Archive | Theatre RSS feed for this section

Prairie Nurse

26 Aug
The Hunt

Photo submitted by Blyth Festival

by Diva Nicole Olson

On Tuesday this week, I had a lovely evening out at the Blyth Festival theatre. I went to see Prairie Nurse, by Marie Beath Badian and directed by Sue Miner. As described by the playwright, it was a “fictional play based on real-life folks.” It was set in 1969 in a small town hospital in Saskatchewan, where two nurses from the Philippines came to work. The lab technician falls in love with one of them, but can’t tell them apart and thus, comedy ensues.

The show has a tough-as-nails head nurse, a hunting and fishing crazed doctor, a sweet but meddling candy striper, a caring and fatherly custodian, hockey star goalie/goofy lab technician, along with the two sweet, but home sick Filipino nurses. Combine all of these quirky characters and you get an enjoyable show full of laughs. I definitely enjoyed the fun, light hearted nature of the performance. They found ways to incorporate common stereotypes and make it tastefully funny.

Photo submitted by Blyth Festival

Photo submitted by Blyth Festival

There was hardly a spare seat in the theatre, and lots of chuckles could be heard from the audience! To see this show, or other fantastic productions at the Blyth Festival Theatre, check out their website http://www.blythfestival.com/ or call the Box Office.

Blyth Festival
423 Queen Street
Blyth ON N0M 1H0
Toll Free: 1-877-862-5984
Local: (519) 523-9300
Fax: (519) 523-9804
Email: info@blythfestival.com

Photo submitted by Blyth Festival

Photo submitted by Blyth Festival

Dinner and Theatre makes for a Golden Summer Evening

20 Aug

2 Faux HeartAttackby Diva Susan Pye

Last Saturday evening, we went with some friends to beautiful downtown Blyth, to dine at Part II Bistro and attend the current offering at the Blyth Festival, “Garrison’s Garage” by Ted Johns.  It was a particularly  golden summer evening drive through some of the prettiest countryside in Huron County, where we who live here congratulate ourselves for not living in say… (name your least favourite city).  We don’t have to  fight traffic, construction (coz we’re not on Hwy 21), testy drivers and robber-baron parking attendants to enjoy a fabulous dinner and great theatre, at non-city prices.

We all had tasty, beautifully presented appetizers and dinner at the Bistro, as we told the chef when he came out of the kitchen to see how his creations were received by the happy diners. Clearly the word is out on this comfortable but classy dining spot, as it was packed.  Reservations are definitely a good idea.  My only complaint- dinner was so good, no room for dessert! Next time.

Garrison’s Garage was a hoot! Originally presented in 1985, the play stands the test of time, perhaps due to the timeless central theme- Canada Revenue vs. us poor schmucks, I mean Taxpayers.  We can all relate, or at least I can, as how to complete my Income Tax is an abiding mystery to me. As is how my car works and why is doesn’t (usually at the most inconvenient moment possible) is another central theme of the play.  It was a full house who frequently LOL’d, so clearly other Huron County residents and visitors share my bemusement re: the inner workings of the CRA and automobiles.

We are really are blessed in Huron County!

Garrison’s Garage runs in repertory at the Blyth Festival until August 31.

Blyth Festival
P.O. Box 10, 431 Queen Street
Blyth, ON  N0M 1H0
519-523-9300 / 1-877-toBlyth (862-5984)

Part II Bistro
Queen Street
Blyth, ON  N0M 1H0
519-226-FOOD (3663)

Buddy Holly Rocks!

22 Jul
Image from Drayton Entertainment website

Image from Drayton Entertainment website

by Diva Nicole Olson

Last week, my Mom and I went to see the Buddy Holly Story at the Huron Country Playhouse in Grand Bend. I had never been to this theatre before, and I was pleasantly surprised at the size and overall atmosphere. The Buddy Holly Story was performed in the larger of the two playhouses and we had the best seats in the house! We were seven rows from the front and  in the middle of the row. I felt like Buddy was singing exclusively to me the entire show. The details in set design, costumes and props are what helped to transport you back to the late ’50s, where it all took place.

The show reenacts key aspects of the short, but incredible career that the Rock ‘n Roll singer/songwriter had. The talented cast depicted how he got started in the professional music business with his band the Crickets in Lubbock, Texas. They describe how he met, and fell in love at first sight with his wife Maria Elena Santiago. The show shares personal stories from his life and offers insights into the inspiration for several of his hit songs. What he was able to achieve, by the age of 22, was nothing short of extraordinary.

