*Parlour Tricks will be performed as a Reading, or rather a Singing. The musical is currently in the developmental phase, so after three days of music workshops during STAGES, the cast will share it's progress with a sing through for the public.
BOOK AND LYRICS BY: Jamie Bradley MUSIC AND LYRICS BY: Scott Owen MUSIC DIRECTION BY: Lisa St. Clair PERFORMED BY: Jamie Bradley, Andrew Chandler, Mary Fay Coady, Scott Owen
Parlour Tricks: The Musical, an original musical farce from the skewed brains of Jamie Bradley and Scott Owen, is about family, greed, redemption, and how to extort using a spare dead body.
Set in 1842 Halifax, Nova Scotia (nicknamed Rum Town), failed mortician, but successful misanthrope, Ernest Newman and his doting wife Vera are teetering on bankruptcy. In hopes of drumming up business, they use the last of their money to buy a corpse from the insane asylum to use as a window display. The dead body turns out to be a live and extremely happy-go-lucky Chester, sold for being too chipper for an insane asylum.
Slapped with a huge fine for unpaid taxes, Ernest-- with Chester by his side-- embarks on a scam to extort money from the wealthy by tossing a corpse in front their carriages and claiming they had run over his father.
Added into the mix is our balladeer guide named Clog; The Widow Ball, proprietress of the Coughing Ass Tavern and the most intimidatingly beautiful woman in all of Rum Town; red-headed orphan and cheery psychopath Shirley-Anne Murfles; and a cast of off-kilter Dickensian-type characters, who are aware they are in a show.
The original music is a hybrid of traditional musical theatre and Celtic/Gaelic, inspired by the rough, Pagan energy of bands like The Pogues, The Dubliners, and The Floggin’ Mollies. The intention is for the audience to sing along with the choruses of some of the more ‘taverny’ songs.
This musical has a cast of five actors, playing all sixteen characters (and instruments), and a set comprised of barrels, wooden crates, hemp rope, and whatever Victorian flotsam and jetsam is thrown on the stage.
Parlour Tricks: The Musical is a silly, black comedy, and social satire that takes inspiration from some of Halifax’s more colourful history. The atmosphere of the show is a bunch of friends gathering at an Irish pub for songs and stories and booze; along with foot-stomping, dancing, and broken bottles.
Jamie’s writing career spans 40 years, beginning as playwright and performer of children’s theatre with various companies, including Bubblegum Theatre, Briarloch Theatre and Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia. Other credits include five fringe festival productions and over twenty-five dinner theatre scripts for Feast Dinner Theatre (PEI) and Grafton Street Dinner Theatre (Halifax). He’s also written for CBC Radio Drama and television and is a stage & screen actor/puppeteer, voice actor, and multiple award-winning improviser. Jamie’s first large-scale productions were Jamboree, the inaugural musical of PEI’s Harbourfront Theatre, and Titanic: The Fated Voyage at Halifax’s Cunard Centre. Before the Leaves Turn, toured New Brunswick & Nova Scotia in 2016 and in 2018 a public reading commemorating the Centenary of Armistice at Pier 21. The musical revue, Pictou: Our Town, Our Stories was produced at the DeCoste Centre in 2017/ 2018. In 2018, Jukie & Her Dad premiered at the Saint John Theatre Company; and Eastern Front Theatre and Neptune Theatre co-produced the world premiere of KAMP: The Musical, which Jamie wrote with composer Garry Williams. KAMP was nominated for ten and won five Theatre Nova Scotia Robert Merritt Awards, including “Outstanding Production”. Jamie is presently a board member of Kick At the Dark Theatre, Vice President of Playwrights Atlantic Resource Centre, and represents the Atlantic Region on the board of the Playwrights Guild of Canada. He lives in his native Halifax with his wife and 87 fountain pens.
Scott embarked on a successful 29 years career as an actor and entertainer after pursuing Dalhousie University’s Honours Acting Program. But really, at twelve he traded as many toys as it took get his sister's guitar for his own, that’s where it all started. Years later Scott has fronted his own bands including The Cawdaddies and Juice Brothers. Collaborated with Juno nominated musician Nathan Wiley and had a long TV and film career documented on IMBD. Here in Halifax, Scott appeared in a number of Neptune Theatre productions. The most relevant role was as a Celtic accordion playing French miner and Grandfather in Alistair MacLeod’s No Great Mischief.
