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!

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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!

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?

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SYTYCA: Meet the Judges and Host!

Who will be the cranky Brit this time? Who will gush over everything? Will the emcee keep the judges on track? We’ll find out at our 4th annual So You Think You Can Act fun fundraising event on February 18th! This hilarious evening will pair up local non-actor celebrities with actors to perform scenes. Although our stellar judges will judge them, you get to vote for the winner! In the coming weeks we will introduce you to our celebrities, but for this blog we’re proud to introduce our host and judges:

JON LJUNGBERG – Host
Jon Ljungberg photoJon Ljungberg has been entertaining audiences on comedy stages across North America for over 25 years including a stint at the Riviera Hotel and casino in Las Vegas. He has worked in television and film including a role in Samuel L. Jackson’s film Reasonable Doubt shot here in Winnipeg this past December but most of you will remember Jon as the host of Breakfast Television. He’s the Father of two grown children and has a passion for gardening, vintage toys and Politics.

 

TRISH COOPER – Judge
Tricia Cooper Nov29 (3)A Theatre graduate from the University of Winnipeg, Trish has worked as an actor and a writer in Winnipeg and Toronto. She began writing sketch comedy with the Royal Liechtenstein Theatre Company (RLTC) and wrote for the Fringe Festival circuit including The Year of the Panda, The Comment Card and Homely Woman #2. Recently, she was both a writer and performer on the web series, Wind City, and last year she toured all over Manitoba as an actor in Manitoba Theatre Centre’s production, Miracle on South Division Street. Trish’s first full-length play Social Studies was first produced last year at Prairie Theatre Exchange and just finished its run at The Centaur in Montreal. She is thrilled it will also be programmed next season in Vancouver at the Firehall. Trish is excited to be performing soon in Blythe Spirit for Cowardfest with an all-star Winnipeg cast.

TOBY HUGHES – Judge
Toby Hughes photoToby is a Winnipeg-based actor and improvisor, and a graduate of the University of Winnipeg Department of Theatre and Film. He has performed with almost every professional theatre in Winnipeg and is a co-producer of the Outside Joke Season of Yuks (2012-2015) at the Gas Station Arts Centre. Recent theatrical credits include Le Jardin (Cercle Moliere), The Cherry Orchard (Theatre by the River, Little Echo Theatre), Maple Route (Theatre Incarnate), Comedy of Errors, Julius Caesar, Henry V and Henry IV 1&2 (Shakespeare in the Ruins), The Valley, The Dishwashers (Prairie Theatre Exchange), The Walworth Farce (Incompletely Strangled Theatre) and The Courier (Fringe Festival 2012). Toby is a founding member of the musical improv company Outside Joke and has travelled across Canada performing improv.

GORD TANNER – Judge
Gordon Tanner 2 printGordon Tanner is an actor and writer who has lived in Winnipeg his whole life long. He has performed on every stage in the city – some that no longer exist – and on others across the country. Sometimes he appears in films and on television, which can be quite a lot of fun. He is also very experienced at judging people. It took you this long to read five sentences? No, no, I’m sure that’s totally normal. Somewhere.

 

With their depth of improvisation and sketch comedy experience you can bet that cranky or gushing, these judges will certainly be entertaining. Tickets are $25 and include a wine reception. There will also be thousands of dollars in raffle prizes (raffle licence #MGCC5542)! There is no reason to miss this great event, so get your tickets now by clicking here or calling our offices at 204-586-2236.

We’ve Got the Star Power

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Politicians, athletes, musicians, media personalities and even an entomologist – we put out the call and Winnipeg celebrities have answered. We are happy to be able to announce the celebrity line up for the fourth annual So You Think You Can Act Fundraiser. This year all of the scenes selected for our brave celebrities will focus around Power Play. Without further ado, here is our celebrity line up:

Power Play is familiar territory for Rana Bokhari, the Leader of the Manitoba Liberal Party. Last year she became the youngest ever to lead the provincial party. We’ll see if her experience as a politician and a lawyer gives her a leg up on her competition.