To say the cast has talent, is such a huge understatement. They all sang amazingly, especially Andy Christopher who played Buddy. In addition, they played instruments (some actors played several) and they danced. The double bass player put on an unbelievable performance of stunts with his instrument, and that in itself was worth seeing. They wanted to make the audience feel as though they were at one of Buddy’s concerts, and that is exactly what transpired. People were literally dancing in the aisles.
This show is all about the music. It’s full of hits like “Oh Boy,” “That’ll be the Day, and “Peggy Sue.” They also include songs from a few other artists from that time period. I grew up listening to eight tracks at my grandma’s house from the likes of Elvis, Patsy Cline and others of that generation. In the days since taking in this performance, I have found myself humming along to some of the songs and watching Buddy Holly performances on YouTube. I love the classics from that time period, and I absolutely loved this show.
Huron Country Playhouse
70689 B Line  South Huron, ON N0M 1T0
Box Office: 1-855-DRAYTON (372-9866) or Buy Online www.draytonentertainment.com

Tuesdays with Morrie in Grand Bend

4 Jul
Mitch & Morrie.  Photo by Darlene O'Rourke

Mitch & Morrie. Photo by Darlene O’Rourke

by Diva Trista Russell

Last week I headed to Playhouse II at the Huron Country Playhouse to watch Tuesdays with Morrie. I have to admit that I didn’t know much about the play before I saw it, but I had heard of the book. I had a feeling that the show would cause a few tears, so my Mom and I both brought some tissues—just in case.

Tuesdays with Morrie is based on a true story about a sports columnist, Mitch Albom, and his sociology professor, Morrie Schwartz. The two form a close bond in university, but lose touch after Mitch graduates. After Mitch (played by Jeffrey Wetsch) happens to see Morrie (played by Ian Downie) on television, he decides to to visit his old professor after 16 years. He discovers that Morrie, now in his late seventies, is battling ALS, to which there is no cure. With limited time left, Mitch resolves to spend each Tuesday with Morrie contemplating life, love, and death.

This show was definitely different from others I’ve seen at the Playhouse: it wasn’t a musical, there were no flashy sound effects, no intermission, or impressive sets…but I still enjoyed it because of the raw emotions expressed between Mitch and Morrie. While the subject matter was sad at times (those tissues came in handy!), there was also lots of opportunities to laugh with Morrie’s feisty wisecracks. I think we often take life for granted, so this play was a great reminder of the importance of embracing life while you can. I don’t want to give away too much of the story, as you have to see the play to truly understand the strong connection between the two characters.

Tuesdays with Morrie is very simple play featuring only a two-man cast with very a basic set and props. The simplicity made it easier to focus on the heart-warming interaction between Mitch and Morrie. Playhouse II was the perfect setting for this play, as it is smaller and more intimate than the main auditorium. Both actors would often speak to the audience, which made it easier to get absorbed into the story, and at times I almost forgot there was an audience beside me!

IMG_3353Opening night featured a reception afterwards, including a beautifully decorated cake. We realized after the play that Morrie was a familiar face. You may have recognized him as one of the grumpy old men featured on the TD Canada Trust commercials!

This touching and uplifting play is great for all ages and is one of my favourites from the Playhouse. I have also added the book to my summer reading list!

You can watch a 5 minute clip of the play on Drayton Entertainment’s YouTube channel. You can also find a great review on Huron News Now. Tuesdays with Morrie plays until July 13th.

Tickets: Call the Box Office at 519-238-6000 or buy online at www.draytonentertainment.comTickets range between $20-$40.

Playhouse II is located at the Huron Country Playhouse at 70689 B Line, Grand Bend.

I’m Wilder than her!

13 Jun

By Diva Jenna Ujiye

Dear Johnny Deere

Blyth Festival

June 11 – 22, 2013

Photo by Terry Manzo

Photo by Terry Manzo, J.D.Nicholsen and Rebecca Auerbach play Johnny and Caroline.in the production of Dear Johnny Deere, which is currently playing at Blyth Festival Theatre.

On Tuesday I was fortunate to attend the Blyth Festival Theatre and watch the first 2013 performance of Dear Johnny Deere. I was so happy to hear that Blyth Festival decided to bring back the show for a short run, as I was not able to make it in 2012. I had only heard and read good things and I really was blown away. I said to a friend that it reminds me of  growing up in Huron County!

The show was written by Ken Cameron, directed by Eric Coates and based on the songs of Fred Eaglesmith. I hadn’t listened to Eaglesmith before, but have now downloaded a few of his tunes and I can’t seem to get the songs WhiteTrash and I’m Wilder Than Her out of my head!