At Vancouver Theatre Sports, Scott was the musical director for the Theatre Sport Vancouver Planetarium interactive Musical. Scott wrote the score and directed the improv musical based on a ‘Rock Experience’. The show required musical improv in a number of genres over strong themes already composed and arranged by Scott. Scott went on to be the musical supervisor on the Vancouver film Switch. Overall, Scott has performed live music, composed his own sets for band and solo performances and even drummed up some good cash busking in Halifax and Vancouver back in the day. His roots in musical theatre at the Halifax Feast as a performer and his love, and experience with blues and Celtic music as well as folk and traditional folk music helped inspire the score for Parlour Tricks.
He was invited to write the musical for Parlour Tricks by Jamie Bradley as they had co-created the characters and world 30 years ago and have enjoyed revisiting the project together throughout the years. He lives with wife and daughter in Halifax’s north end and sure likes it!
Mary Fay is an actor and an Alexander Technique teacher (ITM). She has worked as an actor extensively in the east coast of Canada for a decade, devising new work as well as working as a hired gun. For the past three years she has been travelling the world touring 2b Theatre’s award-winning show Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story, which has won seven Robert Merritt Awards, the Nova Scotia Masterworks Award and the Herald Award from the Edinburgh Fringe. During their off-Broadway run, Old Stock was nominated for 6 Drama Desk Awards, and was titled a New York Times' Critic Pick. Mary Fay has been nominated for three Robert Merritt Awards, winning Outstanding Performance by a Female (Lead) in 2018. In 2019, she won a Toronto Theatre Critic Award for Best Featured Performer in a Musical. In her off time, she loves teaching and studying the Alexander Technique and investigating how the principles of the Alexander Technique can hone her skills as a performer.
Born and raised in Halifax/K’jipuktuk, Andrew has appeared on stages across Canada. In Nova Scotia, he has performed with Neptune Theatre, Two Planks and a Passion Theatre, Ship’s Company Theatre, Festival Antigonish, Shakespeare by the Sea, and a host of independent companies. As Artistic Producer of Kick At The Dark Theatre, he has performed in one-person shows The Story of a Sinking Man (2016 Merritt Award Winner: Outstanding Production by a New or Emerging Company) and Every Brilliant Thing (2020 Merritt Award Nominee: Outstanding Production by a New or Emerging Company). Andrew has directed Kick At The Dark Theatre’s productions of Seminar, David Sedaris’ Uncomfortable Christmas, Scoop, and Giant Killer Shark: The Musical, as well The Return to Baker Street for the Halifax Fringe, and was chosen for Neptune Theatre’s inaugural Chrysalis Project, where he assistant directed the smash hit pantomime Cinderella, and the striking contemporary drama Lo, or Dear Mr. Wells. He has co-written several shows, including Going Down with Ann Doyle, Stay At Home Dead with Ajar Theatre, and the musical So... What About Love? with Garry Williams and Amy Reitsma.
Lisa is an accomplished musical director, vocal coach, arranger, composer, sound designer, and accompanist. She teaches voice and piano/keyboards privately in Wolfville, Nova Scotia and has taught on the Music and Theatre Faculties of Acadia University, and the Theatre Faculty of Dalhousie University. Lisa has worked as a pianist and musical director nationally for 36 years. Lisa’s recent credits include: The Last Five Years, Peter Pan, and Cinderella (arranger/musical director/ pianist/keyboards) at Neptune Theatre. Other credits include Hallelujah: The Music of Leonard Cohen: (Cliff Lejeune and the Blue Engine Quartet); Chester Festival’s Jacques Brel; Opera Nova Scotia’s Threepenny Opera;Dracula at the Charlottetown Festival; Campbell Neptune’s Les Miserables, My Fair Lady, Grease, Blood Brothers; in Alberta, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Gypsy, Carousel, Singing in the Rain; Magnus Theatre’s The Light Gets in: The Music of Leonard Cohen. Some of Lisa’s numerous awards include: ECMA for co-producing the original cast recording Anne and Gilbert and Edmonton’s Sterling Award for co-musically directing Chicago.
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