May 18th, 2024

Ode to Joy! continues New West’s tradition of comedy-music revues

By Trevor Busch - Lethbridge Herald on December 10, 2021.

Herald photo by Trevor Busch The cast of New West Theatre's upcoming musical production Ode to Joy! strut their stuff during a media call on Thursday morning at the Yates Memorial Theatre stage.


The New West Theatre ensemble is returning to the indoor stage next week with their upcoming music-comedy revue Ode to Joy! performed at the Yates Memorial Theatre.
Ode to Joy! opens on Dec. 15 at 7:30 p.m. at the Yates. On Thursday, media were invited for a sneak peek where the cast of the production performed a rendition of Free Ride by the Edgar Winter Group.
“This is our traditional New West comedy-music revue extravaganza, that we’ve done every year for maybe 30 years,” said Kathy Zaborsky, a musical director and performer with the production. “This is my 22nd Christmas to do this. This show is full of comedy bits and rock and roll songs from the ’60s until now. All of the songs focus on joy and uplifting and giving lots of energy to the audience.”
Zaborsky, who plays piano, arranges music, runs rehearsals, and performs for Ode to Joy! said New West’s production is not something Lethbridge theatre-goers will have seen before.
“This is a completely new musical revue that we’ve put together.”
The cast of Ode to Joy! stars Alinafe Lupiway, Ashley Thomson, Erica Hunt, Greg Paskuski, Kathy Zaborsky, Katie Fellger, Keenan Pezderic, Kyle Gruninger, Scott Carpenter and Scott Mezei.
“We have three weeks of rehearsal, and probably a month or so of prep time for designers and arrangers,” said Zaborsky.
The production includes a mix of new material as well as audience favourites, and features the signature brand of New West Theatre musical performance and sketch comedy that Lethbridge audiences have come to love.
Zaborsky pointed out the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has taken its toll on theatre companies, so it will be nice to return to the stage with a new production in late 2021.
“First of all, I have to say I feel so grateful that theatre is coming back, so those of us who make our living can have our jobs back again, which is amazing. In terms of this production we’re taking every precaution that we can, and we’re being overly cautious just to make sure everyone is OK. Of course, there is a feeling that hopefully nothing gets shut down because it’s so important for a theatre company to be able to produce the shows that they need to produce to essentially stay in business. So hopefully this is the start of a new chapter for the world, for us, where everything can go back to a new normal.”
The Yates Memorial Centre and New West Theatre are following Alberta’s restrictions exemption program. More information can be found at
The production is directed by Scott Carpenter and Erica Hunt, and features set design by Jim Wills, costume design by Jamie Johnson, sound by Jason Eveleigh and lighting by Robert Stanford.
The cast of Ode to Joy! are hoping to provide people with some much-needed relief through the time-honoured tradition of live theatre.
“There’s nothing like singing for people, in the world, and hearing live music, so I’m hoping this provides such a release and a sense of healing for the audience coming back to see the shows again, and to feel hope.”
The production runs from Dec. 15 – 31. Tickets can be purchased at the Yates Ticket Centre or the Enmax Centre, or online at
For more information about run times and dates, visit
New West Theatre is already planning for a new production in early 2022, Sexy Laundry, which will run at the Yates Memorial Theatre from Feb. 17 – 26.

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