The Waiting Room
- Book by Morris Panych
- Music and lyrics by John Mann
Recovery. Real life. Music.
“An extremely personal, contemplative, angry—and appreciative—musical journey” —The Globe and Mail on John Mann’s album The Waiting Room
PREMIERE A moving story about family, healing, and hope, The Waiting Room is the highly anticipated collaboration between Spirit of the West’s John Mann and acclaimed Canadian playwright Morris Panych. Drawn from Mann’s own experience and his solo album of the same name, this musical follows “J” as he navigates life before and after diagnosis. It’s a story told with grace, honesty, and a sharp sense of humour, with a score that adds a layer of poignant commentary and thoughtful observation.
Running time: Approx. 1 hour 30 minutes (no intermission)
This play was developed as a Silver Commissions Project
"Full of grace, honesty, humour and compassion" —Jo Ledingham The Vancouver Courier
"A beautiful celebration" —Colin Thomas, The Georgia Straight
"Goes far beyond what a traditional musical might offer" —Mark Robins, Vancouver Presents
"Touching, compelling, convincing, entertaining : you can't ask for more" —Baird Blackstone, Broken Leg Reviews
"Keeps the audience spell-bound" —Maria Figueiredo, Review Vancouver
"Energetic and engaging" —Cora Li, Vancouverscape
"A remarkable evening of theatre" Entertainment Vancouver
"Punchy and minimalist" —JJ Brewis, Lords of Dogwood
"Hot Ticket: The Waiting Room" —Jennifer Van Evra, The Globe and Mail [preview]
"Arts Club presents The Waiting Room" —Shawn Conner, The Vancouver Sun [preview]
"Thought provoking; wake-up call; comedy and music–this play has it all! Not a light play–you'll leave the theatre in a somber mood, but that only means that the play struck a chord, I think. The stage set was deceivingly simple until the props start appearing and disappearing. Very creative. Actors were superb. Well done indeed"
"The Waiting Room provided everything I hope for when visiting the theatre but almost never receive. The production was original, moving, skillfully acted, and totally involving. My attention was riveted to the stage for every minute of the performance. Thank you for providing this unforgettable experience to Vancouver's theatre audiences"
"Music, sadness, humour–all the emotions are touched in this sensitive, honest look at humans dealing with life and death. Well done. Thank you"
"This play married an incredibly moving and heartbreaking story with laugh out loud humour and brilliant creativity. The writing and acting were fantastic. I have been a fan of John Mann and Spirit of the West for over 20 years and feel privileged to have listened to him sing tonight"
"So beautiful, sweet, and soulful. John Mann's gorgeous vocals accompanied by the band blended so well with the story. All the actors are fabulous. The weight of the subject matter is elevated by the lightness of the magic surrealism. Absolutely loved it. Left with my mascara smudged but my heart felt light. Highly recommended"
"This was a wonderful production in all respects. Very moving. I love Morris Panych's work. Ken MacDonald's set and costumes were brilliant as usual. Casting and acting–all excellent. This has moved me to become a season subscriber"
"FANTASTIC! Keep up the good work"
"The best musical play I have ever seen! John Mann's vibrant singing in the backstage brings the brilliant acting to its full reality and allows the emotions to unfold genuinely without pretense or overplaying themselves. His personal journey through sickness, self-doubt and recovery resonates powerfully in witty yet moving script and songs on the universal theme of facing one's own mortality and the disgraceful ways of treating our ills. I recommend this play to everyone–no exceptions"
"Superb. Fine combination of sensitivity and comedy. Four curtain calls, all deserved by the cast"
"Truly enjoyed, a mix of ballet, play, and farce–a real great fun show. How many of us have experienced the same doctors, hospital waits, and situations? So real, even for former and present cancer patients, their families and themselves, living and surviving the situation. Great!"
"We loved, The Waiting Room. It was an incredibly uplifting performance, packed with humour and emotion. It was truly inspiring to see John Mann actually perform his own life story on stage, knowing he is currently battling early onset Alzheimer's disease. There were so many levels to this performance. We couldn't help standing up at the end to dance with him in joy and triumph. Well done!"
"Loved the set. Loved the jokes. Loved the music. And especially loved the performance of Matreya Scarrwener. She brought me to tears in Armstrong's War (my all-time favourite Arts Club performance) and the story of her character brought me to tears in The Waiting Room. She is a super talented actress!"
