I interviewed Christmas Rocks! actress Catherine O’Brien as a part of my internship at the Confederation Centre in Charlottetown. The interview was featured in the December 2009 issue of The Buzz:

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Christmas Rocks!: Catherine O’Brien becomes Mrs. Claus

Charlottetown actress Catherine O’Brien will be playing Mrs. Claus and several other characters in the Confederation Centre’s new production, Christmas Rocks!

O’Brien has appeared in many Charlottetown Festival shows such as Anne of Green Gables—The Musical™, The British Invasion, Canada Rocks! and Disco Cirque.

All cast members will be playing several characters during the course of the show, O’Brien said, adding that she loves writer/director Wade Lynch’s style and is looking forward to working with him again. “He loves to play and explore. He’s very easygoing, but he knows what he wants and goes after it.”

O’Brien has worked with several members of the cast before, including Joey Kitson, Shawna van Omme, Andrew McAllister and Stephanie Cadman, and is excited to work with those she hasn’t, like Frank MacKay and Lisa Lennox. “I’ve heard Frank, and he’s got a gorgeous voice.”

Audience members can expect classic Christmas songs like “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and the 1958 rockabilly tune “Run, Run Rudolph.” “All the girls are singing Make It Christmas Day by Jann Arden,” O’Brien said. “I like hearing new artists do different versions of some of the older songs. I do like this Jann Arden tune. It’s her song and it’s quite beautiful.”

O’Brien expects the show to be nothing less than stellar. Many of the songs included in the production are group pieces, she said. “They’re really utilizing the voices. There are a lot of really strong singers in this show. They’re putting a lot of good music in.”

“Knowing the people that are involved, it’s going to be great. It’s going to be great fun for us to do and I think it’s going to be great fun for the audience,” she said. “We throw in some rock music, there’s some great dancing, there’s some comedy. It’s all very uplifting and fun. There’s some beautiful music. There’s something for everyone.”

christmasrocksMy interview article with Christmas Rocks! writer, director and actor Wade Lynch made it into November issue of The Buzz. It was done through my internship at the Confederation Centre. And for your viewing pleasure…

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Christmas Rocks!: Wade Lynch and Don Fraser write a new version

Wade Lynch grew up around musical theatre. “I got bit by the bug very early on,” Lynch said. “I recall being cast as Joseph in the Christmas pageant in Grade 1. You’d be hard pressed to get me offstage since.” Lynch, who serves as The Charlottetown Festival’s associate artistic director, is co-writing Christmas Rocks! with the Festival’s musical director, Donald Fraser. He also co-wrote Canada Rocks! and Canada Rocks Christmas.

Christmas Rocks!, which opens at the Confederation Centre of the Arts on November 25, is a holiday show with a little something for everyone, Lynch said. “Every age, every idea and every religion. It’s a show that celebrates winter, not just the Christian aspects of it. It’s about celebrating family and life in wintertime.”

Christmas Rocks! will include lots of recognizable holiday tunes—but audiences shouldn’t expect the traditional Christmas show. “What I’m doing for the comedy element is a little bit different,” Lynch explained. “The subtitle for the show is A Winterland Who’s Who and that’s a play on words on the old CBC nature spots, a Hinterland Who’s Who.”

Christmas Rocks! features characters you don’t necessarily think about at Christmas time, Lynch said. “Like the neglected Christmas tree. Like the New Year’s resolution. The class clown at Christmas. And my favourite, the Christmas turkey. These are all voices you’re going to meet and hear from on stage at the Confederation Centre.”

Lynch is also one of the actors in the show. He said directing and acting in a show can be difficult at times. “Thankfully, I have a good stage manager to rein me in.” Objectivity can become an issue when directing a show you’ve also written. ‘It’s like ‘Oh my God, who wrote this?’” Lynch said.

Being a director and the man in charge definitely has its perks. “It’s the power!” he said, laughing. “It’s really the ability to oversee a project, have a particular vision for a project and be able to see it come through on stage. There’s nothing more thrilling.”

