Life in Kelowna isn’t all orchards, wine tastings and sailing on the lake. There’s a vibrant arts scene in Kelowna for audiences and performers alike. Some key players in the musical theatre scene include Musical Actors and Singers of Kelowna (MASK), a group of unpaid amateur performers who rehearse weekly and put on one or two shows a year. This group of talented men and women perform around Kelowna and area and are often called upon to sing the National Anthems at Kelowna Rockets hockey games.
Another more active group in the city is the Kelowna Actors Studio Inc. (KAS).
This organization was founded in spring of 2003 with a goal of producing and performing top notch favourites from Broadway. It was started by two individuals: Randy Leslie from Toronto and Nate Flavel who cut his teeth on musical theatre in Kelowna. Leslie’s role is that of Artistic Managing Director and heads up the education curriculum at KAS. Students that have been through his programs have gone on to study at Sheridan College in Toronto, the renowned Julliard in New York at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Los Angeles.
Off stage, KAS provides learning experiences for school students. In all, KAS is a quality theatre company that provides cultural enrichment throughout the Okanagan.
The Studio promotes other musical theatre events in B.C. and often organizes bus trips to Vancouver to catch productions on the West Coast.
Superior Entertainment in the Okanagan
In the past 14 years or so, KAS has presented more than 86 stellar productions. Kelowna audiences have been treated to performances of classics such as A Streetcar Named Desire, Sweeney Todd, Oliver, Jesus Christ Superstar, My Fair Lady and many more. There’s a Broadway Junior program that has engineered high calibre productions such as West Side Story and Guys’n’Dolls.
The educational arm is a non-profit, charitable entity that provides quality education through the Kelowna Actors Studio Academy Foundation. Some of the programs they offer include classes after school, camps during the summer holidays and spring break, acting and dance for musical theatre. Students studying through distance programs earn credits in performance arts at the KAS studio.
The group operates out of studios located across the street from the Kelowna Public Library at 1379 Ellis Street in the Cultural District of Downtown Kelowna The 11,000 square-foot space has four areas contained within. A 230-seat theater which also has seating for dinner theatre. There is a rehearsal studio for stage and dance productions complete with mirrors on the walls. There’s an area where sets can be constructed and stored, an office, a kitchen and licensed bar facility.
Whether you want to play a part in an upcoming production or would like to volunteer, opportunities are always posted on the KAS website. Volunteers ushers and ticket takers are always required and it’s an excellent opportunity to see a Kelowna show for free. Singers, dancers and actors are invited to send in resumes and head shots through out the season. Auditions for specific parts are listed on the website along with Dropbox access to music so applicants can rehearse prior to audition dates.
Upcoming ProductionsChicago: February 8 – 26, 2017
This performance will include all the songs you expect from this satirical musical look at the American Dream. All That Jazz, Razzle Dazzle and much more.
Anne of Green Gables: April 19 to May 7, 2017
A Canadian classic adapted for musical theatre with a rich musical score and colourful choreography.
The Great Gatsby: May 31 to June 17, 2017
A Scott F. Fitzgerald gem set in 1922 in New York City. Look for spectacular costumes.