Molly’s Comedy Cabaret inspires young performers

Former G.W. Graham student Molly Wilson brings her hit Vancouver show to Chilliwack on Jan. 30 as a fundraiser for young theatre students.

Former G.W. Graham student Molly Wilson (right) brings her hit Vancouver show Molly's Comedy Cabaret to Chilliwack Jan. 30 as a fundraiser for theatre students. Her former teacher Janine Webster (left) is thrilled to have her back.

Former G.W. Graham student Molly Wilson (right) brings her hit Vancouver show Molly's Comedy Cabaret to Chilliwack Jan. 30 as a fundraiser for theatre students. Her former teacher Janine Webster (left) is thrilled to have her back.

Molly’s Comedy Cabaret is taking over the G. W Graham Theatre on Jan. 30. to help send young theatre students on exciting musical excursions.

It’s a cause that headliner Molly Wilson can easily relate to, having been a student at G.W. Graham for three years. In her graduating year of 2009, it was a similar fundraiser that allowed her and fellow students to travel to New York City.

Molly’s passion for theatre was evident from age three, performing to her parents from the fireplace hearth in their home on Chilliwack Mountain.

That passion for the stage evolved into a desired career path during her high school years.

She delved into the drama and music programs, performing in school productions like Thoroughly Modern Mille and singing in vocal jazz groups.

As they reminisced in G.W. Graham’s drama room, Molly and music teacher Janine Webster recalled their time together fondly.

“Right now, I’m seeing this optimistic, enthusiastic person,” Janine pointed out. “And that’s what she was always like.”

Molly’s encouraging rather than competitive demeanour positively influenced the other students in high school, and helped her succeed throughout her challenging two-year theatre program at her dream school, Grant MacEwan University in Edmonton.

The most valuable lesson she learned at MacEwan, Molly said, is the ability to create your own work. Without that self-sufficiency, “you’d spend a lot of time just waiting around,” she explained.

Molly isn’t one to wait around.

Shortly after graduating, Molly landed a job as a cabaret singer and performer at an England hotel. She performed daytime and evening cabarets and variety shows in the historic hotel lounge, and slept in the attic servants quarters.

“It was great! I was doing what I loved to do,” she said. And even though an unfortunate injury meant that her England adventure would come to a close, Molly continued to do what she loved back in Vancouver.

She has since secured a monthly gig at Seven Dining Lounge in Vancouver on West Broadway. She performs Molly’s Comedy Cabaret, the fun and interactive musical comedy show which she will be taking to G.W. Graham on Saturday. She writes a new edition of the cabaret each month, drawing inspiration from the hilarious and – at times – awkward experiences in her life.

If there was one thing that Molly didn’t like about theatre school, it was that the students looked at every role as a competition.

“My mother has always said, ‘Someone else’s success is not your failure,'” Molly explained. Being genuinely happy for her peers’ successes, as well as her own, is a trait that is evident in her cabaret shows.

That’s why she invites guest stars into each of her scripts. For the upcoming fundraiser show, she’s been rehearsing a number with current G.W. Graham students, and will be joined on stage by long-time friend and fellow G.W. Graham graduate Oliver Castillo, as well as Vancouver pianist and musical director Kerry O’Donovan.

“We are thrilled to have Molly and Oliver back on our stage,” said Janine. “It’s great to see former students at any time, but having these two willing to come back to support our music department is extra special.”

Back when Molly and Oliver took their school trip to New York, they had the opportunity to see Broadway shows, take workshops with industry professionals, and get a real taste of their potential career path.

This fundraiser will grant current G.W. Graham students those same opportunities, helping to send them to MusicFest Canada in Ottawa and the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival in Idaho. It will also provide students with a tangible example of what their professional lives could look like a few years post-grad.

“Chilliwack is just their starting point,” Janine explained. “It’s great for the kids to see somebody making it – and having a good time doing it.”

“You just have to have the gumption to stick with it,” she said.

See Molly’s Comedy Cabaret Jan. 30 at 7 p.m. The show runs for approximately 90 minutes, with a 15-minute intermission. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased by calling the school at 604-847-0772. All proceeds support the student trips.