Countdown to Bloodless

September 10th, 2012 josepharagon Comments off

t20It’s happening! Rehearsals for the Theatre 20 production of Bloodless: The Trial of Burke and Hare are starting, and I’m off to Toronto for a month. Much has happened since my last post (yeah, no kidding Joseph, your last post was in January)…

We’ve had two workshops — one in mid-April and one in August. The April workshop was three weeks long, and I got to work with many of Theatre 20’s founding artists, as well as members of their Emerging Artist Ensemble. That was an amazing experience. We workshopped Act One, and presented it in a formal reading, which whetted everyone’s appetites and generated some excitement. In August, we worked for a week with the wonderful and talented students of Sheridan College’s Musical Theatre program, and hammered out Act Two. Needless to say, the script has changed significantly from its previous incarnation. Scenes have been switched and revamped, old songs have been cut, new songs have been written — I even deleted a major character (sorry, Josh). But I believe it’s all for the better, and although there’s still a little more writing to do, we’re in great shape to launch into rehearsals.

There have also been some changes on the production end since I last posted. First, the dates have changed. The production runs October 12-28, 2012, with previews beginning October 9. Second, you’ll notice that Colm Wilkinson has handed over the directing reins to Theatre 20’s artistic director Adam Brazier. This is actually a good thing, because Adam and I get along famously and we’re on the same page almost all the time. But Colm is still on as our creative consultant (”Colm”… as if we’re buddies or something), and he’s given us some invaluable guidance so far.

So that should get you up to speed. If you’re going to be in Toronto this October, be sure to check it out. Visit for tickets and information.

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Toronto’s Theatre 20 presents Bloodless

January 23rd, 2012 josepharagon Comments off

t20Cat’s out of the bag! After months of biting my tongue and keeping friends and colleagues in the dark, I can finally declare to the world that Bloodless: The Trial of Burke & Hare is being given its Toronto premiere by Theatre 20, as the company’s inaugural show of its inaugural season. No pressure at all.

The announcement was made on January 23 in Toronto at a press conference/swanky do hosted by Theatre 20. The musical — about two 19th century serial killers who sell cadavers to Edinburgh medical schools — will be presented at the Panasonic Theatre from October 16 to November 11, 2012. It will be directed by Colm Wilkinson (yes, that Colm Wilkinson) and will feature some of Canada’s finest musical theatre talent (so I’m told; they haven’t actually cast anyone yet).

Needless to say, I am very excited. Scared out of my mind, but excited. I’ve had the great fortune of working with so many wonderful and talented people on this project so far (lookin’ at you, White Rabbit crew), that to now be working on it with the artists of Theatre 20 is almost overwhelming. This is an amazing opportunity, and I’m so grateful for the chance to take this project further.

Guess I should get crackin’ on those rewrites, huh…

Theatre 20 announces inaugural season — The Globe and Mail
Theatre 20 announces its first season in Toronto — Toronto Star
City composer’s fringe hit opens new TO company — Winnipeg Free Press
Adjusting the Timing – Theatre 20 sings — NOW Magazine

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Masaganang Bagong Taon Sa Lahat!

January 13th, 2012 josepharagon Comments off


Merry Christmas! Happy New Year! And whatever other holidays have happened since my last update…

Things have been pretty cool on this end. For starters, I just came home from a month-long stay in the Philippines (see photo left; I took that picture, yes I did). I visited a lot of family, and managed to squeeze in some research for a project on Jose Rizal (if you don’t know who he is, click the link and read about him–absolutely fascinating guy). Though I must say I’ve hit the ground running on my return. Lotsa stuff happening:

  1. Kiss The Giraffe Productions has been drawn to participate in the Winnipeg Fringe Festival, and work on Illuminati III: The End of the World (the final episode of the Illuminati cycle) is coming along…
  2. KTG has been invited to create another Steampunk Cabaret show for KeyCon this year off the phenomenal success of the last one, so that’ll be fun…
  3. I also recently got to sit in on a recording session for the debut album of local a cappella group Those Guys. I contributed a few vocal arrangements to it, and the boys are sounding amazing…
  4. Finally, really exciting things are happening on the Bloodless front. I’m not at liberty to say what, I don’t want to jinx it, and the bottom may fall out at any moment, but I’m cautiously optimistic. If all goes well, you’ll be hearing about it very soon. (How’s that for a teaser?)

A busy few months ahead. Onward and upward.

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August 15th, 2011 josepharagon Comments off

aquarium w paintingThe 2011 Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival has come and gone, and I have no complaints. Both Hersteria and Illuminati II: The Second One were very well received by audiences and critics alike (from the Winnipeg Free Press, read the 4-star Hersteria review and the 4 1/2-star Illuminati II review). Apparently, there were also reports that Cheers star George Wendt attended a performance of Hersteria and enjoyed it thoroughly. Cannibal: The Musical also did very well, packing in MTC Warehouse and scoring Best of Fest for that venue. So overall, a fruitful Fringe. Thanks to the casts and crews of all three shows for all of their hard work. Amazing runs all around.

