Much Ado About Nothing

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When I said I would die a bachelor, I did not think I should live till I were married.

– Benedick from Much Ado About Nothing by william Shakespeare

Set in a mesmerizing theatrical world, Much Ado About Nothing is a deadly serious and sublimely ridiculous story of soldiers in love and women confined by tradition. This bold and playful romp explores the extremes of desire and ambition, loyalty and redemption.

Critically acclaimed Classic Chic Productions delivered an evening of Shakespeare unlike anything experienced before, featuring their signature all female cast. The production ran from February 5 to 16, 2019 at the Vancouver Eastside Cultural Centre in Vancouver, BC.

Presented by Classic Chic Productions and the Vancouver Eastside Cultural Centre, Much Ado About Nothing was part of the Femme Series, highlighting the strength and power of female-identified voices and experiences. The Femme Series was generously supported by the Charlotte and Sonya Wall Arts Fund.

CAST

Corina Akeson, Mariam Barry, Kayla Deorksen, CK Kaur, Nancy Kerr, Catherine Lough Haggquist, Michelle Martin, Barbara Pollard, Bronwen Smith, Sara Vickruck and Christina Wells Campbell.

CREATIVE TEAM

Directed and adapted by Rebecca Patterson with sound design and original music composed by CJ McGillivray, lighting design by Jill White, set and props design by Heidi Wilkinson, costume design by Sherry Randall, choreography by Lisa Goebel and fight direction by Rachel Scott; stage managed by Ingrid Turk, assistant stage managed by Victoria Snashell and technical direction by Nicole Weissmiller.

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Die Hard: The Musical

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You have me at a loss. You know my name but who are you? Just another American who saw too many movies as a child? Another orphan of a bankrupt culture who thinks he’s John Wayne? Rambo? Marshal Dillon?

– Hans Gruber from Die Hard

The year is 1988. On the night before Christmas, John McClane is on a mission to save his wife from German terrorists led by the debonair Hans Gruber. On the 30 year anniversary of this cult classic, District 13 presented a hysterical rendition of the classic film mixed with hit songs from the eighties, from Bob Jovi to George Michael.

Photos by Rick Calhoun featuring the cast of Die Hard: The Musical, on stage from September 5th to 16th, 2018 at Studio 1398 as part of the Vancouver Fringe Festival.

CAST

Amy Dauer, Frano Marsic, CJ McGillivray, Richard Meen, Ryan Scramstad, Matthew Simmons and Victor Ustare.

CREATIVE TEAM

Written and Directed by Mark Vandenberg with music direction by Rick Colhoun, choreography by Paige Vassos and stage management by Emily Wilson.

REVIEWS

A silly and hilarious action-comedy full of meta-commentary on the eighties, and a fitting tribute to one of the most perfect, crowd pleasing action movies ever made… Vic Ustare, Amy Dauer and CJ McGillivray showed great versatility in their multiple roles.

– Adam Abrams, Vancouver Musicals

A fun, traditionally comedic jukebox musical with some clever twists.

– Jessica Kim, UBC Players Club Review

Romeo + Juliet

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These violent delights have violent ends
And in their triumph die, like fire and powder,
Which, as they kiss, consume.

Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

Blissful love, family drama, pledges and heartbreak. In July 2018, Place des Arts presented the Summer Teen Theatre Troupe in a modern and melodic rendition of Romeo and Juliet, performed outdoors at the beautiful TD Community Plaza in Coquitlam. The energetic production incorporated original songs by CJ McGillivray alongside a playlist of youthful indie pop rock tunes and dance numbers.

CAST

Samantha Kerr as Romeo and Julia MacLean as Juliet alongside Devon Chung, Kate Cousins, Javid Nouripour, Elizabeth Punshon, Parsa Samani, Margi Stoner, Cassandra Tedesco, Shayla Tedesco and Emily Trepanier

CREATIVE TEAM

Directed by Melissa Oei with sound design and original musical composed by CJ McGillivray; set, props and costumes designed by Marcus Valiant; production managed by Michael Fera, stage managed by Laura Reynolds and assistant stage managed by Angel Chamberlain.

