Playing by ear
Jon Neher and Ruardih MacDonald, two students at the U of R, are bringing back The Gangles Improvised Musical for its season premier. This dynamic duo brings their special skills and local talent to create a one-man musical.
“It’s a collaboration between Jon and I,” MacDonald explained cheerfully. “We melded the two loves in our life. I’ve put improv and musical theater together and Jon’s put his piano playing and improvisation together to create this show.”
“There [are] plenty of variety shows that do improvisation and stuff.” Neher added, “Like, I used to watch Whose Line is it Anyway, and I always loved Wayne Brady. He’d always do something to a son, but never had to improvise a narrative around it and keep all these plot elements [in play].”
Neher is a third-year arts education student majoring in music and has been playing the piano for 16 years. MacDonald, a first-year theater major, has been involved in improv for the past five years. The two met last November and instantly clicked. They began their endeavor with The Gangles in February performing at Miller High School.
"We melded the two loves in our life. I’ve put improv and musical theater together and Jon’s put his piano playing and improvisation together to create this show.” – Ruardih MacDonald
"It was quite a good response; we even had a standing ovation. It was just very cool, people were very responsive, and they had a lot of good feedback to give us afterwards,” MacDonald said.
With strong and encouraging feedback, they decided to give the musical another go. They performed at The Club in April and, once again, the response was better than they expected. That’s when they made the decision to start doing something a little more permanent.
However, with school, work, and MacDonald’s trip to Scotland for the summer, it was a bit difficult to do any sort of planning up until now. “We’re both really busy people. We’re trying to do rehearsals twice a week,” MacDonald said.
“We’d like to continue doing shows. We kinda have a plan for seasonally-ish regular shows,” Neher added.
The two couldn’t be more excited. “The cause really is to give young artists in Regina a spot to show off their stuff,” MacDonald said.
”How often do we get to perform an improvised musical in any other sort of format?” Neher said.
Catch Neher and MacDonald at the Artful Dodger on Oct. 3 with special guests, Cameron Chomym, Andy Perry, and Alex Mullock. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and the show begins at 8 p.m. What else are you going to do on a Wednesday night?