In Flanders Fields, a new Canadian musical telling the story of John McCrae, author of the iconic First World War poem that gives the show its title, ended a successful run November 18 at the Artesian on 13th.
Robert Gontier, bookwriter and co-lyricist of In Flanders Fields, was in attendance at both the school matinee and evening performance on Wednesday, November 14.
Read a review of In Flanders Fields.
Directed by Golden Apple Theatre co-artistic director Robert Ursan, the show featured Leon Willey as John McCrae, with Mark D. Claxton and Aubree Erickson taking multiple roles. Angela van der Heuvel was Stage Manager, Dannyl Challis was the Lighting Designer, Sonja Clifton-Remple the Costumier, Gerry Weir did the set construction and painting, and Andrew J. Manera was the house technician and lighting operator.
The show was written by Robert Gontier & Nicky Phillips.
Photo courtesy Sharpshooter Photography.
The Cast & Crew
Mark D. Claxton is delighted to be making his debut with The Golden Apple Theatre. Since graduating from the Globe Theatre’s actor conservatory training program in 2008, Mark has appeared in the Globe’s mainstage productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Black Bonspiel of Wullie MacCrimmon, and Robin Hood. He was a co-creator and performer for KaleidoCycle, which premiered as part of the Globe’s 2011-12 Shumiatcher Sandbox Series, and very recently appeared in Live Five Theatre’s production of Farragut North in Saskatoon. Watch for Mark in The Golden Apple’s upcoming production of God of Carnage. Huge thanks to Rob Ursan and the rest of the Flanders family for a joyous theatre experience.
Aubree Erickson has loved working on In Flanders Fields with Angela, Leon, Mark, Rob and the Golden Apple team. She has worked with Globe Theatre (Metamorphoses, KaleidoCycle), Persephone Theatre (Urinetown), Winnipeg Studio Theatre (Spring Awakening), Tant per Tant (Buffalos), Dancing Sky Theatre (In the Air) and Wide Open Theatre. She holds a BFA in Music and is a graduate of the Canadian College of Performing Arts and the Globe Actor Conservatory Program. Catch her next in Into the Woods, presented by District Theatre Collective as part of SondheimFest 2013 in Winnipeg.
Leon Willey is very happy to be making his Golden Apple Theatre debut as John McCrae. He would like to thank his wonderful cast and crew. He hopes this is a start of a beautiful friendship with Golden Apple. Other theatre credits: Gordon/Dwight in Dead Man’s Cell Phone, Jerry in The Full Monty (Persephone Theatre), Freddie Fellows in Noises Off, Reuben in Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (WCT), Dandini in Cinderella (MJ Cultural Centre), Berowne in Love’s Labour’s Lost, Autolycus in A Winter’s Tale, Gratiano in The Merchant Of Venice, Pistol in The Merry Wives of Windsor (Shakespeare On Sask), Marlo in Dead Peasants (Playwrights Festival), Ain’t We Got Fun! (Live Out Loud Theatre), Guilliam in Temptation (Tant Per Tant Theatre), Billy in Anything Goes, Murder on the Nile (Chemainus Theatre Festival), Bobby Strong/Hotblades in Urinetown (Firehall Theatre), Max in Cabaret (Arts Club Theatre). Film/TV: The X-Files, Da Vinci’s Inquest, Cold Squad, Scooby 2, Fantastic 4, Sask Roughriders, etc. Et Cetera: Leon’s year is shaping up to be a great success, with a Christmas show in Moose Jaw (Aladdin), and then off to do Fiddler On The Roof in BC. He would like to send his love to Krista Konkin.
Robert Ursan (Director) was born and raised in Regina. Four degrees and many performances across Canada and Britain later, he returned to Saskatchewan to work and write. Since returning he has directed 64 shows and music directed a further 57. As a teacher, he has taught students who have performed in major theatres in Canada, the UK and the US. As a writer, he has written operas, musicals and plays. His works have been heard on the CBC and from the Brooklyn Academy in New York to the Canadian Embassy in Moscow.