SOUND DESIGN

Here is a sampling of the original music composed for Romeo and Juliet. The folk instrumentation includes piano, ukulele and acoustic guitar.

The Prologue, written and performed by CJ McGillivray with words by William Shakespeare:

O Romeo, Romeo, written and performed by CJ McGillivray with words by William Shakespeare:

We Three

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The unforgettable journey of We Three follows a trio of new friends through a world of colours, textures, song, and interactive play as they learn who they are, the importance of friendship, and what it means to find your place in the world. The charming script by local playwright Meghan Gardiner introduces little theatre patrons to storytelling and music.Young audience members can sing and dance along and explore the five senses in an intimate drama experience that allows them and their caregivers to enjoy theatre on their own terms.

We Three Photo

Photo by Jenny McDonald featuring the cast of We Three, on stage from June 5 to 17 at Carousel Theatre for Young People.

CAST

CJ McGillivray, Melissa Oei and Allan Zinyk

CREATIVE TEAM

Directed by Carole Higgins with set design by Sarah Mabberley, costume design by Kiara Lawson and stage management by Ashley Noyes

Mr. Burns

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When love first falls upon his knee, his mother heals him with a kiss. And this is how love comes to learn, hurt is succeeded by a bliss. But hate knows that every single wound leaves a scary that lasts forever. And hate knows that every story ends on a dark and raging river. 

– Lisa Simpson from Mr. Burns, a post-electric play by Anne Washburn

After the collapse of civilization, a group of survivors share a campfire and begin to piece together the plot of an old Simpson episode entirely from memory. Seven years later, their recollection and other snippets of pop culture have become the live entertainment of an apocalyptic society, sincerely trying to hold onto the past. Seventy-five years later, these are the myths and legends from which new forms of performance are created. Mr. Burns is an animated exploration of how the pop culture of one era might evolve into the mythology of another.

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Photo by Duy Nguyen featuring the cast of Mr. Burns, on stage from April 3rd to 21st, 2018 at Studio 1398 in Vancouver, BC.

CAST

Keara Barnes, Graham Coffeng, Douglas Ennenberg, Stephanie Izsak, Liz Kirkland, CJ McGillivray and Matt Montgomery

CREATIVE TEAM

Direction and choreography by Madelyn Osborne with original music composition and musical direction by Katerina Gimon; production management by Matt Clarke, production coordination by Mark Ferns, production design by Johnny Hamilton, set design by Heipo Leung, set construction by Andrew Duffy, lighting design by Jono Kim, costume design by Johnny Hamilton and Madelyn Osborne, mask design by Sarah Elizabeth, sound design by Matt Clarke, props by Caitlin Main, stage management by Diana Bartosh with assistant stager Olivia Etey; assistant musical direction by Gizelle Rocha and publicity by Julia Siedlanowska with directorial assistance from Dayna Hoffmann and Madelaine Walker. Produced by Little Mountain Lion Productions.

 

 

 

REVIEWS

The play is given extraordinary life by director and choreographer Madelyn Osborne, musical director Katerina Gimon and a ridiculously talented cast in one of the best productions of the year… What a pleasure to watch this cast in action. The ensemble work is uniformly strong… Multi-instrumentalist McGillivray has a lovely voice, as do they all. Their singing, rapping and dancing, physical and vocal percussion and background harmonies give the Simpsons story new vibrancy.

– Jerry Wasserman, The Vancouver Sun

I feel like I was kidnapped and taken to surprising places, places that I hadn’t known I wanted to go… Musical director Katerina Gimon has created a complex original score for this mounting and this seven member cast sings it very well… Gimon exploits the talents of individual actors, so CJ McGillivray gets a touching ukulele solo as Lisa and Matt Montgomery turns into a tap-dancing feline rhythm king as Scratchy.

