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.

SYTYCA 2013 Photo Collage2 copy

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.

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)

Ron Paley Jenna KhanLee White
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!

Ace Burpee Takes Home the Trophy!

What an amazing evening packed full of entertainment! The first annual So You Think You Can Act was a huge success. All the celebrities brought their A-game to the event and surpassed expectations with solid performances of the nine scenes in the evening. In addition, emcee Big Daddy Tazz kept the audience entertained every moment and played off the panel of judges. Lee White, Kayla Gordon and Bob Metcalfe were impressive in terms of their ability to come up with insightful, hilarious and bizarre commentary that had the audience booing, cheering, laughing and thoroughly engaged.

Although for some celebrities the event was their first foray on stage, they all took risks and really enjoyed themselves. They all deserve an award for having the guts to take on this challenge and for being such great sports no matter what the judges threw at them. Ultimately the audience did cast their ballots and select the first ever So You Think You Can Act winner. Although Al Simmons was the favourite to win in the advance polls, it was Ace Burpee who walked away with the trophy. His scene with mother, Jane, was certainly a big hit. Perhaps it was just his bad wig, bizarre character physicality and ridiculous southern accent but the performance won over the audience. This will likely be the only time the Hot 103 morning host wins an Oscar (the trophy had an Oscar figure perched on top).

Jane Burpee and Ace Burpee accepting the trophy. Photo by Janet Shum.

John Lu, who had flown in from Montreal that very day, and Sylvia Kuzyk, who was a convincing vixen, were the runners-up. John wowed the audience with his natural stage ability and great parody of bad Asian films opposite scene partner Alissa Watson. Sylvia had the grace and airs down pat for a famous actress, a lovely contrast to Toni Reimer’s mousy character who has come pleading for her husband back.

Every celebrity was memorable though. Al Simmons was first on stage and not only did he make an entrance but he also threw himself at the judges afterwards, to the shock of his scene partner Nan Fewchuk. Tracy Koga was charming and a joy to watch as she sped through a relationship with actor Tyhr Trubiak. Laurie Mustard was so natural on stage, everyone had to wonder if he’d missed his calling, plus he played beautifully off scene partner Lois Brothers. Howard Mandshein had a chance to rock out and was the perfect straight man to partner Danielle Savage’s neurotic character in How It Works. In yellow rain coat, boots and covered in mud Judy Wasylycia-Leis made quite the entrance for her scene with Kevin Anderson. Of course the judges were able to play off of the notion of a former politician playing a character involved in a cover-up! Randall King brought his brother’s words to life in David King’s Life Skills and managed to remain focused even when opposite him Cheryl Gensiorek was eating fettuccini with her bare hands.

If all of that wasn’t enough the audience also partook of the raffle featuring amazing prizes, enjoyed violinist John Racaru in the lobby before the event as well as wine and cheese post event.

In fact the audience was amazing and helped to make it a perfect night out!

The response overall has been overwhelming. It will be difficult to top it next year, but we will certainly try!

Will This Judge Have The Audience Crumbling with Laughter? Meet Lee White!

It’s time to meet the final judge for So You Think You Can Act!  We are so excited to have this funny man sitting at our judging table! You probably recognize Lee from CRUMBS, and as a Winnipeg staple Lee adds that little something extra to the judging trio.

Lee White is an actor/improviser from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. He started acting at the age of ten, at Manitoba Theatre for Young People.  In 1997 started CRUMBS, and since then has traveled the world performing, learning and teaching the art of Improvisation.

CRUMBS has won many international Improv competitions, been voted Winnipeg’s Favorite Theatre Group In Uptown Magazine many times and was listed in The Winnipeg Free Press’s list of top reasons to live in Winnipeg. Lee has performed in countless plays and independent films, as well as stand up comedy.

Will Lee be the Steven Tyler of So You Think You Can Act? Will he bring the “X-Factor” to the evening? You’ve got to buy your tickets to find out!

Join us February 16th at 8pm, Gas Station Arts Centre! Tickets are limited so purchase yours in advance on our website or by calling 586-2236.