No one seems very surprised to hear Stelio Calagias has been cast to play the Devil.
“Why do people always smile when they hear me say that?” he asks.
“The word typecast comes to mind,” replies Doug Jamieson.
Jamieson and Calagias have teamed up to start the Kootenay Musical Theatre Society and put on an original work titled Fastlane to Paradise — in which Calagias plays Morris Phist, a.k.a the Devil — that will run for four shows starting Oct. 31 at the Capitol Theatre.
Jamieson, the society’s president, previously composed the 2015 opera Jorinda that ran at the Capitol. He originally came up with the concept for Fastlane, in which the protagonist makes a deal with the Devil to take over the life of a fading rock star, in 1999 or 2000.
He set the idea aside until returning to it in 2016 and has been working with choreographer Calagias, who runs Front Street Dance Studio and performs with Baker Street Blues, to bring the show to life.
“It’s not Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,” says Calagias.
The pair hope the show is the start of many more Canadian music productions staged in Nelson. The society’s goal is to help fund and put on either original works or Canadian shows. Musicals, Jamieson says, aren’t cheap — he estimates Fastlane will cost approximately $40,000 to stage.
“A play is one thing. A musical concert is one thing. They are both expensive. But music theatre you’ve got both things,” says Jamieson. “You’ve got a band, music to create, arrange, plus you’ve got a play that has to be delivered on stage. We have about 30 some odd people to put on a production, and everyone has to get paid something.”
Nelson hardly lacks for musical theatre, but Calagias says there is space for high quality productions that aren’t Broadway fare. No offence to Phantom of the Opera fans, of course.
“The idea is you generate an opportunity, which would generate some enthusiasm, which would cultivate the creative process of the whole thing and hopefully it spreads like a nice contagion,” says Calagias.
In the meantime, there’s casting to do.
An open call for chorus auditions for Fastlane will be held April 6 at 2 p.m. at Front Street Dance, located at 612 Front St. Principal roles audition April 13 by appointment. For more info, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Kootenay Musical Theatre Society’s Facebook page.