The 2013 summer theatre season has already begun for many summer theatres. This year there are 21 members of the Association of Summer Theatres ‘Round Ontario (ASTRO, www.summertheatre.ca). Here is a quick summary of what all of them are doing in July and August.
Starting in Western Ontario in Petrolia, the venerable Victoria Playhouse has artistic directors David Hogan and David Rogers presenting a season of musicals and comedies until October 20. Upcoming in July is The Fantasticks, a classic musical, and closing their season in October is the Canadian premiere of Florence Henderson’s show All the Lives of Me. Blyth Festival, one of Canada’s leading theatres for producing new Canadian plays, has lined up three new plays including Beyond the Farm Show, inspired by the Canadian classic The Farm Show. Severn Thompson, daughter of Paul Thompson, directs. And they are bringing back Ted John’s popular comedy from the ‘80s Garrison’s Garage.
|Drayton Entertainment's Spamalot|
Stephen Patterson and Kristen Peace
Photo by Darlene O'Rourke
On the north shore of Lake Erie, we have two thriving summer theatres. From west to east there is Port Stanley Festival Theatre which is premiering the new musical comedy Not In My Backyard in July. In August, Artistic Director Simon Joyne’s play Mini-Putt opens, while September brings a great closer to their season—Norm Foster’s Drinking Alone. Moving further east to Port Dover at Lighthouse Festival Theatre in July, there is—who else?—Norm Foster’s latest comedy, On a First Name Basis. Later in July The 39 Steps, adapted from the Hitchcock classic, opens. In August Dear Johnny Deere with music by Fred Eaglesmith starts a three-week run. Lighthouse is also transferring four of their 2013 shows to Showboat Festival Theatre in Port Colborne including Sarah Quick’s Knickers: a Brief Comedy in July and The 39 Steps in August.
|Shaw Festival's Lady Windermere's Fan|
Photo by David Cooper
Now we head north to Bala where first time ASTRO member New Actors’ Colony Theatre is producing its third season from July 7 to August 11. The season includes Maja Ardal’s acclaimed You Fancy Yourself and her more recent show The Cure for Everything as well as Buncha Munsch, Frankie, and Greater Tuna. On the shore of Georgian Bay, Theatre Collingwood is presenting Billy Bishop Goes to War in July and Norm Foster’s On a First Name Basis starring Mr. Foster himself in this touring production from July 30 to August 4.
|Driftwood Theatre's The Odyssey|
Sarah Machin Gale and Christopher Darroch
Photo by D.J. Smith
Up in Millbrook near Peterborough, 4th Line Theatre opens their season on July 4 with Artistic Director Robert Winslow’s The Winslows of Derrymore, a prequel to their seminal show The Cavan Blazers. In August Andrew Moodie’s The Real McCoy is playing. It is recommended to book tickets early. This popular theatre regularly sells out many performances. North of Peterborough near Bobcaygeon, Globus Theatre’s summer season has Thom Currie’s Back in ’59, Shirley Valentine, the touring production of Norm Foster’s On a First Name Basis, and Sexy Laundry. Further north in Haliburton, Highlands Summer Festival opens July 1 with Nunsense. Their season runs until August 9 with three more shows: Our Town, The Sunshine Boys, and the touring production of Wingfield’s Inferno starring Rod Beattie.
|Festival Players of|
Prince Edward County's
The Fort Mac Show
Greg Gale and Georgina Beatty
Photo by Aviva Armour-Ostroff
The Thousand Islands Playhouse’s 2013 season is Artistic Director Ashlie Corcoran’s first season. In July in their Springer Theatre the comedy Boeing Boeing continues its run, while August brings the Broadway success The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. In the Firehall Theatre Third Floor is playing in July and The (Post) Mistress by Tomson Highway is opening on August 14. Up to now I have just let you know about summer theatre shows in July and August but I do want to make an exception to tell you about the adaptation of Alistair MacLeod’s beloved Canadian novel No Great Mischief opening at the Playhouse in September. Richard Rose is bringing his Tarragon Theatre production starring three of Canada’s leading actors R.H. Thomson, David Fox, and Nicola Lipman. Do not miss it if you live in Eastern Ontario!
Classic Theatre Festival in Perth continues to present Broadway hits from the 1950s and 1960s in its fourth season. This year they are pleased to announce its 2013 summer season will be at the intimate Full Circle Theatre. Neil Simon’s The Star Spangled Girl plays from July 12 to August 4, while The Marriage-Go-Round runs from August 9 to September 1. St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival in Prescott runs its 2013 summer season from July 13 to August 17 playing Maid for a Musket and Hamlet in repertory at their lovely amphitheatre facing the St. Lawrence River. In Morrisburg Upper Canada Playhouse, celebrating their 30th anniversary season, has the madcap comedy Murder at the Howard Johnson’s in July and the farce No Sex, Please, We’re British playing in August.
There you have it—a plethora of summer entertainment across the province. Wherever you are and wherever you are going in Southern Ontario, you will find live theatre nearby this summer. Enjoy!