No plans for new CSL auditorium: Brownstein

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No plans for new CSL auditorium: Brownstein

A performance of the Côte St. Luc Dramatic Society’s production of Hairspray.

There are no plans for Côte St. Luc to proceed with a city hall project that would have included a new state-of-the-art theatre-style auditorium, Mayor Mitchell Brownstein told The Suburban.

“We have no plans to move the project forward in the future,” the Mayor said Friday.

Last week, The Suburban reported that demerged Montreal municipalities were left out of this round of federal-provincial grants for communities, while numerous off-island municipalities did receive sizeable grants. The grants are decided on by the Quebec government. This was revealed by Montreal West Mayor Beny Masella.

Grants were denied for a new recreation centre in Montreal West and the Côte St. Luc project in this round of funding.

“We will definitely keep on top of all government announcements to ensure we are first in line to submit a funding request when a new program opens,” Masella told the late August town council meeting.

The Côte St. Luc project, Brownstein explained last week, was for “an extension to the city hall complex which would have added a theatre-style auditorium and other community spaces for programming and offices.

“The grant opportunity between federal and provincial was up to 90 percent and the other 10 percent would have been raised through private sponsorship and savings regarding the plaza renovation required in front of city hall which is estimated to cost around $1.5 million and will need to be done in the not too distant future,” the Côte St. Luc Mayor added last week. “The plaza renovation was part of the grant application.”

In the meantime, Côte St. Luc mayoral candidate Robert Libman reacted to last week’s Suburban story about the grant refusals, saying residents cannot afford to build and support an $11-$15 million theatre.

“The city’s three year capital works budget (PTI) identifies $11 million for the project —complicated projects of this nature always go over budget,” Libman said. “The sitting Mayor is a producer and actor in the CSL Dramatic Society (CSLDS) productions, so I understand that he is enticed by the project.”

Libman also contended that the current Harold Greenspon Auditorium at city hall is adequate, and the English Montreal School Board’s Wagar Auditorium can also be used —it was for the CSLDS’s Fiddler on the Roof. The candidate also called on the city administration to “confirm that the $11 million in funds allocated in the Capital Works Budget will not be used for this purpose now that the grant has been refused.”

Brownstein replied that, indeed, “now that the grant application was refused, the three-year capital expense and associated grant revenue projections have been removed from our capital plans.”

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Follow the yellow brick road to the CSL Dramatic Society’s production of The Wizard of Oy

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The Côte Saint-Luc Dramatic Society is staging its third annual Senior Summerworks Production The Wizard of Oy, a musical comedy geared towards senior actors and audiences.
Performances run through Sunday night at the Harold Greenspon Auditorium in Cote Saint-Luc City Hall.
The Wizard of Oy written by Ari Sterlin, who founded Senior Summerrworks in 2015, parodies the classic Wizard of Oz, transforming it into a hilarious and touching story about a woman searching for her youth.
CSL Mayor Mitchell Brownstein, the visionary behind the Dramatic Society, welcomed guests to the opening performance last night. “This production, like all of our presentations, is to bring you happiness,” Brownstein said.
“The CSL Dramatic Society is continually expanding to allow more and more opportunities to the members of our community and I couldn’t be happier to be a part of it,” said writer, director and choreographer Ari Sterlin. “Sit back and enjoy the show!”

A satirical and joyful spin on the classic Wizard of Oz the cast followed the ‘yellow brick road’ and even the orange traffic cones in search of Oy.

Six year old Ryan Hill was the precious little star playing the role of Toto while Dorothy was played by returning funny woman Hannah Sheffren. Also returning to the stage was Ellen Rabin in the role of Mayor delighting the audience with her comedic lines and hum-along songs. Shout out to Adena Schnarch with her infectious smile, Helen Gwiazda and Judy Kenigsberg all of whom are veterans of the Summer Workshop.

Ellen Rabin as the Mayor, Hannah Sheffren as Dorothy, Ryan Hill as Toto, Mitch Kujavsky as Henry and the guard, and Melanie Chahine as Em

 

The cast sing nine memorable tunes departing from the traditional words such as in ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’, with emphasis on local venues including the Cavendish Mall.

