Thursday 22 November 2012

Mary Poppins at Place des Arts just outstanding

The past few months have been difficult for our family, with the passing of my dad on September 3. While my brother and sister and I are naturally very sad, it is our mom Elaine who has had the toughest adjustment.

Mom and dad did a lot of fun activities together, but Broadway-style musicals were not on his wish list.  So when I heard that Mary Poppins the Musical was Montreal-bound I told mom I would try and get tickets.

"When you were kids, I had the L.P. that I played for you all the time," mom said. "When you were a little boy, daddy and I took you to the movie and you were fascinated when Mary Poppin  flew on her umbrella. After that I read you the storybook and daddy brought home the record .I remember the old LPs. We had a wonderful collection,  but unfortunately we got rid of them because they went out of style like the horse and buggy."

I am 50 years young now. So  I was only a toddler when I saw the motion picture starring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyck. Nonetheless, those wonderful songs have been ringing in my head for decades. Well, I secured the tickets and mom was raring to go. What a treat this was! Mary Poppins continues at  salle Wilfrid-Pelletier of  Place des Arts through Sunday, November 25. If you are a fan of musicals, then get your tickets without any delay for you will not see this quality of a production in Montreal that often,

The show was spectacular from beginning to end. While young children will naturally enjoy it, this was by no means a "kids" show.  It tells the tale of the Banks family, who live  in a big house in London on Cherry Lane.  Kids  Jane and Michael are out of control and in need of a new nanny.  Suddenly,  a mysterious young lady  named Mary Poppins arrives at their doorstep, weaves a little magic and changes everything for the better.

Now  I must say,  Mary's job interview was very brief. There was no resume or references submitted. She was hired on the spot. The kids were glued to her immediately as out of her magical suitcase came a tall coat hanger, a clock and a few other items.

The cast was magnificent. Madeline Trumble as Mary had me thinking Julie Andrews right from the start while Con O'Shea-Creal as Bert had a little Van Dyck in him. Micheal Dean Morgan and Elizabeth Broadhurst were just dandy as Mr. and Mrs. Banks, but it was the two child actors who totally stole the show. There are four youngsters rotating the roles. Julianna Rigoglioso and Eli Tokash were on stage for the presentation we saw. Besides being absolutely adorable, their singing, acting and dancing was at a very high level.

This was a truly polished shows, with one of the most magnificent sets for a travelling production I have seen in some time.  There was the amazing pop up house, the rooftops, the park and  the very believabl raindrops. Mary did indeed fly and Bert climbed the walls and danced upside down.  

I looked around at the audience and everyone just had big smiles on their faces. The songs were amazing and mostly familiar:  Chim Chim Cher-ee, Cherry Tree Lane,The Perfect Nanny, Practically Perfect,  Jolly Holiday, A Spoonful of Sugar, Feed the Birds,   Supercalifragilisticexpidalidocious  and more. I have them all humming in my head.

Here is what the song looked like on Broadway:

At the end of the show, Michael Dean Morgan announced that the cast was raising money for a number of charities, including to assist victims of Hurricane Sunday. Audience members were invited to drop some cash in buckets on the way out, purchase some special merchandise or for $250 get a back stage tour.

Oh yes, and mom went home on cloud nine! She loved every minute of the show.   

For more information  on how to get tickets go to or

Thank you Evenko and Broadway Across Canada for bringing such a top quality musical to Montreal. Next on the horizon is Billy Elliott, January 8 to 13, 2013, also at the Place des Arts.

Wednesday 21 November 2012

Yes I watched The Bachelor Canada: Brad's final choice

Yes, I admit it. Thanks to my new PVR, I did watch City TV's The Bachelor Canada.