"Cancer is personal, yet a part of all our lives. The music and the story in The Waiting Room bare these truths. Captivating and real–all of it. And oh, the music really shines! Kudos to John Mann for his amazing talent and his courage in performing so beautifully under adversity"
"John Mann is a living legend, Morris Panych, one of Canada's most astute playwrights, and of course Jonathan Young, the best of the best! To have all of this talent in one place at one time for a concert within a play touched all the senses. Thank you for presenting this poignant collaboration!"
–Darlene, West Vancouver
"We have followed John Mann's career for many years, between his time performing as the lead of Spirit of the West and his brilliant performances with the Arts Club. It was because of our admiration of his talent that we purchased tickets to see The Waiting Room. This show touched our hearts like few others. The combination of Morris Panych's narrative and John Mann personally performing the songs he wrote of his journey, delivers an unforgettable theatrical experience"
"A superbly well-written and well-acted and sung performance. One of the best musical plays we have seen. John Mann and all the actors were top professionals. The set design, singing, and lyrics to the songs are memorable"
–Ian and Pierette, West Vancouver
"Having worked in healthcare–mostly in the operating room my entire career–I was both amazed and impressed how John Mann and Morris Panych were able to weave the gamut of emotions stemmed from a patient's personal experience into a very entertaining musical production. Thoroughly enjoyable at every turn. Mr. Mann's voice was amazing and the accompanying band artistically displayed behind the screen was wonderfully talented. The Waiting Room is an all-around winner!"
"Outstanding! A must-attend! When two giants, Morris Panych and John Mann, collaborate, the product should be good. This was more than that. It was excellent! The entire cast, musicians, director, and scene designers are to be congratulated. THANK YOU!"
"Absolutely outstanding! I am so glad to have had the chance to see this play. I knew the witty sense of humour of the author Panych from his play Vigil, so I was expecting something well-written, deep, with a smart, funny, and twisty way to bring the crowd to a hard topic to think about and discuss later with family, colleagues, or just with an imaginary friend. But, what brought it to such a special level was the participation of the talented composer John Mann. I was delighted to see him performing on stage with four other great musicians. The mise en scène was fabulous. The set and lights so, so, so well thought out–simple but so effective. Great acting from everyone. No flaws. One of the best plays I have seen"
–Diane, West Vancouver
"Powerful play, music, and acting. First time I've seen Matreya Scarrwener–strong actor. Impressive. I'm hoping to see her in more productions. Wonderful to have John Mann singing his music! Kudos to everyone!!!"
"Beautifully acted, well-written, emotional, funny, moving, brilliant piece of work. We loved it very much... Thank you"
"So well done–such a great job considering it wasn't such a happy story. John Mann is so talented. I've loved him for years–such an entertainer. The cast was all so amazing. Well done and so happy that John was still able to perform all his amazing music. I just wish him good health and for him to enjoy his month at the Arts Club"
"This is skillful, beautiful performance. For people who have gone through cancer, like me, it is a validation of the journey of turmoil and fear. For people who have not had cancer, it offers a glimpse into the hard-hitting reality that the experience brings. The actors are all wonderful, and most importantly, John Mann's presence and performance is extremely touching"
"This is one of the best plays I have seen. It is honest, touching, funny, and ultimately hopeful. It provides a reminder of how to seize life while we can"
"Amazing performance, very moving. An exceptionally talented group of actors that captured our attention right from the beginning and made 85 minutes fly by!"
"An absolutely awesome production–I expected the music to be great, and it was, but the acting was superb and the way the songs were woven into the story was very clever–plus I got to complete my collection of CDs by buying December Looms!! I suspect that I'll be taking the show in again before it finishes"
–Alan, North Vancouver
- Book by Morris Panych
- Music and lyrics by John Mann
- Starring Peter Anderson, Chris Cochrane, Jillian Fargey, John Mann, Bonnie Panych, Matreya Scarrwener, Jonathon Young
- Musicians Brad Gillard, Eric Reed, Allan Rodger, Shari Ulrich
- Director Morris Panych
- Musical Director Allan Rodger
- Set and Costume Designer Ken MacDonald
- Lighting Designer Gerald King
- Sound Designer Ace Martens
- Movement Collaborator Wendy Gorling
- Dramaturg Rachel Ditor
- Stage Manager Caryn Fehr
- Assistant Stage Manager Angela Beaulieu