It finally happened: I made a Facebook page!
If you like, please “Like” it and keep in touch with me.
All for now,
Patience is a virtue. And for that, fans, I thank you. Procrastination is not, however, and I vow to increase the frequency of my posts.
That said, I will attempt to make an excuse as to why I haven’t posted in a while by elucidating recent events.
January- It was the polar vortex. I was in New York. I turned 33 and my heart was warmed when I got a visit from the most attractive Elvis impersonator I have yet to encounter. We went to Times Square. I got a chance to take in Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen’s performance in “No Man’s Land”. Took in a Ballet. Saw the Beatles! (1964, the Tribute) at Carnegie Hall. And even put in a visit and an interview with the Sonny Ochs, sister of my hero, Phil. February- I reprised two roles. I took Mark Leiren-Young‘s “Never Shoot a Stampede Queen” to one of my favourite places in the world, Haida Gwaii. And I completed my 10th production playing Buddy Holly in the back-by-popular-demand run in Chemainus. March- I played a couple of fundraisers with my band, the Smashed Hits, in New Westminster and in my boyhood town of Qualicum Beach. I had a ball playing to old friends, neighbours, and family. Thanks Sherri! April – Molly and I packed up the car and made the big drive back to Kansas City where I’m spending time working on a new play. Before we left, I even managed to shoot a segment for the super-fun, Pancake Manor children’s webseries! So, I guess I haven’t been spending all my time playing online chess. But I do intend to keep you updated a little more often. Till then, Rave On! Z
Thank you to everyone who made 2013 such a fantastic year! I’ve been a busy and lucky guy, I’ll tell ya.
2014 is already upon us and I’ve got some exciting announcements.
I’m beginning the year in America’s most populous urban centre, New York City, doing research to develop a show centred on the folk music scene in the 60s. Only to fly right back to one of Canada’s most remote and unpopulated beauties, to reprise the Stampede Queen in Haida Gwaii, Jan 31/Feb.1st)
Buddy was such a hit last year that Chemainus is bringing him back again in Feb. 11th – March 8th.
AND – the Arts Club Theatre celebrates it’s 75th Anniversary season with Red Rock Diner (June 19th – August 2nd) where I’ll be rockin’ some of the greatest songs of the 50s/60s that legendary DJ, Red Robinson spun on Vancouver’s airwaves.
Also, I’ll be teaming with my sister to help create some music for Pancake Manor – a hit online series for kids!
With plenty to look forward to I’ve also made the resolution to update this website more regularly so I can share more of my work with the people who enjoy what I do.
Thanks for reading and all the best to you in 2014!
They’ve gone about as far as they could go… Seriously, with this production. I think they have.
Yes. I am here in smolderin’ Kansas City where everyone teases me about (I mean… abowt) my little Canadian-isms. I look at the weather in awe that it’ll be 37 degrees on Friday! Which to Americans sounds like a frozen Canadian Christmas.
I am truly grateful to be here. The staff at the theatre have been tremendously hospitable and the cast is overloaded with talent and energy. The production value is second to none and the audiences are as enthusiastic as ever. After logging hundreds of performances in Canada, it’s exciting to be closer to the source. Kansas City is only a few hours from Clear Lake, IO where Buddy played his last show.
Fun fact: When I was a shy, ninth-grader, my sister insisted I audition for the high school musical. I fought off some serious nerves and flubbed my way through some kind of 90s grunge rock song. Haha. I think it was Nirvana. Somehow some potential was revealed and I was cast as Will Parker in Oklahoma! “Kansas City” was the first song I ever sang for a theatre audience. Little did I know I had cut the first branch, carving a path for myself as a stage actor that has taken me all over Canada and, now, into the US.
I still recall some of the lyrics:
“I got to Kansas City on a Frid’y, by Saturday a learned a thing or two,
for up to then I didn’t have an I’dy of what the modern world was comin’ to
I counted 20 gas buggies goin’ by themselves almost everytime I took a walk.
And then I put my ear to a Bell telephone and a strange woman started in to talk”
And I swear, it’s even more up-to-date then the song suggests 😉
(Photo By David Cooper)
It makes perfect sense to starring actor Zachary Stevenson.
Stevenson plays the lead role in his first performance in a three-night run of Never Shoot a Stampede Queen at the Duncan Garage Showroom starting May 3.
The former Parksville homeboy, Stevenson who now resides in Vancouver, is pretty pumped about leading this one-man show based on Mark Leiren-Young’s book and directed by TJ Dawe, and which follows rookie reporter (based on Leiren Young) tackling his first post at a small paper in Williams Lake.
