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 email@example.com. 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.
Bingo Ladies in Quebec!
So happy to announce a third production of Bingo Ladies this coming Summer, at the Hudson Village Theatre in Quebec! It’s part of really truly amazing season of Canadian Theatre, including Rebecca Northan’s Blind Date, Julia Mackey’s Jake’s Gift, and a production of The Glass Menagerie starring Martha Burns.
This production of Bingo Ladies will be a remount of the Port Stanley Festival production, but will also include one actor from the Calgary production of Bingo Ladies at Lunchbox Theatre, it will be a blast to have these actors working together! So come out to Hudson this summer, not just for Bingo Ladies but for an amazing summer of Canadian Theatre. Check out the Hudson Village Theatre website for more information. Cheers!
Demo, demo, demo…
Had a great time last week making demos of seven new songs of the new musical “The Moon in Autumn” that I’m writing with Richard Ouzounian (Richard is writing the book and lyrics, I’m composing the music). We were lucky to get the cream of the crop of Canadian musical theatre talent, and with the help of our musical director James Smith and recording engineer James Smith we turned out seven new songs that I’m very proud of- and now we send them out and get them heard!
Since I’m on a bit of a roll with the demos, I thought I’d keep it going and demo my Newfoundland musical “The Naming of Port Rexton”. As casting is coming together I’m amazed at the caliber of talent in this country that I’m able to connive into singing my tunes. We’ll be going into the studio in a week or two- should be fun!
And keep an eye out for new updates on this website- I’ve realized that since we launched a few years ago, I’ve written 3 new musicals- need to give them a home!
Writing, writing, writing… and show!
It’s been a great fall. I spent a lot of time catching up on all those things I left behind after a marathon of writing that started the summer before last ( you know… taxes and such). Also got started on some exciting new projects and continued to work on others- including a new song for “The Moon in Autumn”.
As well, I had the chance to write a song for Forte’s new production of “Naughty but Nice” which starts tonight in Calgary and runs until Dec 21st. I’m so honoured to have a song included in the show, and huge congratulations to Joe Slabe and his team at Forte Musical Theatre Guild for putting it all together! The show also features Katherine Fadum, who played Sandi in the Lunchbox Theatre production of “Bingo Ladies”. The song I wrote is called “To the People that We Lost Last Year”, a tribute to the loved ones we’ve lost and how their memory often comes up during the holiday season.
If you’re in Calgary, you can get tickets on the Lunchbox Theatre website here.
And in the new year, there will be some exciting news. Stay tuned. Happy Holidays!
The Naming of Port Rexton- Trinity NL
Look at all those beautiful people!!
There is an unwritten rule in musical theatre (actually, it’s probably been written down a few times as well), “Thou shalt not write a large cast show. At least not if you want the show to be produced.” What a joy it has been then to write a large cast full scale musical for Rising Tide Theatre in Newfoundland. Yes, it makes sense to write small cast shows, but what a thrill to have a cast of 18 people singing together!
The Naming of Port Rexton is loosely based on a true story I once heard while working at Rising Tide Theatre a few summers ago. In 1910 the town of Ship Cove needed a new name (there were already three other Ship Coves in Newfoundland, leading to much confusion with the Newfoundland Post and Telegraph service). With two large families in town, both descended from the original settlers John Rex and John Randell, it’s decided that whichever family has a child first will have the town named after it, be it “Port Rexton” or “Port Randell”. When a baby girl is born first to the Randell family, the Rex family has the rules changed so that the town must be named after a boy.
Having members of the community playing these roles (including my good friend Michelle Rex Bailey playing the role of Evelyn Randell and Carolyn Fowlow in the role of Nan) has been an incredible experience, and I don’t think I’ve ever worked with a cast and crew so behind the show. Thanks to everyone involved, Donna Butt for taking a chance on a large scale musical, Keith Pike our director for bringing it all together, Alex Abbott our musical director and Cindy Kendall and her team. If you’re at all in the area this summer, I hope you’re able to make the show! Tickets are available here.
BINGO LADIES in Port Stanley
The world premiere of Bingo Ladies opened in Port Stanley this July 1oth, and I’ve had the opportunity to see the show three times since then. Part of that is doing my playwright/composer work (should that line be cut? Hmm…) but mostly, I just enjoy sitting in the audience and hearing what they react to while watching this talented cast perform! What a great time this cast is having, and I’m so honoured to have so many talented people working on this production. Thanks Port Stanley Festival Theatre and AD Simon Joynes for mounting this production.
We’ve had a few reviews of the production which I will be posting some links to, but here’s a sample:
If you have a chance, get down to Bingo Ladies in Port Stanley before it closes on July 26th! You can get tickets at the website here– hope to see you there!