The Classic Theatre Festival has announced its 2016 summer season cast, a stellar lineup of some of Canada’s top performing talent who will be spending the summer in Perth as part of the company’s expanded 7th season, running June 22 to September 11.
The mainstage season officially opens with the Neil Simon comedy I Ought to Be in Pictures, a tale of father-daughter reconciliation that will star William Vickers (returning after his comic turn last year as the outrageous Victor Velasco in Barefoot in the Park), Alison Smyth (who won a Capital Critics Circle Best Actress nomination for her role as the blind hostage Susy Hendrix in last summer’s Wait Until Dark), and Barb Scheffler, a veteran of the Ontario summer theatre circuit including Thousand Islands Playhouse and Drayton Festival.
The Simon play is followed by a show George Orwell considered the wittiest work to be penned by the inimitable George Bernard Shaw, Arms and the Man. The tale of a naïve, patriotic young woman who falls in love with a soldier who just happens to fight for the “other side,” it stars a series of Festival veterans: Rachel Fischer and Catherine Bruce (both from last year’s Barefoot in the Park), Alastair Love (his third CTF season following a star turn in Wait Until Dark), Alan Lee and Lindsay Robinson (both of whom have appeared in prior seasons in comedic roles) and 6-season veteran Scott Clarkson, who first appeared in 2011 as the husband in The Fourposter. Newcomer Lana Sugarman makes her debut at the Festival this summer after her recent five-star appearance at the St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival as Desdemona in Othello.
The main stage season closes out with the fascinating, gripping mystery An Inspector Calls, J. B. Priestley’s remarkable story: a body winds up at the morgue and everyone becoming a suspect. It features Festival favourites William Vickers, Greg Campbell (who has delighted in playing the less than savoury characters in Dial M for Murder and Wait Until Dark), and Sean Jacklin (whose comic turn as a stair-challenged telephone repairman in Barefoot in the Park marked his first appearance on the Festival stage). The show also welcomes veteran thespians who are newcomers to the Festival stage, including Elana Post, an award-winning performer and filmmaker, playwright and actor Fraser Elsdon, and Anna Burkholder, making her Canadian debut after a decade working in the UK, most memorably at the National Theatre in a production of Shakespeare’s Timon of Athens.
With Artistic Producer Laurel Smith directing the three mainstage shows, Costume Designer Renate Seiler returns once again to apply her close attention to colour as a means of underscoring plot and character development. Also returning to contribute to the Festival’s highly-regarded visual presentation is Lighting Designer Wesley McKenzie (who won critical praise for his debut season at the Festival last year). The Festival is very privileged to welcome Set Designer Lois Richardson whose sets graced the stage at the Capitol Theatre in Port Hope for many years. Stage Managers Jennifer Stobart (who has helmed over 130 shows across Canada, including two in Perth), and Alison Muir, a Maritimes transplant with the distinction of a joint Masters in Acting from Carnegie Mellon University and the Moscow Art Theatre School. Assistant Directors this season will include the multi-talented Laura Caswell and Perth’s own acclaimed theatre artist, Joanna Macauley-Treffers (previously seen at the Festival in Neil Simon’s Come Blow Your Horn.)
All shows at the mainstage will run Wednesday to Sunday at 2 pm, with evening shows at 8 pm every Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. New this year, the popular Pre-Show Talks that have preceded matinees will be added to the evening shows as well, a half our before each performance.
The every-popular, family-friendly theatrical historic walking tours that stroll through the downtown streets six times a week will return this year with two new plays by Laurel Smith, both directed by Sean Jacklin. The morning Perth through the Ages walk (Wed. to Sun. at 11 am) will focus on a story arising from the early interactions between the Algonquin people (who continue to live in this area after 8,000 years), and the European settlers who were greatly assisted by local Indigenous people. The Friday Night Lonely Ghosts Walk (7-8 pm) will focus on Perth’s role as a distillery town and the women who fought for temperance. The walking tours feature a troupe of gifted young performers including Morgan MacDonald, Garrett Pipher, Emily Richardson, and Connor Williamson.
“It’s going to be a very full season as Perth celebrates its 200th anniversary, and we anticipate thousands of tourists once again descending on our town, enjoying our shows as well as everything else we have to offer, from the great heritage accommodations to the wonderful restaurants and shops and the gorgeous surroundings they encounter,” says Smith.
Tickets to the 2016 summer season are available, with discounts for double passes (10% off 2 shows) and full season passes (15% off for 3 shows), with flexible options for picking dates later. More information at www.classictheatre.ca or 1-877-283-1283.