Vancouver Meta Musical “Sigma Acapella” Proves There’s a Little bit of Theatre Weirdo in All of Us

An original musical by Rushed Productions takes the Jack and Darlene Poole Theatre stage until March 29

As a die-hard musical theatre person, you might think I’d be slightly biased toward a meta musical about musical theatre. And you’d be right! But the message of Sigma Acapella—that theatre is a place for people to come together despite their differences and accomplish amazing things—still carries weight.

The new original musical by Vancouver’s Rushed Productions is a comedy made up of outcasts, liberally sprinkled with catchy songs (yes, I drove all the way home humming, “The Fratplan”) and a healthy explosion of Queerness fitting for a meta musical. I would know, I was also a Queer theatre kid. We’re everywhere.

The story revolves around Ray (Nathan Mannion), the “Frat-Star” of his Fraternity ‘A-House,’ who teams up with the underdog theatre students, the “nobodies” (led by theatre dad Oliver, played by Blake Sartin) to put on a musical theatre show called Sigma Acapella—you see the meta-ness—in order to save the A-House from evil Dean Guy’s (Pavo Schimmer) destruction.

If that sounds a bit outlandish to you, don’t expect the show to take itself much more seriously than that. Ray, one half of the show’s main romance, is endearingly enthusiastic and a joy to watch on stage. Think your typical ‘golden retriever’ boy who’s willing to throw down for his little found family and highlights only the positives of ‘boys will be boys’. His love interest is Oliver, an artsy theatre dad trying to corral all these wacky kids into some actual art. Together, they carry the emotional core within an otherwise silly cast of characters. Among these characters, one (or—two?) particular standouts were Chad and Brad, twins on separate clubs both played by James Penco. There wasn’t a moment when he was on stage that didn’t get a big laugh.

The live band in the back added to a delightful and fun ensemble, and the choreography both in and out of dance gave the characters a realistic vibe that made you feel part of the club. Each original song was a hit for me, with one particular standout actually coming from the antagonist crew of Dean Guy and his hitmen—I mean, university board. Set in a nondescript school somewhere in Vancouver, there was a healthy dose of dunking on other less-cool provinces, and relatable comedy that’s going to speak to anyone who had to endure (er—I mean enjoy) public school here.

For a night of wackiness, Queer love, and a revisit to your brightest university days of skipping classes and fighting against your evil dean to prove even outcasts can find a place to belong (the theatre, obviously), catch Sigma Acapella on Granville Island until March 29, 2024!

Sigma Acapella cast photo, the "nobodies"
Sigma Acapella cast photo, the “nobodies”

Sigma Acapella is performing from March 18-29, 2024 at the Jack and Darlene Poole Theatre (1400 Johnston St.) Tickets: $30