Even if you’re not a Leonard Cohen fan, you might want to go see this year’s “Feast of Cohen” for the performance value.
A mix of some of the province’s most well-known and well-liked musicians, filmmakers and actors will perform tunes by the Canadian poet at Memorial University’s Reid Theatre Dec. 27-30.
This is the 11th year for the production, but organizer Vicky Hynes is keeping it fresh and current by including some up-and-coming participants with the usual “Feast of Cohen” stalwarts. Hynes, Bryan Hennessey, Colleen Power, Sean Panting, Jill Porter and Des Walsh will perform alongside Amelia Curran, Maggie Meyer, Liz Solo, Jenny Gear, Monica Walsh, Matthew Hornell and Pathological Lovers frontman Jody Richardson.
“Jody’s performance is amazing, and is going to bring the house down,” Hynes said.
The performers will be backed by the six-piece Beautiful Losers: Sandy Morris, George Morgan, Kelly Russell, Dave Panting, Geoff Panting and Derek Pelley.
Each performer chooses two Cohen songs to sing, and Hynes asks them to pick early to avoid potential arguments.
“I get after them as early as September,” Hynes said.
“Bryan Hennessey told me right after he got off stage last year what two songs he wanted to do this year.”
Hynes had put a ban on “Hallelujah,” Cohen’s most famous and recognizable piece, for the past three years, since Cohen himself had asked artists not to perform or record it, in fear that it was getting too common. The song is back in the show this year, and will be sung by Solo.
“Liz is known as a punk rocker, but I love this side of her. You can slip her into something like this and you’d think she was fresh out of the School of Music,” Hynes said.
This is Curran’s fourth time in “Feast of Cohen.” A 2010 Juno award winner for her latest album, “Hunter, Hunter,” Curran — often touted as a Cohen-like songwriter — comes home from Halifax each year specifically for the show.
The production is the oldest-running Cohen songfest in North America. A big Cohen fan, Hynes originally produced the show in the week after Christmas as a way for music lovers to stay away from the post-Christmas blues.
“To me, there’s a real personal connection with Leonard Cohen and his music, but there’s also the sharing that together during the blue period after Christmas. It’s food for the soul for those dark days.”
Tickets for “Feast of Cohen” are $50, and because the Reid Theatre has no box office, they are being sold at the LSPU Hall, over
the phone at 753-4531, or online at www.rca.nf.ca. They’ll also be available at the door. Doors open 7 p.m., showtime is at 8 p.m. and free parking is available in Zones 1A, 2 and 15.