“Wake Me” It Ain’t Over

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“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

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MUSICAL THEATRE, STAND UP COMEDY & A FILM FESTIVAL… Another exciting summer in Cottage Country

Driving the family "Up North" to the cottage.
Driving the family “Up North” to the cottage.

SCENES FROM MY DOCK” RETURNS…STILL AS FUNNY AND POIGNANT!”

The Rosseau Culture and Arts Project (R’CAP) is presenting  another exciting summer season of entertainment here in Rosseau and now in Parry Sound. We opened “Scenes From My Dock 2.0” in Rosseau and have moved our hit summer show to our new venue in Parry Sound, the Upper Brunswick Playhouse in downtown Parry Sound. NOW PLAYING UNTIL AUG 14. This is an updated version of the original and is as much of a pleaser as all our shows! And what a great cast. It stars Toronto based jazz singer Christine Aziz, Mary Kreder, Brittany Cope and Oscar Moreno. 

THE NEW BRUNSWICK GRILL AND SPORTS BAR
        THE NEW BRUNSWICK GRILL  AND SPORTS BAR
"Guests From Hell!"
                       “Guests From Hell!”
Contractor's Lament....WE CAN ALL RELATE!
Contractor’s Lament….WE CAN ALL RELATE!

We have teamed up with the newly renovated Brunswick Grill and Sports Bar , 72 James St. on the main floor (formerly Don Cherry’s) . It’s worth just going into the place to see the renovations. And the food…simply the best. Great value too. We are offering a dinner/theatre package for $60 all inclusive (tax and gratuity)

AND THIS WEEK ONLY until Aug 1, when you purchase your tickets in advance online we are giving $10 off the theatre ticket. WHAT A DEAL! That’s $50 for dinner and a PROFESSIONAL show ALL IN! Or twenty for Show Only. 

All tickets must be purchased IN ADVANCE online at www.ParrySoundILoveYou.com 

COMEDY IN COTTAGE COUNTRY

Mike Paterson and Tim Rabnett entertain at this year's "Up Against The Wall Comedy Bash" July 31 -Aug 2Part of this year’s “Destination Rosseau/P.S. I Love You”. R’CAP is presenting the return of our “UP AGAINST THE WALL” standup comedy night. This year we are expanding to two night’s in Parry Sound at the Upper Brunswick Playhouse Friday, July 31 and Sunday, Aug 2 plus Saturday, Aug 1 in Rosseauat the Memorial Hall.  Dinner/Theatre Packages are available in both venues at $65 or show only $35.

Featured this summer are two very funny guys Mike Paterson and Tim Rabnett. Both have extensive bios that include appearances at “Just For Laughs”, the Winnipeg Comedy Festival and appearances on CBC’s “The Debaters”.  These performances are sure to be a memorable experience. WARNING: Last year we sold out so get your tickets ASAP www.DestinationRosseau.com 

2nd MUSKOKA INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL AUG 27-30

The films have been submitted and once again we have received entries from around the world, from comedies to dramas to animation. We are presently putting together the final programme and it will be available online at www.DestinationRosseau.com 

e MIFF 2015 BANNER

THE AUDIT, a new comedy, OPENS JULY 8 at the Rosseau Playhouse

AUDIT POSTER

In 2008 two of my biggest sponsors went into receivership pulling me down within an inch of bankruptcy.

And now the bad news. A few months later Revenue Canada informed me that I had been selected to be audited for the years 2005 and 2006. It is still not resolved for they claim I owe them income tax on funds my biggest sponsor/partner lent us (long boring story). I did however learn that although the government tries to put on a happy “we are here to serve you” face, it is just a huge machine that tells its auditors not to come home empty handed. There is no room for compassion (although they pretend) or understanding.

I learnt a long time ago that in everything painful there is an element of humour. Isn’t that what the best humour is? Misunderstanding and fear?  So I decided to take my fear, stress and sleepless nights and turn it all into a comedy…a dark comedy.

“The Audit” is about a dentist who suddenly gives up his practise to become a standup comic, his sarcastic dog and an auditor from Canada Revenue who has managed to bury her passion in order to do her job.

Don’t worry. Taxes and the audit process are only vehicles to tell the story.

It’s a play about surviving the challenges thrown at you during your journey…divorce, finance, kids and health. The fun stuff in life. It’s about the power of passion and conviction…and the lack of. The play also attempts to answer the age old questions “What is art?” and “What is funny?”.

I have been writing “social comedy” professionally since 1985 when I wrote and directed the year-long Toronto production of “Yuppies The Musical”.  Since then I have go on to lampoon cottage life, aging, wealth, consequences of disease, marriage, divorce, golf, more divorce, exercise and the Catholic church…to mention only a few. I totally believe in writing what you know….(less time researching and more time having fun writing). “The Audit” is no exception.

