Vancouver-based theatre artist Julie Tomaino, who choreographed past TUTS shows including Hairspray (photo above by Tim Matheson) and Shrek: The Musical, will make her directorial debut at Theatre Under The Stars this year.
Vancouver-based theatre artist Julie Tomaino, who choreographed past TUTS shows including Hairspray (photo above by Tim Matheson) and Shrek: The Musical, will make her directorial debut at Theatre Under The Stars this year.

Since 1940, Theatre Under the Stars (TUTS) has been entertaining Vancouver audiences literally under the stars at Stanley Park’s Malkin Bowl.

This year is no different as the perennial community-driven theatre company will present Mamma Mia! and Disney’s Newsies on alternating nights beginning on July 5 and continuing through August 17.

“This summer is all about inspiration, with two musicals that will lift hearts in entirely unique ways,” says TUTS board president Naveen Kapahi. “Mamma Mia! may very well be the most joyful musical ever created, bringing love and light to everyone who experiences it. Disney’s Newsies is a fiery true tale of conviction, where a scrappy group of underdogs sets spirits aflame by standing up and fighting for what is right.”

Opening the season for TUTS is the jukebox musical Mamma Mia! under the direction of Shel Piercy.

Set on a Greek island, and to the music of ABBA, Mamma Mia! has become a worldwide musical phenomenon since it was first created in 1999 by former members of the pop music group, Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus.

Including such ABBA hits as “Super Trouper”, “Dancing Queen”, “Take a Chance on Me”, “SOS” and the title track, it is the story of a mother preparing for her daughter’s wedding at the small Greek Island hotel she runs. Complicating matters though, daughter Sophie has secretly invited three men from her mother’s past with the hope she will meet her real father so he can escort her down the aisle.

The second show this year is Disney’s Newsies, the high-stepping musical based on the 1992 film, and inspired by the real-life newsboys strike of 1899 in New York City.

The Tony-Award winning musical is the story of the ragtag group of orphans and runaways who delivered papers in New York City. Affectionately called “newsies”, this band of misfits unites to strike against the unfair conditions when newspaper owners raise distribution prices at the newsies’ expense.

Vancouver-based theatre artist Julie Tomaino, who choreographed past TUTS shows including Hairspray and Shrek: The Musical, will make her directorial debut.

“I’m excited about Newsies because the story of the underdog fighting for their lives always appeals to me,” says Tomaino.

It should come as no surprise when she also mentions the choreography: “There’s so much heart, a fighting spirit, and a lot of athletic dance that I really connect with.”

Subscriptions to the 2019 Theatre Under The Stars season are currently on sale until May 4. Early bird tickets go on sale May 15. Visit tuts.ca for tickets and information.