What’s Happening in Montreal – Live Music – Comedy – Theatre
It was 60 years ago that amateur boxer Berry Gordy, Jr. established a recording company called “Hitsville, U.S.A.” in his hometown of Detroit. Six decades later, that small record label, which changed its name to “Motown”, has become a rock music institution, which made such singers and groups like Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, the Jackson Five, Diana Ross & The Supremes, the Four Tops and the Temptations into international superstars, and songs like “ABC”, “I Heard It Through The Grapevine”, “Shop Around” and “Dancing in the Streets” a major part of the history of rock music.
And in the spirit of the golden age of the Motown Sound, evenko will be presenting the hit Broadway musical “Motown: the Musical” for an eight performance run at Salle Wilfrid Pelletier of Place des Arts from June 19 to 24.
“Motown is such a special record label because its songs were so timeless and how it managed to spread a message of unity, love and bringing people together, which it did so well,” said Justin Reynolds, who portrays Motown’s legendary singer/songwriter/producer Smokey Robinson (who also fronted the group the Miracles).
Reynolds, who has been with the Motown: The Musical national touring company since last September, admits that it’s a dream job – and a blessing — to portray Robinson in the show, who is his longtime idol. Although his favorite song by Robinson is his 1970s solo hit “Cruising”, the Smokey Robinson song that he enjoys performing is “You Really Got A Hold on Me”, especially within the context that he sings that song in the show.
“It happens during the mid-60s when the Motown Revue tour has a performance in Birmingham, Alabama, and a gunshot is heard before the show starts,” he said. “Berry wanted to stop the show and have everyone go home, but Smokey decides to go onstage first in place of the usual opening act, which was the Supremes. He then confronts an officer from the Birmingham police department and starts to sing that song in front of him, especially the opening line ‘I don’t like you, but I love you’; it’s quite an iconic moment.”
For more information about “Motown: The Musical”, go to www.evenko.ca.
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For those who can’t wait until Just For Laughs to get their summer comedy fix, then check out the latest edition of the Haboubs and Laloos Comedy Show. This bilingual and multi-cultural comedy showcase will take place on June 23, 7:30 p.m., at the Vanier College auditorium, located at 865 St. Croix Avenue in Ville St. Laurent.
Featured as part of this edition’s line-up are Emile Khoury, Dixit Patel, Jacob Ospian Echeverria, Kevin Raphael, Massimo Cannistraro, and Just For Laughs veteran (and 2011 JFL Homegrown Competition winner) Dave Merheje.
Born in Windsor and raised in Toronto, Merheje comes from a Lebanese background, in which he says his family members were very expressive people. “You would get yelled at one moment, and then become very loving towards each other the next moment,” said Merheje during a recent phone interview from his home in L.A. “They were very honest, and not passive aggressive. In fact, my father is one of the funniest people I know without even trying. He does and says whatever he wants with no regrets. Living with my family is almost like a sitcom because everyone is funny and they are always laughing.”
Known for his in your face, stream of consciousness style of comedy, in which he tackles not only his personal experiences, but also topics such as terrorism, sex, drugs and the club scene, Merheje also believes that stand-up comedy is a great vehicle to end people’s bias towards many ethnic communities. “Stand-up comedy gets people the opportunity to check out what different ethnicities are all about. It gives them no excuse to have any more prejudices and stereotypes,” he said.
Tickets to the Haboubs and Laloos Comedy Night on June 23 cost $20 each. For more information, call 514-264-9301 or go to www.haboubsandlaloos.com.
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With the announcement this past week that the 2026 World Cup will take place in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico – with Montreal as one of its sites – soccer fever will certainly rise to new heights on the pitch over the next eight years.
And in that spirit, the GOAL Initiative, which raises funds for organizations that help support families, youth, social activities and education such as Right to Play, Share the Warmth Foundation and Montreal Community Cares Foundation, will hold its annual soccer tournament tomorrow, June 17, at Percival Molson Stadium starting at 9 a.m. Admission is free.
