The last time Marlene Ginader of Brandon worked in Winnipeg it was at Staples in Portage Place. Now she has returned to Winnipeg to a very different job in the downtown mall. She is upstairs at Prairie Theatre Exchange starring in their latest production, Chelsea Hotel: The Songs of Leonard Cohen.

The show is a dark love story about a writer facing writer's block who encounters various loves from his past as well as his present love. The show features 28 of Leonard Cohen's songs performed by six singers who also play a myriad instruments. The only dialogue is drawn from Cohen's poetry.

Marlene Ginader of Brandon stars as the writer's current love. She admits, she wasn't familiar with Cohen's songs before taking on this role. 

"Now I'm completely in love with Leonard Cohen," she said.

While Cohen is known for his languorous interpretations of his songs, Ginader says they've decided to pick up the tempo. "I think it's Cohen like you've probably never heard it before."

Chelsea Hotel has been touring the country and Ginader says she's never been in a show where the response has been so varied. Some people come away thinking it was a great concert, some people really relate to the story, while others leave the hall in tears.

"Yes, it's a very emotional response," she said.

Ginader grew up in a musical family in Brandon. Her father, Gerhard Ginader, is a composer and professor at Brandon University and her mother is a violinist and teacher at the conservatory. After her job at Staples, Marlene went to study theatre at Studio 58 in Vancouver.

Marlene Ginader of Brandon stars in Chelsea Hotel: The Songs of Leonard Cohen. The play opens Thursday night Jan 23 and runs until Feb 9.