“Wake Me” It Ain’t Over

POSTER SQUARED

 

“Wake Me When It’s Over! The ‘12-Step Musical’ 

GRAVENHURST – The Gravenhurst Opera House presents its final theatrical production of the 2016 summer season; the award-winning “Wake Me When It’s Over…the 12-step musical”, an original comedy by Canadian stage and screenwriter Vince Grittani with music by Rosalind Mills. This comedic look at one man’s attempt to cope with change on his sixtieth birthday features Larry Herbert (Stratford’s “42nd Street”, Toronto’s ”Mamma Mia” and “Cats”) and the versatile Debbie Collins (Mirvish Production of “The Producers”), who was last seen in this year’s Opera House production of “The Marvelous Wonderettes!”

This high-energy comedy from the creator of hits “Yuppies! The Musical”, “Quiet! I’m Talking” and “Scenes From My Dock”, has been updated and features, in addition to the original, new scenes and songs like “Divorce of Course” and “I’ve Got An App For That!”

As Roger (played by Herbert) is about to celebrate his 60th birthday, he turns to Dr. Yolanda and her book “Flush, a 12-step program to happiness!” With each step Roger is confronted by a series of hilarious women from his life, past and present, all played (sometimes at the same time) by Collins. From his strap-happy grade school teacher Sister Mary of The Compassionate and Merciful Christ to the slightly wacky Margo, an Evita Peron wannabe, running for president of the condo association, Roger is forced to deal with each of these characters before moving on.

Award winning director Dayna Tekatch, who directed the 2016 season opener, “2 Across” as well as Mirvish Productions’ “Forever Plaid” in Toronto earlier this year, returns to direct and choreograph this production along with musical director Sherisse Stevens. The show opens Tuesday, September 13 and runs until September 30.

Visit www.GravenhurstOperaHouse.com to purchase tickets or call the Box Office: 705-687-5550

“The Audit”, my new comedy premiering this summer, NOT the deed!

Image

Getting audited is no fun. Believe me, I’ve been through it. However, it did inspire me to write my new comedy, appropriately called “The Audit”. I started writing it in 2010 in response to my own experience. In fact, my original intention was revenge. I was going to expose Revenue Canada for the dirty rotten bastards they are…But the truth is everyone was really, really sweet. So helpful and quick to give advice. However, in the end it didn’t stop them from them claiming I owed money. I appealed and threw myself at the mercy of the court. Okay, there was not court. More like the mercy of the Canada Post. Correspondence was always by phone or written snail mail. Something to do with privacy issues…(I guess Heartbleed proved them correct.) 

But I digress….Oh yes, my play. So finally I finished the play and in the end the characters took me on a journey in a whole different direction. Yes, the audit procedure is still there, but only  as a vehicle.  The true story is about how a divorced dentist quit his thriving practice to become a stand-up comic. I’ve always found comedians a strange bunch. No fourth wall to hide behind. You believe what they say is actually their own words, thoughts and experience, not some character they are playing. They have terrible sex, the kids hate them and the ex-wife is a bitch. 

I study comics. I watch their body movements. I can always tell when they are talking about a subject that is not true. Those who make me laugh, really laugh are the ones telling the truth…or at least it’s based on the truth.  Most often the darker the humour the closer to the truth they speak. 

Creating the main character Ray Halliday in “The Audit” wasn’t easy. When you first see him his jokes are topical and usual, but as we the audience learn more about his dark side, so too does his humour reflect it.  He begins to ridicule his own problems. If someone else did the same jokes it would be considered bad taste. It’s the old rule that you have to be one to ridicule one, otherwise you are  racist, sexist, homophobic etc. 

The most difficult thing about writing “The Audit”, or any work that involves humour as a topic, is trying to stay funny.  I think of movies where actors play comedians. Most of the time it doesn’t work. I find even now, when watching old Seinfeld episodes, the stand up club bits are often lame. The laughter is canned and humour isn’t spontaneous. 

