Blithe Spirit Out to Prove There Are Laughs after Death

 

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by L. Lorraine Payette, written June 23, 2016

(Gananoque, ON)

Poor Charles (Stephen Gartner).  Writers have troubles at the best of times, and getting good research is only one of many.  He was sure he had it all worked out – he would hold a simple séance at his home with local clairvoyant and medium, Madame Arcati (Anita Wittenberg), and not only would he, his wife Ruth (Krista Colosimo) and his friends, Doctor Bradman (Christopher Weddell) and Mrs. Bradman (Janet Michael), participate in some good clean fun, but there should be more than enough material.  His maid, Edith (Kelsey Gilker) would handle dinner and arrangements, and things would be perfect.  And so they were, until his deceased wife Elvira (Shannon Currie) decided to liven up the evening with a few antics of her own…

Welcome to Noël Coward’s “Blithe Spirit”, a spooky little comedy bent on keeping the eternal triangle exactly that – eternal.

“Noël Coward is famous for his scintillating dialogue, and Blithe Spirit doesn’t disappoint,” says artistic director Ashlie Corcoran of the show’s playwright. “This is my favourite play by Coward because of the element of the supernatural.  It takes aim at both society’s interest in and mockery of the world of the occult.  This play transcends satire and manages to both amuse and scare
audiences.  The show provides exceptional roles for women, and I am excited by all the opportunities to create design and stage magic!”

Several of the cast will be familiar to Playhouse attendees.  Returning are Krista Colosimo (Don’t Dress for Dinner, Boeing Boeing), Shannon Currie (Dear Johnny Deere, Waiting for the Parade), Janet Michael (Waiting for the Parade), and Anita Wittenberg (Waiting for the Parade, Boeing Boeing).  Fresh faces come in with debut performances from Stephen Gartner, Kelsey Gilker, and Christopher Weddell.

One of the season’s three co-productions with Western Canada Theatre in Kamloops, the play promises to be a lot of fun while it brings that old black magic to life.  Set and costume design is by Dana Osborne and beautifully recreates the ‘30s.  Stage Manager Isabelle Ly provides special effects, which are full of ghostly fun.  The entire support crew has worked to put together an experience that will leave you chuckling and amazed.

“Blithe Spirit” runs from June 17 – July 16, 2016, at the Springer Theatre, 185 South Street in Gananoque, Ontario.  Running time for the play is 2 hours including intermission.  Show times are Tuesday 7:30, Wednesday through Saturday 8:00 pm, with matinees on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday at 2:30 pm (starting the Sunday after opening night).  Student matinee is May 26 at 11:00 a.m. and is presented by the TD Bank Group.  Tickets are $32 for adults, $30 for seniors age 65+, <30 Club $20.  HST is applicable to all ticket prices.  For more information, please go to www.1000islandsplayhouse.com or contact the box office at 613-382-7020.

 

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A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline Glistens with Greatness

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written by Lorraine Payette, June 3, 2016

(Gananoque, ON) Patsy Cline has come to Gananoque, and the Thousand Islands Playhouse may never be the same again.  As Little Big Man spins the platters and reminisces, the music flows on down and everyone – everyone – is invited to join right in and sing along to those amazing hits from yesteryear.

Alison MacDonald doesn’t just play the part in “A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline” – she is Patsy, from the moves to the look to that one and only voice. Continue reading

New Season Opens with “A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline”

 

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by Lorraine Payette, written May 24, 2016

(Gananoque, ON)  It’s time to go out walking after midnight with a brilliant two-person musical based on the life and career of superstar Patsy Cline.  As the opening show at the Thousand Islands Playhouse, it promises to be everything her fans could want and more.

