Already a hotbed of unique talent, local and farther afield, the Registry Theatre has an expanded range of offerings on tap for 2015-2016, the Kitchener venue’s 15th season.
To mark the milestone, the theatre is programming an even wider array of entertainment, including extra performances for two of the most popular series, Folk Night and Jazz, both of which are celebrating 10 years.
“We’re bringing back some of the audience favourites that have performed with us over the 15 years,” explains program director Lawrence McNaught.
The Jazz Series, for instance, will feature all three groups from the first year, including perennial favourite Larry Larson. Tim Louis – on the campaign trail right now as the Kitchener-Conestoga Liberal candidate – will be marking what would have been Frank Sinatra’s 100th birthday.
“He’s now a Canadian, but Tim Louis is from Hoboken originally, so he’ll be doing a tribute to Frank Sinatra.”
The Folk Night at the Registry Series, meanwhile, will see a special concert by Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary fame, making use of the nearby studio space at the Centre In The Square.
“Peter Yarrow is a legend of folk. We’re expecting a bigger crowd, so we can make use of the space at the Centre,” said McNaught, noting the venue has a new mandate to do more community programming.
That show is set for November 21.
The Folk Night series kicks off Oct. 17 with a performance by Brother Sun, the collaboration of three veteran singer-songwriters: Joe Jencks, Greg Greenway and Pat Wictor. The three fuse folk, Americana, blues, pop, jazz, rock, and a cappella singing. Their debut at Folk Night in January 2014 was well received, prompting the return.
The night before, Oct. 16, the Registry will be filled with the sounds of the Robi Botos Family Trio, a one-night-only fundraising concert for the Canadian Romani Alliance.Robi Botos is considered one of Canada’s best new-generation jazz pianists. Originally from Hungary, he came to Canada in 1998 as a refugee claimant. This special family trio concert is a fundraiser for his fellow Romani here in Canada, featuring Robi on piano, father Lajos Botos Sr. on drums, and brother Lajos Botos Jr. on bass.
Other One Night Only Series performances include Kevin Ramessar, the Kruger Brothers and sax player John Tank.
A local fan favourite, the Kevin Ramessar Group takes to the stage Nov. 26 and 27 to celebrate the Registry’s 15 years by showcasing new arrangements of some of his favourite cover songs from previous Registry concerts – The Beatles, Paul Simon, etc. – plus new original music from his next album.
A huge hit during their local debut last season, the Kruger Brothers’ version of bluegrass – sometimes dubbed “newgrass” for blending in other styles and orchestral arrangements – return March 19.
“They loved the place so much they’re coming back,” said McNaught.
Another anniversary performance comes courtesy of John Tank’s All Star Jazz Quintet next May. A Waterloo native, Tank has lived in New York City for decades, embedding himself in the jazz scene there. For this special concert, Tank turns the spotlight on the great composers of jazz, including Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn, Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane and more. He’ll be backed by Canada’s very best jazz musicians, Don Thompson on piano, Kevin Turcotte on trumpet, Dave Young playing bass and Terry Clarke on drums.
Along with those series, the busy venue sees the return this season of some other favourites: Classics at The Registry, VOC Plays The Movies, Dance at The Registry and Theatre for Young Audiences.
JM Drama, which manages the facility, will be adding a spring performance to its stage offerings. The Arab-Israeli Cookbook combines onstage food preparation with intimate interviews to create a portrait of the lives of ordinary people in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. In their travels, the creators met and interviewed more than 80 people, from a wide background of cultures, classes and creeds. The resulting play presents some 40 characters describing their daily lives – driving buses, shopping at the market, preparing meals – amidst the surrounding conflict.
“It’s a full schedule, but we’re really excited about the lineup for our 15th anniversary season,” said McNaught.
For more details about the upcoming shows and the entire 2015-2016 season, visit www.registrytheatre.com.