A scene from “Circle Game: Reimagining the music of Joni Mitchell,” which tours to Surrey Arts Centre and other theatres on B.C.’s south coast in February and March. On Feb. 20, the show opens a week-plus run at Surrey Arts Centre. (Photo: artsclub.com)

Joni Mitchell’s rearranged hits in Surrey on ‘Circle Game’ musical tour

Two-hour show brought here in Arts Club/Firehall partnership

A musical that reinterprets Joni Mitchell’s many hits will tour to Surrey and other cities in the Lower Mainland over the next month-plus.

The Arts Club Theatre Company presentation of Circle Game riffs on an Firehall Arts Centre production created by East Vancouver residents Andrew Cohen and Anna Kuman.

Debuted in the spring of 2017, the show is billed as a “reimagining” of Mitchell’s folk, pop and jazz songs, including “Big Yellow Taxi,” “Chelsea Morning,” “Help Me,” “Woodstock,” “River,” “A Case of You” and many others, with six performers singing and playing multiple instruments.

“In Circle Game a younger generation of talented creators and performers have embraced Joni Mitchell’s music and created their own interpretation of what it means to them,” notes Donna Spencer, the Firehall’s artistic producer, in the tour program. “Hauntingly, Mitchell’s lyrics and poetry remain relevant today, revealing her genius and creativity in connecting with time and place.”

The tour of B.C.’s south coast starts Thursday (Feb. 14) in North Vancouver and ends March 26 in Courtenay, with dates at Surrey Arts Centre from Wednesday, Feb. 20 to Saturday, March 2.

The two-hour show stars Samantha Bourque, Kimmy Choi, David Z. Cohen, Benjamin Millman, Scott Perrie and Adriana Ravalli.

A winner of 2017 Ovation Awards for Outstanding Professional Production and Outstanding Music Direction, Circle Game focuses on Mitchell’s music with new arrangements and choreography, but without much plot, according to Marsha Lederman’s review of the world premiere at Vancouver’s Firehall – one headlined “‘Circle Game’ is a messy tribute to Joni Mitchell.”

As directors, Kuman and Cohen say their hope is “for both the die-hard Joni fans and those less familiar with her work is that you leave preconceptions at the door and allow yourself to live (or re-live) the messages of her prose in this moment, in 2019, through the mouths of twenty-somethings.”

Their thoughts about the show are published in the tour program.

“As kids, we would listen to Joni vinyls while our parents would sing along, gleefully off-key, wondering what the fuss was about,” Kuman and Cohen write. “Upon hearing her music again as young adults, we realized that the themes and images in her music were unlike anything we had heard before.

“As we delved deeper into Ms. Mitchell’s diverse canon and profound words, we became increasingly aware that this music, though written four or five decades previous, was so much more than simply the sounds of our parents’ generation. We came to view this work as both a window and a mirror.”

The show’s set, light and wardrobe are predominantly second-hand – “reimagined from their original context, much like the music and lyrics,” they continue. ‘They originated before our time, yet we still feel a sense of ownership or stewardship. This experiment was born from the desire to create a piece that would both bridge a generational divide and posit their unresolved questions in a modern context. Just as Millennials have inherited the problems left to us by earlier generations, so too have we adopted their wisdom, warnings, and witticisms.”

Circle Game tour dates are posted on the Arts Club’s website (artsclub.com).

Tickets for the Surrey shows range from $29 to $49 and are available at tickets.surrey.ca, or call 604-501-5566. A number of “value-added performances” are planned, including opening-night appetizers (Feb. 20), First Friday dessert and coffee (Feb. 22), Paint at the Play for kids (Feb. 23), a pre-show chat (Feb. 26), Talkback Thursday (Feb. 28) and VocalEye live audio description for those with vision loss (March 2).



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

Just Posted

Delta ranked 59th best place in Canada to live

The city ranks highest in the Lower Mainland behind West Vancouver according to Maclean’s magazine

White Rock Renegades ‘04 named national champs

Girls went undefeated at national tournament in Calgary

PHOTOS: Supercars parade to White Rock

More than a dozen cars were on display for the Drive Project

QUIZ: How much do you remember about Woodstock?

Weekend music festival in Bethel, New York, was held 50 years ago

Advocates ‘internationalize’ the fight to free Raif Badawi from Saudi prison

Raif Badawi was arrested on June 17, 2012, and was later sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail for his online criticism of Saudi clerics

RCMP, search crews hunt for 4-year-old boy missing near Mackenzie

George went missing early Saturday afternoon

Canadian entrepreneurs turning beer byproduct into bread, cookies and profits

Some breweries turn to entrepreneurs looking to turn spent grain into treats for people and their pets

Canada ‘disappointed’ terror suspect’s British citizenship revoked

Jack Letts, who was dubbed “Jihadi Jack” by the U.K. media, has been detained in a Kurdish prison for about two years

Chrystia Freeland condemns violence in Hong Kong, backs right to peaceful assembly

There have been months of protests in the semi-autonomous region

B.C. VIEWS: Log exports and my other errors so far in 2019

Plastic bags, legislature overspending turn out differently

Most Read