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Juliani and Epstein Dueling on Stage and Screen

By Mark Leiren-Young

The stars of the Vancouver screen scene have always been among the city’s busiest stage actors and vice versa - but usually the actors take a moment to catch their breath. It’s hard to believe that two of the stars of the Arts Club’s world premiere production of smash musical Onegin ever sleep.

The play’s leading men - Alessandro Juliani (in the title role) and Josh Epstein - are juggling epic projects on the stage, the big screen and the small screen.

(Lauren Jackson and Josh Epstein in Onegin. Photo: David Cooper)

Epstein is the producer and cowriter of the recently released historical biopic Eadweard, which frequent fliers can catch on Air Canada before it arrives on iTunes. Or the frequent fliers can catch its upcoming festival runs in Cameroon, Beijing, Germany and the UK.

His next film with partner, Kyle Rideout, Public-Schooled, will be announcing key casting in the next few weeks and Epstein teased Reel West with, “it’s pretty exciting.” Also exciting - it shoots later this year. Their TV project Anything Co. is currently in development with the National Screen Institute and they’re set to pitch it at the Banff World Media Festival.

And he’s on-stage now with another long-time labour of love project. “I’ve been involved in workshops for three years with Onegin and I think this production is perhaps the strongest theatre show from top to bottom I’ve ever been in. It’s stunning on every level - it’s new, it’s Canadian and it’s going to travel the world. I get to have a duel with Alessandro Juliani from Battlestar Galactica, which is like a huge nerd dream.”

(Alessandro Juliani and Meg Roe in Onegin. Photo: David Cooper) 

Meanwhile, Juliani has been living his own nerd dream on screen. “This year so far I've had the privilege of filming a two-hander scene with Andy Serkis in a major motion-capture epic on the top of Mount Seymour, War for the Planet of the Apes.”

On the small screen Juliani says he’s, “offering timely tech-support in my recurring role as Sinclair on The 100.” And on-stage (behind the scenes) he’s been part of what is becoming a world-renowned stage phenomenon - Crystal Pite and Jonathan Young's theatre/dance masterpiece Betroffenheit. Juliani co-scored the show and created the sound-design.

And Onegin?

Juliani describes the show as, “one of the most joyous theatre experiences of my life” and jokes, “I must be done, right. I should probably retire.” One thing he’s not doing is leaving Vancouver any time soon. “Wearing all these different hats - acting, sound and music, on stage and on screen, has kept the downtime a to a minimum, and has made a move to the States frankly irrelevant. I’m so proud to call Vancouver home and to be a part of this breeding ground for great art happening right now.”

Onegin, by Amiel Gladstone and Veda Hille, is at the Goldcorp Stage at the BMO Theatre Centre until April 10th.

For more info or tickets (which are almost gone) visit http://artsclub.com

Key photo: Cast of Onegin (Photo by David Cooper)
Photo on right: Meg Roe and Alessandro Juliani (Photo by David Cooper)

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