Supported by Canada Soccer and hosted by Jason Rockman of CHOM and Patrick Langlois of Rouge FM, the event will feature an ongoing outdoor soccer tournament featuring 23 teams representing an array of local bars, restaurants and industries such as Burgundy Lion, evenko, and Bombardier. There will also be plenty of food and drink, activities, kiosks, a soccer boutique, music, and two 2018 World Cup soccer matches that will play on the stadium’s giant screen: Mexico vs. German at 11 a.m. and Switzerland vs. Brazil at 2 p.m.
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Tomorrow night (June 17) is your last chance to catch the Cote St. Luc Dramatic Society’s (CSLDS) latest production, which is Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s 1968 musical “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”. And the main question was if the troupe of intergenerational singers, dancers and actors would be able to pull off the challenge of performing a major musical in which the entire narrative was told entirely in song.
The answer is a resounding “yes”, and the CSLDS passed this challenge with flying colors … technicolors, that is!
The show is based on the Old Testament story of Joseph, a young dreamer who is the son of Jacob, yet garners the envy of his brothers because of the prophetic dreams he envisions. As a result of their jealousy, the brothers throw him in a pit and have him sold into slavery in Egypt. Yet somehow, through his never ending prophetic dreams, he gains the confidence of the Pharoah, and becomes his personal confidante, while Jacob believes the story his other sons tell him of Joseph’s fate, in which they say he is dead.
“Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” has all the characteristics of what has made a typical CSLDS production such a hit with community theatergoers, from the immersive theatre in the round setting, the colorfully authentic costumes, the energetic dance numbers and the overall professional manner each performer, whether they be a lead or a member of the chorus, conducted themselves onstage.
And when I attended the May 31 performance, this relatively young theatrical troupe displayed a highly admirable sense of traditional showmanship and “the show must go on” attitude, when certain members of the cast had to deal with physical injuries, a bout with bronchitis, and personal matters, their fellow cast members stepped up to the plate and made sure that night’s performance would go off without a hitch, which it certainly did, and it won a whole new sense of respect from that night’s audience (myself included).
What else makes “Joseph” such a delight to watch and experience is how each musical number is done in a different musical genre (my favorites include Pharoah done a la Elvis Presley, circa 1956, and when Joseph’s brothers and Jacob sing the number “Those Canaan Days” in the style of 1960s French singer Jacques Brel).
However, Sam Boucher shines in the lead as Joseph, giving the role the right blend of strength, empathy and respect; and the duo of Jeanne Motulsky and Nicole Arrage as the show’s narrators are superb, as they excel in their jobs of guiding the audience through the story of Joseph, and really helps the show flow so masterfully every time they are onstage.
“Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” is another fine addition to the Cote St. Luc Dramatic Society’s growing resume of impressive, Broadway-quality productions. They have continued to strike an important blow to how increasingly popular and important community theatre is, and how the CSLDS is quickly becoming a major force in the Montreal theatrical scene.
For more information, got to www.csldramaticsociety.com.
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Also, tonight (June 16) is your last chance to check out WISTA’s latest production “The Addams Family: A Musical” at the Riverdale High School auditorium. Based on Charles Addams’ famous cartoons that appeared in the New Yorker magazine, as well as the popular 1960s ABC sitcom and the series of movies from the 1990s, the musical – which focuses on grown up daughter Wednesday about to be engaged to a man who is not like her rather unusual family – is just like the Addams clan: creepy and spooky, mysterious and kooky, and altogether hooky. There are stand out performances from every member of this cast, especially Nour Malek as matriarch Morticia, Tricia Fitz as Wednesday, and scene stealer Daniel Wilkinfeld as Uncle Fester. For more information, go to www.WISTA.ca.
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It was exactly five years ago that a devastating flood affected parts of southern Alberta that resulted in powerful mudslides, 32 states of emergency across that part of the province, more than 100,000 people evacuated from their homes, five fatalities and over $6 billion in damages.
Tonight (June 17), the Discovery Channel marks the fifth anniversary of this “Flood of Floods” with “Alberta Floods: Rogue Earth”, which airs at 9 p.m. The documentary will not only focus on the flood itself and the damages it created, it will also focus on the courage, strength and resilience of the people of that affected area, as they recall their respective stories of the flood and its aftermath through exclusive interviews, video footage and never-before-seen raw footage that captures what this “Flood of Floods” was all about, and the lessons that have been learned when it comes to being better prepared for future natural disasters.