A handful of the faces both new and familiar who will be gracing the stages at the Thousand Islands Playhouse this season.
By Lorraine Payette, Written May 10, 2016
(Gananoque, ON) After a winter of roller coaster weather, it’s hard to wait for the start of what could be the hottest and coolest season yet at the Thousand Islands Playhouse.
“Our 2016 season is right around the corner, and I’m so excited to be welcoming our incredible creative teams and cast members from across Canada,” said Ashlie Corcoran, Artistic Director.
On May 20, the doors will open on “A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline”, starring Alison MacDonald as Patsy Cline and Tyler Murree as Little Big Man.
“Country music’s greatest lady takes the stage to tell her story through her own unforgettable songs,” says the Playhouse. “‘A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline’ chronicles Patsy’s compelling journey as she climbs to stardom from small town Virginia to Carnegie Hall. Featuring her greatest hits, including “Walkin’ After Midnight,” “Crazy” and “I Fall To Pieces,” this production stars Playhouse favourite Alison MacDonald (‘She Loves Me’, ‘Pirates of Penzance’) in a performance that will transport you back in time. With great tunes, a great band, and country music’s greatest lady, this show will have you singing the whole way home!” This is one of the great coast-to-coast shows produced in association with Western Canada Theatre, Kamloops, BC.
With “A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline” (running May 20-June 11), the season is off to a dynamic start. Also to be expected this year are “Blithe Spirit” (June 17-July 16), “Assassinating Thomson” (July 5-July 17), “Beneath Springhill – The Maurice Ruddick Story” (July 19-July 31), “Into the Woods” (July 22-August 13), “In A Blue Moon” (August 12-August 28), “A Grand Time in the Rapids” (August 19-September 17), “Das Ding” (September 9-September 25) and “You Are Here” (September 23-October 16), theatre goers will be presented with a well rounded variety of quality entertainment. Comedy, drama, musicals – everything is available, and ready for your enjoyment.
Five of the plays are “coast-to-coast” productions in that they are co-produced with other theatres in different parts of the country. They run first at one theatre, then pack up bag and baggage and move on to one of the of theatres involved in the co-production to delight and entertain audiences there. By joining in this way, Canadian live theatre can produce its highest quality work and have it seen by the widest number of audiences, benefitting theatre goers throughout the nation.
Three of this year’s shows are also one-person plays, calling on that unique set of gifts an actor must possess to make them a success.
“Blithe Spirit” is a classic Noël Coward comedy based on séances, a medium and psychic research resulting in hilarious consequences. When his late wife returns from the dead and tries to get rid of his new wife, it will be impossible to keep the laughter under control.
Next up is “Assassinating Thomson”. A unique one-man drama created and performed by Bruce Horak, it tells the story of the mysterious death of Tom Thomson, considered to be the unofficial 8th member of the Group of Seven. Although he has only 9% vision, Horak has spent his life painting and, over the course of each performance of the play, he paints a portrait of the audience as he sees them.
Another one-man show, “Beneath Springhill – The Maurice Ruddick Story”, created and performed by Beau Dixon, tells the compelling story of the man known as “the singing miner”. Trapped underground for nine days during the Springhill mining disaster of 1958, he recalls the events of the disaster and tells about the effect it had not only on rural Canada, but also about the racial tension that evolved from this event.
“The play is a celebration of hope, courage and community,” says the Playhouse.
“Into the Woods” is a modern Broadway musical hit rescaled to fit the stage at the Thousand Islands Playhouse. The ever so magical woods become the place where fairy tale quests must be fulfilled by the Baker and his Wife, Cinderella, Rapunzel, Jack, and Little Red Riding Hood. Not meant for small children, it explores some of what can happen when happily ever after takes a different twist. The play is recommended for people aged ten and up.
Love stories always fill the heart with hope, and “In a Blue Moon” is no exception. This sweet new play is about a six-year-old girl who, having lost her father, comes together with her mother and her Uncle Will to become a new kind of family. Produced in association with Western Canada Theatre, Kamloops, BC and Arts Club Theatre Company, Vancouver, BC, this is another in the expanding world of coast-to-coast theatre.
More comedy is in store with “A Grand Time in the Rapids”. A farce written by Canadian playwright Stewart Lemoine, it deals with manners, etiquette and English propriety all gone askew.
“Das Ding (The Thing)” is a German social comedy about a cotton fibre that takes off on adventures and takes a hard look at our global economy. Produced in association with Theatre Smash and Canadian Stage, both of Toronto, Ontario, it is the fourth in the line-up of coast-to-coast plays. It contains some racy bits and is noted as having provocative, political and sexy content, making it best suited for a more mature audience.
The final play of the season (also a coast-to-coast production) is the one-woman musical “You Are Here”, starring Linda Kash. A world premiere, it takes place on the night of the 1969 moon landing, when a woman decides to step out of her ordinary, happy marriage and walk off into a bold new world she has never explored.
In addition, The Young Company will be bringing the environmental adventure “Violet’s the Pilot” to children throughout the region. To be seen in schools and parks, the play involves Violet, set on becoming the world’s youngest pilot, who suddenly finds herself up against Bud, the world’s youngest protestor. The audience is the press, and they will determine what the next day’s headline will read after watching our young heroes in action.
Season tickets are available by contacting the Thousand Islands Playhouse at http://www.1000islandsplayhouse.com/ways-to-save/ or you can order individual tickets at http://www.1000islandsplayhouse.com/box-office-information/ .
For the opening play of the season, “A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline”, starring Alison MacDonald as Patsy Cline and Tyler Murree as Little Big Man, running dates are May 20 – June 11 at the Springer Theatre. All Tuesday performances start at 7:30 pm, Wednesday to Saturday at 8:00 pm. Matinees will be held on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday at 2:30 pm (starting the Sunday after opening). Single ticket prices are Regular Ticket at $32, 65 and over $30 and Under 30 $20. Prices do not include HST or $2.50 in assorted fees.