Wednesday, January 28, 2015


Immerse Yourself

Film fest features musicals

By Michael Berger, SC


ebruary is a month known for love, and Secondary Characters is celebrating that fact. Secondary Characters presents a Movie Musicals Film Festival: a Series of Films about Love from February 11-March 4.


Each Wednesday evening of the Film Festival will feature a different, well-known and well-loved Musical Movie.


The series of four Musical Movies kicks off on February 11 with Grease, celebrating young love between greaser Danny and good girl Sandy. This 1978 feature stars John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John, Stockard Channing, Jeff Conaway, and a host of other stars. And being a Musical Movie, who can forget songs such as “Summer Nights”, “Hopelessly Devoted to You”, “Greased Lightnin’”, “You’re the One That I Want” and of course, “Grease”. To make the show even better, this show will be Sing-Along Grease!


Young love is also the key to our February 18 presentation of West Side Story. Leonard Bernstein’s music, with lyrics by Stephan Sondheim gorgeously surrounds the action in this modern take on a Shakespearean theme. Set in the Upper West Side of New York City in the mid-1950s, this musical explores the rivalry between two teenage street gangs, the Jets and the Sharks. Tensions grow as Tony, a member of the Jets, falls in love with Maria, sister of the Sharks leader. This show features songs such as “Maria”, “America”, “Somewhere” and “Tonight”. This 1961 hit movie was a springboard for stars such as Natalie Wood, Richard Beymar, Rita Moreno, and George Chakiris. To add some background to this viewing, UFV Professor Darren Blakeborough will discuss the movies themes and relate them to Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet prior to the show.


February 25 is set aside for The Music Man!This 1962 musical features Robert Preston and Shirley Jones in the feature roles. Set in 1912 in River City, Iowa, a travelling salesman masquerading as a youth marching band leader attempts to con the locals into paying him to create a band. Once he’s collected the money and the instruments and uniforms have arrived, he plans to hop the next train out of town. This gorgeous film was selected for preservation by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” and is a window into small-town America a hundred years ago. Featuring songs such as “Ya Got Trouble”, “Goodnight, My Someone”, “Shipoopi”, “Till There Was You” and of course, “76 Trombones”, this show will have you tapping your toes and ready to march through town playing an instrument. We’re also fortunate enough to have the Curbside Traditional Jazz Band entertaining us with old-time favourites before the movie starts.


Our Film Festival wraps up on March 4 with a modern hit, Mamma Mia! This show exploded onto the public conscience in 2008 when the Broadway musical of the same name was adapted to film. Based on the songs of 1970s pop super group ABBA, this movie stars Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth as well as two cameo appearances of ABBA members themselves. Set on a Greek Island, a bride-to-be named Sophie posts three wedding invitations to three different men. It’s only when Sophie’s bridesmaids arrive that we find out that Sophie discovered her mother’s diary and that one she has three possible fathers. She’s mailed each of them in hope of determining which one is her father, and having him walk her down the aisle. With ABBA hits such as “Fernando”, “Chiquitita”, “Voulez-Vous”, “Knowing Me, Knowing You” “Take a Chance on Me” and the classic “Dancing Queen” providing the musical backdrop to this sun drenched film, you’ll be dancing in the aisles as we off a Dance-a-long Mamma Mia! We won’t even mind if you sing a bit too.

Secondary Characters Vice President Alyson Seale said “We’re thrilled with the variety of movies we’ve managed to acquire, and hope our audiences love them as much as we do.”


Secondary Characters board member Michael Berger added “We want Chilliwack audiences to enjoy these movies as more than just a movie, by immersing themselves in the show. Whether it’s a live band before the show to set the mood, or a providing a dance-along version of the show, we know people will love this film festival!”


The Musical Movies Film Festival is on Wednesday nights from February 11 to March 4 at Cottonwood 4 Cinemas. Doors open at 6:30 pm for pre-show entertainment, followed by the movie at 7:00. Tickets for individual shows are just $10, or buy a festival pass to see all four shows for only $35.


Tickets are sold at two locations. The Chilliwack Cultural Centre sells tickets in person 9:30-5:00, over the phone at 604-791-SHOW (7469), or online at  Tickets are also available at the Cottonwood 4 Cinemas anytime leading up to the Film Festival.


Founded in 2010, Secondary Characters presented their fifth musical Into The Woods in 2014. In Summer 2015, they will present two musicals – Oklahoma! andThe Last 5 Years – both at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre. It is a non-profit organization that brings together musical theatre artists of all ages and backgrounds; Secondary Characters' mission is to provide an outlet for both adults and youth. While Chilliwack has many musical theatre programs for youth, the community was missing a summer musical program for all ages, and Secondary Characters was founded to fill that need.



© Copyright (c) 2009-2015 The Valley Voice