Vancouver’s Arts Club presents great live theatre

Vancouver: This is my final series article on Vancouver, and I want to share with readers some background on the arts.

Check out the magnificent Arts Club Theatre Company at 1585 Johnston Street next to the public market. Shows are Tuesday through Sundays at what is called Western Canada’s largest not for profit organization of its kind, having been in operation for 49 years. I spoke with Bill Millerd, the veteran managing director and a member of the Order of Canada. He recounted with pride how professional theatre is offered at three venues: the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage; Granville Island Stage; Revue Stage and travels the province.

While we were in town, the Arts Club was presenting the Tony Award winning Avenue Q. Originally conceived as a television series, Avenue Q’s “autobiographical and biographical” coming of age parable was developed as a stage production at the 2002 National Music Theatre Conference at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in Waterford, Connecticut. The audience loved it! Also coming up on the Arts Club schedule are Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple, Jan 23 to Feb 23; Driving Miss Daisy, Feb 13 to March 15; Helen Lawrence, March 13 to April 13; Kim’s Convenience, April 24 to May 24; Spamalot May 8 to June 29; and Red Rock Diner, June 19 to Aug 2. Helen Lawrence will serve as the kickoff to 50th anniversary celebrations and feature the use of some clever new technology.

If you are planning a summer visit to Vancouver, then you must include Theatre Under the Stars at the Malkin Bowl. The program’s best of Broadway musicals have been delighting audiences in Stanley Park since 1940. Every July and August they present two wonderful productions on alternating nights. The summer of 2013 featured Legally Blonde and How to Suceed in Business Without Really Trying on the stage. My family and I saw the former, purchasing our tickets online. Reserved tickets are $29 to $42 for adults and $24 to $29 for children and youth. We really enjoyed this, our second experience of watching theatre “under the stars.” The atmosphere on the warm summer night was superb. A better backdrop you will not find. The show was of high quality, including the acting, singing, sets and costumes. Unquestionably this is a well oiled machine. If you are in Vancouver for a few weeks during the summer and have young children or teens, consider the theatre camp for those aged eight to 18.

The Sandbar on Granville Island is a great place for seafood and before a show at the Arts Club. There is live music here seven nights a week and quite a marvelous ambiance. The 300 seat restaurant was packed the night we chose to dine there. Guests can enjoy the bustle of the market, the non-stop energy of False Creek and the shores of Vancouver’s West End. Walk up the wood post staircase, the only item that was salvaged from the historic Mulvaney’s Restaurant site, and elevate your view of the city waterfront. The busy animated open kitchen gives the guest that “Granville Island Market feeling” plus an up-close look at the chefs as they prepare their seafood creations.

Along with your menu comes a clipboard called the Seafood Fresh Sheet, with holes punched next to the items that are fresh that day. We started off with some splendid sushi as an appetizer and also shared shrimp dumplings and cold poached prawns. For the main courses, selections varied from the amazing Mahi Mahi, the Ahi Tuna, and a two pound Atlantic lobster and pan seared scallops.

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