The Senior Summer Workshop strives to pair seniors with young emerging artists ton produce a musical parody with themes and subjects pertinent to senior citizens. Nonetheless my two teenage daughters Nicole and Nathalie, regulars in Anisa Cameron’s Bialik Theatre Productions,  loved the show as did my eight year old son Jeremy. “It’s fun, local theatre for the whole family,” said my wife, Judy Hagshi.

Louis Schiff plays the Cowardly Lion,, Jeff Waxman as the Tinman, Norm Spatz as the Scarecrow along with Hannah Sheffren as Dorothy. All of them did a sensational job singing solos. And of course the adorable Ryan Hill as Toto.

 

Don’t miss the matinée and evening shows this weekend. There are only four performances:

August 24th | 7:00 PM

August 26th | 2:00 PM & 7:00 PM

August 27th | 11:00 AM & 3:00 PM

 

Bravo to the entire cast:

Starring: Hannah Sheffren, Ryan Hill, Christine Dandurand, Dan Sterlin, Norm Spatz, Jeffrey Waxman, Lou Schiff, Toby Clark, Judy Kenigsberg, Bev Silverman, Janet Garmaise, Helen Gwiazda, Melanie Chahine, Mitchell Kujavsky, Ellen Rabin, Adena Schnarch, Phyllis Schnarch

 

Written, directed and choreographed by Ari Sterlin

Produced by Mitchell Brownstein

Musical Director Daniel Witkowski

Stage Manager Emma Loerick

 

Tickets available HERE
Or in person at the Côte Saint-Luc Library or Aquatic and Community Centre

Little Shop of Horrors – A Deviously Delicious Musical in CSL

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Looking for a fun and entertaining outing this weekend? Don’t want to go downtown? Want free parking too? Then head over to the Harold Greenspon Auditorium at Cote Saint-Luc City Hall for “A wonderful twisted and vibrant Broadway-quality horro-comedy musical”.

The CSL Dramatic Society is back for another wildly entertaining show until June 25.

Little Shop of Horrors is a horror comedy rock musical, by composer Alan Menken and writer Howard Ashman, about a hapless florist shop worker who raises a plant that feeds on human blood and flesh. The musical is based on the low-budget 1960 black comedy film The Little Shop of Horrors. The music, composed by Menken in the style of early 1960s rock and roll, doo-wop and early Motown, includes several well-known tunes, including the title song, “Skid Row (Downtown)”, “Somewhere That’s Green”, and “Suddenly, Seymour”.

The musical premiered Off-Off-Broadway in 1982 before moving to the Orpheum Theatre Off-Broadway, where it had a five-year run. It later received numerous productions in the U.S. and abroad, and a subsequent Broadway production. Because of its small cast and relatively simple orchestrations, it has become popular with community theatre, school and other amateur groups.[1] The musical was also made into a 1986 film of the same name, directed by Frank Oz.

 

“Dazzling! Musically delightful and wickedly funny.”
– Pat Donnelly, Arts Writer

“A deviously delicious musical.”
– Stuart Nulman, Montreal Times

“A wonderful twisted and vibrant Broadway-quality
horro-comedy musical.”

– Joel Goldenberg, The Suburban

Directed by Anisa Cameron and produced by Mayor Mitchell Brownstein, the CSL version is hilarious with an all-local, amateur troupe that is so ridiculously talented that this show could easily be Off-Broadway. In fact, I’m thinking of proposing that we change the name of Cavendish Blvd. to Broadway so that every show that Cameron and Brownstein put together is Off-Broadway!

Brownstein stars as the nerdy aging shop owner ready to throw in the towel on his failing florist outlet until his nerdy n’er-do-well sales boy, the nerdy Seymour (Benjamin Warner) comes along with his wacky plant creation that turns everything around. The singers and dancers are as outstanding as their past amazing performances. Hampstead actor Brandon Schwartz is back from his performing arts studies in Toronto for an appearance.

Photo Diane Dupuis

Justin Johnson – Skip Snip and Shaun Nishmas – Mr. Bernstein are back with the CSLDS. Justin previously played Seaweed in Hairspray, while Shaun is a long-time veteran, having performed in Our Town, Hairspray, Catch Me If You Can, and many others.