The cast of Dear Johnny DeereThe set is simple with the main focus of a baby grand piano and musical instruments hung up all over the place. We were told at the beginning to “use our imagination”, right away I thought … I know some people who might have trouble with that… but after watching the show and seeing how the cast and set inspired imagination, it was no problem at all.

The music and harmonies had me at the first song, fiddle, guitar, bass, drums and multiple guitars brought a smile to my face. I grew up in a family that sat around jamming and playing this kind of music at every gathering. This show is really great and if you are hoping to get out to Blyth to see it, you better book your ticket now. It is only running until June 22. Here is the link for you to get more information: http://www.blythfestival.com/#!blank/c1lxg to book tickets you can also call 1.877.862.5984

Blyth Festival is located on main street Blyth Ontario. They have five other shows that will be on this summer:

Huron Country Playhouse 2013 Season

9 Apr

Tickets are now available for purchase at the Huron Country Playhouse. They have got an exciting season filled with music and comedy. To book your tickets visit: www.draytonentertainment.com

here is a quick review of what is on this summer!

2013 Season at Huron Country Playhouse

The Sound of Music June 4 to June 22 (3 weeks)
Spamalot June 26 to July 13 (3 weeks)
Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story July 17 to July 27 (2 weeks)
Too Many Cooks July 31 to August 3 (1 week)
Mary Poppins August 7 to August 31 (4 weeks)

Playhouse II

Tuesdays with Morrie June 26 to July 13 (3 weeks)
Weekend Comedy July 17 to August 3 (3 weeks)
Sorry… I’m Canadian August 7 to August 31 (4 weeks)

Located in a picturesque country setting, the Huron Country Playhouse is just minutes from the shores of sparkling Lake Huron in the heart of Ontario’s West Coast. This popular vacation destination is full of charm and endless possibilities to discover breathtaking beaches, culinary delights, outstanding accommodations, unique shopping and countless recreational pursuits.

In 2011 the Huron Country Playhouse celebrated its landmark 40th Anniversary with an ambitious $4.0 million capital infrastructure expansion and improvement project. Visitors to the theatre this season will be among the first to experience many substantial upgrades to the front-of-house including new washrooms, lobby, refreshment bar, box office, and gift shop operated by the Huron Country Playhouse Guild, a community-based organization comprised of 90 volunteers.

There are 650 brand new theatre seats in the mainstage, and the Playhouse II has been completely renovated, increasing from 150 chairs to a fully raked 300 seat auditorium. Infrared hearing and wheelchair access are available to patrons who require special assistance.

A visit to the Huron Country Playhouse takes less than an hour from Stratford, London and Sarnia.

Join us for a timeless classic, as our stage becomes alive with the sound of music. In this epic love story, an aspiring nun named Maria leaves the convent to govern the seven mischievous children of Captain von Trapp.The memorable score by Rodgers & Hammerstein features such beloved songs as “My Favourite Things,” “Do Re Mi,” “Edelweiss,” “Climb Every Mountain,” and of course, the glorious title song.

Join us for the Tony Award-winning musical comedy phenomenon that raises silliness to an art form.

Monty Python’s tongue-in-cheek retelling of the classic tale of Camelot follows King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table and their infamous quest for the Holy Grail. A sensation on Broadway and London’s West End, Spamalot is gloriously irresistible entertainment.

Discover why “It’s So Easy,” to fall in love with Buddy Holly.

Five decades after “the day the music died”, the life and career of a true artistic pioneer are celebrated in this spectacular production that explodes into full-throttled joy through renditions of Buddy Holly’s greatest hits – classics like “Peggy Sue,” “That’ll Be The Day,” “Not Fade Away,” “Rave On,” and many more.

The grand opening gala for Irving Bubbalowe’s classy new restaurant quickly becomes a recipe for disaster when the famous singing chef, Francoise LaPlouffe, fails to arrive.

When an unemployed drifter is persuaded to step in at the last minute and don the master chef’s apron, chaos and confusion ensues … complete with Chicago gangsters, a hot-blooded immigration officer, an illegal shipment of booze, and a tee-totaling Mountie.

Magic and adventure abound, and lives are transformed, when the peculiar Mary Poppins arrives on the doorstep of the Banks household on London’s Cherry Tree Lane.

Experience the enchanting mixture of irresistible story, unforgettable songs, such as “A Spoonful of Sugar” and “Chim Chiminey,” breathtaking dance numbers, and astonishing stagecraft that make this Disney musical soar high above the rest.

“An old man, a young man, and life’s greatest lesson.” Based on the acclaimed best-selling book, Tuesdays with Morrie is the uplifting autobiographical journey of big shot sportswriter Mitch Albom, who develops a life-altering friendship with his old college professor Morrie Schwartz.

