Joëlle Rabu and her son Nico Rhodes transform the Della Herman Theatre into a Parisian cabaret Jan. 26.

Joëlle Rabu and her son Nico Rhodes transform the Della Herman Theatre into a Parisian cabaret Jan. 26.

Joëlle Rabu in concert with Nico Rhodes

The Della Herman Theatre in Smithers will transform into a Parisian cabaret Thursday night.

The Della Herman Theatre will transform into a Parisian cabaret at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 26 when Joëlle Rabu takes the stage with her son, pianist Nico Rhodes.

Over the past three decades, Canadian singer-songwriter-actor Joëlle Rabu has toured throughout five continents with both her concert of original songs and her stage play: Tonight… Piaf. A two-time Jessie Award winner, Juno nominee, Excellence in the Arts award winner, and Touring Artist of the Year recipient, Joëlle won international critical acclaim for her theatrical portrayal of the Parisian chanteuse, Edith Piaf, the iconic singer whose recordings composed part of Joëlle’s French upbringing.

Joëlle was born in Winnipeg, Man. shortly after her parents emigrated from Brittany, France. She spent her adolescence in Courtenay on Vancouver Island and, at the age of 16, left home for three years to travel around the world with a childhood friend, fulfilling her fascination with languages and world cultures. She returned to work in her family’s Island restaurant and truly thought her destiny rested in the tourism business until her brother bragged about her singing abilities to a Vancouver stage director.

A chance audition and a whirlwind stage debut in 1983 in the City Stage musical hit PIAF, Her Songs Her Loves won her both critical and popular acclaim and two Jessie Awards during the one-year run of the show, still one of Vancouver’s longest running musicals. After more than 500 performances as the little Sparrow, Joëlle continued to perform in numerous theatre productions (including Anything Goes, Marion Bridge, Murder on the Nile, Irma la Douce, and Cabaret) and with her trio she toured her concert for years in addition to making guest appearances with major symphony orchestras across Canada and the USA.

Joelle Rabu in Concert promises an intimate evening of musicality and theatricality. The concert presents songs performed in English, French and Spanish, and features a special tribute to a cornucopia of torch-song-era standards spiced with moments of laughter. Piaf fans won’t be disappointed!

As one critic summed it up so well: “Rabu is Edith Piaf, Bette Midler and Carole Burnett all rolled into one extraordinary performer. Her passion-filled voice is spine-tingling and her stage presence electric.”

A theatre patron’s observation of Nico Rhodes’ musical ability: “Breathtakingly fresh sounds and style radiate from this young musician whose hands effortlessly fly across a keyboard leaving us in utter amazement and jumping to our feet at the end of a solo!”

Well-known for her ability to delve into several musical styles, Joëlle’s interpretation of classic European cabaret-style tunes, jazz melodies, and heart wrenching torch songs has left audiences spellbound. What makes her current stage show even more unique and entertaining is the connection she has with her accompanist pianist, Nico Rhodes.

Nico is Joëlle’s 24-year-old son who is making his own headlines on both the western Canadian jazz and musical theatre scenes. An exceptionally talented music director, arranger and musician, Nico’s star is rising quickly with music direction credits that include A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline, Some Enchanted Evening, All Shook Up, Frankie & Johnny in the Claire de Lune, and It’s a Wonderful Life. His most exciting project premiered in February 2014 when his orchestral arrangements of the songs of Rick Scott were performed by the Vancouver Island Symphony orchestra.

Nico was raised on tour with his singer mom, lighting designer dad and a trio of musicians who nurtured his musical upbringing ‘by osmosis.’ By the time Nico was 16, he had already won several classical piano and jazz saxophone competitions. At 17, he was introduced to musical theatre playing sax, flute, bass and piano in a Cole Porter show. His mom was one of the leads. The rest, as they say, is history.

And don’t forget to make plans for the remaining performances in The BV Concert Association’s 55th season:Friday, Feb. 17, Sarah Hagen with Brendan McLeod

Saturday, March 4, Danny Nielsen: Love.Be.Best.Free

Tickets for all concerts are on sale now at Mountain Eagle Books:

Adult $25

Senior $20 (60 +)

Youth $16 (18 and under)

Subject to availability, tickets may be purchased at the Della Herman Theatre from 7 p.m. on the night of the concert.


– Submitted by the Bulkley Valley Concert Association.

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