Sam Boucher, Patrick Park and Brandon Schwartz – are the three Doo-Wops and all return to the Greenspon stage. Sam has been seen in Hairspray and The Producers, while Patrick recently starred as Lionel in Fancy Nancy. Brandon Schwartz has previously played Link Larkin in Hairspray and Frank Abagnale, Jr. in Catch Me If You Can.

Photo Diane Dupuis

The list of talented and creative entertainers goes and and can be found on the CSLDS Facebook page.

Tickets are inexpensive and seats are still available for the last week of this 20 show run.

The kids have finished their last exams? Treat them to a family-funny theatrical performance. Looking for that last minute Father’s Day Gift? Wow him with high-level entertainment right around the corner. Click here for tickets and information.

 

 

Read more:

Montreal Gazette

Côte St. Luc Dramatic Society to stage Little Shop of Horrors

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The award-winning Côte St. Luc Dramatic Society is once again demonstrating how diverse its offerings are, this time by presenting the horror-comedy rock-musical Little Shop of Horrors from June 8 to 25 at the Harold Greenspon Auditorium, 5801 Cavendish Blvd. in Côte St. Luc.

The CSLDS’s other productions have ranged from ensemble comedies to classic Broadway musicals to straight drama.

Little Shop of Horrors is the story of a plant named Audrey II that offers fame and fortune to a meek floral assistant, in exchange for blood. It was first an ultra-low budget horror black comedy movie in 1960 featuring a young Jack Nicholson.

It became an off-Broadway musical in the early 1980s, then a high-budget 1986 Frank Oz-directed movie musical with Rick Moranis and the voice of Four Tops singer Levi Stubbs as the killer plant, and then a full Broadway musical. The music is by Alan Menken and the book is by Howard Ashman.

The CSLDS’s artistic director Anisa Cameron directs again, and Mayor Mitchell Brownstein is producing and has a role in the musical as well.

Cameron said she has wanted to direct Little Shop of Horrors for a long time. She first saw the 1986 movie at the age of nine, and was captivated by its music, cast and script.

“Like all of our shows, I had to wait for the right people to come into my life to be able to produce the show,” she told The Suburban. “I have my amazing production team back —David Terriault, my musical director; Alexia Gourd, my choreographer; and Mitchell Brownstein, the most amazing producer ever.” A five-piece band will be playing the music.

Brownstein says the show, with its cast, special effects, and set design, will be very special.

“It’s going to be very exciting, visually,” he adds. “It’s a little different from what people have seen before in Côte St. Luc, a satire of all the horror movies of the past put into a musical — every song is really fun. I think it will have island-wide appeal.”

Tickets are available online at CSLDramaticSociety.com, or in person at the Eleanor London Côte Saint-Luc Public Library (5851 Cavendish Blvd) or the Aquatic and Community Centre (5794 Parkhaven Ave).

Our unusual Town

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our-town_drama
The CSL Dramatic Society kicked off its 2017 season with an unconventional play called Our Town by Thornton Wilder this week.
Our Town is a serious introspective, a commentary on American society in the early 1900’s. But as CSL Mayor Mitchell Brownstein explained in his warm, welcoming remarks it could very well have been about CSL in the early 20th century. Or 21st.
Mayor Mitchell Brownstein plays Dr. Gibbs, Our Town, Jan. 2017

Mayor Mitchell Brownstein plays Dr. Gibbs, Our Town, Jan. 2017

Our Town is about people. More specifically, it’s about the people who make up a community; a small tight-knit and caring community. While based in Grover’s Corners, New Hampshire 100 plus years ago, it might as well have taken place last week in CSL. “This is our first drama and comes with a timeless message of the importance of appreciating every moment of life,” Mayor Brownstein said. “Written in 1938, it remains relevant for all time as an attempt to find a value above all price for the smallest events in our daily lives.”
It’s about neighbours and neighbourhoods. It’s about the corner store. The local doctor. The school down the block. The church nearby. It’s about the kindness of the milkman and the informative paper boy. It’s about the cop walking his beat and the local drunk and his silly antics. It’s about boys and girls and puppy love, right next door. Everyone knows everyone and about everyone’s business. If that’s not CSL…?
Ben Warner and Tori Gazin as young and in love, Our Town, Jan. 2017

Ben Warner and Tori Gazin as young and in love, Our Town, Jan. 2017

Our Town is simple on the surface.

