Cozied up under a pile of blankets, munching on salted popcorn, and swatting away mosquitoes, this is one of my favourite places to be on a summer evening: Theatre Under the Stars.

In its 69th season, TUTS (Theatre Under the Stars) offers annual musical performances at the Malkin Bowl in Stanley Park, Vancouver. Every summer, the outdoor stage echoes with songs from shows like “Legally Blond,” “Titanic,” “Bye Bye Birdie,” “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” “Annie Get Your Gun,” and “Grease.”

With beautiful sets, live orchestras, belting performances, and even the occasional park raccoon to wander its way across the stage, stories come to life under a sparkling, starry sky.

For a decade of summers, I’ve been enraptured by performances of childhood favourites like “Anne of Green Gables,” “The King and I,” and “Annie.” No summer was complete without at least one night spent tucked up into a plastic lawn chair, surrounded by music, lights, and huge choreographed numbers.

This year, Theatre Under the Stars presented two spectacular musical renditions of “Oliver” and “Hairspray.”


Growing up singing songs from the movie, Oliver, we were excited and more than willing to bust out our knowledge of show tunes for the evening. With a huge group of talented, young actors, a live orchestra situated on two, moving sets, and some pretty cool special effects (snow/rain machines, anyone?) it was an entertaining night that met, if not exceeded, the high standards set in past shows.

Although the tale of young, orphaned Oliver deals with some pretty heavy subject matter, this musical performance aimed to keep it fairly light and family friendly. With an opening “village fair,” and opportunities to sing-along to all your favourite Oliver songs, this play added a few fun twists (pun intended) to cater to Oliver fans of all ages.

Despite a few technical microphone glitches, and a couple “comedic relief” moments designed to garner some unnecessary “adult” laughs, we thoroughly enjoyed this entertaining night of theatre and can’t wait to see what TUTS has in store for next summer!


Tips from a seasoned TUTS visitor: While the evenings start out warm, they quickly cool over the course of a two-hour, evening performance. Be sure to bring along a couple blankets (which conveniently doubles as extra padding for the seats.) And, as in every open air theatre, the mosquitoes tend to treat TUTS as an all-you-can-eat-buffet, so be sure to spritz yourself with some bug repellent before the show.

If you haven’t had a chance to check out TUTS this season, better grab your tickets before it’s too late. Due to popular demand, this year’s shows have been extended until August 29th, 2015.

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