– Colin Thomas

The ultimate payoff is incredible and will set minds reeling for days to come. It is the type of work that merits multiple viewings to better appreciate the layers of nuance and foreshadowing that are inevitably missed the first time.

– Brian Paterson, Vancouver Presents

 

 

 

Good Day and Good Night

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Good Day and Good Night is a delightful, interactive play written by Kayla Dunbar and Dustin Freeland with original music composed by CJ McGillivray. Ideal for young children, from newborns to toddlers, the story was presented by Carousel Theatre for Young People in June 2017.

SYNOPSIS

When they first meet, the Sun and Moon seem too different to even be friends. The Sun is confident and popular whereas the Moon is shy and easily overlooked. But through playful songs, an incredible adventure and a little help from their animal friends, the pair learn to accept their differences and become lifelong friends.

Good Day and Good Night

Photo by Faye Campbell

CAST

CJ McGillivray, Steven Greenfield and Alexandra Lainfiesta

CREW

Directed by Carole Higgins with original composition and musical direction by CJ McGillivray, costume design by Kiara Lawson, set design and props by Sarah Mabberley and dramaturgy by Jessica Gutteridge; stage managed by Ashley Noyes.

ORIGINAL MUSIC

The original music for Good Day and Good Night was written for piano, ukulele, melodica and flute. The playful score made use of bouncing rhythms and pleasant, quirky melodies, ideal for children to move around to and for caregivers to hum along with. Here are some samples of the musical score composed by CJ McGillivray.

Creatures of Earth from Good Day and Good Night:

Firefly Chase from Good Day and Good Night:

REVIEWS

What a treat for the littlest theatregoers among us. Good Day and Good Night is a thoroughly charming show for babies and toddlers that is engaging without being condescending… Live musical accompaniment by CJ McGillivray on a variety of instruments adds to the fun… Sweetness, simplicity, and virtuosity are the magic ingredients in this piece, which enchants the very young.

– Kathleen Oliver, The Georgia Straight

Title of Show

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Are we writing for art? Is art a springboard for fame? Will fame get us a pay check but will a pay check mean that we’re sellouts?

Two Nobodies in New York from [title of show] written by Hunter Bell and Jeff Brown

Frequently hilarious, occasionally heartbreaking, and thoroughly inspiring, [title of show] is a love story celebrating individuality and creativity, written by Hunter Bell with music and lyrics by Jeff Brown. Two nobody musical theatre nerds make a pact to write an original musical in three weeks. They follow the old adage to write what you know and set off on the unique musical adventure of writing a musical about writing a musical. Deadlines loom, insecurities creep into the creative process and jealousies flare. This intelligent, playful musical offers an inside look at the tough work of being an artist.

In August 2016, Play on Words Productions presented [title of show] at Studio 16 in Vancouver, British Columbia. CJ McGillivray was honoured to come on board as the production designer for the show, facilitating the look and feel of the performance from start to finish. Her role encompassed sound design and creating extensive projections in addition to sourcing props, costumes and even a minimalist set.

CAST

Theo Budd, Ryan Nuñez, Sabrielle McCurdy-Foreman and Stefania Wheelhouse

CREATIVE TEAM

Collaborative direction by Jenny Anderson, musical direction by Kate MacColl, movement direction by Erika Babins, production design by CJ McGillivray and lighting design by Brad Trenaman; stage management by Chloe Rowat with media and communications coordination by Cassady Ranford

On My Walk

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On My Walk tells the delightful tale of Sonny and Breeze, who adventure through the seasons as they sled, hike, swim and bike. Though friendships can sometimes be tough and sharing can sometimes be difficult, having each other makes it all worthwhile. On My Walk is an interactive, playful story which invites very young children and their families to take part, clap, sing, and move together. The energetic ensemble includes Victor Mariano, CJ McGillivray and Marcie Westman.

