Yikes! I am working through a backlog of posts and have started to nix some of the more outdated ones, but while the 2011-12 season at the Citadel Theatre is over, I feel a post about one of my favorite Edmonton institutions is still relevant, especially since they are selling subscriptions to the 2012-13 season.
I have been going to the Citadel ever since high school when students were able to get super cheap tickets to attend shows as part of the student club. I didn’t get to see every production they did back then but Shakespeare was always a must and while I enjoyed the shows, I never considered myself a fan of live theatre until I saw “Into the Woods” at the Citadel. That was when I experienced this beautiful moment of ‘live theatre is not just Shakespeare and “old” plays ala Tennessee Williams and company’ – to this day, “Into the Woods” remains one of my favorite productions of all time. There was a small space in time where university took over both my time and wallet, but after graduating, one of the first things I did was get myself a theatre buddy and Club Friday season tickets (they don’t have these anymore but they were cheap tickets for 18-29 year olds on the first Friday performance of each show). After my theatre buddy stopped going, I also stopped going – apparently I ran into a period where I had no theatre loving friends (how can this be?). But thankfully I met mickyfine and we’ve had season tickets since 2010…
So now that we’ve established I love the Citadel and have for a long time, how was the 2011-12 season? I have to admit, I really liked (or in some cases LOVED) every play, although I was doubtful about a few of the ones I’d never heard of before.
Unfortunately, I can’t do a very detailed review of the plays because it’s been a while since I’ve seen them. The best I can give you are my lingering impressions, but in the end, isn’t that all we’re usually left with after seeing a live performance? I can tell you though that these were all wonderful performances and the casts and crews all deserve huge rounds of applause for their work.
We started off the season with a classic – ‘The Death of a Salesman’ and I wasn’t sure how much I would enjoy it because the last time I read the play (high school English), I didn’t really like it, but apparently as you get older and gain some perspective, the things you didn’t like as a teenager are pretty awesome as an adult. The acting was phenomenal and I loved Tom Wood’s Willy Loman – he just captured the ambitions (for Biff) and delusions of Willy so well.
Play 2 was another classic of sorts as the Citadel put together a fun performance of the cult classic ‘The Rocky Horror Show’. I am going to admit, I had never seen Rocky Horror before this and didn’t really know what to expect. I mean I have heard of audience participation events with toast and rice throwing but I was a blank slate going into this. The Citadel version also had audience participation but with no food throwing as it is not easy to clean an auditorium like this if everyone in the house tosses toast and rice. Audience members even dressed up(!) and I wonder if the guy dressed up as Rocky was cold during intermission since he was only wearing a pair of gold briefs/shorts. Props to John Ullyatt (as Frankenfurter) and the other members of the cast for singing and dancing in super high heels! This was one of the most enjoyable theatre performances I’ve ever been to and I think it was my favorite of the season. I wish I could have gone back and seen it a second time (at least I would have known what to expect), but nonetheless, I was happy to give the Citadel my Rocky Horror v-card. (^_^)
Red was one of the plays I had no clue about and wikipedia was not that helpful, so I went into this with some doubt. I don’t know that this is something that everyone will love but I found it quite thought provoking and interesting even though I am struggling to articulate my thoughts in this post. Regardless of my ideas, I can at least say I left with questions and thoughts about my own world view/perspective.
I didn’t know much about God of Carnage except that there was a Roman Polanski movie version out with Jodie Foster and Kate Winslet. I didn’t get a chance to see the film version, but the live version was pretty good. I loved how the whole situation went from civilized to a near brawl by the end. It certainly made me realize that sometimes we are very much like children on the inside – maybe just slightly better at hiding our anger and resentment?
A Midsummer Night’s Dream is pretty much my favorite Shakespeare play of all time and I’ve seen a previous Citadel production of it (very vague memories here), but this one was just so lovely! The set was gorgeous and the actors were all great – the fairies were absolutely adorable and Puck was very athletic! Mickyfine actually did a review of the play so I’m going to direct you over to her post for more details and photos. Suffice it to say though, the cast and crew only made me love this play that much more.
The season ended with one of my favorite musicals ever – ‘The Sound of Music’. I watch the Julie Andrews version every year, but haven’t seen a live version before and this performance blew my mind with it’s awesomeness. Josee Boudreau was the perfect Maria! She was so charming and had that irrepressible spirit I associate with Maria. We actually saw this twice as the Citadel added a sing-a-long version and that was delightfully fun! I even found a new favorite ‘Sound of Music’ song – “How can love survive” is not in the film version but is part of the stage version’s soundtrack (available at EPL digitally on Freegal and on CD). We were at the last performance of ‘The Sound of Music’ and it was a fantastic end to a wonderful theatre season.
So What Would Argenplath Pay?
Our season tickets were $277 each, so that works out to about $46 per show, which is not too bad considering that individual tickets ranged from $60 -$75 depending on the production, although sometimes you could get $20-$35 tickets as well but you have to take your chances that you will get a good seat. I think this was worth the amount we paid for our season tickets as I enjoyed every show. We did pay $30 for our tickets to the sing-a-long version of ‘Sound of Music’ but that was such a great deal for the amount of entertainment I got out of it!
The Citadel has changed their ticket pricing so the theatre is split into Section A, B and C seats with A being the best seats and C being the decent seats (there are no really bad seats). Mickyfine and I have changed our tickets to Section B seats and for preview nights (there really isn’t much of difference between the preview shows and regular performances) as our 2011-12 seats were a little too expensive for us ($397!). These new seats are right next to our old seats so the view doesn’t change much, but we are paying way less at $227 each so I’m a happy camper.
So if you’re a live theatre fan, I would say that the Citadel is a good deal as they always have stellar performances and can be counted on to provide an enjoyable theatre experience.