The first time Brent Hughes played as a musician with Theatre Under The Stars (TUTS) was three decades ago as a university student.
Now, the music teacher at Coquitlam’s Dr. Charles Best Secondary is back in the pit for his 10th time — and second as its music director.
Hughes is leading the 11-person orchestra in Something Rotten!, one of two musicals that opened last weekend at the Malkin Bowl at Stanley Park.
“Any time I get the chance to be with TUTS, I grab it,” the Port Coquitlam resident told the Tri-City News on Monday (July 4).
For this summer’s run, Hughes said he was especially pleased that TUTS was presenting Something Rotten!, a new satire that incorporates a variety of musical genres — from Broadway tunes to rock hits.
It follows two playwright siblings, Nick and Nigel Bottom, as they try to pen a hit musical in 1595 to compete against The Bard: William Shakespeare.
“Shakespeare is the rock star,” Hughes said, “and the brothers are in his shadow.”
Still, Hughes isn’t the only Tri-City resident involved in the production.
Nicol Spinola is the choreographer while Holly Bradbury, Joaquin Little and Jordyn Bennett are in the ensemble.
Meanwhile, Port Coquitlam resident Tim Howe will make his début with TUTS as the villain sidekick Kashoggi in We Will Rock You, which runs in alternate nights.
Featuring hits from the rock band Queen, the show sees Galileo and Scaramouche — and their gang of misfits — 300 years from now, as they fight for freedom from Killer Queen, who has banned music.
Second-in-command gang member Kashoggi is particularly fun to portray, Howe said, noting the show is suitable for ages 10 and up.
“Once COVID ended, I auditioned for everything,” he said, adding, “It’s a great gig to spend the summer doing Theatre Under The Stars. It’s certainly a bucket list item.”
The tenor said he’s been working with musical director Christopher King, as well as his vocal coach partner, to fine tune his parts in the score.
“Everyone has been very welcoming and professional,” Howe said of his first TUTS experience. “This has been such a truly relaxing show.... And the ensemble really makes me look good.”
Tickets for Something Rotten! and We Will Rock You range from $30 to $65. Theatre Under The Stars runs until Aug. 27 (performances alternate evenings) at the Malkin Bowl in Stanley Park (610 Pipeline Rd., Vancouver). All shows begin at 8 p.m. except on fireworks nights (July 23, 27 and 30) when they start at 7 p.m. Visit tuts.ca or call 1-800-514-3849.