Entertainment starts slowly
as new year begins

The American political theatre takes centre stage for now

By Byron Toben

January 3, 2024

Welcome to the new year of 2024!

And here is a version of Auld Lang Syne by The Tenors (also known as The Canadian Tenors), a group originating in Victoria, British Columbia, that now includes Mark Masri, Victor Micallef, Clifton Murray and Alberto Urso. Enjoy their beautiful voices and the magnificent scenery in the video.

English theatre starts slowly in the first half of 2024, with only The Hudson Village Theatre continuing its annual Pantomime this year with the theme of Puss in Boots, which started on December 15 and runs until January 7. Although aimed toward youngsters, it appeals to “children of all ages” with song and dance.

The second half heats up with the Centaur and La Chapelle theatres partnering in the annual Wildside shows, some Geordie Theatre presentations, the 32nd season of Cinegael Irish films and a one-nighter at the Place des Art with the amazing Uta Lemper. The details on all these are to be posted later in the month.

In the meantime, my attention is drawn to the political theatre south of the border as the presidential nominees for the November 2024 election heat up with announced candidates.

Major parties

The Republican nominees continue primary debates. The eight candidates last August have dwindled to four, not counting Donald Trump of Florida (formerly New York), who has refused to debate, preferring to have rallies on the same night as the debates even as questions arise as to whether he should even be on the ballot due to his having participated or at least aided and abetted the January 6, 2021, insurrection or rebellion as prescribed in Section Three of the 14th Amendment to the United States constitution.

Colorado and Maine have ruled that he cannot but he is appealing those decisions to the federal Supreme Court, hinting that the conservative majority should be bound to support his ballot eligibility. All this when conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is facing possible impeachment due to several alleged financial improprieties.

Republican nominees 2024

Left: Ron de Santis and Nikki Haley – Centre: Donald Trump – Right: Vivek Ramaswamy and Chris Christie – Image: BBC

The four still in the Republican primary debates are Chris Christie of New Jersey, Ron de Santis of Florida, Nikki Haley of South Carolina and Vivek Ramaswamy of California. Their next debates are on January 10 in Des Moines, Iowa, and January 18 in Manchester, New Hampshire.

The Democratic Party has, amazingly, decided to cancel any primary, going along with only Joe Biden of Delaware as the incumbent for re-election. However, announced candidates Marianne Williamson and Cenk Uygur, both of California and Dean Phillips of Minnesota, who had complied with financial and polling qualifications for a primary, are contesting this decision in court.

Minor Parties

alternative candidates 2024

Left: Jill Stein – Centre: Robert Kennedy Jr. – Right: Cornel West – Image: BBC


Robert Kennedy, Jr. and Cornel West, both from New York, have announced their candidacy.


Jill Stein of Massachusetts has announced her candidacy.


“Not Born in the USA”
The U.S. Constitution refers to Presidents as being “naturally” born in the USA. However, the 14th Amendment refers to rights being equal between citizens by birth within the USA or by being “naturalized.” Cenk Uygur was born in Turkey but brought to the USA as an infant and later “naturalized.” He estimates the same is true of 25 million other American citizens who should not be deprived of the right to be president. Also, to my knowledge, no one has ever claimed that U.S. citizens born by Caesarean operation were not “naturally” born per the Constitution, adding a tiny bit to Uygur’s argument.

You can’t make this stuff up. It borders on the theatre of the absurd. Keep tuned.

Feature image: Puss in Boots, courtesy of the Hudson Village Players

Bouton S'inscrire à l'infolettre – WestmountMag.ca

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Byron Toben, a past president of The Montreal Press Club, has been WestmountMag.ca’s theatre reviewer since July 2015. Previously, he wrote for since terminated websites Rover Arts and Charlebois Post, print weekly The Downtowner, and print monthly The Senior Times. He also is an expert consultant on U.S. work permits for Canadians.

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