A full length musical comedy. Bingo Ladies hits the Jackpot!



Lucky charms, big dreams, and a troll named Thor. It’s Friday night at the Bingo Hall and the gloves are off! Carol needs to pay off her debts. Sandi’s hot for Lou, the rock n’ roll Bingo caller. And then there’s octogenarian Irene, oxygen tank in tow, who always wins. When Carol steals Irene’s lucky spot it sets off a course of events none of them could have predicted…

A new musical about friendship, gambling, and just how far we’ll go for the big win.

Small scale musical comedy, (3F, 1M)

2014 – Lunchbox Theatre, Calgary (Premiere of one act version) ~ April 28 – May 17.
2014 – Port Stanley Festival Theatre (Premiere of Full length version) ~ July 10 – 26.
2015 – Hudson Village Theatre, Quebec ~ August 12 – 30.
2016 – Indie Women Productions, Ottawa ~ August 21 – 29.


DEMO RECORDING CREDITS: Laura Caswell as Sandi (1, 4, 5) Lisa Horner as Carol (4, 5) Mary Pitt as Irene (2), and Mark Allan as the Bingo Caller (1, 2, 3). Demos are from the Port Stanley Festival Theatre Production, musical direction and piano by Mike Walmsley, directed by Liz Gilroy. Designed by Eric Burnell. All photos by Mark Girdauskas.


Growing up, I worked a lot of Bingos for the various arts groups I was a part of, and a lot of the experiences and characters I saw made their way into this musical comedy with a big heart. Thank you to the casts and creative teams at Lunchbox Theatre and Port Stanley Festival Theatre for their help in developing this show!

To request more information, click here.


Bingo Ladies was workshopped as part of the Suncor Stage One Festival at Lunchbox Theatre. (2012). It received further development at the Port Stanley Festival Theatre’s new play festival (2013), and received development from he Ontario Arts Council Theatre Creators’ Reserve.



Read full reviews by clicking here!

“Bingo Ladies is the most delightful farce I’ve seen in decades. You’ll be singing along to lyrics you don’t even know, and fall in love with the most crotchety old woman to hit the stage in two centuries… If you’re going to do yourself one favour this summer, make it taking in a performance of Bingo Ladies – you’ll laugh till your sides hurt.”
Francine Dennison, Port Stanley News
“One of the funniest, brilliantly staged and performed, and most moving musicals I’ve seen in years. And a winner in every sense of the word… Have to admit I think I’m now addicted to Bingo Ladies The Musical. And would see it again in a heartbeat. It’s that good!”
James Parry, Your Local Journal, Hudson Quebec
“Bingo Ladies a Jackpot for Audiences at Port Stanley Theatre… Bingo Ladies whisks us through the doors of the Bingo Barn and plops us into a sociological microcosm where popping bingo balls are merely a backdrop… If you love comedy, this play has it all.”
Dave Ferguson, Relish Elgin
“There is great fun to be had on a night out at Bingo with the ladies at the Port Stanley Festival Theatre. But jut when you think it’s only a silly musical comedy, you are hit with a thought provoking message about judging others. And there is also a warning about gambling addiction.
Mary Alderson, Entertain this Thought

“Holt belts out Tilly’s songs like the little musical theatre gems they are meant to be — letting us savour every clever lyric and nuance.”

Louis Hobson, Calgary Sun

“From the moment Purves-Smith, slithers out on stage, hunched over an oxygen machine, railing at Carol for taking her lucky spot, Bingo Ladies takes flight.”

Stephen Hunt, Calgary Herald

A full length family musical about getting in the “Family Way”!



It’s 1910 and the town of Ship Cove, NL needs a new name. When it’s decided that the name will be derived from the first child born to either the Randell or Rex families, a baby race ensues as each extended family vies to have the town named either “Port Randell” or “Port Rexton”. But, when a Randell has the first child and it’s a girl, the Rexes push for the rules to be changed so that the town must be named after a boy baby. Based on true events, this is a family musical comedy about getting in the “family way”!

Full length family musical (10F, 7M) in development.

