Last night approximately 450 people gathered at Saint John’s Imperial Theatre to be the first to see the new offerings for their 2016-2017 season.
The celebratory tone was set even before stepping inside the building, as the Simonds Lions Caledonian Pipe Band entertained a growing crowd in King’s Square just opposite the theatre.
The surprises continued inside as the highlights of the new season’s schedule were revealed on stage.
Some favourites return, like the Retro Film series, this year with titles such as The Outsiders, Die Hard (at the holidays, of course), The Goonies and Spartacus.
Mystery Concert also returns for a second consecutive year. Twenty dollars gets you a ticket to a mystery show with an unknown performer(s). If after the first twenty minutes you decide it’s not for you, you’ll be refunded in full. And this time around, there will be an East Coast-style kitchen party in the lobby after the show. Show-goers are welcome to bring their instruments and jam with the band.
As always, East Coast Music features prominently in the 2016-1017 season lineup, including shows by Newfoundland trio The Once, Christmas favourites The Barra MacNeils, the enigmatic Ashley MacIsaac and a show where Saint John’s Tomato/Tomato teams up with Moncton’s Backyard Devils. And that doesn’t even include the sure-to-be-sold-out Sloan show October 13th.
A new feature for this season is a series of Sunday matinee shows, called ‘Matinees for Grown Ups’, featuring three shows geared towards adults who are looking for a little weekend culture. Performances include Gavin Crawford in “Friend” “Like” #Me, Danny Michel and Fortunate Ones and Coco Love Alcorn.
Family shows once again figure prominently. Banking on the popularity of “Frozen”, Theatre New Brunswick’s ‘The Snow Queen’ is sure to please this December. There’s also the return of fan favourite Dufflebag Theatre in their take on ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’, dance performance ‘Bouge de la: Bedtime!’ and the Tween targeted ‘I, Claudia’.
Highlights of the dance show lineup include Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal and Canada’s Ballet Jorgen ‘Swan Lake’. There’s also a whole series of circus-style shows such as Quebec group ‘Machine de Cirque’ and the Chinese martial arts show, ‘Immortal Chi: A Warrior’s Quest for Balance’.
Theatre fans can catch the Off-Broadway hit ‘Menopause: The Musical’ and a series entitled “True Confessions”, featuring ‘Confessions of a Redheaded Coffee Shop Girl’, ‘Confessions of a Fairy’s Daughter’ and ‘Roller Derby Saved My Soul’. As always, there are offerings from Saint John Theatre Company. This season’s Imperial Theatre stage shows include ‘Miracle on 34th Street’, ‘Of Mice & Men’ and ‘Boeing Boeing’.
Imperial Theatre’s Executive Director Lee Bolton say she’s hesitant to name which any show which show excites her the most, but mentions a couple personal favourites when pressed. ‘The Hillbenders: Tommy, A Bluegrass Opry’, the show that takes The Who’s rock catalogue and transforms it into a bluegrass opry, “I loved it so much! I love when something surprises me like that.” Bolton also mentions the return of The Vienna Boys Choir, which she says was one of the most difficult acts to secure. “We can’t just book them. We have to work with a network of people…You’re not going to come from Vienna to play one date in New Brunswick” she says.
For complete show listings and to purchase tickets or become a subscriber, go to imperialtheatrenb.ca.