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Chelsea Hotel is “Magical. Sexy. Haunting. Refreshing. Passionate.” – A few words with Tracey Power, Director/Creator/Performer of Chelsea Hotel – The Songs of Leonard Cohen

Interview by Shaina Silver-Baird

SSB: How did you conceive of the idea for Chelsea Hotel?

Tracey Power: I was interested in creating a show that was a fusion of music, movement and theatre. The poetic quality of Cohen’s music immediately became the inspiration for this desire. The concept for the world in my mind was always one of imagination, magic, love and surprise.

SSB: How was this new musical created?

TP: I began listening to all of Cohen’s music and images and stories began to form. A poetic order began to grow, a seamless flow of consciousness that in my imagination made perfect sense. I could also hear a sound for the show that incorporated the instruments that were played by the team of 6 artists. There are 17 instruments in the show so creativity has always felt limitless.

SSB: It’s been very popular in theatre recently, to have the actor/singers playing the instruments instead of the more traditional band – actor split. Why did you decide to take this approach?

TP: We began creating this show 5 years ago and at that time it was much less popular, certainly on the west coast. The style of Chelsea Hotel stems from a concert or cabaret so that is where the roots of its approach lie.

SSB: What attracted you to Leonard Cohen’s music?

TP: His lyrics. Even after 5 years, there are still words I hear for the first time. They make you curious, they inspire incredible imagery and you discover pieces of yourself within them.

SSB: Describe the show in 5 words:

TP: Magical. Sexy. Haunting. Refreshing. Passionate.

Chelsea Hotel – The Songs of Leonard Cohen

A Firehall Arts Centre Production
Produced by Theatre 20
With the support of Theatre Passe Muraille

ChelseaHotel-photo by Mat Simpson-sm

Directed and Conceived by Tracey Power
Musical Direction and Arrangements by Steven Charles
Cast: Rachel Aberle, Sean Cronin, Christina Cuglietta, Benjamin Elliot, Jonathan Gould & Tracey Power.
Set Design: Marshall McMahen
Lighting Design: Ted Roberts
Costume Design: Barbara Clayden
Sound Design: Xavier Berbudeau
Dramaturg: James MacDonald
Artistic Producer: Donna Spencer

“It’s written on the walls of this hotel, you go to heaven, once you’ve been to hell.” – Leonard Cohen

CHELSEA HOTEL comes to Toronto fresh from a sold-out national tour! Leonard Cohen’s powerful and inspirational music is the heartbeat of this eclectic cabaret of loves won and lost. With extraordinary arrangements, six performers play seventeen instruments in this rollicking tribute to the remarkable writer. Through Cohen’s transcendent songs and lyrical honesty, you will be transported to New York’s infamous hotel – a place full of music and enchantment, desire and passion.

Where: Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace, 16 Ryerson Ave. Toronto

When: February 3-21, 2016

Tickets: $25-$55 + limited Pay-What-You-Can for selected performances. Buy tickets here.


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