London celebrations

Drayton offers 10 virtual episodes of performances, interviews and entertainment

The stages may be dark, but the province’s largest professional theater company is bringing some light and a lot of fun with a new virtual series.

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The stages may be dark, but the province’s largest professional theater company is bringing some light and a lot of fun with a new virtual series.

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Drayton Entertainment, a not-for-profit company that operates several theaters in Ontario, including the Huron Country Playhouse in Grand Bend, is offering theatergoers a Backstage Pass: 10 weeks of recorded performances, interviews with actors, music and comedic moments “to bring theater lovers to much needed joy and entertainment.”

“Patrons will not only learn more about the Canadian theater industry and many artists they know and love, but they will also provide significant support amid these latest restrictions, which have once again ended our operations, ”said Alex Mustakas, artistic director of Drayton Entertainment and host of the series.

The series consists of 10 hour-long episodes on Sunday nights from January 30 through April 3 featuring some of the nation’s top talent who have performed on the Drayton stages. Alexis Gordon of London appears in the first episode with Robert Marcus, star of the 2013 Stratford Festival hit Tommy, and the 2015 Grand Theater production of Dream a Little Dream.

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Also among the 40 artists featured in the series are AJ Bridel, who starred in the Canadian debut Kinky Boots film and placed third in the CBC’s Over the Rainbow competition to play Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz; Danielle Wade who won Over the Rainbow and has performed several times at Grand Bend; Stratford Festival veteran Marcus Nance; and Lee MacDougall who appeared in Drayton’s The Foursome and on Broadway in Come From Away.

“It’s actually quite interesting,” said Mustakas, noting that Backstage Pass follows the success of Drayton’s first virtual offering, We’ll Meet Again, a variety show that was available to a limited audience in 2020 after. the pandemic.

“This series is totally different from We’ll Meet Again in terms of content, but it follows a similar weekly format. In addition to a few exceptional performances, Backstage Pass includes heartwarming personal interviews with the artists. The audience can learn more about them as people and hear fun stories behind the scenes. It really is a blast.

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Tickets are $ 20 per household or $ 150 for the entire series, available online at draytonentertainment.com or by calling the box office at 1-855-372-9866. Each show will remain available online for seven days after it airs.

The online audience will also be able to meet the nine finalists in the Drayton Community Talent Search launched in September. Each week, a contestant will share their talent, and in the final episode, the audience will receive instructions on how to vote for the winner. The nine finalists are Emma Reynolds of Penetanguishene, Faridhusen Mansuri of Guelph, Emily McRobbie of Harriston, Malia Dilana Alfonso of Leamington, Adam Rigby and Cayleigh Lennox of Dundas, Abigail Shatford of Pelham, Simon Zenker of Elmira and the Rezonation Quartet of Kitchener. Waterloo.

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Meanwhile, Mustakas is planning a 2022 season for Huron Country Playhouse and the company’s other five theaters, but doesn’t expect to feature any of the big musical productions the company is known for, like the hit Kinky Boots which has a cast and crew of over 40 people. The new season is expected to be announced in the coming weeks.

“The problem we face is that it now seems like it changes day by day – not week by week – depending on how big of an audience we can have, so it’s very difficult to plan.” , did he declare.

“It’s a moving target. But I’m going to have a season, but it will be safe (with smaller actors and crews) with music, lots of comedy, and good drama.

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