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Photo from Artslandia featuring cast members Victor Mariano, Marcie Westman and CJ McGillivray with creative team members Jessica Mann Gutteridge and Shizuoka Kai at the 2017 Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards. The team from Carousel Theatre for Young People celebrated four nominations for their production of On My Walk. CJ McGillivray was honoured to receive a nomination for Outstanding Artistic Creation, Musical Composer.

CREATIVE TEAM

Directed by Carole Higgins with assistant direction from Kayla Dunbar and original musical written and performed by CJ McGillivray. Set design and props by Shizuka Kai, costume design by Kiara Lawson, stage management by Ashley Noyes and dramaturgy by Jessica Mann Guttering.

PRODUCTION DETAILS

On My Walk ran from June 7th to 18th, 2016 and was presented by Carousel Theatre for Young People. The script was adapted by Marcie Nestman and Kari-Lynn Winters, based on the storybook written by Kari-Lynn, illustrated by Christina Leist and published by Tradewinds Books.

Dot and Ziggy

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“What does it mean if you integrate theatre that early in a child’s life so it becomes something you do, so it becomes the fabric of what you do and something that you want to participate in and makes you feel good?” asked director Carole Higgins in an interview regarding her production of Dot and Ziggy with Carousel Theatre for Young People.

Created by Linda Hartzell and Mark Perry, Dot and Ziggy falls under the category of theatre for the very young. The gentle and immersive storytelling experience took place in an intimate studio space at Carousel Theatre. During the show, toddlers and babies were encouraged to move around and interact with the performers as they experience theatre, puppetry and song. With genius simplicity, the script explored the burgeoning friendship of  a ladybug and a skunk who live side by side but have nothing in common. Both of the creatures have trouble sharing but with some help and understanding, they embrace kindness and sharing in order to make everyone happy. The small ensemble featured award winning actors Kayla Dunbar and Dustin Freeland with a lighthearted musical underscore performed by CJ McGillivray.

The production ran almost every morning from June 2nd to June 14th, 2015 at Carousel Theatre on Granville Island. The production was nominated for Outstanding Production in the category of Theatre for Young Audiences at the 2016 Jessie Richardson Awards.

 

Hide and Seek

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Underneath the stars on your ceiling? I’ll always be there. But out in the day I’ll stay away.

– Hide and Seek by Dark Day Theatre Collective

Creative exploration runs deep in good company. But what happens when good company has the pressure of a ticking clock and massive competition? Then you have Smackdown: The 24 Hour Musical Theatre Competition.

This unreal event was created by Awkward Stage Productions and hosted by the Arts Umbrella on Granville Island in early April 2015. Six creative teams were given just twenty-four hours to create a musical from scratch. Each company was challenged to write, stage and perform an original musical with only some instruments, a rehearsal room and inspiration to help them. Surprise elements were routinely thrown at the teams to keep them on their feet.

CJ McGillivray had the pleasure of taking on this challenge with her team, Dark Day Theatre. The ensemble describe themselves as a local theatre collective with the shared mindset of hungry aspirations and fearless self expression. The company for Dark Day Theatre was comprised of award winning playwrights Avery Burrow and CJ McGillivray, artistic visionaries Pedro Chamale and Aleida Sekulich, talented instrumentalists Benjamin Pilger and Dominic Edward Duff, and the stage was owned by provincially acclaimed performers Jessica Hood, Hayley Goldin, Grace Newson and Riley Qualtieri. Their shared insight and creative knowledge made them a force to be reckoned with during Smackdown.

Final performances took place on the evening of Sunday, April 5th at the gorgeous Orpheum Annex in downtown Vancouver. The night was filled with plenty of comedy, tragedy, harmony and dissonance. CJ McGillivray and her ensemble earned strong praise from a panel of acclaimed judges including Peter Jorgensen, Rachel Peake, David Jones, Christopher King and Sarah Wolfman-Robichaud.For their work on Hide and Seek, Dark Day Theatre was awarded Most Original Story and Best Costumes. The ensemble extends their gratitude to Awkward Stage Productions for supporting and inspiring them all to take on this wild challenge and create something memorable.