A&E » Arts

Whistler, The Musical, finds the stage

First stage reading of Snow takes place Saturday at MY Millennium Place



What: Snow (Whistler: The Musical) staged reading

When: Saturday, Dec. 19, 7 p.m.

Where: MY Millennium Place

Cost: Free!

Snow: it's the unifying element in all mountain towns, something we rely on like the ebb and flow of the ocean.

It's also the name of a new musical about the ski bum lifestyle, a collaborative effort between four creative minds: Leslie Anthony, Grant Stoddard, G.D. Maxwell and Lisa Richardson.

Most have lived in Whistler for years, while one (namely Stoddard) is a relative newcomer to the community. But all could offer valuable insight into the unique culture of ski towns.

"In the way it got to 'Snow' as a title was the whole redemptive power of snow, the magical, transformative power of snow," Maxwell explained. "It's what draws people here, it's not the idea of hooking up and sleeping with everybody else in town, it's not the idea of going to bars and drinking until you puke your brains out. All of those things are integral to the story, but none of those things are the story. The story of 'Snow,' the story of Whistler, it's the story of life."

The seeds of the project were planted back in 2006, when Whistler was in the process of applying for the designation of Cultural Capital of Canada.

"One of the things they put in their application was an original theatre project," Maxwell said.

But by the time the community won the designation, the Whistler Theatre Project had become defunct and organizers were left to find a project that would fill that void and foster live theatre in Whistler.

Maxwell was contacted in January to help out with a theatre project, something with universal themes that would speak to not only Whistler residents, but visitors and people from outside of the community, as well. Admittedly "outside of my comfort zone," Maxwell assembled a team to create a full-length original production.

"I'm a writer, I work alone. If I worked well with other children, I wouldn't be a writer, I'd be something else," he stated. "But let's try the collaborative approach; who do I know who is a really good writer who doesn't have an ego that will suck the air out of a room?"

He reached out to writer and friend, Lisa Richardson, who was already working on a similar project with Leslie Anthony.

Anthony had been toying with the idea of a musical inspired by Whistler for a few years and finally began working on the project in November 2008, after discussing the concept with Richardson. After a few brainstorming sessions, they managed to hammer out a treatment, plot and a cast of characters. Then, he met Stoddard, who turned out to be the future musical director of the project, while riding the Peak 2 Peak gondola on opening day.