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Sunday, December 31, 2017

Theatre playbills in scenic Ontario cities, towns for 2018: Drayton Entertainment



    One-Tank Trip for Dec. 30/17

      (c) By Jim Fox

   The curtain is rising on an epic season for a theatre company with seven stages in scenic, interesting and can we call them “quaint” communities in southern Ontario.
   Drayton Entertainment theatres are a perfect one-tank trip to places with wonderful amenities for day-trippers and weekend getaways.
The Drayton Festival Theatre is in a former 1902 opera house and town hall. (Barbara Fox photo)
   This includes the Festival Theatre in Drayton; Huron Country Playhouse, Grand Bend; King’s Wharf Theatre, Penetanguishene; and the renamed Dunfield Theatre, now known as the Hamilton Family Theatre Cambridge.
   There are also the Huron Country Playhouse II, Grand Bend; St. Jacobs Schoolhouse Theatre; and the St. Jacobs Country Playhouse.
   “Variety is key next season,” said artistic director Alex Mustakas of the charitable theatre organizations shows.
   “There is something for everyone, from Broadway blockbusters and hilarious comedies to classic musicals and family fun with another beloved Disney classic and our annual holiday panto (pantomime),” he added.
   After a record-breaking 2017, the company is “reaching for the stars in 2018 with a
season that is bigger and better than ever before.”
   Vancouver’s Colin Sheen starred in Footloose at the King’s Wharf Theatre in Penetanguishene.
   Annual attendance exceeds 250,000, making Drayton Entertainment one of the largest professional theatre companies in Canada.
   Over the coming year, there will be 17 productions and 899 performances.
   The company has procured the Canadian premieres of major Broadway shows that will continue through next year.
   The new Irving Berlin musical Holiday Inn will “continue this winning streak with its thrilling
choreography, huge dose of humor and legendary music,” said marketing manager Amanda Kind.

The play Man of La Mancha is one of the highlights of the coming season for Drayton Entertainment.
   Sneak peek behind the curtain
   Among an array of musicals and comedies, the season will feature a new show, Canada
151: Better Late Than Sorry.
   It’s billed as “celebrating the true north strong and free” and stars local celebrity Neil Aitchison as the everpopular Mountie.
   There’s also a “grandscale production” of Disneys underwater musical the Little Mermaid and the regional premiere of Ghost: The Musical, based on the hit romantic film.
   Record attendance has prompted the extension into the “fall shoulder season” in Drayton, Grand Bend and Penetanguishene.
   In Waterloo Region, the next season will see the official launch of the renamed Dunfield Theatre to recognize the philanthropy of longtime supporters John and Terry Hamilton.
Alex Mustakas is back in Man of La Mancha.
   As well, Mustakas returns to the stage after five years to star as the deluded knight errant, Don Quixote, in the epic musical odyssey, Man of La Mancha.
   The season there starts from March 14 to April 8 with Hairspray, followed by the courtship comedy, the Birds and The Bees, May 23 to June 10.
   Then there’s Cruisin’ Classics in July; Jonas & Barry in the Home in August; Man of La Mancha, from Oct. 10 to Nov. 4; and Holiday Inn, Nov. 22 to Dec. 30.
   The Drayton Festival Theatre lineup features Holiday Inn from May 16; Canada 151: Better Late Than Sorry, opening June 20; the Birds and The Bees, from Aug. 22; and Kings & Queens of Country starting Oct. 3.
Hairspray opens the season in Cambridge.
   St. Jacobs Country Playhouse has the Drowsy Chaperone from March 28; West Side Story; the Rainmaker; the Little Mermaid; Out of Order; Ghost: The Musical; and winding up with Jack and the Beanstalk: The Panto from Nov. 28 to Dec. 30.
   At the St. Jacobs Schoolhouse Theatre is the madcap Shear Madness from Sept. 12 to Dec. 23.
   The shows will also run at varying dates in the summer in Grand Bend and Penetanguishene.
   Tickets for “regular performances” cost $46; $27, ages 20 and younger. Details: draytonentertainment.com

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Jim Fox can be reached at onetanktrips@hotmail.com
For more One-Tank Trips: http://1tanktrips.blogspot.ca

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