Stevenson, who’s become quite accustomed to sporting cool, black-rimmed, coke-bottle glasses in his depiction of the great Buddy Holly for the Chemainus Theatre Festival Inn’s run, is now transitioning roles to a hick-town reporter.
“The crux of the story is it’s really a tale about growing up,” said Stevenson, 32. “He’s fresh out of university, in his early 20s, and he think he knows everything. He’s got it all figured out and he’s going to do some real damage in his first real job.
“It’s a comedy and it’s really quite funny actually,” said Stevenson, noting the name of the solo show is based on one of many debacles the reporter finds himself in, and that particular one him being assigned to shoot the town’s batch of Stampede Queen contestants, very much like Lake Cowichan’s Lady of the Lake contest.
“Williams Lake is known for their Stampede Queens,” explained Stevenson. “The girls there all aspire to be the queen. And it’s kind of like a joke on him when he’s assigned to shoot photos of all the girls and do profiles. It’s one of the many situations he finds himself in where he’s not quite understanding the culture.”
Stampede Queen may have its share of comical points, but the story also takes a more serious turn.
“It’s a comedy, but it does run deeper than that,” said Stevenson. “He sort of grows up a little. When he does eventually make his way back to Vancouver, he’s really become a bigger person.”
That rings bells for Stevenson.
I grew up in Parksville, so I’m a small-town kind of guy,” he said. “I live in Vancouver now and I’ve lived in Toronto as well. But I will always prefer living in a small town. That’s my eventual goal, to move back to the Island.”
The Duncan Garage Showroom couldn’t have been a better fit for Stampede Queen.
“Zachary is a rock star on Vancouver Island. I mean, he’s a rock star everywhere,” said Leiren-Young in an email. “He’s just coming off a sold out run of Buddy Holly in Chemainus, so when this came up it was pretty much perfect.
“This gives Zachary the chance to run the show before it arrives in Vancouver, but the goal of this show is to tour, a lot, especially in BC. So we’re hoping to bring the show back to Vancouver Island again soon. We’d love to bring it in for a run in Chemainus, Duncan, Victoria, one-nighters all over the island.
“This is a show about discovering rural B.C. and we all think it’s really going to hit a very special chord outside of the big cities.”
Stevenson, an accomplishes singer, song-writer, actor and multi-instrumentalist, has been skyping with with Vancouver-based writer/performer, film-maker Leiren-Young on sounding out Stampede’s script.
“It was different, that’s for sure,” Stevenson said of the preliminary phase Skype session with Leiren-Young. “Mark was really just listening to me read, and it was really about making sure the intentions, voices, meanings were right. The physical stuff comes a little bit later on.”
The Stevenson, Leiren-Young and Dawe, all Vancouver-based boys, make for a dream team, or “a force not to be reckoned with,” all having very different but at the same time similar backgrounds.
Stevenson has also starred in Urinetown, Assassins, Hair, Hanks Williams: The Show He Never Gave, and The Ballad of Phil Ochs.
Dawes is known on the scene for play Toothpaste & Cigars (co-written with Mike Rinaldi) which has recently wrapped shooting as a feature film titled The F Word, starring Harry Potter sensation Daniel Radcliffe.
He also directed and co-created The One Man Star Wars Trilogy and One Man Lord of the Rings with Charlie Ross, both of which have been touring the world since they debuted in 2002 and 2004.
Leiren-Young isn’t shy of credits either.
His resume includes plays Easy Money and The Year in Revue, as well as Shylock, which has been staged all over North America.
What: Never Shoot a Stampede Queen
Who: Starring Zachary Stevenson, Directed by TJ Dawe and written by Mark Leiren-Young
When: May 3,4, 5, nightly at 8 p.m.
Where: Duncan Garage Showroom
Why: The island premiere of what is sure to be a hit show across the country!
Tickets: $18 advance $15 door
Thank you to all of Vancouver Island’s fans of rock & roll who continue to pack the Chemainus Festival Theatre and enjoy the Buddy Holly Story. The town is buzzin’ with the rockin’ and rollin’ sounds of the Big Bopper, Ritchie Valens and the great Buddy Holly.
JUST ANNOUNCED: my lastest project, a one-man show titled “Never Shoot a Stampede Queen”, will be presented in Duncan at the Showroom Garage, on May 3, 4, and 5th before heading to the Arts Club in Vancouver. The show is based on the book by the same title that won the 2009 Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour. Click here for ticket info for Duncan. Or call 250-748-7246
(May 10 to 25 at the Arts Club’s Granville Island Stage)
In this stage adaptation of his book Never Shoot a Stampede Queen: A Rookie Reporter in the Cariboo, Georgia Straightcontributor Mark Leiren-Young mines the comedy from his time as a journalist at the Williams Lake Tribune.
