The Classic Theatre Festival has announced its upcoming 2017 season, one whose programming will dovetail with Ontario and Canada 150th anniversary celebrations while building on the strengths of seven successful summer seasons. In addition to adding a Tuesday matinee at the mainstage, the Festival will also be doubling the number of ghost plays. The Festival’s annual holiday sale allows early buyers to save 25% off season passes before December 31.
A professional company that produces hits from the golden age of Broadway and the London Stage (a period roughly from the 1920s through the 1970s), the Festival will highlight the two most successful Canadian playwrights during its mandate period, opening the mainstage season with Canadian Bernard Slade’s comedy Same Time, Next Year (June 23 to July 16). Slade, from Beamsville, Ontario, played a significant role in the development of the post-war Canadian theatre, radio, and television scenes before hitting Hollywood, where he developed The Flying Nun and The Partridge Family before penning his epic Broadway hit. Same Time, Next Year ran three years and became an Academy-Award nominated film starring Alan Alda and Ellen Burstyn.
It’s the story of two people, each married to someone else, who get together for an annual weekend over 26 years, sharing the ups and downs of their lives from the early 1950s through the mid 1970s as the world rapidly evolves around them.
The other Canadian work is the season’s annual closing thriller mystery, by Peter Colley, an acclaimed Canadian playwright whose latest work, a musical about Terry Fox, opened this fall. I’ll Be Back Before Midnight (August 18 to Sept. 10), originally produced at the Blyth Festival in 1979, has since played in 30 countries, become a Hollywood film, and was celebrated by The Globe and Mail as the most successful Canadian play ever. It’s a Hitchcock-styled thriller about a young Toronto couple who purchase an isolated country farmhouse with a mysterious history.
Sandwiched in-between will be another production of a George Bernard Shaw classic, the romantic comedy Candida (July 21 to August 13). Building on the applause for the Festival’s celebrated 2016 production of the Shaw comedy Arms and the Man (which won a Best Actress Award from the Capital Critics Circle for Lana Sugarman, in addition to nabbing a Best Director nomination for Laurel Smith as well as a Best Production nod), Candida will remind audiences of how fresh and fun Shaw’s stories can be. In this instance, the title character must choose between the affections of a passionate young poet and her clergyman husband in this skewering of Victorian notions of love and marriage. When first produced in London, the show generated such audience enthusiasm that the press coined the phenomenon “Candidamania.”
Mainstage shows will run Tuesday to Sunday at 2 pm, with 8 pm shows every Wednesday and Saturday. The very popular Pre-Show Talks will continue to occur a half hour before every performance.
The Festival’s highly praised theatrical walking plays will returns in 2017 as well, focused on characters and stories from Perth around the time of Confederation. Perth through the Ages will run Wednesday to Sunday at 11 am, beginning June 21 at Matheson House Museum and winding up August 27. Given the number of sellout performances in 2016, The Lonely Ghosts Walk will expand to run Thursdays and Friday at 7 pm, running June 29 through August 25.
The Festival’s annual holiday sale is on until December 31. Purchasers of a season flex pass can save 25% and pick their dates next summer. For more information call 1-877-283-1283 or visit www.classictheatre.ca