Rosebud Theatre’s 2020 season celebrates true stories
by Laureen F. Guenther
Rosebud Theatre, in the hamlet of Rosebud, Alberta, will produce five true stories in its 2020 season.
The season opens with Glorious, April 17 to May 24, the story of Florence Foster Jenkins who loved to sing, but couldn’t hold a note. Jeany Van Meltebeke, resident actor, will play Florence.
“I was really taken by the idea (that) a person who is full of music but can’t sing in tune should be celebrated and that this person can actually go further in lots of ways with their sheer love and tenacity than someone with a great deal of talent,” says Morris Ertman, Rosebud Theatre’s Artistic Director.
It’s also the story of Cosme McMunn, Florence’s pianist, Ertman says. “He’s a good pianist (but) the only way that good musician gets to Carnegie Hall is because of a bad singer.”
“For Rosebud audiences, it’ll be a great time of theatre. It’s funny. It’s intimate. And I think people will just have a good time watching the show.”
Chariots of Fire, the classic story will play June 12 to August 23.
“(Chariots of Fire is) all about two young men’s convictions,” Ertman says. Harold Abrahams was a young Jewish athlete who faced significant anti-Semitism in 1920s Britain, and ran in the Olympics, Ertman says, for the sake of his people.
“The fact that he’s running for a reason more than his own glory is really significant and heroic.”
“You contrast that with Eric Liddell, who’s running for the sheer pleasure of it, but will not run on Sunday,” he says. “So these two young men of conviction stand very, very tall.”
“It’s just an inspiring story.”
Every Brilliant Thing is also playing all summer, June 25 to August 22, on Rosebud’s intimate BMO Studio Stage.
It’s a one-woman comedy about depression, to be performed by Patricia Cerra, and involves audience interaction in a way that makes every performance unique and unpredictable.
“It’s such a great play about optimism in the face of great odds,” Ertman says.
Silent Sky will play September 18 to October 17.
Henrietta Leavitt, a young woman played by Heather Pattengale, is a Harvard astronomer’s assistant in the early 1900s, when women aren’t allowed to touch the telescope.
“There’s this team of women that analyze data that’s collected from the telescope and (Henrietta) in particular figures out how to measure the distance to the stars,” Ertman says.
“It’s (also) a love story that ends in a way that’s unexpected. It’s about a woman who chooses her passion over restriction by someone who would seek to make her traditional.”
The audience will love it, he says. “They’ll come out and get involved in a really unique group of women.”
All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914 will run November 6 to December 23. Based on actual letters sent home from World War I soldiers, the play tells about the Christmas Eve when German and British soldiers declared an unofficial truce and celebrated Christmas together.
“There’ll be nine men on stage, singing acapella,” Ertman says, “doing the most amazing harmonies you’ll ever hear on stage.”
During the run of All is Calm, Rosebud Theatre plans to honour veterans and other military personnel, and service persons like police officers, paramedics and firefighters.
“There are people that live their lives in the service of others and this play represents them,” Ertman says. “There’s something about the self-sacrifice, the tragedy of it, the honour of it.”
“All you can really do is stand and honour people who are willing to give themselves that way.”
Rosebud’s 2020 season also includes Letters from Wingfield, Rosebud Chamber Music Festival, 15 Minutes of Fame and Rosebud School of the Arts’ student productions.
In our troubled times, Ertman says live theatre offers something our world sorely needs.
“Laying blame is the order of the day. (On) social media, it’s really easy to arm up and throw arrows, shoot from the cover of your computer. … We actually don’t believe that anybody that disagrees with us actually has the right to disagree.”
The World War I soldiers showed us a different way, he says.
“Rosebud is a place where you can sit next to someone in the theatre that you might disagree with and you guys are going to get lost in the same story.”
For more information about Rosebud Theatre and the 2020 season, call 1-800-268-7553 or go to rosebudtheatre.com.