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Zuppa makes Mirth! 

The theatre company’s seventh annual musical fundraiser is unusually joyful.

Kim Harris is playing at this year’s unusually happy Zuppa Theatre musical fundraiser. - JEN OCHEJ
  • Kim Harris is playing at this year’s unusually happy Zuppa Theatre musical fundraiser.
  • Jen Ochej

"Our new show is based on Plato's Symposium, which is all about love," says Zuppa Theatre's Sue Leblanc. "We're incorporating the themes of love and joy into the play, which is a bit of a departure for us."

No kidding. Though the veteran company is all about inspiration and innovation, it's also often coming from a darker place. It may be one of the reasons Zuppa has chosen to title its annual Music Room fundraiser Mirth!, a synonym for joy that sounds like something funereal. "To me it sounds dark and dreary," Leblanc agrees, giving credit for the wordplay to her Zuppa collaborator, Ben Stone. "Ben thought of it."

This is the seventh such show, for which the company gathers musician friends under a theme, to raise money and expectations for an upcoming play. "Murder Ballads was Penny Dreadful; for Poor Boy it was the Hellbound Jamboree; last year was A Lovesick Serenade," says Leblanc, "and for my solo show it was Ladies Night because it was a lady play by ladies."

This year's joyful hearts include Dark for Dark, Jennah Barry, Tanya Davis, Erin Costelo, Kim Harris and The Heavy Blinkers, whose Jason Michael MacIsaac and David Christensen are longtime Zuppa composer-cohorts.

In rehearsal for the new show, working title Pop-Up Love Party, the playmakers---Leblanc, Stone and Alex McLean---have been listening to Daft Punk's Random Access Memories, "Mull of Kintyre" by Paul McCartney and "different versions of 'Ode to Joy,'" reports Leblanc.

Though powerhouse vocalist Stewart Legere is away, the remaining Zuppas all plan to take part in Thursday's festivities. Leblanc is still narrowing her song choices, but considers the following full of mirth: "That girl from The B-52's seems joyful to me, 'Love Shack' and her red hair. The Beatles. Old Heavy Blinkers. Jason was talking about how they can't play any of their new material, because it's all sad."

Mirth! Songs of Joy and other happy hits Thursday, February 20, 8pm
The Music Room, 6191 Lady Hammond Road

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