The Draw: A trifecta of awesomeness: the book won the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour in 2009; star monologist TJ Dawe acts as dramaturge and director; and Zachary Stevenson, who was the geeky, sexy lead in the Arts Club’s The Buddy Holly Story, takes on the solo performance duties.
Target Audience: City kids who dream of going country. This includes everybody in Vancouver who drives an SUV thinking that, one day, they might take it off-road.
For more on the book and it’s author, click HERE. For Vancouver tickets call the Arts Club box office: 604-687-1644.
Happy New Year!
In just one short month from now I’m proud to promote that I’ll be, once gain, reprising my role as Buddy Holly for the eighth time. Yes, my friends, it’s BUDDY VIII. This time I’ll be performing a run of the show as close to my hometown of Parksville as I ever have. The Chemainus Festival Theatre will be presenting “Buddy” from Feb. 20th to April 7th. While my parents operated an apple orchard in Parksville, my dad was commuting to Chemainus every school day to teach Chemistry at Cow(ichan) High. I became familiar with the “Mural City” and the theatre during my childhood. Most memorable, of course, were the trips to Billy’s Delight where I’d relish in two scoops of gourmet Ice Cream. I’m looking forward to spending my days off, wiping my chin clean of his famous Chocolate Peanut Butter flavour.
Yes, I’m a sucker for a good pun. Every year, I get a christmas card from Buddy Holly Int. Wishing me Happy “Holly-days”. Very punny, very cheesy, and yet I love it.
I’m currently on tour, once again, with the Legends of Rock n’ Roll. It is really a good time. We each include a Christmas song in our sets. So I’ve continued the punny tradition by performing “Holly Jolly Christmas” as my selection.
Hanging out with my friends: Kenny Wayne (Fats Domino), Larry Branson (Roy Orbison) and Ted Torres (Elvis Presley) sure is a riot. And the crowds have been fantastic so far. The tour is completely sold out. We’ve played Maple Ridge, North Vancouver, Surrey and Ladner with Chilliwack, Penticton and Vernon yet to come!
Acting and performing is a rewarding but often exhausting profession. At the end of the run of the Buddy Holly Story, my muscles protested and my brain needed new batteries. On that particular closing night, I had picked up my girlfriend early from the airport; I had flown to Victoria and back for an emergency a day before, it was the end of a long week at the end of a long run.
After I had greeted the audience in the lobby at the CDs table as per usual, the cast gathered in the lobby for a toast and some words of congratulations. The crew began to tear down the set and we gathered our loose ends in the dressing rooms. Mine was particularly bad. At my station: hair sprays and brylcream, multiple pairs of glasses, greeting cards, towels, flowers, LPs, tonnes of coins and my “little Buddy” figurine. On top of this, I had boxes of remaining CDs and my guitar to pick up.
With arms loaded with the aforementioned articles, my gal and I seized the opportunity to flag down a taxi at first sight. We loaded in, loaded out at my apartment and took a nap. There was just one thing- amidst the chaos I completely forgot that Bill (director) had asked me to meet a young fan in the lobby that had brought his guitar to sign! By the time I remembered, it was hours later and too late. I felt horrible.
Fortunately, everyone behind the scenes at the Arts Club were happy to help me try to amend the situation. They were able to track down a phone number. I called and got the young lads mom, Hiromi, on the line. We set a time to meet outside the Stanley Theatre.
I recently got to enjoy the Buddy wine at a romantic dinner. Delicious. It prompted me to write this little thank you note to Lance and his mom. It’s for people like you that I do what I do. Thank you so much for your thoughtful gift and for your appreciation of my performance. And, Lance, next time I see you – I wanna see YOU rockin’ out Rave On on that sweet guitar!
Well, Buddy VII has now come and gone. And, oh, so quickly, too. I want to thank each and everyone who, once again, made this production so spectacular and also, all those who attended and made the performance electric with their enthusiasm.
Thank you (as pictured left to right) Bill, Caryn, Tom, Mark, Jeremy, Martin, Mat, Mark, Bob, Neil, Tim, Tom, Pattie, Henry, Sasha, Elena, Sibel, Ronaye, Heather, Mark, Alec, Joseph, Jeff, Geoff, Michael, Seana-Lee, Scott, Marlene, and Denay. An extraordinary team!
It is truly remarkable how the music Buddy created, in his short life, has lived on and given a creative life to so many artists around the world as we tell his story and learn through his journey a little about ourselves. I’ve made some of my closest friends, had the best collaborations and forged my fondest performance memories through Buddy.
I guess, in a strange way, I feel he’s become one my good friends. I’m eternally grateful for the journey he started and I’ve been traveling for the past 6 years. I’m happy to extend his life in my own way.
Thank you, Buddy.