 

So in the end I decided to approach the whole subject as a playwright, not someone writing for a standup comic. Of course, I have inserted certain devices that I know will get laughs.  The most prominent is Zeus the wise cracking dog. Yes, we have seen it done before but I wrote this dog from the point of view of my own, Iago.This summer’s production comes out of a workshop I did in Espanola this past March under the direction of an old friend Sharon Sproule. The actors, Jason Marrow, Michael Boivin and Theresa Laurenti although they all have other careers (one even works for Revenue Canada) did such a splendid job I asked them to come and perform this summer as part of Destination Rosseau. The show runs July 8 to 19, Tuesday thru Saturday at 8:00 PM with a Wed Matinee at 2:00 PM. Tickets are available online at www.rosseaucultureandarts.com , at our box office in the TWG Gallery or by phone after May 1 at 705-224-3542.   

Image

Me during the workshop….

 

 

Actors Wanted! General Call

Image 

The Muskoka Theatre Project (now operating under the non-profit Rosseau Culture and Arts Project) is looking for union and non-union local actors of all ages…Local meaning those with their own transportation and accommodations in the Muskoka/Parry Sound region. In the past we have presented such original shows as the award winning “Quiet! I’m Talking”, “Scenes From My Dock” and “Wake Me When It’s Over!”. This is a general search for several future projects, both plays and musicals, beginning this summer and onwards and will be produced in various venues. Please submit a photo and resume to info@rosseaucultureandarts.com . For more information visit www.muskokatheatreproject.com

                               Image

 

                                               Vince Gritttani, Executive Director 

Rosseau Under Siege! THE GROUP OF SEVEN…MUSKOKA STYLE.

This Saturday, Aug 3 ,  seven very talented professional artists emerge on a small village in Muskoka to  capture a “DAY IN THE LIFE OF ROSSEAU”.

Image

RAIN OR SHINE from 10:00 AM until late afternoon , visual artists from both the Muskoka and Toronto area  will stake their claim and record  a scene of activity in Rosseau. It’s going to be a busy day in the village as there is the Classic Boat and Car show happening down at the waterfront. The Anglican church is having a country fair and then there’s the usual buzz that happens on a Saturday.  By 5:30 the artists return to the TWG Gallery in Rosseau for a gathering and the auction.  Everyone is invited to attend, even just to look at the art and to witness the auction.

Proceeds from the auction will be split between the artist and the “IN-TENT TO BUILD CAMPAIGN”

Image

It should be an interesting display at the end of the day for the participating artists vary in style and medium. The Group of 7 for 2013 are Stephan Galvanek , Caryn Ladovsky, Sue Slocum, Linda Woolven, Nola McConnan, Barb TenEycke and Mahtab Abdollahi.  Artists will be wearing “Paint the Town” T-shirts and members of the public are encouraged to ask questions while they are working.

“Up North” The Cottage Theme Song by Vince Grittani & Rosalind Mills

I had a great evening last night when I spoke at the Muskoka Lake Association AGM. In spite of the “technical difficulties” I presented a short talk on cottage life then and now, a few personal anecdotes from my own experience, and then took a few jabs a some of the over the top “monstrosities” people are building in Muskoka, so out of touch with the region.

It was a reassuring experience for my ego as “my fans”, mostly long time cottage lifers, expressed keene interest in the TWG GALLERY and my desire to build a theatre in Rosseau. My friend Mary Gair, who is also president of the Rosseau Culture and Arts Project, and I met a teacher from our high school years. All in all it was a pleasure to be asked.
Oh yes, I got my first glimpse at the 2013 MLA yearbook and saw the layout for my short story based on my screenplay “The Grass Widow”. It looked so good that I’m going to use it to help with the pitch for financing.

Part of my powerpoint presentation included to slide presentations set to music here’s the first one set to the song from “Up North” from my musical “Scenes From My Dock”. I wrote the lyrics and my writing partner Rosalind Mills the music. The comics are mine from a variety of sources.