Chris Cvetkovic is used to a different type of play, professional football to be exact. Chris just retired last year from a 12 year CFL career, 11 of those spent playing with the Blue Bombers. We are excited to see him try his hand at play acting!

With 17 years as the Artistic Director of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet under his belt André Lewis will be stretching his acting muscles with us. . With all that discipline and dedication we’re looking forward to seeing what he brings to the table on February 18th.

Recently Kelly Linehan has been doing more reporting behind a computer instead of in front of a camera, but we’re sure this social media wiz will still bring her A-game!

Romi Mayes is no stranger to performing having toured the globe throughout her successful music career. We’re glad she’s coming to our stage to do a different type of playing before launching her album!

He’s funny in writing, but we’ll see if he can still make us laugh onstage! Doug Speirs has been writing for the Winnipeg Free Press for many years. We’re happy to have him on the Sarasvàti stage!

And last but not least, we are welcoming Taz Stuart to the stage! He spent nine years working for the city as an entomologist as a part of the insect control branch. Let’s see how he does up against his fellow celebrities instead of mosquitos.

Jon Ljungberg will be hosting SYTYCA, a professional comic he is sure to have us laughing. As for our expert judges, Toby Hughes, Trish Cooper and Gordon Tanner will be scrutinizing the game plans and tactics of our celebrities.

With all of this talent, especially comedic talent it is sure to be a night full of laughs and surprises. Make sure you don’t miss it on February 18th at 7pm in the Gas Station Theatre. Tickets are only $25 and that includes a wine reception. Pretty great deal for a night of laughs, wine and supporting a local theatre company!

Kerri Salki Takes Home the Trophy!

What an amazing evening!

Our second annual So You Think You Can Act was a massive success! All of the celebrities blew the audience away and completed exceeded their expectations. In addition, Emcee Lee White provided the audience with hilarious commentary, as did our judges Mariam Bernstein, Ryan Miller and Robb Paterson. Other special thanks go out to our actors, who worked with their celebrity scene partners with lots of patience and encouragement!

For most of our celebrities, this was this first foray on stage, though they all took risks and really enjoyed themselves. Every celebrity participant displayed tremendous confidence in their new found acting abilities. However, the audience felt that one celebrity in particular displayed just enough brilliance to put them over the edge. Kerri Salki of 102.3 Clear FM was ultimately announced the winner and awarded the trophy! Kerri performed expertly with her scene partner as part of Daniel MacIvor’s classic piece Marion Bridge.

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Every one of our celebrity participants was memorable in their own way! Our two finalists were world champion curler Jeff Stoughton and big band and jazz legend Ron Paley.

In addition to a stellar evening full of star-studded performances, the audience also partook in a raffle featuring amazing prizes and a wine and dessert post-show reception.

We want to thank all of our amazing raffle donors, volunteers, staff, playwrights who donated their work, actors and of course, the celebrities for making this evening just as memorable – if not more so – than last year’s inaugural event. We are also grateful to the audience who enjoyed the performances but also helped to make Sarasvàti Productions’ world premiere of Jail Baby a reality through their ticket and raffle purchase.

We are over the moon at how enthusiastic and excited our audience was last night! Now we need your input – who should be in the line-up for next year? What local celebrity would you most like to see try their hand at acting? We can’t wait to start working on another amazing event for 2014.

SYTYCA presents: Jon Ljungberg

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With less than a week until the February 20th event, it’s time to get to know another of our fabulous celebrities. As part of our So You Think You Can Act biography series, we present a favourite Winnipeg personality, Jon Ljungberg!

Jon Ljungberg:

Jon LjungbergJon Ljungberg has been entertaining audiences on comedy stages across North America for over 25 years including a stint at the Riviera Hotel and casino in Las Vegas. He has worked in Television and film including a role in Samuel L. Jackson’s film Reasonable Doubt shot here in Winnipeg this past December but most of you will remember Jon as the host of Breakfast Television. He’s the father of two grown children and has a passion for gardening, vintage toys and Politics.

