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Still smokin’, no longer broken

Heather Feeney returns for Valentine’s musical theatre offering
Heather Feeney

Squamish actress and musical performer Heather Feeney is diving back into the theme of relationships Feb. 14 and 15 at the Brackendale Art Gallery with her new musical theatre piece called Still Smokin’.

“Last year’s Valentine’s show – called Smokin’ and Broken – also paid tribute to romance and relationships,” said Feeney. “But last year’s show ended up having a happy ending despite the “broken” in the title, while this year [spoiler alert] it’s not quite a happy ending.”

Feeney meticulously creates her musical theatre pieces by weaving together a variety of songs pulled from different Broadway shows, and working them into a single narrative.

“It happened that the way I pieced the songs together this time told a different kind of narrative than last year,” she said, adding that most of the songs for the new show were actually tunes left over from research for previous performances.

But even though it’s about love and features a not-so-happy ending, don’t expect somber songs and tearful ballads.

“I try to stay with more comedic and up-tempo songs,” she said. “Last year we had a great cross-section of the Squamish community come out for Smokin’ and Broken, and I think they really liked the choice of songs and the fact that despite being Valentine’s Day they didn’t have to listen to a bunch of love songs and ballads.”

Of the 21 songs Feeney chose for Still Smokin’, only a scant three are love songs.

“We had a lot of men who had never been to musical theatre and who were dragged there by their wives coming up and telling me how much they loved it,” she said. “Some have even been asking me when my next show was happening.”

Feeney began her career in Calgary where she attended The Young Canadians School of Performing Arts. At the age of 12, she was cast as Annie in Canada’s first production of the Broadway hit. Later, she moved to New York City to further her acting career and studied at The American Musical and Dramatic Academy as well as The New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts.

After leaving New York, Feeney returned to Vancouver and continued her career in theatre, film and television, appearing in numerous movie projects and TV shows like Dead Like Me, Postal, Supernatural, Men In Trees, The Collector, DaVinci’s Inquest and more, before going on hiatus to raise a family in Squamish.

Pianist Scott Knight will again accompany Feeney on stage. Knight is an accomplished pianist who has worked with the UBC Opera, Burnaby Lyric Opera and Vancouver Opera, where he toured the Barber of Seville and La Cenerentola for some 250 performances. He received Jessie Award nominations for Best Musical Direction for his work on Falsettos and Into the Woods.

Still Smokin’ will be held Feb. 14 at 8 p.m. and Feb. 15 at 7 p.m. at the Brackendale Art Gallery (BAG). Tickets are $20 and available at Xocolatl and the BAG.