2014 – Rising Tide Theatre Festival, July 29 – August 31
2019 – Rising Tide Theatre, July 22 – Sept 2

The cast of The Naming of Port Rexton 2019, produced by Rising Tide Theatre, Donna Butt AD
Back row L to R: Devon Bryan, Michael Power, Chrissie Baxter, Lonni Patey, Michelle Rex Bailey, Grant Tilly, Reneé Hackett
Front row L to R: Sam Vignault, Elizabeth Hicks, Sarah Connors
Not shown: Stage manager: Cindy Kendall, Director: Kevin Woolridge, Costume and set design: Alison Kate Helmer, Sound design: Maddy Palmer, Lighting design: Lisa V. Oorschot


DEMO RECORDING CREDITS: Charlotte Moore (1,3), Krystin Pellerin (1,3) , Jeff Irving (2), Jacquelyn French (2,3), and Lauren Toffan, Kate Etienne, Gaby Grice, Josh Wiles, Michael Cox, David DiFrancesco as a chorus on track 1. Music direction and additional arrangements by James Smith. Recorded by Justin Stadnyk at Just.music.


Make it a boy

“Make it a Boy” L to R: Michael Power, Sarah Connors, Reneé Hackett.

“Did you Ever?” Sam Vignault and Chrissie Baxter

If I'm going to make a life

“If I’m going to Make a Life” L to R: Reneé Hackett, Chrissie Baxter, Lonni Patey, Michelle Rex Bailey

Cast of The Naming of Port Rexton, 2014

The cast of The Naming of Port Rexton (2014), large cast version, produced by Rising Tide Theatre, Donna Butt AD

Back row L to R: Dennis Fitzgerald, George Roberston, Brian Hiscock, Alex Abbott (music director), Mallory Fisher, Brad Bonnell, Jessie Paynter, Andrew Crawford (tech), Jake Fisher
2nd row L to R: Michelle Rex Bailey, Anna Wheeler, Rachel Huys, Meghan Greeley, Carolyn Fowlow, Lexi Mendoza, Stuart Simpson, Michael Chaisson, Cindy Kendall
Front row L to R: Michael Worthman, Owen Van Houten, Michael Power
Not pictured: Keith Pike (director)


While working at Rising Tide Theatre in Newfoundland as an actor one summer, I heard the legend this musical is based on- how the neighbouring town of Port Rexton was named when one family won out over the other by changing the rules so the town must be named after a boy. With the help of a Canada Council Grant, this show was a part of the Rising Tide Festival season in 2014 (with actors who were descendants of families mentioned in the play!), and is currently being developed further. 

I have high hopes for the future of this show. It’s theme of the the value of women and girl babies to society is universal, along with it’s unique take on the importance of young people staying home in their rural communities if they want to see the change they envision happen there.

To request more information, click here.


This show was developed with the assistance of the Canada Council for the Arts.

A new one act musical for youth about Canada’s people and history.



11 young Canadians from across the country are in PEI to take part in a youth conference and discuss the future of the country. As they get to know each other, rivalries and crushes emerge as they explore important issues facing Canada today—from Quebec history and western alienation to First Nations’ rights and the difficulties facing immigrants. Finally, the group decides to face the challenges that make this country so unique, as each person commits to ensuring Canada is a country everyone can call homeA new one-act family musical that brings to life Canadian history as it celebrates our diverse cultures and looks to our future.

One act musical for youth (6F, 5M) in development.

2017 – Neptune Theatre Youth Performance Company, Halifax N.S. ~ Nov 16 – Nov 19.
2010 – Workshopped through Scriptlab in Toronto, an organization to develop new Canadian Musicals.


DEMO RECORDING CREDITS: Kimmy Choi (1, 3, 4), Cody Lancaster (1, 4), Sarah Slywchuk (1,4), Jen Shaw (1,4), Paige Robson-Cramer (1,4), Eric Coles (1,4), Michele Tredger (1,4), Cara Pantalone (1, 2, 4), Grant Tilly (1, 2,4), Matthew Brown (1,2,4), Daniel Greenberg (1,3,4), Music director Adam White, from the ScriptLab workshop directed by Tricia Lackey, demo produced by Levon Ichkhanian, recorded by Greg Kolchinsky. Image courtesy of Andrew Shay Hahn, www.madcraftshoppe.blogspot.com.


In 1999, I had the pleasure of spending the summer away from University in the Charlottetown Festival Young Company production of “Somewhere in the World…” The mandate of the Young Company was not only to produce a wonderful outdoor show for children but to gather as many young people from across the country so that a discussion could be had about the country’s future. The interactions in our group and how our home provinces seemed to affect our personalities, inspired this show. Since first starting to write it our country has swung from the left side of the political spectrum, to the right, and back to the left, yet I believe this show has something to say about the importance of young people taking part of the political discussion, as they will lead us in the years to come.

To request more information, click here.

A one act musical love story based on the memories of Toronto Seniors.



