It has been a while since my last visit to Stage West and a huge thank you to The Anchor for inviting me again! I should have queried first, but when I did ask what the latest production was called, I admit I started to panic! I didn’t think I really knew a lot about country music and artists. What to do? Well, being a diligent entertainment contributor, I saddled up myself and my partner and we went, we ate, and then the show started. What a show! It turns out that I have been exposed to a lot more country music than I realized; I did grow up in Calgary after all and have always made the most of Stampede week. I have enjoyed countless Stampede events through the years which are always great opportunities to hear the country music classics. I worried for nothing!
I don’t know how the show’s creators Liz Gilroy, Jason Pechet and Konrad Plut were able to pare down the list of country music’s greats, but they managed to contain it to six very talented, very famous artists.
Act One featured Buck Owens, Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton and they were perfectly cast; it felt like they were the real deal; they looked like them, moved like them and sounded like them! We were treated to Act Naturally, Tiger By The Tail, Coward Of The County, The Gambler, 9 To 5, and the duet sung by Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers, Islands in the Stream, just to name a few of the many well-loved and very familiar selections.
The chefs at Stage West are always coming up with new buffet items with which to tempt us. Through the summer they are featuring BBQ pork carnitas and BBQ smoked ribs along with spaetzle, bratwurst, weisswurst and smokies for a change of pace. I couldn’t make it through all of the salads, sushi and sashimi after sampling the cold boiled jumbo shrimp; jumbo doesn’t quite describe them, they are huge! (and delicious)
Oh oh and then – intermission! That meant it was time for dessert and Stage West never disappoints! This is when the wheels fall off as far as decision making goes… All I’m going to say is that I won’t make my selections public in our local paper, I’m sure you’ll all understand, let’s just go with this: everything was delicious, especially for someone with an overdeveloped sweet tooth like mine.
Act Two featured Dwight Yoakam (he’s so cool!), Trisha Yearwood and Garth Brooks. Again, dead ringers for the real thing! Selections included Guitars and Cadillacs, Everybody Knows, She’s In Love With The Boy, Calling Baton Rouge, and the duet In Another’s Eyes beautifully sung by Trisha Yearwood and Garth Brooks. Did you know that Trisha Yearwood is married to Garth Brooks? That might just illustrate for you how much attention I have not been paying, I had no idea.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the band led by musical director Konrad Pluta who also played or/ Keyboards, Lucien Desharnais on Lap Steel Guitar (and also from Calgary) Jeff Fafard] on drums, Rob Hutchison playing Bass sub, Darcy Johnstone on Bass and Brad Steckel playing Guitar. They were absolutely perfect, and what an accomplished group they are, from widely differing backgrounds but all totally committed to music.
The talented cast of actors by alphabetical order consisted of:
Gaelan Beatty …………………Garth Brooks
April Cook……………………….Dolly Parton
Merritt Crews……………Trisha Yearwood
Jade McLeod ……………..Backup Vocalist
Edward Murphy………..Dwight Yoakam
Kent Sheridan ………………Kenny Rogers
Victoria Scully ……………Backup Vocalist
Josh Wiles………………………..Buck Owens
The full company performed in the finale and it was such rousing fun! I still have Friends In Low Places playing in my head, which is just fine with me. This show was so much fun and moved so fast that I actually forgot about the two chocolate dipped Florentines sitting on a plate right in front of me, which I still can’t believe.
I’m now more anxious than ever to get out there and enjoy the Stampede and all it has to offer, especially the music. Stage West, your timing on this one was perfect!
Legends of Country runs at Stage West until September 1, 2019 and I highly recommend that you book a table!