Returning to the Playhouse for this production are actress Alison MacDonald as Patsy Cline, musicians David Archibald and Bob Arlidge, costume designer Jayne Christopher, assistant stage manager Michael Barrs, set designer Ross Nichol, and director Daryl Cloran.  New to the Springer Theatre stage are actor Tyler Murree as Little Big Man, musicians Dan Charbonneau and Duncan Holt, stage manager Lisa Russell, lighting designer Davida Tkach and sound designer Ben Malone. Continue reading

2016 Season at the Thousand Islands Playhouse Destined to Fill Summer with Magic

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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.  Continue reading

Dear Johnny Deere Brings Fred Eaglesmith’s Music to Gananoque

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by Lorraine Payette, written September 30, 2015

“The kind of bar where there’s only two types of music on the jukebox – one is country, the other is western…”
– McAllister, Dear Johnny Deere

Don’t make a mistake about it – this is definitely a musical, but there’s nothing light, fluffy or comedic going on here. A Juno Award winner, Dear Johnny Deere is serious drama, carefully crafted around the music of Fred Eaglesmith, a play that takes a hard look at love, the land and surviving the trials of running a small family farm in Canada.

Ken Cameron had wanted to write something around Eaglesmith’s work, and found himself up against a major challenge. He sat down and listened, then sorted and listened again before finally finding the thread he was looking for.<!–more– to read more>

“Because Ken researched Fred Eaglesmith’s songbook extensively, he was able to draw the characters and plotline from the many stories embedded within Fred’s songs,” said The Talent House in their summary and review. “The result is a musical where Fred’s hit songs seem tailor-made to the musical, not the other way around.”

The story is a tale of love and loss, of heartache and despair, the fear of losing a marriage and of losing the land that has been there ever since he can remember. It is a close look at the experience of so many farmers – the fear of losing the one you love to someone more exciting, rumours of government bringing a highway through to destroy the town, the temptation of someone with big money who could buy you out and give you a fresh start, crops dying in the field due to unpredictable weather, never, ever knowing whether you’ll wake up to a day of peace or one of turmoil. Tragedy and triumph, underscored with that constant, driving beat and the music that tells the tale so well.

With the music, you have to have musicians who are up to the task. Six have been brought together to make this story work, and make it work they do. From the four who play the principal characters as well as several musical instruments, to those who fill in the remainder of the sound so necessary to flesh it all out, they bring the story to life. The Playhouse has found these six in Greg Gale (Johnny), Shannon Currie (Caroline), Bruce Horak (Mike, Hendrick, the Collector), Jeff Culbert (McAllister), Capucine Onn (the fiddler) and music director David Archibald. Whether vocals or instrumentals, they work together as a team, bringing every song vibrantly to life and making you forget, every now and then, that this is a musical and not a glimpse into the hard but determined life of a small town Canadian farmer.

Going from “White Trash” to “I Wanna Buy Your Truck” to “Time to Get a Gun”, the music is strong and smart, a toe tapping, head jiving experience that keeps you humming along as you leave the theatre and return to your regular life. And maybe, just maybe, that regular life doesn’t seem so bad by comparison, or maybe it all feels just a little bit too familiar. Either way, you leave the theatre ready to go back once more to see and hear it all again.

Dear Johnny Deere runs from September 25 – October 18, 2014, at the Springer Theatre, 690 Charles Street South in Gananoque, Ontario. Running time for the play is 2 hours including intermission. Show times are Tuesday through Saturday 8:00 pm, with matinees on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday at 2:30 pm (starting the Wednesday after opening night). Deck chats are Wednesdays at 1:30 pm and Thursdays at 7:00. Tickets are $32 for adults, $30 for seniors age 65+, $16 for students, with a half price preview on July 24. HST is applicable to all ticket prices. Group tickets are available at $26 – $28 each. This show is recommended for people of all ages, but may not appeal to younger children. For more information, please go to http://www.1000islandsplayhouse.com or contact the box office at 613-382-7020.

