Hold on to those musical dreams 

LB Production's latest show La La Musical is inspired by Hollywood

click to enlarge PHOTO SUBMITTED - Sweet Dreams La La Musical is LB Production's latest show.
  • PHOTO submitted
  • Sweet Dreams La La Musical is LB Production's latest show.

Being a teacher means being inspiring — but it's also worth keeping in mind that teachers have been inspired themselves.

Such is the case with Anita Burleson at LB Productions (LBP), which teaches children and teens to dance, sing and act.

Burleson was a performer in Hollywood at the start of her career 20 years ago, trying out music and dance, and following her dream.

Thanks to that and the Oscar-winning film La La Land, she got her idea for LBP's latest show.

La La Musical is the result.

The story is "neat" Burleson says.

"Basically, it is about hopes and dreams, and throughout our story, all these different characters have them and it explores how they come about."

"I'm super excited about it. More excited than I've ever been," Burleson says.

"I made the decision to make this La La Musical even before I saw the movie La La Land. It seemed like a good idea. But then I saw the movie and was completely blown away with the music, the colours and how well it was done in the style of old-time musicals."

So Burleson based La La Musical on the movie, but there had to be changes to the romantic story of a jazz musician falling for an aspiring actress.

"It's a kids' thing, but we are using a lot of the music from the soundtrack," she says.

"It's impeccable music and what is really exciting about it is that my kids are loving it. They love the songs. I've never had them so excited.

"Usually we incorporate pop into our shows, and there is a little bit here, but they loved the jazz and the style. It's really good for the kids to get exposed to jazz orchestration."

The satisfaction of introducing young people to something outside Top 40 radio also appealed.

"They're not getting it so much any more in school," Burleson says. "We're sticking with the style of the music and the dancing we are doing fits with it."

She says that the other reason she is excited is that the movie was reminiscent of Burleson's own years as a performer in Los Angeles.

"It was kind of like my life story," she says.

"When I was in L.A., I was doing shows like Dreamgirls with the Broadway cast and other musical theatre shows. I was also doing the movie thing. And then I also did jazz gigs, so it was like everything that happened in the movie.

"To see the kids so excited about our opening number 'Another Day of Sun'... I had this one little girl, she's not even five yet, the look on her face was so full of life. That is the payoff for me right there."

La La Musical takes place at the Maury Young Arts Centre on Sunday, June 4, at 1:30 p.m. Tickets are $16.50 for adults and $8 for children.

There are 56 young performers in the show, Burleson says.

"They come from all over the Sea to Sky, from Lillooet and Mount Currie, Whistler and Pemberton. It's a multi-community cast and, as you can imagine, it is really great to give the Lillooet kids this opportunity to be on a proper stage," she says.

"A few of them did our mini-show back in November and so a few of them are part of this big show. For some of them, getting out of Lillooet is really exciting. Whistler is so far away. It's a big trip."

She also gave credit to the teachers who helped her pull the show together, Sam Cook teaching acting and Jeannie Peters teaching hip hop.

"My hope is that everyone will walk away from the show lifted and inspired, and of course tapping their toes. I want them to recognize the value of everyone's dreams," Burleson says.

LB Productions is currently taking registration for its summer camp program for children aged five to 14.

For more information, visit www.lbentertainment.com.

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