Last night teacher-director Cynthia Lacroix was up past midnight working on the Garibaldi Interdisciplinary Arts Academy’s upcoming musical production of Mamma Mia!
“I got home just before 11 and I hadn’t even touched Chiquitita. I wasn’t going to be able to get to sleep until I got that song done,” she explained.
With less than a month until opening night, there’s still lots of work to be done. The first dress rehearsal is next week. Lacroix understands exactly what it takes to stage a full-length musical theatre production.
In her 32-year career with the Maple Ridge – Pitt Meadows School District she’s produced 70-plus shows. She’s quick to point out that staging that many productions would not be possible without the major contributions of music director Jodi Dahle, choreographer Jaqlyn Remple, long-time seamstress Kelly Gould, and many others.
“I would never do it without my amazing team,” said Lacroix.
Many of Lacroix’s former students also return to help with school productions.
“In fact, I probably wouldn’t have done Mamma Mia! if it wasn’t for the alumni coming back to work on the show,” she said, noting that the talented sound and lighting designers for the show are both GSS grads.
“So, we are just a little place in the middle of nowhere but we get these incredible people to come and help kids have amazing experiences,” she said.
Lacroix is especially excited about staging Mamma Mia!, a show that she’s wanted to do for a long time.
Securing the rights to the musical happened somewhat unexpectedly.
Lacroix had been denied the rights twice before but feeling that the curtain on her own musical theatre career may not be that far away, she made one more call to New York about the show.
Again, she asked, “When can I do it?” The reply: How about November 2019?”
She was thrilled. Two days after she applied another representative from the production rights office surprisingly sent her the rights for this November (2018) – a year earlier than first discussed.
“I don’t know how this happened! All I know is when principal Darren Rowell arrived at school the next morning I was standing at his door,” she said with a smile.
Lacroix knows well the rigours of putting on a production of this scale. She also knows the rewards.
“It’s a pretty amazing experience for the kids. There’s nothing like it,” she said.
The Interdisciplinary Arts Academy at Garibaldi allows students to pursue an education in theatre and explore career opportunities in theatre, dance, voice, film and television. Graduates of the Garibaldi program have gone on to pursue careers in theatre, dance, voice, film, television and music.
Lacroix said Mamma Mia!, with all its music, dance and cheekiness, makes for a great night of musical theatre that is affordable and fun. “This is a show that is meant to be shared,” she said.
Mamma Mia! runs from November 26 to December 1 at the Garibaldi Secondary theatre, 24789 Dewdney Trunk Road, Maple Ridge.
Nov. 26: all seats $10.
Nov. 27-Dec. 1: seniors/students $16, adults $18.
Tickets (cash only) are available at Garibaldi Secondary office, Little Cricket Gift Gallery (22347 Lougheed Highway) and at the door (depending on availability).
*Limited wheelchair-accessible seating is available. Please reserve prior to show at 604.463.6287.