Rocking with ‘Boom’ at the NAC and Orpheus’ ‘A Chorus Line’

A scene from ‘A Chorus Line.’ Photo courtesy of Orpheus Musical Theatre Society. 

There are only two days left to catch Boom at the NAC and three days to catch A Chorus Line, Orpheus Theatre’s latest show now on at Centrepointe Theatre. Time is of the essence.

In Boom, award-winning solo performer Rick Miller brings to life dozens of politicians, writers, activists and entertainers with magical results. Covering the years 1945 to 1969, he captures the music, culture and history of that time period in magical and stunning ways.  It’s a fascinating take on the time period, offering perspectives from various characters who live through it. Some characters are based on family, others on public figures involved in the events.  In Boom, you get to experience the global events as they unfold: the Cold War, McCarthyism, Beatlemania, Trudeaumania, JFK, MLK, Mao, Vietnam.  Regardless of whether or not this is a history lesson or a walk back in time, this show will blow you away.

Rick Miller in ‘Boom.’ Photo by David Leclerc.

Miller is a pro and he seamlessly pulls it all together with the help of some amazing stage technology. This multimedia production is visually captivating and it’s clear Miller worked with Robert Lepage’s studio team in Quebec City to make it work.

Boom is a theatrical experience worth seeing while you can.  It’s great for kids 13+ and is a fantastic way to bring history to life for them.  Miller’s acting is impeccable.

Orpheus’ A Chorus Line is an entirely different kind of theatre experience and it too runs until this weekend. One of Orpheus’ most beautiful aspects is that it is run by a company of amateur actors. Orpheus Musical Theatre Society has been around a long time. In fact, it’s the second longest-running organization of its kind in North America.  It’s been around in Ottawa since 1906.

The society’s latest production is the famous Broadway musical that follows the trials and tribulations of dancers trying to make it into a show. It is like watching a 2-hour audition, as you feel the anxiety of the characters as they tell their stories and dance their guts out, desperate to be chosen for the show.

It is not intended to be a glitzy production. In fact, there is only one costume change during the show. The only props are mirrors behind the dancers that have a beautiful effect, reflecting all of the dancers’ moves.

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A scene from ‘A Chorus Line.’ Photo courtesy of Orpheus Musical Theatre.

Listen to the dancers’ stories, feel their pain, excitement and anticipation as they put themselves out there, exposing their vulnerability. The dialogue is moving, the songs recognizable and the dancing is great.

As is the case with big productions, the quality of the dancing, singing and acting varies, but none of that takes away from the experience.  Orpheus puts on solid shows and this one is no exception.

Boom runs until Saturday, March 12, find out more at A Chorus Line runs until March 13, (