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1 day ago

Rainbow Stage

Our wonderful partner and supporter! Assiniboine Credit Union!
To enter, visit the original post on the ACU Facebook pageBe our guest at Rainbow Stage's upcoming production, Beauty and the Beast! 2 lucky winners will receive a family pack of 4 VIP tickets for the August 14 show. To enter the #contest, simply leave a comment below. Official rules and regulations here: ow.ly/KLBk30kYvuU #RBStage #WpgTheatre 🎭
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4 days ago

Rainbow Stage

We were so thrilled to have Mayor Brian Bowman attend the Rainbow Stage Wall of Fame Awards Ceremony and Opening Night yesterday! Thank you for your continued support and for joining us on a very special evening.
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Pictured: Julie Eccles -Executive Director, Mayor Brian Bowman and Carson Nattrass - Artistic Director
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STAGE:
Lighting Designer - Scott Henderson
Sets, Props and Costume Design - Ksenia Broda-Milian
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#rainbowstage
#winnipeg #manitoba
#breakingupishardtodo
#neilsedaka
#wpgtheatre
#travelmanitoba
#openingnight @ Rainbow Stage
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5 days ago

Rainbow Stage

Opening Night is here for ‘Breaking Up Is Hard To Do’! Congratulations to our hard working team of cast and crew. ‘Breaking Up Is Hard To Do’ runs July 12th-July 22nd at our beautiful stage. Don’t miss your chance to see this hilarious show! You’ll be dancing in your seat! Tickets: rainbowstage.ca/tickets or 204-989-0888
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Photographer - Robert Tinker
Director - Debbie Patterson
Music Director - Danny Carroll
Choreographer - Jillian Willems
Set, Props & Costume Designer – Ksenia Broda-Milian
Lighting Designer - Scott Henderson
Sound Designer - Emily Porter
CAST: Darren Martens, Katie German, Laura Olafson, Nelson Bettencourt, Dora Carroll, Joseph Sevillo, Debbie Maslowsky and Wayne Buss
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5 days ago

Rainbow Stage

Pop star Neil Sedaka is all over Breaking Up Is Hard to Do, the jukebox musical opening tonight at Rainbow Stage. But this is not a play in the vein of past Rainbow shows such as Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story or Ring of Fire, which functioned as biographies of Buddy Holly and Johnny Cash respectively.

Breaking Up is a fantasia inspired by Sedaka’s music, just as the repertoire of ABBA fuelled the romantic comedy of Mamma Mia! and the hair metal of the 1970s and ‘80s inspired Rock of Ages. Sedaka’s songs provide a romantic foundation for a story of loves lost and found in a Catskills resort in the early 1960s.

THEATRE PREVIEW
Breaking Up Is Hard to Do
● Book by Erik Jackson and Ben H. Winters, music by Neil Sedaka
● To Sunday, July 22
● Tickets $55-$65 at tickets.rainbowstage.ca

That specific milieu was an attraction for Winnipeg actress Debbie Maslowsky, who plays Esther, the widowed proprietor of Esther’s Paradise Resort, the setting for the musical’s romantic shenanigans.

"Debbie told me on the first day of rehearsal that her dream was to perform in the Catskills, where this is set," says Carson Nattrass, Rainbow’s artistic director. "As a young Jewish performer, Neil Sedaka was their star. And she performed all this music with her late brother Jerry, and it means the world to her to sing this music again at the stage where she’s featured on the Wall of Fame.

"It’s not just nostalgia," Nattrass says of the music. "It’s deeper for a lot of people."

Maslowsky says there is a Yiddish word to describe her relationship to the material.

"It’s bashert, which means ‘meant to be, serendipitous.’ When I looked at it, I thought: ‘OK, this, to me, is bashert."

Even so, taking the role was not altogether easy for Maslowsky.

"This is the first show I’ve done in two years," she says, referring to her last appearance in the Royal MTC’s 2016 production of Billy Elliot. Maslowsky’s brother Jerry Maslowsky died in September 2016, and his passing was tough on her.

Performing Sedaka songs is both poignant and therapeutic for Maslowsky.
Performing Sedaka songs is both poignant and therapeutic for Maslowsky.

"We performed together for over 40 years and I just needed a little time," she says.

Sedaka featured prominently in the repertoire of Jerry and Debbie on the stage of The Hollow Mug, a popular dinner theatre in the former International Inn on Wellington Avenue.

"I started my performing career in the Hollow Mug when I was just 18," she says, recalling that Sedaka hits such as Breaking Up Is Hard to Do and Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen were regularly featured on the stage’s ‘60s-themed shows.

"I know this music anyway just from listening to it," she says. "As for his later stuff, my brother had a bar mitzvah band and they used to perform it all the time.

"I loved his music, absolutely," she says. "There’s just something about the sweetness of it and there’s quite a bit of storytelling in his songs that I didn’t realize when I listened to him on the radio or watched him on American Bandstand," she says, catching herself. "I can’t believe I can actually say that, but I can."

Performing the songs can be poignant now, she admits, as well as being tough and therapeutic.

"The first week, I found it difficult just on a variety of levels," she says. "Our musical director is Danny Carroll, and Danny also played for us at the Hollow Mug, and he played for my brother Jerry and I, and so the memories were warm and wonderful and sad at the same time."

One song in particular, Solitaire, has rekindled strong memories for Maslowsky.

"It’s a song he used to sing. It kind of stops me. I get a little verklempt just talking about it."

"But ‘therapeutic’ is where I’m landing," she says. "It’s very therapeutic the power of theatre and musical comedy.

"But I do love his music, so even at the first few rehearsals when we were just singing through music, it just warmed my heart," Maslowsky says.

"This is so hokey, but it kind of felt like coming home, listening to that music again," she says. "It was a simpler time."

randall.king@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @FreepKing

Randall King
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