The Ticket: ‘Chelsea Hotel: The Songs of Leonard Cohen’

“The make-out show” returns to Vancouver.

Among the work of all the countless singer-songwriters of his generation, Leonard Cohen’s is arguably best suited to theatrical interpretation. Virtually all of his songs are plays in miniature: tempestuous love affairs, foreign intrigue, the tightrope walk between comedy and tragedy that is everyday life. So it was surprising that no one thought to do it sooner when, in 2012, Comox Valley-born playwright Tracey Power debuted Chelsea Hotel, in which six performers dramatize (and sing and play) some of Cohen’s most popular hymns to the human odyssey. It subsequently garnered multiple awards and nominations (including Ovation! honours for Outstanding Ensemble Production, Direction and Music Direction), toured Canada and came to be known among insiders as “the make-out show,” thanks to its aphrodisiac-like effect upon audiences. In homage to Cohen, who passed away in late 2016 at age 82, and in celebration of Firehall Arts Centre’s 35th-anniversary season, Chelsea Hotel is remounted for the first time in Vancouver since 2015.

Chelsea Hotel: The Songs of Leonard Cohen

Date: March 17 to April 21Venue: Firehall Arts CentrePrice: $20 to $33