The stage is barren and props are few. The stage writer wants you to focus on the faces and movements of the actors, and the relationship between each of them.

What struck me most was the sincerity of each actor. The beauty and smile on Emily (Tori Gazin) was enormous. The wonderment and tears in the eyes of her love-struck neighbour George (Ben Warner) was powerful.
Shaun Nishmas, Jordana Kujavsky and Linda Babins, Cemetery scene, Our Town, Jan. 2017

Shaun Nishmas, Jordana Kujavsky and Linda Babins, in the haunting cemetery scene, Our Town, Jan. 2017

Mitchell Brownstein puts on his best performance yet with a strong persona as Doctor Gibbs, the philosophical yet practical leader of family and patients. Daughter Rebecca Gibbs (Ori Fox) has a bubbly, youthful role and sings with an angelic voice.
Director Anisa Cameron has proven her versatility in skillfully adapting this 1930’s play for the local stage, and for turning something old into something new.
Funeral scene, Our Town, Jan. 2017

Funeral scene, Our Town, Jan. 2017

Mrs. Gibbs (Linda Babins) and Mrs. Webb (Karen Pellat-Caron) are strong, supporting characters. The bumbling Simon Stimpson (Shaun Nishmas) is lovable and pitiful at once and co-narraraters Herbert Brownstein and Sam Melnick deserve a special mention for tying it all together playing multiple characters. Newspaper publisher, Mr. Webb (Matthew Mckeown) returns to the CSL stage in another powerful performance.
The Dramatic Society dedicated the performance to the memory of their dear friend and fellow actor, Seymour David, who tragically passed away last week.
It looks like the CSL Dramatic Society is off to an unusual year, and that bodes well for their local audiences. Five more shows run through this Sunday with ticket sales going strong. Local English theatre is rare in our parts. Take advantage of the excellent talent and free parking just a short walk or drive from home, right here in Our Town.

Côte Saint-Luc Dramatic Society to present Our Town in January 2017

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our-town_dramaThe Côte Saint-Luc Dramatic Society will present Thornton Wilder’s Our Town from January 24 to 29, 2017 at the Harold Greenspon Auditorium.

Thornton Wilder’s iconic play explores life in the fictional town of Grover’s Corners. Through the everyday lives of the townspeople, audiences experience the joys and heartache of growing up, falling in love, getting married, and losing loved ones. Traditionally presented with no set and few props, Our Town is heartwarming, profound, and sure to move audiences with its timeless exploration of love and mortality.

Our Town is the Côte Saint-Luc Dramatic Society’s first drama, following the enormous success of musicals Catch Me If You Can, and the META-winning Hairspray the Musical, as well as several comedies, including Office Hours and Bedtime Stories. Recently, the Dramatic Society won their second Montreal English Theatre Award, for The Producers, their collaboration with the Dora Wasserman Yiddish Theatre and the Segal Centre for Performing Arts.

“I’ve chosen Thornton Wilder’s masterpiece, Our Town, as our first venture into drama because this beautiful, seemingly simple play is about everything that matters,” said artistic director Anisa Cameron. “Grover’s Corners is our town, mine and yours, and everyone else who has ever lived or will ever live and is beholden to the rules of mortality. Our Town requires us to reflect on our own existence and calls us to appreciate every precious moment we spend our breath on.”

The cast of 18 features many returning Côte Saint-Luc Dramatic Society members, along with performers joining the troupe for the first time. Montreal actor and producer Ben Warner takes on the role of George Gibbs, having previously starred as Danny Zuko in the CSLDS’s production of Grease. Emily Webb is brought to life by Tori Gazin (Haven’t Got a Clue).

The play is narrated by two metatheatrical Stage Managers, played by Sam Melnick, and Dollard-Des-Ormeaux city councillor Herb Brownstein.

Also featured are Matthew McKeown (Catch Me If You Can), Karyn Pellat-Caron (The Producers), Linda Babins (Fiddler on the Roof), and Mayor Mitchell Brownstein, who is also the play’s producer.

