Published on February 14th, 2018 | by Biz Books
The Biz Interview: Tracy-Lynn Chernaske
At the lively Metro Theatre, Tracy-Lynn Chernaske is a woman of many artistic talents.
Besides working as a set decorator/scenic painter, and production photographer, she’s also the producer of the Metro Theatre Warm Hearts Variety Show – a fundraiser for the theatre taking place on February 17th at 8PM.
Like the name says, this amazing show will include a wide variety of live entertainment – dancing, magic, music, improv, comedy and more – making it entertaining for all ages of variety show fans and Metro Theatre enthusiasts alike!
Tracy-Lynn Chernaske gave us the scoop on the show and what else is going on at Metro Theatre these days.
Can you start by telling us a little bit about you and the Warm Hearts Variety Show?
Absolutely! I started working at Metro Theatre over eight years ago as their Scenic Painter. I have since taken over several roles within the company; I currently work as Metro’s Scenic Painter, Set Decorator, in the Box Office and assist with media. I also volunteer to take their production photos. Warm Hearts Variety Show is a completely volunteer-run fundraiser to replace two key items within our building, our backstage sink and our cyclorama. We are so excited to have such wonderful responses from our fellow performers in the performing community as it truly takes a village to put something like this together.
How did the idea for this show come about?
Warm Hearts Variety Show was born out of the idea that we desperately need to replace two key items within our theatre we previously just didn’t have the funds for. Local performers responded to the idea of a variety show fundraiser in the most supportive way possible – everyone is kindly donating their time and talents. A lot of them have even appeared on our stage before at some point or another so the items we are needing to replace are familiar to most of them as well. Our sink has never been replaced, it runs dirty water and no longer drains. Which is awful because it is used on a daily basis to fill mop buckets, wash paint brushes and generally provide water to the backstage and onstage areas of our building. Our Cyclorama is also in need of replacement as over the many years of use it has become stained, ripped and age has caused it to yellow.
“It’s important that audience members and performers alike leave the show knowing that they had a great time doing the things they love to do whether it is performing or enjoying an evening out.”
What can audiences expect from the show?
We are excited to share with audiences a really great selection of talents from a variety of age ranges! We have tap dancers (5/4 Rhythm representing Rhythm Room), a magician (Rob Teszka), a world-traveled singer and dancer (Susan Skemp), improv (Luigi’s Comedy Troup), comedy (Dirty Betty Comedy) and flamenco dancers (Los Gitanos). Our Master of Ceremonies is Alison Schamberger who is an award-winning actress who currently sits as president on our board of directors. We also have a very special scene from Metro’s upcoming production of She Stoops to Conquer that is being debuted at the show.
What are the three most important ingredients that a variety show needs to be successful?
I think variety is very important – giving an audience a taste or highlight of different talents and cultures can be exciting and fun for everyone. It’s great to hear an audience member come out and say that they enjoyed something they maybe wouldn’t normally experience. I would also say that a sense of community is also important, the feeling that everyone is coming together to support each other is a great feeling. Lastly, and probably most importantly, I would say fun! It’s important that audience members and performers alike leave the show knowing that they had a great time doing the things they love to do whether it is performing or enjoying an evening out.
What theatre-related books have been influential in your career so far?
I’m a pretty avid reader so this is also a hard choice but I guess I would have to say due to my first love – scenic painting – I would say that “Scenic Art for the Theatre: History, Tools and Techniques” by Susan Crabtree and Peter Beudert would be my first choice, it’s a wonderful reference book and satisfies my slightly nerdy side. Second to that I would have to say oddly enough both Judi Dench’s biography Behind the Scenes and Scrappy Little Nobody which is Anna Kendrick’s biography. Both are women in an industry they have a love/hate relationship with but also acknowledge that you have to be a little crazy and very passionate to follow your path in life if that path is the arts. I also should mention I’m a die-hard fan of Macbeth and read it occasionally at least once every couple of years and catch live versions whenever I can.
Where can we find out more about the show?
What other projects does Metro Theatre have planned for this year?
Metro is always up to something – we are just about to finish off our current season with our last two productions of the year She Stoops to Conquer, an adaptation by Joan Byrans and Shakespeare in Hollywood by Ken Ludwig. Soon we will also begin the task of choosing a new season of shows and preparing for next season.
Thanks to Tracy-Lynn Chernaske for speaking with us!
Don’t miss the Metro Theatre Warm Hearts Variety Show on February 17th at 8PM. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased online or by calling the Metro Theatre box office at 604.266.7191.