Chelsea Ho­tel: The Songs of Leonard Co­hen

Vancouver Magazine - - City -

Among the work of all the count­less singer-song­writ­ers of his gen­er­a­tion, Leonard Co­hen’s is ar­guably best suited to the­atri­cal in­ter­pre­ta­tion. Vir­tu­ally all of his songs are plays in minia­ture: tem­pes­tu­ous love aairs, for­eign in­trigue, the tightrope walk be­tween com­edy and tragedy that is ev­ery­day life. So it was sur­pris­ing that no one thought to do it sooner when, in 2012, Co­mox Val­ley-born play­wright Tracey Power de­buted Chelsea Ho­tel, in which six per­form­ers dra­ma­tize (and sing and play) some of Co­hen’s most pop­u­lar hymns to the hu­man odyssey. It sub­se­quently gar­nered mul­ti­ple awards and nom­i­na­tions (in­clud­ing Ova­tion! hon­ours for Out­stand­ing En­sem­ble Pro­duc­tion, Di­rec­tion and Mu­sic Di­rec­tion), toured Canada and came to be known among in­sid­ers as “the make-out show,” thanks to its aphro­disiac-like eect upon au­di­ences. In homage to Co­hen, who passed away in late 2016 at age 82, and in cel­e­bra­tion of Fire­hall Arts Cen­tre’s 35th-an­niver­sary sea­son, Chelsea Ho­tel is re­mounted for the first time in Van­cou­ver since 2015. —Michael White

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