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.
Theo Budd, Ryan Nuñez, Sabrielle McCurdy-Foreman and Stefania Wheelhouse
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
Dyin’ ain’t so bad. Not if you both go together. Only when one’s left behind does it get sad. But a short and lovin’ life, that ain’t so bad.
– Bonnie Parker from Bonnie and Clyde: The Musical adapted by Frank Wildhorn, Don Black and Ivan Menchell
In March 2016, Play On Words Productions embarked on an exhilarating and ambitious production of Bonnie and Clyde: The Musical. The musical explores a fearless and true story of wild passion and thirst for fame told through memorable music and relatable characters. From their first meeting, Bonnie and Clyde are immediately connected by their desire to be bigger than their small town lives. They set off together to chase their dreams. When their reckless adventure goes awry it’s sets them on a downward spiral, with their friends and family following in tow.
CJ McGillivray was honoured to contribute towards the dynamic visual world through assistant designing the set and selecting the extensive period props and weaponry used throughout the show.
Photo by Jamie Edgar
Sherry Freeman, Charlie Deagnon, Cassady Ranford , Will Hopkins, Henry Beasley, Stef Stanley, Nathan Cottell , Taylor McKee, Jason Sakai, Sabrielle McCurdy Foreman, Chloe Rowat, Steven Masson, Anastasia Unger, YooRa Kang and Jesse Alvarez
Directed by Ryan Nuñez with musical direction by Marquis Byrd, choreography by Lyndsey Britten, costume design by Marci Herron, set design by Jessica Snook, assistant set design and props by CJ McGillivray, sound design by Clare Wyatt and lighting design by Andrew Chu. Stage managed by Kaja Jean and Ziggy Shultz.
The Drowning Girls is a haunting play about three brides who share two things in common: they all married the same man, and they are all dead. Emerging from their clawfoot bathtubs, the three breathless brides gather evidence against their womanizing, murderous husband by reliving the shocking events leading up to their deaths. The Drowning Girls is both a breathtaking fantasia and a social critique, full of rich images, a myriad of characters, and lyrical language.
Kim Larson, Jess Amy Shead, and Julia Siedlanowska
Directed by Ulla Laidlaw with set design and sound design by CJ McGillivray, lighting design by Mily Mumford, costume design by Rebecca Burks, stage management by Monique Fillon with assistant stage management and props by Diana Bartosh.
Photo by Matt Reznek featuring the cast of The Drowning Girls, presented by Stone’s Throw Productions in November 2015.
The Old Haunt by Avery Burrow is a psychological ghost story that follows a college sophomore and a whimsical stoner girl as they explore the wilderness outside of Campbell River. Their adventure takes a dark turn when they come across two hikers who bear a striking resemblance to figures from the past. Amid hallucinations, wrong turns and broken conversations, the pair discover a harsh truth and a human connection that neither of them thought was possible. In October 2015, Excavation Theatre presented an overwhelmingly successful run of The Old Haunt at The Shop Theatre, located in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Matt Montgomery, Lucia Forward, Nina Tischhauser and Kiki Thornton-Trump
Directed by Jessica Anne Nelson with set design by CJ McGillivray, sound design by David Cowling and lighting design by Michael Methot; stage managed by Keisha Gill and produced by Excavation Theatre
In August 2015, Rising Phoenix Theatre presented an independent production of Why I Hate Utah by Andrew Ferguson. The play moves through the back roads of America, culminating in a absurd breakfast that forever changes the life of a simple man. As the set designer, CJ McGillivray created a simplistic set inspired by vintage diners, southern charm and devilish symbolism.
Mariam Barry, Mike Bodzanowski, Chelsea Cameron, Sean Fabisch, Helena Fisher-Welsh, Austin Holm, Cash McQuaid and Sofia Bunting Newman
Directed by Chelsea Cameron, Sofia Bunting Newman and Hannah Siden with set design by CJ McGillivray, costume design by Ann-Marie Zak, poster design by Carol McQuaid and stage management by Joshua Wilson.