A&E » Arts

The Swedish touch



Who: Abbacadabra: ABBA Tribute meets the new millennium

Where: The Shack

When: Nov. 23

"You’d be surprised how many Abba songs sit in the recesses of your mind. Audiences can expect a great tribute in the magic and music of Abba," laughs Jeanette O’Keefe, one of four Abbacadabra members and veteran of the Nearly Neil: A Tribute to Neil Diamond entourage.

The show is about a Zen-like Abba, rather than a cookie cutter copy tribute to the "girl with golden hair," among other Swedish idols.

"We’re not impersonators, but rather think of the show in terms of how Abba would greet the audience of the new millennium. There’s a disco set and interaction too, with loads of white polyester and blonde wigs, of course," adds O’Keefe, who has earned five B.C. Country Music Association Awards on four single releases from her album Jeanette O’Keefe .

The show, which played to 600 at the 2001 Halloween Bash at the Hyatt Hotel in Vancouver, includes two sets with dance numbers by Kiara Lee, from the production of My Fair Lady at Vancouver’s Stanley Theatre.

Proud & Pennyless Productions had such success with the new formula of Abbacadabra – a tribute show that brings Abba songs and other covers to the year 2001, with six costume changes and choreography to boot – that members have brought the show from Vancouver to Whistler audiences. They belt out Gimme, Gimme, Gimme (A Man After Midnight) with ’70s revelers Jonas Falle (Bjorn), Matthew Engst (Benny), and new addition Shannon Storozinski (Anyetta) from Winnipeg.

When Proud’s Beverley Staunton left the company to tour with Amanda Marshall, Storozinski stepped in for the invitation-only audition. Her experience in bands The Divas of Pop and Boogie Nights helped her win the role.

Meanwhile Falle has been playing the clubs since the age of 16, flourishing in Nearly Neil alongside Engst, who trained in jazz at Humber College in Toronto for three years.

Renditions of Dancing Queen, Fernando and covers of other songs, including We Are Family, are guaranteed. But consider your requests from Abba Gold and all the rest for the group whose last show included four encores.

"We were asked up to Whistler, so we’re excited to perform up there. It’s a laid back crowd, a little less rigid than in the city. They want to have a good time," says O’Keefe.