Pirates of Penzance Stealing Hearts at TI Playhouse

by Lorraine Payette, written June 30, 2015

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Show shots by Jay Kopinski

“Take any heart – take mine!”
– Mabel, “The Pirates of Penzance”

(Gananoque, ON) A gang of ruthless pirates/rum runners have landed in Gananoque and are out to steal your hearts at the Springer Theatre from June 19 until July 18. Well, not exactly Ruth-less, for without their dear, slightly addled Ruth (Shelley Simester) there would be no story.

As we enter the tale, we are about to celebrate Frederic’s (Adam Charles) 21st and it is she who tells us how it all began. A loyal, loving nurse, she only tried to follow her employer’s wishes and apprentice young Frederic as a pilot. But, being hard of hearing, she apprenticed him instead as a pirate, and so began his life of crime, running rum with the most tender-hearted pirates in the world as they go up against the American prohibition and the zaniest Coast Guard around. – to read more>

Waiting for the Parade Keeps the Home Fires Burning

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Rehearsal Photos

written by Lorraine Payette, September 3, 2014

Time would come for roll call,
Time for us to part,
Darling I’d caress you
And press you to my heart…
– Lilli Marlene (translated by Tommie Connor, 1944)

(Gananoque, ON) World War II was a hard time for everyone involved, but it had a special significance for those who stayed behind, the women who kept the home fires burning. Always waiting, always hoping, always dreaming of the day when they would once again bring the family circle together they did everything they could for their men so far away and for all of those at home as well.

Waiting for the Parade focuses on five of these iconic women from Canadian history – each with her own loved one, each with her own reasons to stay strong, drawn together by fate to create a special friendship only people in such a situation could ever develop. One awaits her sons, another her husband. Two have husbands who have remained at home while the fifth carries the burden of being a German immigrant and daughter of a suspected Nazi sympathizer. Yet each has her own strengths, her own weaknesses, and contributes in her own way to make the interminable war time bearable for herself and the others. – to read more>

“She Loves Me”: Largest Romantic Musical in Many Years Comes to Playhouse Stage

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Rehearsal Photos

by Lorraine Payette, written June 10, 2014

(Gananoque, ON) Opening on June 21, the Thousand Islands Playhouse will be dancing its way into your heart with the largest cast musical they’ve performed in years. “She Loves Me” promises to be a feast of sight and sound, with 13 gifted performers bringing you the story of a nervous young woman, Amalia Balash (Alison MacDonald) and Georg Nowack (Ron Pederson), the manager of Maraczek’s Parfumerie. The bane of each others existence in the workplace, each is so certain they’d be happier if they never had to see each other at all. As they both indulge in their favourite passion and stress reliever of writing and receiving letters from their secret pen pals, neither realizes that this is about to become the most wonderful summer in 1930’s Budapest that either of them could ever imagine. – to read more>

Salt-Water Moon Makes Magic for End of Season

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by Lorraine Payette, written October 20, 2013

(GANANOQUE, ONTARIO) Jacob Mercer is about ready to admit he’s a fool. Maybe a bit of a heel, a jerk, perhaps even a rogue. But he’s returned to Coley’s Point, Newfoundland, after a whole year away to win back the love of his life and start over in perfect, newfound happiness. At 18 he’s a new man, mature, and ready for anything.

Mary Snow, however, has other plans in mind. She, too, has had a whole year to grow and think. And she thinks she’d really prefer marrying Jerome McKenzie, a rich man’s son and Jacob’s nemesis. After all, he’s reliable, he’s predictable, the future will be so secure with him….

But when the two start sparking under that Salt-Water Moon, surprises are in store for all concerned. – to read more>

“Local Flavours, Local Friends” Returns to TI Playhouse

by Lorraine Payette, written September 11, 2013

(GANANOQUE, ON) – Building on the success of last year’s event, the Thousand Islands Playhouse in Gananoque has decided to once again host “Local Flavours, Local Friends” on September 21 at 4:30 p.m.

“It’s a great chance to get out and show what we have to offer,” said Kerry Coyle of the Purple House at the tasting last year. “There are a lot of wonderful opportunities here just waiting to be explored.” – to read more>