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Wednesday, 04 June 2014 14:15

Chickens: The Barnyard Musical Comedy

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The runaway hit musical Chickens is back at Rosebud Theatre this summer, and to mark the occasion, Alberta troubadours Lewis & Royal are releasing the play’s 20th anniversary soundtrack.

The folk comedy duo, comprised of singer/ guitarist Lewis Frere and actor/director/musician Royal Sproule, first met in 1993 when Frere was a student at Rosebud School of the Arts (RSA) and Sproule was a full-time actor on the Rosebud Theatre stage. They found their voices blended well and soon began arranging and composing music together.
 Their first project was setting music to playwright Lucia Frangione’s lyrics for the new musical romantic comedy Chickens.
Chickens tells the story of a down-on-his-luck farmer who invests his hopes and livelihood in raising exotic chickens, while his wife — and the rest of the community — are certain he’s flown the coop. This lively musical features songs reflecting a wide range of musical genres, including the bluesy rock Grade-A Blues, bluegrass-style Fine Fine Fine, and dreamy 1950s doo-wop inspired Honey I’m Home.
The 20th Anniversary soundtrack includes recordings from both the original 1994 Rosebud Theatre Chickens cast and the 2014 Rosebud Theatre cast. Both sets of recordings were done in Rosebud’s Gallery Recording Studio, on the lower level of the Akokiniskway Gallery, which Frere built at the end of his RSA studies.
Frere grew up in a musical family of six children and came to Rosebud School of the Arts in 1993 after graduating from Red Deer College.
“My mom suggested I take a drive out to this ‘artsy little town’ by Drumheller called Rosebud,” says Frere. “When I got here, I was met on the street by a student who invited me to see the show, tag along to a campfire and then crash overnight. It seemed like a pretty awesome place and I decided to audition for RSA’s music program.”
Frere’s idea to build a recording studio was met by an offer from Rosebud School of the Arts founder LaVerne Erickson.
“LaVerne and his wife Arlene put me up and fed me for nothing while I built the studio,” says Frere. “It’s still in use today under the management of Paul Zacharias and Doghouse Studios. One of Paul’s most recent projects was engineering Rosebud Theatre’s Christmas album last year.”
Since its world premiere in Rosebud in 1994, Frangione’s Chickens has been produced worldwide by professional and amateur theatre companies alike. Frere has been a part of all three Rosebud Theatre productions and this summer will sing and play guitar, saxophone and various barnyard animals.
He joins partner Sproule who’s sitting in the director’s chair for this production, and who played the shy, refined rooster “His Nibs” in the original 1994 production.
“Royal has a great instinct for directing comedy, and knows how to ride the line with humour. It’s going to be a great summer show.”
Chickens: The Barnyard Musical Comedy also features music written by Jason Bertsch and Mark Lewandowski. The soundtrack is now on sale at the Rosebud Opera House and various Rosebud businesses.
Chickens runs until Aug. 30, Wednesdays through Saturdays at the Rosebud Theatre Opera House. Adult/senior ticket prices start at $64.45 and include a delicious buffet meal at the Rosebud Mercantile before the show. Student, child and group pricing also available.
The evening performances are at 8 p.m. with meal seating times between 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. and matinees are at 1:30 p.m. with meal seating times between 11 a.m. and noon.
Reserve tickets online at: or phone the Box Office at 1-800-267-7553.

Read 8562 times Last modified on Wednesday, 04 June 2014 14:24