REDISCOVERED COMIC GEM: Opens Classic Theatre Season June 22

The Classic Theatre Festival in Perth opened its 9th summer season June 22 with a rediscovered comic gem, John Van Druten’s There’s Always Juliet. Playing at its wheelchair accessible, air conditioned 54 Beckwith Street East venue, the play embodies much of what makes unique the Festival’s mandate to produce hits from the golden age of Broadway and the London Stage. “We pick plays that bring back fond memories and sensations, like the feeling you  get when you watch the film It’s A Wonderful Life every December with your friends and family, or you hum along to a wonderful Ella Fitzgerald song,” says Artistic Producer and Director Laurel Smith. There’s Always Juliet asks whether love at first sight truly exists. Sparks fly after a British woman meets an American man at a London tea party, but how far will things go in this charming, cross-border romantic comedy set in 1927 London, England? “If you love the charming romantic comedies of the 30s and 40s (think Cary Grant, Jean Arthur, Jimmy Stewart and Carole Lombard), this one’s for you,” says Smith. There’s Always Juliet features an ensemble of Festival veterans including Scott Clarkson, who returns for his 8th season after a star turn in last year’s audience favourite, Same Time, Next Year; Festival newcomer Victoria Houser, a Toronto actor and singer originally from Halifax; Catherine Bruce (last seen here in the award-winning Arms and the Man); and Fraser Elsdon (from the Festival’s An Inspector Calls and Candida). Over 80% of the Festival’s summer audience is tourists, thousands of whom arrive in Perth annually to take in plays, as well as eat, shop, and stay overnight, boosting the local economy. The Festival also books some of Canada’s top theatre and film/television talent, with actors who have performed across the country and been seen on screens around the world. Over the past two years, the Classic Theatre Festival has also garnered a record-breaking nine Capital Critics Awards nominations for artistic excellence (more than any other company in Eastern Ontario, including the National Arts Centre), clearly putting Perth on the must-visit destination itinerary of many travelers. “One of the pleasures of an Ottawa Valley summer is Perth’s Classic Theatre Festival, which has an impressive track record for mounting quality fare,” enthuses Jamie Portman, one Canada’s most respected veteran theatre writers and a member of the prestigious Capital Critics Circle. Smith points out that while the Classic Theatre Festival’s award-winning shows regularly receive critical praise and audience raves, they are also proud to “serve as a cultural hub and gateway to the many wonders of Ontario’s Highlands, where authentic experiences, unrehearsed days, and unexpected moments await (see for details).” The Festival’s summer season officially kicked off June 5 at Michael’s Table restaurant, where the Classic Dinner Theatre is staging the Shaw comedy Overruled. Seats for the brand new dinner theatre experience, which runs Tuesdays until August 28, are already 90% sold out, so those looking for “a most entertaining meal” should book soon. The summer will also feature two more classics on the mainstage – the mother-daughter conflict and gradual… Continue reading

CLASSIC DINNER THEATRE: Premieres in Perth June 5

Every Tuesday evening this summer, the 2018 Classic Dinner Theatre and Michael’s Table present the hilarious G.B. Shaw comedy, Overruled – about two couples confronted by an unconventional challenge – along with a sumptuous three-course, home-cooked meal. Performed by some of Lanark and Renfrew Counties’ most talented up-and-coming performers – including Mallory Brumm, Katie Irvine, Connor Lyon, and Connor Williamson – the brand-new dinner theatre experience represents an extension of the annual summertime Classic Theatre Festival, which already features three mainstage professional productions, as well as a morning walking play and an evening ghost play. “Our mandate period of performing classics from the golden age of Broadway and the London Stage is perfectly suited for dinner theatre,” explains Artistic Producer Laurel Smith. “I also think it’s something that’s primed for a comeback in an age when there’s only so much binge-watching people can do at home before they start to long for the connection of a live performance experience like this one.” While dinner theatres sprung up across North America after World War II and reached their heyday in the 1960s and 70s, they have been enjoying a resurgence as companies like the Classic Theatre Festival and Michael’s Table come together around shared values of artistic and culinary excellence. “It’s a great opportunity to tickle your funny bone, please your palette, and create a memory you’ll enjoy long after the final curtain,” Smith says. The Classic Theatre Festival decided to launch the new dinner theatre based on audience feedback about additional activities they would like to enjoy while attending a mainstage show. Given that 80% of audiences are tourists, a key request was getting home before sundown, and with a running time of 5 to 7 pm from June 5 to August 28, that should pose no problem for travellers coming from as far as two hours away. The Michael’s Table menu will be offering four special entrees, with soul and salad and dessert and coffee or tea. Tickets for the experience will be $48 (which includes all box office charges, taxes and gratuities.) With limited seating and strong advance word of mouth, seats are already selling fast. To reserve dinner theatre seats – and to enjoy the Festival’s early bird offers, which expire May 15 – contact 1-877-283-1283 or visit Continue reading