Jon will be playing the unique and memorable role of an Elvis impersonator in Sharon Bajer’s hit play Burnin’ Love, alongside our Emerging Artist in Residence Samantha Walters. Think Jon has what it takes to rise to the top and take home the trophy? You gotta see it to believe it! Tickets to our 2nd annual fun fundraiser are available on our website (www.sarasvati.ca)!

SYTYCA 2013 – Scene Announcement!

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An Elvis impersonator finding his long lost daughter, sibling rivalry, an absent father and a domineering mother; family conflict will be on display at the second annual So You Think You Can Act. With just over six weeks to go until our 2nd annual fundraising evening, we are pleased to announce the scenes to be featured with our stunning list of celebrities! For the uninitiated, So You Think You Can Act pairs local celebrities with theatre actors to perform short scenes, to be evaluated by a hilarious panel of judges! The winning pair will ultimately be decided by the audience – just like on the hit dancing competition show! This year’s theme is Family Ties and will feature some of the best and most prolific scenes in the Canadian canon.

  • Winnipeg personality Jon Ljungberg will be donning some mutton chops as an Elvis Presley impersonator in Sharon Bajer’s Burnin’ Love.
  • Olympic bronze medalist Desiree Scott will be playing out sibling rivalry in Norm Foster’s hilarious Maggie’s Getting Married. Foster is one of Canada’s most performed playwrights.
  • CBC morning host Marcy Markusa will be tackling the dowdy daughter in Tracy Letts’ August: Osage County, which was a huge hit when it ran at RMTC Warehouse last season.
  • For something a bit darker and edgier Jenna Khan of Breakfast Television fame will tackle George F. Walker’s Risk Everything.
  • A scene from local playwright Rick Chafe’s hit play The Secret Mask will be performed by Ron Paley of Ron Paley’s Big Band. The play ran to raves at PTE last year and this season was picked up for productions in Ottawa and Vancouver.
  • Another local playwright Brian Drader will have a scene from his piece The Norbals performed by World Champion curler Jeff Stoughton.
  • Kerri Salki of Clear 102.3 will be performing a scene from Daniel MacIvor’s Marion Bridge, another Canadian favourite.

So You Think You Can Act: Family Ties takes place on February 20, 2013 at the Gas Station Arts Centre. Tickets are $25 and include a wine reception. Get them while they’re hot @ www.sarasvati.ca!

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Sarasvàti Productions Challenges Local Celebrities!

We are so excited to be announcing the celebrity line-up for our 2nd Annual So You Think You Can Act fundraising event, which is taking place on February 20, 2013! Last year the evening was a great success and we are confident that this year will be even bigger with more hilarity and hijinks!

For the uninitiated, So You Think You Can Act pairs local celebrities with local theatre actors to perform short scenes for a panel of judges, who will provide comical commentary on the performances. The event is done in the style of reality television competition shows, which means it is ultimately up to the audience to decide who their favorite pair will be! This year’s theme is Family Ties, definitely lots of potential conflict and humour in scenes about family relationships!

And now, onto the celebrities!

Hosted by Lee White (CRUMBS)

Judges:

– Mariam Bernstein (local actor and director)
– Ryan Miller (Hot Thespian Action)
– Robb Paterson (Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, Associate Director)

Celebrity participants:

–Jenna Khan (Breakfast Television)
– Jon Ljungberg (Comedian)
– Marcy Markusa (CBC Radio)
– Ron Paley (Ron Paley Big Band)
– Kerri Salki (102.3 Clear FM)
– Desiree Scott (Olympic bronze medalist)
– Jeff Stoughton (world champion curler)

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Ron Paley, Jenna Kahn and Lee White

Tickets are only $25 (which includes a wine reception) and all proceeds go to Sarasvàti Productions and our world premiere of Jail Baby, taking place from May 16-26, 2013. Stay tuned in the upcoming weeks to learn more about our celebrities, their acting partners and the scenes they will perform! After last year’s great success we are expecting a sell-out, so buy your tickets early!