I’ve been having a great time as Playwright in Residence for Theatre Orangeville, working on the new musical “The Whole Enchilada”. The residency has included spending time in Orangeville (they gave me an office and everything!) as well as seeing a lot of theatre and readings, and quite a few breakfasts with Artistic Director David Nairn. This show is something new for me, with far more songs as compared to dialogue than I’m used to. It also means there’s a lot of music, so there’s a lot of experimenting with different ways to move the story along through song. Thanks to the OAC for the opportunity!
After a great summer in Newfoundland (including a lot of fun as the villain in the Folk Opera “The Nobleman’s Wedding”) as well as a reading of one of my new plays, I’ve been back in Toronto for a little more than a week. And now… headed to New Mexico to research the next piece! Looking forward to telling everyone about it!
A Summer in Newfoundland
It’s been two years since I’ve been back, so when the offer came to spend another summer with the folks at Rising Tide Theatre in Trinity Newfoundland, I jumped at the opportunity.
There are few places in the world where you can perform in great theatre and see icebergs, eagles, and whales, and I’ve had a great first week rehearsing Petrina Bromley’s This Marvellous Terrible Place. Rising Tide is a repertory theatre, which means over the summer I’ll be performing in four shows in rotation, while hiking and fishing a bit in there too.
Stop by! I’ll be here until labour day. The above picture was taken just down the road from me. Hope everyone has a chance to get out and enjoy some nature wherever the summer finds you.
Remember that Song?
Just this weekend, Smile Theatre finished performing the two month tour of the new musical I’d written specifically for them, “Remember that Song?”. The creation of the show was something new for me. Along with my friend Toni MacRae, we decided to go to a local Senior’s home and interview Residents about memories in their lives that they could tie to certain songs (“Is there a song you associate with meeting your partner? The birth of your first child? What was your wedding song?”) Afterwards, all these songs and stories were woven together into a show, bookended with an original song that introduced the concept of the show, “Remember that Song?”.
The result was something that really resonated with older adults across the province: hearing their stories reflected back to them. I’m so thankful to Smile for the wonderful job they have done, particularly the great team of actors and stage manager that were out on the road bringing this show to Seniors across the province of Ontario. Smile is definitely a company worth supporting, so if you have a moment, consider going to their website and making a donation. To the right is probably the best review I’ve ever gotten as a writer, thanks Smile!
Naughty but Nice… Forte Theatre in Calgary
Had a chance to catch the updated version of Forte Theatre’s Naughty But Nice at Lunchbox Theatre while home for the holidays. This new show has a bunch of new tunes to add to last years, including a new one that I’ve penned “Thank you Christians” where a Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, and Atheist thank Christians for the Christmas day off without the stress (spoiler: they go to the movies and then for Chinese food together). And I am so proud of what they’ve done with my song “To the People that we Lost Last Year”. There’s a ton of great songs in this show by top Canadian and international writers so see it if you can before it closes on the 20th. Check out a great review of the show in the Calgary Sun.
On a personal note, I’m having a great time being home and resting up after a busy year. Hope everyone has a happy holiday season. See you in 2016!
A SUMMER IN NEWFOUNDLAND
It’s been a great year of writing with the Thousand Islands Playhouse Playwright’s unit, which culminated last night with a reading of my new play, A SUMMER IN NEWFOUNDLAND with a group of talented actors directed by Rob Kempson. We had a full audience and had to bring out extra chairs; it turns out there’s quite an interest in Newfoundland in Gananoque, and I had some great conversations post show with a few Newfoundlanders (one lovely woman who was 88 and who’d lived all across Newfoundland was getting a real kick from the show).
The Playwright’s unit has been a new experience, meeting with other playwright’s monthly to read our drafts aloud and getting input from each other, Rob, and Artistic Director Ashlie Corcoran- I’m far more used to getting a deadline and jumping into writing! Yet this process has led to a script that I’m really proud of, so thank you to the Playhouse and my fellow writers (Steven Gallagher, Rose Napoli, and Kaitlyn Riordan) for a great year. If you’re a playwright and interested in the program, the deadline is coming up- check out the information on the website.
Full Length Quebec Cowboy Workshop
So glad to have had the opportunity to workshop the full length version of “Quebec Cowboy, the Ballad of Will James” at the Port Stanley Festival Theatre recently. I had an incredible team, including Music Director Mike Wamsley (who was also our MD on Bingo Ladies), Nathan Carroll, Kelly Holliff, and Duff MacDonald, who all helped bring to life the true life story of this American novelist and visual artist who was actually a small town Quebec kid. And the best thing? The audience. Tons of feedback that will help as I put together the next draft of this show. Thanks to Simon Joynes and his team at the Port Stanley Festival Theatre for their investment in workshopping this new show.
Otherwise, I’m happy to be auditing the BMI Musical Theatre Workshop in New York, while also having been accepted into the advanced writers workshop through Theatre 20’s Composium. There’s a lot of buses and planes happening this fall, but it’s worth it to have the opportunity to learn from some fantastic teachers and classmates, and take in some Theatre in New York. More updates coming!
Hudson Village Bingo Ladies
Wishing my Bingo Ladies and Bingo Caller a great first week of rehearsals in Hudson at the Hudson Village Theatre in Quebec. So happy to have so many wonderful people working on this musical. I would be there but… I’m not needed and at this point I’d only get in the way! Instead, I’ll be there opening night. If you have a chance to check out Bingo Ladies, you can get more information at the Hudson Village Theatre website.
So, for the next bit, I’ll be working on the full length draft of my new show A Summer in Newfoundland, my new play for Thousand Islands Playhouse Playwright’s Unit. Looking forward to having a first private reading in mid August.
QUEBEC COWBOY- Lunchbox Theatre Workshop
Really looking forward to heading to Calgary next week for a workshop of my new musical QUEBEC COWBOY, the Ballad of Will James with Lunchbox Theatre through the Suncor Energy Stage One Festival.
James has a fascinating story- born in Quebec in 1892 as Ernest Dufault, he had a natural ability to draw and was obsessed with being a Cowboy. When he was 15 he went West to Saskatchewan and found that his being french got in the way of him being accepted as a Cowboy. After a barroom brawl in Alberta (where he may or may not have killed someone) James escaped to the States, changed his name and made up a story of being raised by a french trapper named Bopy in the wilderness to explain his french accent. Things would have gone fine if James hadn’t become a world famous artist and novelist, telling his fictional childhood story as fact and developing his own myth as a Lone Cowboy of the West.
There will be a public reading of the show at Lunchbox Theatre on June 12th at 6:10- free tickets are available here. And thanks to the Ontario Arts Council for the support in developing this show through Grants recommended by Smile Theatre the Port Stanley Festival Theatre. See you soon Calgary!
Also- It’s time for a major website revamp as I have a bunch of projects that have yet to be listed here. If you’d like to know more about my show Bingo Ladies, or The Naming of Port Rexton or any of my other works, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. More info on those shows and more coming soon!
Thousand Islands Playhouse Playwrights’ Unit
I am very honoured to be a part of the 2015 Playwrights’ Unit at the Thousand Islands Playhouse in Gananoque ON. Myself and three very talented writers (Steven Gallagher, Rose Napoli, and Kaityn Riordan) will be developing our pieces over the next year, with dramaturgy, workshops and a retreat run by the Playhouse. For the Unit, I will be developing a new play called “A Summer in Newfoundland”, a play that’s been kicking around in my head for the last few years, about a small town in Newfoundland that is being changed by tourism, and how it affects the local residents. You can check out more about the play, the Playwrights’ Unit, and the Thousand Islands Playhouse here.