The Classic Theatre’s Festival’s fifth anniversary season of hits from the golden age of Broadway and the London Stage promises a number of innovative additions while staging entertaining productions that will draw audiences from across Eastern and Central Ontario as well as the U.S. The Festival’s hugely popular Holiday Sale returns this year, whereby anyone can purchase a voucher before December 31 that entitles them to 20% off any ticket, with the freedom to pick their actual show dates closer to summer.
The Festival’s summer season will open with Neil Simon’s Broadway debut, the uproariously funny “Come Blow Your Horn,” Simon’s comedic take on the swinging bachelor lifestyle of the early 1960s. The story of a ladies’ man who appears to tire of juggling girlfriends, and his younger brother who idolizes his sibling and wants to follow in his footsteps, the play features trademark Simon characters, from a pair of outrageous parents with unforgettable one-liners to a bubble-headed airline stewardess smitten with the hope of a Hollywood career, and a less than successful singer whose latest achievement is performing “Why Not Take All of Me” while dressed as a sausage. “Come Blow Your Horn” runs July 11-August 3.
“This play really set the stage for what followed with Simon’s career,” says Artistic Producer Laurel Smith, who notes that audience requests for more Simon plays after the Festival’s 2013 hit production of “The Star-Spangled Girl” contributed to this choice. “This is an affectionate look at family, the tensions that arise when children do not meet parental expectations, and finding your way in a world of mixed messages about relationships. Just reading the play, we found ourselves laughing out loud, so you can imagine how much audiences will enjoy this once it’s up on the stage.”
The Festival’s second show is a new direction for the company, one of the all-time great mystery thrillers, Frederick Knott’s “Dial M for Murder.” Originally produced in 1952 and later turned into a classic Alfred Hitchcock film, the plot follows the dastardly plans of a has-been tennis player who arranges the murder of his wealthy wife. The intricacies of the scheme, the investigation by Scotland Yard, and the possibility that the plotter may be caught leave audiences on the edge of their seats. The New York Times called it “remarkably good theatre, tingling with excitement.” “Dial M for Murder” will run August 8-31.
“Reading the play on paper is real page turner; seeing it on stage will be even more exciting,” says Smith. “Audiences will really enjoy this play, because it has all the elements that make up a good mystery, with a slow but steady build that, while working well on film, works even better live. Because audiences are so close to the stage, they feel like part of the action,” explains Smith.
During 2014, the Festival will add an additional Thursday matinee, and shows will run Wed.-Sat, at 8 pm, with 2 pm matinees each Wed., Thurs., Sat. & Sun. Each matinee will feature the return of the hugely popular pre-show talks that situate the play in its historical context, explain plot elements, the background of the playwright, and a discussion of the show’s original production.
The Festival will also feature a Canadian theatre history exhibit in its lobby, building on the success of the “Now and Then” exhibit that graced the walls of the Perth Museum during the summer and fall of 2013. It also has plans for a guided walking tour named “Perth through the Ages,” featuring our new youth theatre troupe that will animate the Town’s downtown core by recreating scenes from Perth’s history four mornings a week.
The Festival also plans its third edition of the ever-popular “Swing Into Spring,” a big band dance extravaganza that returns to the Perth Civitan Club on Saturday May 3rd, with the 16-piece band, “Standing Room Only.”
Until December 31, purchasers can take advantage of the Festival’s annual Holiday Sale and receive a 20% discount, with the freedom to pick their dates later in 2014. They will also receive a 10% discount on the May 3rd Big Band dance with every Festival ticket purchase. For tickets and further information, contact 1-877-283-1283 or visit www.classictheatre.ca.