Since I know Senator Larry Smith, I was intrigued by the choice of his son Brad, 29, as The Bachelor. The local kid from Hudson who briefly played in the CFL appeared to be a good choice for the role. So I tuned in to the first episode in September and determined it was not for me. Well, a few weeks ago during one of my Friday evening ironing sessions I searched about the PVR to see what was recorded and indeed  the ladies of the house had The Bachelor Canada right there. 
Brad Smith

The Bachelor is a ridiculous concept. It is hard for me to imagine any girl actually want to marry this guy, especially after watching all of the episodes themselves and seeing him get cozy with all the others. Yet marriages have stuck on the US version.

So tonight I sat down with the ladies and watched the finale live.  Spoiler alert. I will tell you who Brad chose.

In the end it was between   Bianka, the 28 year old nurse from Mississauga, Ontario and Whitney, the 24 year old administrative assistant from Calgary. Having watched the last few episodes it was clear that Whitney was not the right one for Brad. In fact it was surprising to see her make it to the final two. But she is drop dead gorgeous and that clearly played on Brad's mind. Bianka, on the other hand, is also a beauty and has a good head on her shoulders.

So yes folks, Brad did choose Bianka and I guess we will find out soon if they are still together and whether a Hudson wedding is being planned. Whitney's performance in the finale was a total train wreck.

Tonight Brad came home to Hudson, meeting Whitney at the Falcon Golf Course. Somehow he was allowed to drive the golf cart home after their game. Waiting for them was dad Larry, mom Leesa, sister Ashley and her husband (former Alouettes kicker Damon Duval), their two kids and Brad's best friend Mike. Nowhere to be seen was Brad's brother Wes, which I found very odd. Poor Whitney was grilled by the family, especially by Ashley. She was so tongue tied that Brad ended up answering the questions for her. Bianka's visit with the family, after enjoying a Lesters steamed hotdog from Hudson's famous Restaurant Sauvé. Larry Smith was not around to meet Bianka. Apparently the Senate was sitting late that evening. But she faired much better, especially with Ashley who proclaimed to Brad that she was the right one to choose.

It was then off to Barbados for the final decision. Whitney, clearly looking to pick a fight with Brad, made his choice really easy. He went to her hotel and told her she was not the one. She closed the door in his face and then walked away. That removed the drama from the much anticipated rose ceremony. A stunning looking Bianka accepted his ring and now we will wait to see if they will live happily ever after.

Yep, I guess I will have to watch the true series finale on Wednesday, November 28\: After the Rose.

Will City TV come back with another Bachelor Canada? I would prefer to see The Bachelorette Canada.

One final note to the CRTC. Please approve the application by Rogers Media for Metro 14 to become a full fledged City TV channel.

Cat Spencer to have prostate exam live on the air

92.5 The Beat of Montreal has announced that it is hosting a Prostate Party – a free cancer screening clinic for its male listeners. It is all in support of Movember, the prostate cancer awareness campaign that has gained popularity in recent years.

Putting words into action for Movember, Beat Breakfast announcer Cat Spencer will be having a prostate exam live on-air.

“When November rolled around, all the guys started growing their moustaches for Movember”, says Cat. “But when we started asking our male listeners if they had ever had a prostate exam, we sensed a lot of hesitation. So we thought we would make it easier for some of them by facilitating the whole process. And it helped that I promised to get one, too.”
The dynamic duo of Cat Spencer and Sarah Bartok (photo by Mike Cohen).

A first of its kind, the event will be held on Friday, November 23 at the Brunswick Medical Centre,  located at 955 boulevard St-Jean, Pointe-Claire and will be under the supervision of Dr. Kevin Zorn, MD Director of Robotic Surgery and Assistant Professor of Urology at the University of Montreal Hospital Center.

Listeners won their free prostate exams with the Beat Breakfast morning show, which will be broadcasting live from the clinic this Friday morning between 5:30am and 9:00am.

And it wouldn’t be a party without inviting the girls, so Beat Breakfast co-host Sarah Bartok is also hosting female listeners for free mammograms at the same time.

The party will be topped off with a trip to Jukebox Burgers, who have created a special “Bendover Burger” just for the occasion.