A few years ago, Anton Lipovetsky never would have said he was a fan of Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell. Now, he’s one of her biggest fans.
For the past few weeks, Lipovetsky has immersed himself in Mitchell’s music in anticipation of his upcoming role in the latest musical at the Belfry Theatre, I Think I’m Fallin’ — The Songs of Joni Mitchell.
“Her lyrics are really poignant and universal. The melodies are complex, but really stick in your head,” said the 26-year-old Vancouver actor.
I Think I’m Fallin’ — The Songs of Joni Mitchell, created by Michael Shamata and Tobin Stokes, is a story woven together with the songs of Mitchell revolving around the themes of love and heartbreak.
For Shamata, who is the artistic director responsible for choosing which plays the Belfry puts on, it was an easy decision to feature Mitchell’s music in the theatre’s third play of the season.
“(Mitchell’s) lyrics are exceptional: complex, full of quirks and surprises, and at the same time, completely recognizable and easy to relate to. Her music is equally outstanding: melodious, confident, multi-layered, and able to insinuate its way into your soul,” Shamata said in a recent publication put out by the theatre.
Lipovetsky’s character is the best friend and confidant of the lead female role. He’s been burned by love and has become a cynic.
“He’s funny, he’s a truth teller, he’s not afraid to speak his mind, he’s challenging,” said Lipovetsky of his character.
This is Lipovetsky’s second play with the Belfry, but this time he’s excited to try out his singing chops alongside actors Evangelia Kambites, Jonathan Gould, Linda Kidder, and Brent Jarvis, who all sing Mitchell’s songs live.
Many of Mitchell’s songs are featured in the musical, but are presented in a new way that makes audiences rediscover what the songs are about, Lipovetsky said. For example, the song Chelsea Morning is known as an upbeat, happier number, but in this performance, it starts dark and slow and is performed when the two lovers part for the first time.
“It changes the meaning of the first part of the song completely,” Lipovetsky said.
“She wants him to stay, but he can’t commit . . . People who are fans of Joni, I think they’re really going to be satisfied with what we’ve put together but also rediscover songs that we all know and hear them in a new way.”
I Think I’m Fallin’ — The Songs of Joni Mitchell hits the stage at the Belfry Theatre (1291 Gladstone Ave.) from Nov. 8 to Dec. 4
For more information or to purchase tickets visit belfry.bc.ca.