Angela van den Heuvel (Stage Manager) has loved working with Leon, Mark, Aubree and Rob on this production of In Flanders Fields. She is currently in her sixth year at the University of Regina studying Stage Management. Previous productions that she has been involved with include The Medicine Line (Burning Sun Productions), KaleidoCycle (Globe Theatre) Lookingglass, Much Ado About Nothing, Eurydice, The Unseen, String of Pearls, Medea and Radiant Boy (University of Regina) as well as Little Shop of Horrors and My Fair Lady (Regina Summer Stage).
Sonja Clifton-Remple (Costume Designer)’s interest in design and fashion began at age seven when she cut off the sleeves of her t-shirts to design and construct belted maxi-dresses and wrap halter tops for her Barbie dolls. At 10 her mother taught her to sew and signed her up for sewing lessons at the local fabric store. At 18, Sonja dabbled full-time in the worlds of professional modelling, makeup artistry, fashion design, and photography at the internationally recognized Sheridan College in Ontario. She spent many years working with cosmetic companies such as Clinique, Lancome, Elizabeth Arden, Estee Lauder, Revlon, and Chanel. In 1994 Sonja enrolled part time in the University of Regina’s Theatre Department, studying Costume Design and Scenography. After university, Sonja continued with fashion and makeup in London, England. Since then, she has been fortunate enough to have a dual career as an award-winning designer and makeup artist in film, television, theatre, fashion, and photography. She has worked with numerous award winning celebrities, artists, and designers from Paris, London, Los Angeles, New York, Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary, Germany, Japan, China, Italy, and Ireland.
Dannyll Challis (Lighting Designer) has been involved in the performing arts for more than 30 years. His love of the arts began while growing up in North Battleford. Dannyll attended Red Deer College and majored in Technical Direction. He currently works as a freelance technician, designer, production and event manager across Canada.
Robert Gontier – Bookwriter & lyricist. Work: In Flanders Fields (Smile Theatre, Lunchbox Theatre); Central Park Tango (Theatre Aquarius readings); Johnny Jackson and His Heavenly Passion (Toronto Fringe). Training: Johnny Mercer Songwriter’s Project (led by Lin-Manuel Miranda & Craig Carnelia); Craft of Musical Theatre Writing, Lehman Engel Advanced Workshop Series (ScriptLab). Education: MA in Voice Studies, Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London; BFA in Acting, Ryerson University. Mentors: Leslie Arden, Jim Betts, Sheldon Rosen. Membership: Dramatists Guild of America.
Nicky Phillips – Composer and lyricist. Most recently, composed music for The 39 Steps (Manitoba Theatre Centre). Musical works include In Flanders Fields (Lunchbox Theatre, Smile Theatre) and Central Park Tango (Theatre Aquarius readings). Training includes the Johnny Mercer Songwriter’s Project in Chicago (led by master teachers Craig Carnelia and Lin-Manuel Miranda) and being mentored by Leslie Arden. Nicky is a graduate of the Ryerson Theatre School and is currently working towards a certificate in arranging through the Berklee College of Music. Proud member of ASCAP and the Dramatists Guild of America. nickyphillips.com
Robert Ursan enjoys reading books and newspapers, learning about the foolishness of political leaders. But he doesn’t have much free time. Considering the accomplished pianist, director, singer and composer spends every waking hour creating the music he’s become so renowned for, it’s understandable.
“It’s kind of all-consuming,” Ursan laughed. “And yes, I’m just a little bit obsessed by the whole music theatre thing. It really hasn’t allowed me much time for life.”
Or download a PDF version: QC – It’s All for the Show – Rob Ursan.
(Photo by Bryan Schlosser, Regina Leader-Post.)
The Golden Apple Theatre’s evening of music and laughter with three well-known Regina performers: Lyndon Bray, Edward Willett and Robert Ursan (co-artistic director of The Golden Apple Theatre) was a huge success, drawing close to a full house to the single performance at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum on Friday, May 11.
Titled An Evening with the “Boys,” the show featured songs and comic sketches performed by Bray, Willett and Ursan.