The prep work for Christmas Rocks! has been particularly enjoyable, Lynch said. “It’s my responsibility to maintain the audience we had for Canada Rocks! and Canada Rocks Christmas!, but to deliver a brand new show that’s going to satisfy them, because people are going to have preconceived ideas of what the show is going to be.” He wants to ensure the audience sees nothing they’ve seen before. “I’m trying to outwit our audience and that’s a great challenge.”

Lynch also directed The Ballad of Stompin’ Tom and has appeared in Shear Madness, Eight to the Bar, 18 Wheels, Stones In His Pockets, among others. This past season was Lynch’s fourteenth with The Charlottetown Festival and his fourth as associate director. He was also in over 1,300 performances of A Closer Walk With Patsy Cline.

Two articles in The Buzz!

January 3, 2009

I was assigned an article for monthly Charlottetown arts newspaper The Buzz: do an interview with Rawlins Cross lead singer Joey Kitson in honour of the recently released compilation album and band reunion. After some phone tag and a very brief interview, I submitted my second article. It was published in the music section and you can see the finished product online here: Rawlins Cross reunion: Folk rock band reunites in support of Anthology album.

I submitted a second article after an email interview with Canadian comedy legend Jeremy Hotz. To my surprise, it was published in this month’s issue as well! Hurrah! You can check it out online here: What a Miserable Tour: Comedian Jeremy Hotz to appear at Confed’ Centre.

“…the other is about an upcoming scrapbooking club. I think the latter was the better written of the two, personally, and I have a good feeling about it this time. No, I haven’t heard back about either (yet) and yes, I submitted the articles on the last day possible but that’s not my fault. Well, for the most part- things just worked out that way. Fingers crossed!!”

I wrote this in this very blog on the entry dated November 16th.

And guess what kiddies. No, I never received a call. So, yes, I didn’t expect to open the December issue of The Buzz and see my name in print, along with the photo I submitted to go along with the article.

They published the scrapbook article, the one I had a good feeling about to begin with. So, today was a very good day for me. I plan to take a trip into the office of the paper and thank the editor for putting my article in. I know this sounds corny, but it’s a really good feeling- to have one of your goals accomplished. It feels damn good.

Here’s the article for your viewing pleasure:


Scrapbook club
Gina Ruprecht starts monthly meetings
By Jillianne Hamilton

scrapbook-ginaScrapbook enthusiasts will now have a place to meet in Charlottetown when their habit needs a fix—of ribbon, stickers and family photos.

Gina Ruprecht, a consultant for the scrapbook company Close To My Heart, recently decided to start a monthly scrapbook club. Meetings will be held at the Delta Hotel on Queen Street monthly, or, if there is demand, twice a month. The club is for beginner scrappers but Ruprecht will also offer advanced classes.

Meetings will include lessons on scrapbooking techniques, layouts, creativity, accessorizing scrapbook pages and other paper crafts projects. The cost to do an album is $30 and $20 for a card-making kit. All supplies are provided and members have full use of Ruprecht’s scrapbook tools.

Ruprecht is starting the club because she enjoys creating scrapbook pages as a way of teaching others. She hopes the club will entice younger people to get involved in the popular hobby. “If I can get more young people into it, then I’ll be happy. That’s my goal in life.” Scrapbooking allows people to turn boring photo albums into a work of art, according to Ruprecht. “You’re not ashamed to put it out on your coffee table and show it off.”

Ruprecht was introduced to scrapbooking by her mother-in-law who invited her to a scrapbook workshop and helped her collect a large scrapbook supplies collection. “She’s built my little arsenal for me.”

Many people avoid scrapbooking because it can become an expensive hobby. Ruprecht recommends new scrapbookers not go overboard when going on their first supplies shopping trip. “You don’t have to have ink in every colour—I learned that the hard way,” she says. Ruprecht also suggests using Michael’s coupons from the company website (www.michaels.com) or buying Close To My Heart supplies when they have a clearance sale.

Scrapbook clubs are becoming more popular. People want to have more expression in what they create and enjoy feeding off the creativity of others, comments Ruprecht. “It’s like a support group for scrapbookers.”

Anyone interested in joining the club can call 902-314-8386 or email gina.and.chris@hotmail.com. You can also visit Ruprecht’s website at www.ginaruprecht.myctmh.com.