In this musical we follow a man and a woman from their earliest years in the late 1930’s. He’s from a mining family in Kirkland Lake Ontario, she’s from a family of musicians in Toronto. As the show progresses, we watch them remember the war years, first loves, first jobs, until finally their lives start to intertwine, leading to marriage, children, and many more memories. Remember that Song? is about the the songs that tie us to specific moments in our lives, and the importance of remembering them, even the difficult ones.

One act musical with original music and existing songs (1M, 1F)

2016 – Ontario tour Feb 22 – April 23

Directed and Choreographed by Jen Shuber, Music Directed by Rosalind Mills, Designed by Holly Meyer-Dymny, Stage Managed by Laura Grandfield.

Smile Theatre

Smile Theatre is an amazing company. If you have a moment please visit their website and consider making a donation. Their mandate is to bring Theatre to Seniors who are unable to leave their residences, and they do incredible work. Also, if you’re a performer, I highly recommend working with them, it will be the most rewarding job you’ll ever have. Click on the image below for more information.

Smile Theatre

The process of writing this show was such a joy. Thanks to a grant from the OAC, facilitator Toni MacRae and I met with a group of older adults in a retirement residence in Toronto and asked them specific questions: What’s the earliest song you can remember? What songs do you associate with your children? Your spouse? Afterwards, these stories were compiled, and a show began to emerge using their favourite songs bookended with an original song I wrote. The result has been enthusiastically received by Seniors across the province.

To request more information, click here.



Best review ever! From one of our senior audience members.

A new musical comedy in development as part of a playwright’s residency with Theatre Orangeville.



Synopsis: The town of Gammond New Mexico is in trouble. After the recent fire (and flood), the local economy has dried up and tourism has tanked. The solution? Attempt to set the World Record for the most Enchiladas consumed by a town of over five hundred people in less than an hour! But when the representative from Finnigan’s Book of Records (a lesser known but no less astiduous version of Guiness) arrives, he puts their record setting attempt, their patience, and their town to the test.

Small cast musical comedy Cast size (3M, 2F)

– Currently in development through a Playwright’s Residency with Theatre Orangeville, supported by the Ontario Arts Council.


I was grateful to receive an OAC Grant to write this new musical, and I’m having a blast with the characters and music so far. In September 2016 I also took a two week trip to New Mexico and met some wonderful people while I did my research. I’m hoping to post some demos of the songs I’m working on soon, but for now, feel free to check out some of the pictures from the trip, there are, of course, pictures of some of the many Enchiladas I had.

To request more information, click here.



Developed through a Playwrights Residency Grant with the Ontario Arts Council through the OAC.


A musical adaptation of Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya in collaboration with lyricist/librettist Richard Ouzounian.



An adaptation of Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya, with lyrics/libretto by Richard Ouzounian, music by Grant Tilly.

Set in the Pacific Northwest in 1999, this adaptation of the famous Checkov play sees many of the same themes explored through the lens of the late twentieth century. A folk/bluegrass tinged modern musical score drive these songs of longing and injustice.

Full length musical, (4M, 3F) in development.

One week workshop with students through Sheridan College in the Spring of 2014, through the Canadian Musical Theatre Project


DEMO RECORDING CREDITS: Sara Farb as Sarah (1) and Shawn Wright as the Senator (2), piano and Lovely Lavender arrangement by James Smith


This new musical has been a wonderful opportunity to work solely as a composer for the first time. Working with Richard, we’ve found a great modern musical feel with touches of Bluegrass and Americana, and we’re both excited about where this show might go. Have a listen to the songs and watch Chiina Kennedy sing “House on the Potomac” for Blame Canada! an event put on by the Canadian Musical Theatre Writer’s Collective at Hugh’s Room in Toronto.

To request more information, click here.

Chilina Kennedy singing House on the Potomac, piano by Bob Foster, arrangement by Joseph Trefler. From the CMTWC concert at Hugh’s Room in Toronto.

Three monotheists and one Atheist find themselves stuck in a room together, and proceed to sing about it in this new one act musical comedy in development.



“Have you ever wondered what life’s all about? Stick four people in a room, and let them sort it out!”.  This musical is based on years of research into the history of the world’s three major monotheisms and their relationship with Atheism. Jews, Muslims, and Christians have a history that is intertwined and with far more in common than we would think given the usual front page news. The hope for this show is to entertain, and look at the common ground of these religions and atheism, what pulls us apart, and what might help bring us together.

