Troy Westwood.

Between these hilarious scenes, the comedic talents of the judges, Trish Cooper, Toby Hughes and Gordon Tanner, and witty hosting by Jon Ljungberg this will be one super fun night! And if that wasn’t enough we also have thousands of dollars’ worth of raffle prizes (raffle licence #MGCC5542). Don’t miss out, buy tickets now! Tickets can be purchased online here or by phoning us at 204-586-2236. Rana Bokhari started off strong in our blog polls, but was over taken by Kelly Linehan. Unfortunately Kelly wasn’t ahead for long before Romi Mayes beat her by a nose. And the guys really haven’t been feeling the love. Now that the scenes are revealed will that all change?

Celebrity Banner SYTYCA2015

SYTYCA Presents: Taz Stuart

Will his hair give him super powers or does his power lie in his ability to eradicate villainous insects? With this year’s theme of Power Play, there is a great fit with entomologist Taz Stuart. Taz has played himself on TV for years updating us on Manitoba’s pesky mosquito population, but will that help him win So You Think You Can Act? Taz has also started to break into politics after running for city council in October, so who knows, he might have a few tricks up his sleeve. Keep reading to learn more about Taz!

TAZ STUART– Entomologist
SONY DSCTaz Stuart is the Director of Technical Operations – Entomologist for Poulin’s Pest Control in Winnipeg. Taz’s list of acting accomplishments is short, not like his hair though. Taz has appeared many times on TV and in several documentaries on insects and their control but since then his ‘acting coach and manager’, these people do not exist, have been fielding calls on his nonexistent talent as an actor. This will be seen when you come out and watch all the other aspiring ‘actors’.

Taz will have to put the professionalism aside to get to the heart of a scene from Norm Foster’s romantic comedy! Don’t miss this chance to see Taz and six other local celebrities step out of their comfort zone on February 18th! Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased online here or by calling our office at 204-586-2236.

SYTYCA Presents: Doug Speirs

He makes us laugh on a weekly basis through his amusing column In the Doug House, but will he have the same effect in person? Today’s So You Think You Can Act celebrity feature is Winnipeg Free Press columnist Doug Speirs and he’s no stranger to the stage. Well, not completely anyways. Doug recently guest starred in the RWB’s The Nutcracker and has previously appeared onstage in cameo roles for Royal MTC, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and Manitoba Opera. We’re happy to have him as one of our celebrity competitors, keep reading to learn more about Doug!

DOUG SPEIRS– Winnipeg Free Press
Doug photoDoug Speirs’ humour column, In the Doug House, has appeared on Page 2 of the Winnipeg Free Press at least three times a week since 2006. Doug has held almost every possible job at the newspaper — reporter, city editor, night editor, tour guide, hand model — and his colleagues are confident he’ll eventually find something he is good at. He can frequently be found hosting, or competing at, charity events around the city. His new column, Speiriscope, graces Saturday’s new 49.8 section. His book, Bite-sized Doug, a collection of critter-related columns, is still for sale at local book stores. Doug was born in Vancouver and still worships the B.C. Lions. He was one of three Canadian columnists nominated for the 2008 National Newspaper Awards in the column writing category.

Do you think Doug’s experience as a guest star will help him win the audience over? Only one way to find out, come see Doug and six other celebrities try their hand at acting on February 18th! Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased online here or by calling our office at 204-586-2236.

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