Music and Theatre

On the music scene, the Tremblay concerts at the Capitol Theatre were bringing classical music and on occasion pop concerts. At one time, there was jazz and all the big bands and big names would come to Ottawa, such as Lionel Hampton, Benny Goodman, Stan Kenton, Ella Fitzgerald, JATP (Jazz at the Philharmonic) who played at the Coliseum, or again in Aymer and Hull, at the Chaudiere or Standish Hall. (Louis Armstrong played there.) But then it became too costly and the touring ended. A bit later the Circus Lounge on the second floor of the Ottawa House opened and brought wonderful small jazz combos, such as Billy Taylor, Marian McPartland, Carmen McRae, and Al Belletto Sextet, but that faded away as well. By the time the sixties came around, most of this was gone.

Fortunately, the Ottawa Little Theatre maintained a steady stream of excellent amateur theatre (and still does, though there are more companies around, now). The touring companies came but were quite sporadic. As for classical dance, it was a struggle to keep the few amateur groups going. Of course, there was dancing—shall we call it “social”—in Hull in some of the clubs, but one needed money and above all a car to get there. Such were the times in the early 60s in Ottawa.

Ottawa Little Theatre's Rich Little (best actor), EODL Festival, 1960.
Ottawa Little Theatre’s Rich Little (best actor), EODL Festival, 1960, and Tom Dunleavy, who later acted in ‘Too many Guys for One Doll’ at Le Hibou.

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