*This show was shortlisted for the 2018 Stage West Best new musical in Development award through the Playwrights Guild of Canada Tom Hendry Awards. Here’s what the Jury had to say:

“I love that the meta set up has a contemporary feel and it has a broad appeal. The dialogue was funny and it was clever. I enjoyed this! I had fun with it and had laughs at parts that surprised me! I was not insulted, which I expected to be! The concept is topical and is not a typical form. I could easily see this produced as it has a lot of potential.”

One act musical comedy (approx. 75 minutes) (2 F, 2 M)


DEMO RECORDING CREDITS: Katie Edwards (1), Andrew Scanlon (1,2), DC James (1), Astrid Van Wieren (1,3)


I’ve always been fascinated by world religions and their commonalities, and in some ways, this show is less a “musical” then a musicalized version of theology 101.

To request more information, click here.

This full length musical in development explores the true story of Will James, the famous American Cowboy actually from Quebec who fooled the world.


QUEBEC COWBOY – The Ballad of Will James

As a boy growing up in Quebec in the late 1800’s, Ernest Dufault always dreamed of being a Cowboy in the American West. Join him as he hides his french origin, changes his name, and becomes one of the most famous Cowboy Artists and Writers of all time: Will James. Based on a true story.

Full length musical (3M, 1F) in development.

2015 –A one act version was workshopped at the Suncor Energy Stage One Festival at Lunchbox Theatre
2015 –A full length version was workshopped at the Port Stanley Theatre new play festival


It was while reading Canadian Songwriter Ian Tyson’s biography that I first came across Will  James. Tyson and countless others were inspired to become Cowboys based on the writing of Will James and his youth in the Montana wilderness where he was raised by the french speaking Beaupre. It was only after Will’s death that it came out that he was actually born in Quebec only arrived in Montana when he was 18, having completely invented “Beaupre” to explain away his french accent. I’m fascinated by this man’s story, how he kept his secret to himself and betrayed even his wife, and the importance he felt in constructing the image of the Cowboy and an American West that was already fading by the time he got there.

To request more information, click here.


This show received support through the Ontario Arts Council Theatre Creators’ Reserve program.


Songs written specifically for Forte Musical Theatre in Calgary.


“Touch me: songs for a (Dis)connected Age”

“Touch Me: Songs for a (dis)Connected Age” is a one-act musical revue featuring all-new songs composed by writers from across Canada (and a couple of honorary Canadians too!) Funny, tuneful and sometimes poignant, “Touch Me” is bound to get you thinking about the connections in your life. The show won three Calgary Critics Awards including “Best Production of a Musical”! It was also nominated for three Betty Mitchell Awards and won for Outstanding Musical Direction.

For the production, I wrote the song “Just an Old Ford” about a daughter trying to set her father up on a dating website.

2014 –  April 15 – 26
Production soon to be announced for 2017!

Naughty but Nice

Winner of the 2016 Betty Mitchell Award for Outstanding Production of a Musical! A celebration of the holiday season with fabulous songs by composers from across Canada and beyond. with tunes that are sometimes racy, sometimes sweet, Naughty… but Nice! promises to leave you with a song in your heart and a smile on your face.

For this show I wrote the song “Thank You Christians!” about what people who don’t celebrate Christmas get up to on Christmas day, as well as the song To The People That We Lost Last Year.

Update: In 2017 I had the pleasure of being in the show myself, and what a blast it was! Click below to hear a live recording of “Lait de Poule” by Joe Slabe, which I sang with Scott Olynek, Ellie Heath, and Justine Westby (and a bunch of puppet chickens…)

Listen to it HERE!

2014 – December 4 – 21
2015 – December 8 – 20
2016 – December 6 – 18
2017 – December 5 – 17


In recent years, I’ve had the pleasure of having songs I’ve written included in shows produced by Forte Musical Theatre in Calgary. Forte accepts submissions from writers across the country on certain themes; “Touch me: songs for a (Dis)connected Age” dealt with our difficulty to connect in a world of technology, and “Naughty but Nice”, a holiday musical with a bit of mischievousness. I’ve had three songs included in two shows so far, and the shows always get nominated for Calgary’s Theatre community Betty Mitchell awards.

To request more information, click here.


The evening’s most poignant song is Grant Tilly and Konrad Pluta’s To the People That We Lost Last Year.

Louis Hobson, Calgary Sun, December 08, 2014

Slabe has found a certified holiday gem in Grant Tilly’s Thank you, Christians. It’s a devilishly clever and pretty darn astute look at how non-Christians view Christmas.

Louis Hobson, Calgary Sun, December 14, 2015