What’s next? Some voice acting work, a music project, and more writing on the horizon (which includes work on Illuminati III). Stay tuned…

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Illuminati Remount/Fundraiser a Success!

April 30th, 2011 josepharagon Comments off

illuminati 2 program graphicThe title says it all. The Kiss The Giraffe remount of my 2005 Fringe show Illuminati: The Musical played to fantastic audiences April 26-28 at the Forrest Nickerson Theatre. Fun show, fun cast, fun crowds–the whole experience was, in a word, fun. Not to mention profitable, which was the whole point. Thanks to everyone involved, our planned 2011 Fringe presentation of Illuminati II: The Second One can go into production with that much less financial stress. Ahhh…

So what’s next? In addition to Illuminati II, which is fully cast and rarin’ to go, I also have Hersteria on the Fringe horizon, with a book written by Sharon Bajer and produced by Winnipeg Studio Theatre. I’m also arranging music for a Fringe production of Trey Parker’s Cannibal! The Musical. It’s going to be a very musical Fringe this summer.

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In Like a Lion

March 3rd, 2011 josepharagon Comments off

A busy couple of months. Some highlights:

Last month, I participated in a reading of Sargent and Victor, a piece created by Winnipeg playwright Debbie Patterson. The script was stitched together from verbatim fragments of interviews Debbie conducted with the residents and businesspeople of Winnipeg’s West End. We performed readings at two West End churches for the very community the piece was about (and for the very people that were interviewed). It was strange and at the same time very cool performing characters based on people you know are in the audience. The cast also featured Arne MacPherson, Marsha Knight and Laura Olafson.

It looks like Hersteria, the musical I’m writing with Sharon Bajer, is hitting the Fringe! Winnipeg Studio Theatre is producing our neurotic-women musical this summer at the Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival in the lush and spacious Prairie Theatre Exchange mainstage. So along with Illuminati II, that makes two Aragon-composed musicals you’ll be exposed to this July.  Please make sure your vaccinations are up to date.

Speaking of Illuminati II, Kiss The Giraffe Productions is priming for it by remounting the first Illuminati: The Musical, to be produced in late April. This will provide folks with the chance to refresh themselves on the continuing saga, and provide us with the chance to raise funds so that the saga can continue. Stay tuned for more details.

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New Year Updates

January 12th, 2011 josepharagon Comments off

Coming to a Fringe near you (if you live in Winnipeg, that is...)Happy New Year! Here’s what’s up:

The December workshop and reading of Winnipeg Studio Theatre’s new musical Hersteria was a success! It was an absolute joy to work with such a marvelous group of people, and a lot of really useful stuff came out of both the week-long workshop and the reading to launch into the next draft with. It was also quite a kick to hear my music played by a great four-piece band. Stay tuned for news of a possible full production later this year.

Kiss The Giraffe Productions is presenting Illuminati II at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival! The sequel to 2005’s perplexingly successful Illuminati: The Musical will feature brand new characters, some returning old friends, several new songs, and more conspiracy theories than you can shake your tinfoil hat at. Leith Clark returns to direct what will most likely be one of the strangest shows you’ll ever see. Ever.

And lastly… I’m gonna be a cartoon! Winnipeg’s Da Capo Productions is currently recording the English version of Tayo, a Korean children’s animated series all about talking motor vehicles. It’s my first foray into the wonderful world of ADR. I’m voicing, among other characters, a green dump truck named Max. It’s adorable. My teeth hurt just thinking about it. And my mother told me funny voices will get me nowhere in life…

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The new!

October 6th, 2010 josepharagon Comments off

Hey, it's better than one of those stupid "under construction" signs...After laying fallow for at least a couple of years, the newly designed website is up and limping! More functionality will be added in the near future, but for now there’s enough material present to make it web-worthy. So welcome to my website, and browse away!

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September 28th, 2010 josepharagon Comments off

Some news bits…

Work on Sharon Bajer’s Hersteria is coming along nicely. A workshop and reading are planned for this December.

Sharon has also commissioned me to set to music the prologue of Ben Jonson’s The Alchemist, an excerpt of which she is directing for The Michael Langham Workshop for Classical Direction at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. So… hey, my music’s playing at Stratford!

The cast of Bloodless is gearing up to (finally) record a cast album. Everyone’s game and excited, and I’m busily preparing brand new orchestral arrangements, a couple of which you can preview on the Compositions page. Basically I’m fantasizing out loud how my music would sound played by a 70-piece orchestra. It’s going to be fun.

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The Unlikely Sainthood of Madeline McKay returns to the Fringe

July 14th, 2010 josepharagon Comments off

Playing at the 2010 Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival, July 14-25, Kiss The Giraffe Productions presents The Unlikely Sainthood of Madeline McKay:

“They want a taste of the divine and I give it to them. Is it real? No, but what difference does it make? I’m doing them a big favour and — other than a few bucks — I’m getting nothing in return!”

She’s got some nerve.

I’ll have to teach her a lesson.

The Rintoul Award-winning comedy returns. Directed by Leith Clark.

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