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Make 'em laugh, Make 'em sing and put them on Millennium Place's stage

The Really Big Fall Show brings out Whistler's performing talents



As anyone can tell you, variety is the spice of life. And as Anita Burleson of LB Productions would add, variety shows make life even spicier.

The Really Big Fall Show is the chance for talented Whistlerites to showcase what they can do after completing LB Productions' performance workshops over the previous months.

"The theme of it is let your light shine, the idea that every person possesses some special gift inside of them that needs to have a chance to come out," Burleson says. "It's fast-paced fun with laughter, song and dance."

Ski hill employees and waiters work alongside kids and parents, performing at Millennium Place on Nov. 17 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $7.50 for children under 12.

The show comes on the heels of a highly successful amateur stand-up comedy competition won by pizza deliveryman Tyler Killeen, which packed out the Cinnamon Bear Bar over the course of several weeks. Many of the competitors had just completed the latest stand-up course offered by LB Productions.

"What we generally do is 10-week programs and then we either put a show on or showcase," Burleson says.

The shows take part throughout the year. The company rebranded itself from Little Bear Productions to LB Productions in 2012, and brought in performance teachers of various types. Before that, Burleson did a "few little things" and private lessons.

"But in 2012, I thought we could involve other people in this and it's really taking off. Our goal is to transform Whistler a bit. It's known so much for excellence in sport, and that is great, but people never really identify the arts. So many people don't even know where Millennium Place is. The Whistler Arts Council has been really great and helping us show that singing and dancing is really fun," she says.

Now the variety show stands to benefit from the developing talent, says Burleson. The approach has been modelled after Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In series in the 1960s, which launched the career of Goldie Hawn, among others.

"We've really upped our interest in comedy, as you've seen. What is different about this show is that it has sketch comedy in it. It's a new class we offered and it's a combination of teens and adults, together we brainstormed and came up with all these comical and short skits that will be throughout the show," Burleson says.

And the performances evolved according to the talents of those on stage.

"I like that freedom of whacky ideas and then putting them together. There is one boy, 10-year-old Israel DeReal... he is an amazing kid all the way around and a lot of fun. When he sings he does it from his heart," she said.

LB Productions' teen singing group, Shades of Gold, will also perform, as will the children's groups The Cubs and The Bears, along with teen improv. A new musical theatre ensemble, with adults singing in harmony, is another draw.

Shades of Gold are Sidney Jackson, Christina Bell, Madison Graves, Hannah Van Spronsen and Tatiana Fogerty, all aged 15 to 17.

"Some of these girls have been taking private singing lessons with me since they were seven and eight years old," says Burleson, who is a seasoned singer herself.

She believes that a few of her pool of performers could "definitely go on" and become professionals.

"When Sidney posts some of her own recordings on YouTube, she'll get 100,000 hits. And Hannah has won a lot of competitions within the corridor," Burleson says.

"Yeah, we've got budding stars but we also have other great kids. One of the things that's really important to us at LB Productions is everyone's involvement."

LB Productions is running a special of 10 per cent off the cost of their upcoming winter programs until Nov. 17. It has added a workshop on voiceover, and recording sessions and will now also offer corporate training.

For more information visit www.lbpentertainment.com.

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