In this heartwarming production, a simple visit turns into a weekly pilgrimage, and ultimately a final lesson in the meaning of life.

Eager to rekindle the flame in their marriage, Peggy persuades her husband to take a weekend vacation in the Catskill Mountains. There’s only one small problem – their secluded one-bedroom cabin has been double booked by a young couple who are unable to keep their hands off each other.

The decision to share the tiny cabin for the weekend is a formula for disaster – and laughs – as youthful exuberance collides with middle-aged stodginess. Funny, warm and poignant, this is one vacation you will never forget!

He’s Back by Popular Demand! Follow Constable Archibald F. Inkster for an entertaining trek across our vast country, as he weaves a charming blend of humour and political satire with musical gems of the Great Canadian Song Book.

Sorry…I’m Canadian celebrates our distinct heritage and offers a fresh perspective on what it means to be a proud Canadian.

2013 Blyth Festival Season

1 Apr

By Diva Jenna Ujiye

Blyth Festival has got an amazing season ready to go for 2013 and today is the first day you can buy tickets!!!

Here is a quick overview of the season:

DEAR JOHNNY DEERE

by Ken Cameron
Based on the music of Fred Eaglesmith​
Additional music & arrangements by David Archibald​
Directed by Eric Coates​
June 11 – 22: limited run

​Rebecca Auerbach, J.D. Nicholson, photo by Terry Manzo

Johnny and Caroline struggle to keep the farm afloat while the bills pile higher and The Man from Toronto wants to put a big ol’ overpass right through their farm. What will it take to keep it all together?

There will be more drivin’, shootin’, cheatin’, schemin’ and boozin’ down on the farm complete with a whole lot more singin’ as the cast rock it with Fred Eaglesmith’s biggest hits.

BEYOND THE FARM SHOW

World Premiere june 26 – august 16
by The Collective
Directed by Severn Thompson

An original play about the people who make it work.

Inspired by the original Farm Show, these are the stories of the men, women and families who work the farm now. Led by Severn Thompson, a group of actors have gone out along the concession roads and built a play based on the sights, sounds and characters of the barns, fields and homes of Huron County – a play about the incredible and ever-evolving culture of agriculture.

From the farm, of the farm and for the farm.

YORKVILLE – THE MUSICAL

July 3 – August 11 – world premiere
Book & Lyrics by Carolyn Hay
Music by Tom Szczesniak​
​Directed by Donna Feore

photo by Azarah Eells
Instead of city folks coming to the country without a clue, this is the story of two country gals heading to the heart of Toronto seeking love, fame and fortune. Their gift? Step-dancing.
What could possibly go wrong? Yorkville – the Musical is a whole lot of singing and step-dancing fun all the way to the final kiss.

GARRISON’S GARAGE

July 31 – August 31
canadian classic
by Ted Johns
Directed by Peter Smith​

photo by Daniela Martin

First premiered in Blyth in 1985, it became an instant hit and toured the province to great acclaim!
A Revenue Canada field officer’s car breaks down in the ‘middle of nowhere’. He brings it to a local
garage and the eccentric mechanic who runs it. He inadvertently discovers what he thinks is the
scam of the century, but the truth of the matter is something else entirely. Filled with humour and a
cast of characters you’ll not soon forget, Garrison’s Garage has no idea how to your fix your vehicle
but certainly has your fix for plenty of laughs.

PRAIRIE NURSE

August 7 – 31 – world premiere
by Marie Beath Badian
Directed by Sue Miner

image courtesy H Holdsworth

It’s November 1969.
Two young nurses, just off the plane from the Philippines, arrive at a rural hospital in Arborfield, Saskatchewan – population 300. No one in town can tell them apart, including the lab tech at the hospital whose real job is playing goalie for the Arborfield Flyers. He falls in love with one of them but accidentally courts them both. It’s a comedy of errors with a great heart.

FALLING: A WAKE​

August 28 – September 7 – phillips studio
by Gary Kirkham
Directed by Peter Smith​
Featuring Catherine Fitch & Tony Munch

image by Alyzen Moonshadow

One autumn night, high in the sky above an isolated farmhouse, there is an explosion. Retired couple Elsie and Harold figure it must be a meteor. Their yard is suddenly filled with falling debris from a jetliner. They run for cover. When all is quiet again they venture out – sitting in their front yard is an airplane seat. And in that seat is the body of a 20 year-old man. The story that evolves is an emotional ride that is laced with humour. Inspired by a real life event, Falling: A Wake is driven by a pair of unforgettable characters – people who will stay with you long after the lights go down.