Lyndon got his start singing at Peacock High School in Moose Jaw when in Grade 9. Four days before the opening of the high school musical South Pacific, he was thrust into a leading role when another actor broke his ankle. The rest has been on-the-job training, really. Lyndon has sung with wedding dance bands, rock ‘n’ roll bands, performed in numerous musical theatre productions and sings and entertains for hundreds of other fundraising functions and events.
Ed grew up in Weyburn but has lived in Regina for many years. He has acted and sung in dozens of plays, musicals and operas across Saskatchewan, both professionally (with Globe Theatre, Persephone Theatre and others), and just for fun (with Regina Lyric Musical Theatre, Regina Summer Stage, and more). He’s a past president of Weyburn’s Crocus 80 Theatre and Regina Lyric Musical Theatre, and currently serves on the boards of The Golden Apple Theatre and the Canadian Chamber Choir, a national auditioned choir with which he also sings. In addition to performing, Ed is a prolific writer with more than forty books of both fiction and non-fiction to his credit: www.edwardwillett.com.
Rob was born and raised in Regina. Four degrees and many performances across Canada and Britain later, he returned to Saskatchewan to work and write. Since returning he has directed 64 shows and music directed a further 57. As a teacher, he has taught students who have performed in major theatres in Canada, the UK and the US. As a writer, he has written operas, musicals and plays. His works have been heard on the CBC and from the Brooklyn Academy in New York to the Canadian Embassy in Moscow.
The Golden Apple Theatre’s production of the Canadian classic, written and composed by John Gray in collaboration with Eric Peterson, was directed by Robert Ursan and starred Ryland Alexander and Wayne Gwillim.
Ryland Alexander is a recently returned Regina-based artist who has had the good fortune of working across the country and overseas. He recently finished filming 13 Eerie with Mind’s Eye Entertainment and enjoyed being a WWI hero by day and a zombie at night during this rehearsal process. Selected credits include: Theatre—As You Like It, A Christmas Carol, Julius Caesar (Citadel Theatre), Keeping Peace (Surreal SoReal Theatre), Are We There…Yet? (Concrete Theatre), Creation of the World and Other Business, Progress and Procrastination, Never Swim Alone (The System Theatre), Love’s Labour’s Lost, Henry IV Part I, The Taming of the Shrew, and Julius Caesar (Shakespeare In The Park). Film—Blood in the Water (Discovery Channel), InSecurity, The Englishman’s Boy, Prairie Giant: The Tommy Douglas Story (CBC), Hemmorage (Independent). Education—MA in Theatre Practices (Directing) Rose Bruford College, BFA in Drama (Acting) University of Alberta.
Wayne Gwillim is a Toronto-based musician. He grew up on a farm between Strasbourg and Duval—85 km north of Regina—and is a graduate of Luther College High School. Wayne was involved with musical and theatrical organizations while living in Saskatchewan, including Regina Lions Jr. Band, Do It With Class, and Regina Lyric Musical Theatre. After graduation, he pursued studies at University of Toronto’s Faculty of Music. Wayne now makes his living as a freelance music director, arranger, and vocal coach. Recent credits: assistant music director for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s production of The Sound of Music (Mirvish Productions), alternate keyboardist/vocalist for Jersey Boys (Dancap Productions), and several seasons at the Shaw Festival. Billy Bishop marks Wayne’s first professional gig in his home province.
The Golden Apple Theatre is pleased to announce the director and cast for its first production, Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris, which runs November 17 to 28, 2010, at The Artesian on 13th.
The director will be Geoffrey Whynot, well-known to Saskatchewan theatre audiences for his work as an actor and director at Globe Theatre over the past several years.
The cast will feature Golden Apple Theatre’s own artistic directors, Robert Ursan and Andorlie Hillstrom, along with Regina natives (now gone on to professional careers elsewhere) Ingrid Nilson and Jeff Irving.
Full biographies and photos of the cast will be forthcoming as the production nears.
The Golden Apple Theatre offered its first performance on February 12, 2010: a fundraising revue called Making Love in a Canoe, a celebration of the finest in Canadian musical theatre, created and performed by Regina-born Kyle Golemba, accompanied by Robert Ursan. The event was held in the atrium of the T.C. Douglas Building.