This past winter I approached an old (mature) friend Sharon Sproule, an accomplished actress and for years the force behind one of the province’s best community theatres in Espanola. I asked her to find me three actors to workshop “The Audit” for a public reading. She found me a teacher, a therapist/life coach and a contract worker for Revenue Canada. (Nice).  Michael Bolvin (oops! name misspelled on poster), Jason Morrow and Theresa Laurenti  did such a great job that I asked them to be part of Destination Rosseau.  The results of their bi weekly workshops under Sharon’s direction is so impressive that I had to bump up the production value to meet their acting skills with a full set. This truly is a production that has exceeded all expectations and I am very proud of it. It’s the perfect way to spend a summer’s night or afternoon on Wednesday while in Muskoka/Parry Sound.

“The Audit” opens July 8 and runs Tues thru Sat 8:00 PM with Wed Matinee at 2:00 PM in the Rosseau Playhouse at 7 Ash St until July 19. For tickets and info visit www.destinationrosseau.com 

Starting July 1 – Destination Rosseau – a festival of theatre, art, music and film

 

 

 

 

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What do Billy Bishop, Ditchburn wooden boats, Native Canadian poet Pauline Johnson and the creators of the Shopsy hotdog have in common? The answer is the  Village of Rosseau, at the top of Lake Rosseau

This summer from July 1 thru Sept 20, the Rosseau Culture and Arts Project is hosting “Destination Rosseau”. As executive director I am thrilled to be leading a team of great people helping to launch this incredible festival of integrated arts featuring live summer theatre (including a world premiere), incredible art, hilarious comedy by Canada’s funniest, children’s hands on science camps and all-day parties, a  film festival featuring flicks selected from over 1300 international entries and a jazz weekend to end the season.

To find out more details, where to purchase tickets and discover what brought Billy Bishop and friends to Rosseau you are going to have to visit www.destinationrosseau.com

 

“Quiet! I’m Talking” July 29 – Aug 9 Destination Rosseau 2014

The award-winning one-woman tour de force returns to Muskoka! Soon to be a feature film “The Grass Widow of Muskoka”, this is a new production and updated version. Summer theatre at its best! Always a favourite with men and woman! Written by Vince Grittani starring Patricia Vanstone as the wonderfully entertaining, 99 year old American socialite in Canada, Bunny Bevington-Smythe.

Bunny Returns to the Muskoka Stage! Not the Easter One, The Witty One.

ImageIt’s been eight years since Bunny has been seen up on the stage here in Muskoka. Last year she did make it to the Muskoka Lakes Association’s 2013 yearbook in an exclusive interview. And soon she’ll be seen up on the silver screen where she’ll be immortalized forever in “The Grass Widow of Muskoka”.

Since she first came to the public’s attention back in 2001 to celebrate the 100 years of the Gravenhurst Opera House, Bunny has been presented by a variety of ladies throughout the province. Some have tried to steal her but failed to capture her inner soul ending up with a caricature that lacked elegance and spirit. People have compared her to the likes of Brooke Astor  and even to the recently deceased Bunny Mellon. Yet no one comes close to her wit, her insight and her inner beauty. 

This summer actress Patricia Vanstone, who some may recall from “Road to Avonlea”, was recently on stage touring opposite Norm Foster in his play “On A First Name Basis”, and who directed the original production of “Quiet! I’m Talking”,  plays an updated and revised version of Bunny Benvington-Smythe as part of “Destination Rosseau 2014” theatrical presentations. For a limited run, July 29 to August 9, Trish shall take  audiences on a journey of Bunny’s life, much of which was spent at her Muskoka retreat, Finnigan’s Point.  WIth tales of the the rich and famous, comments on the world today and shared secrets of a personal life that most can only dream of, Bunny welcomes audience members to the launch of her book “Quiet! I’m Talking”. 

Known for her wit and humour, some of this great lady’s observations of the world are best demonstrated in her many notable quotes…

“The information highway stops at the city limits. Up here at the lake all one needs to know is what’s for dinner and is there enough booze.”

“With wealth comes great responsibility. The problem with the nouveau riche is they think blue chip stocks come with a jalapeno dip!!  

This year, for  matinee performances,  Bunny invites the public to afternoon High Tea following the show at the TWG Gallery. This is a perfect excuse to get the gang together, put on your fancy hat, observe fine art and enjoy tea and fine pastries. RSVP in advance for show and high tea,  of course. 

“Quiet! I’m Talking” at the New Rosseau Playhouse in the Agricultural Hall, Village of Rosseau, Hwy 632 & Ash St.

Tuesday, July 29 to Friday, August 1 and Tuesday, August 5th to Saturday, August 9th  8:00PM $30.00

Matinee Performances Wednesday, July 30 & August 6th $30.00  with High Tea $35.00

TICKETS AVAILABLE ONLINE at www.rosseaucultureandarts.com

or through the Box Office in the TWG GALLERY, 8 Hwy 632, Rosseau, ON P0C 1J0  705-224-3542

Groups over 20 call the box office.

 

 

 

 

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

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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.   

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Me during the workshop….