It’s World Theatre Day

27 Mar

Created in 1961 by UNESCO, World Theatre Day is celebrated annually on March 27 by theatre communities around the globe.  UNESCO’s goals were to

1)  Celebrate the power of theatre as an indispensable bridge-builder for mutual international understanding and peace.

2)  Promote and protect cultural diversity and identity in communities throughout the world.

Here, in Huron County, we’re fortunate to have two professional theatres.   I asked the artistic directors to share their comments on World Theatre Day.

Artistic Director - Peter Smith, Blyth Festival

Artistic Director – Peter Smith Blyth Festival

Blyth Festival‘s, Artistic Director Peter Smith ~ I believe there are two stories. The first is our experience; the second is relating that experience to another. There are many ways to relate a story about something that happened. I’ve heard terrific tales on a long prairie car ride, from someone at the front of a classroom, late at night around a kitchen table, coming from a radio on the windowsill, or on a small or big screen. I’ve also had experience related to me while gathered with a collection of others in one of the many theatres from across our blue planet.

Theatre is a live event – it’s people together in a room, or maybe somewhere outdoors, that has another crowd relating an experience back to them. It is shared.  It’s like being at a wedding. So many generations represented, so much anticipation, so much joy. Life is theatre and theatre is life. I encourage those who haven’t been to a play to check out the original 3D story this year. And for those who have, to head up or down the road and check out a theatre they’ve never been to before and witness the experience being related there.

World Theatre Day is every day for me. Theatre is simply the best of story.

_ _ _ _ _

Alex Mustakas, Artistic Director, Drayton Entertainment

Alex Mustakas, Artistic Director, Drayton Entertainment

Alex Mustakas, Artistic Director of Drayton Entertainment, including Huron Country Playhouse ~

Today, Drayton Entertainment proudly celebrates World Theatre Day in each of the unique southwestern Ontario communities in which it operates:  the original Drayton Festival Theatre in Drayton, Huron Country Playhouse and Playhouse II in Grand Bend, King’s Wharf Theatre in Penetanguishene, Schoolhouse Theatre in St. Jacobs, St. Jacobs Country Playhouse in Waterloo, and the new Dunfield Theatre Cambridge, located in the heart of Galt.

At its core, Drayton Entertainment has always understood that good theatre doesn’t just portray life – it encourages us to participate and experience it at a much deeper level. It encourages us to think, to cry, to laugh, to learn, to form a sense of the purpose of life, to be sympathetic with others – the list goes on and on.

Theatre is one of the cornerstones of a healthy, vibrant society. It is a conduit for the convergence of community, commerce, and creativity, building new synergies between the traditional and innovative … enhancing the lives of all Canadians in the process.

_ _ _ _ _

Watch for details of the 2013 season’s in upcoming blogs at OntarioTravelDivas.com or visit these websites today.

Blyth Festival Drayton Entertainment’s
Huron Country Playhouse
P.O. Box 10, Blyth, ON R.R. #1, B Line, Grand Bend
519.523.9300 519.238.6000
1.877.862.5984 1.855.372.9866
www.blythfestival.com www.draytonentertainment.com

2012 Blyth Festival – Eaglesmith music and life on the farm

26 Jun

The small town of Blyth, Ontario is host and home to the Blyth Centre for the Arts. It is a year-round cultural activity centre with a plethora of opportunities, including – Blyth Festival Theatre, an Art Gallery that showcases three professional exhibits and the Blyth Festival Singers.

The season is coming together very well with one show already started. The world premier of Dear Johnny Deere kicked the season of on June 22. This show  takes songs and music by Fred Eaglesmith and shows us the ups and downs of life on the farm. The Divas haven’t mad it out to the show yet, but they wanted to make sure that you all had the opportunity to hear about it! London Free Press wrote a great review about the show, check it out here: http://www.lfpress.com/entertainment/stage/2012/06/24/19915226.html and see a bit of information below. Look for more information to come soon about the other shows happening this summer!

If you are looking to get tickets or are looking for more information you can visit or call here:

www.blythfestival.com/ or call 1-877-862-5984

dearjohnnydeere.jpg

June 19 – July 7

WRITER(S): Ken Cameron
DIRECTOR: Eric Coates

Drivin’, shootin’, cheatin’, schemin’, and boozin’…just another day on the farm when Fred Eaglesmith is writing the tunes!  But it’s not all fun and games…Johnny and Caroline struggle to keep the farm afloat and their marriage together while the bills pile higher.  What will it take to keep them together?

Hint: it’s green.  And it’s a tractor.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,559 other followers