“We are very excited to be presenting our first drama,” said Mayor Mitchell Brownstein, who founded the Côte Saint-Luc Dramatic Society alongside Anisa Cameron in 2011. “Our Town, which was written in 1938, remains relevant for all time as an attempt to find a value above all price for the smallest events in our daily life.”

Tickets are available online at CSLDramaticSociety.com, or in person at the Eleanor London Côte Saint-Luc Public Library or the Aquatic and Community Centre. General admission is $25, and students and seniors pay $20. Tickets are $20 for the preview performance on January 24.

The Côte Saint-Luc Dramatic Society is a community theatre initiative that began in the summer of 2011 in partnership with the City of Côte Saint-Luc. The goal of the society is to bring together actors, writers, musicians and other artistically minded community members to produce theatrical works in an inclusive environment where emphasis is placed on team work and camaraderie.

August Council meeting rap up – Free Press

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August 8 city council meeting highlights:
Gilfix learns there’s little the city can do
about pesky, yard-squatting wildlife

by Isaac Olson – Free Press

At the start of the August 8 Côte St. Luc
council meeting, Brian Gilfix learned
there’s little the city can do about pesky
skunks, groundhogs or squirrels because
provincial law severely limits the amount
people can intervene in the lives of wild
animals.

Gilfix said he wanted to bring to the
council’s attention the increase of skunks,
groundhogs and squirrels in the area.

“There is quite a proliferation of these
animals in the area,” he said, noting he
has discussed the issue with pest control
companies and neighbours. These types
of animals can be a hazard as they can
carry diseases like rabies, tear up gardens
and chew through power lines, he added.
“I’m just wondering what the city can do?”

Councillor Dida Berku told Gilfix there
is little the city can do because of provincial
law. The councillor reiterated what is on
the city’s website – residents can contact
the Montreal SPCA to report wild animals,
but not much can be done as animals cannot
be caged unless they are trapped in a
ceiling, roof, shed or enclosed balcony
area. Even then, the animals are released
in the area, most often on the property,
and then residents are encouraged to repair
whatever route the animal used to get
trapped.

Councillor Glenn Nashen said the animals
just return to the property, he said,
and moving them a limited distance
doesn’t get rid of them. Nashen said he
has had a skunk on his property for the
last three year and he has explored all of
his option, but he’s discovered that he is
virtually “powerless” when it comes to getting
rid of the animal. The SPCA can, the
site notes, recommend techniques and
products to deter these animals, but animals
are only removed if they are sick or
injured.

Brownstein touts upcoming play

Mayor Mitchell Brownstein, a staunch
supporter of and participant in the Côte
St. Luc Dramatic Society, touted the
group’s upcoming presentation of Florida,
an original musical parody slated to hit
the stage later this month. The play will
be put on at the Harold Greenspon Auditorium
on August 25, 27 and 28.

According to the Dramatic Society’s website,
the play “is written and directed by
Ari Sterlin. Inspired by the award-winning
Chicago, Florida features 15 seniors from
Côte St. Luc and tons of fun and exciting
song and dance numbers.”

Senior drop-in centre coming to the ACC

The council approved a partnership
agreement between the Cummings Centre
and the city to provide a senior drop-in
centre in a fully renovated room with an
accessible bathroom in the Aquatic Community
Centre.

The city, said Brownstein, spent about
$10,000 on creating a space for this program,
which caters to seniors with health
problems such as dementia and Alz –
heimer’s. The service gives caregivers a
break, he noted, as they can leave the
seniors in the care of professionals.

The drop-in centre will replace that
which was closed earlier this year after
government funding was pulled.

Excavation draft by-law approved

The council approved a draft by-law that
prohibits the excavation of any lot or land
without written permission issued by the
city’s director. It also requires that completely
opaque construction fencing be
erected around excavation sites.

New chairs

Côte St. Luc’s city hall has all-new, contemporary
seating. The chairs were installed
over the summer in both city hall
and the Harold Greenspon Auditorium,
said Brownstein, noting the more comfortable
seating may encourage more attendance
of council meetings.

 

 

Free Press | Aug. 16, 2016 | Click to enlarge

Free Press | Aug. 16, 2016 | Click to enlarge

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