Professional actors, singers and musicians are excited to be back on stage doing what they do best and the King’s Wharf Theatre is offering a pre-pandemic line-up of shows this summer.
The picturesque theatre in Penetanguishene is offering Buddy — The Buddy Holly Story, Fiddler on the Loose, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat this summer and Peter Pan: The Panto in the fall.
“I designed an overall season that would appeal to ages 5 to 95,” said Alex Mustakas, artistic director and CEO of Drayton Entertainment. Drayton owns King’s Wharf and six other theatres in Ontario.
“If you come to our show and you are over 95, I will name a theatre after you,” he joked.
The pandemic was tough for performers because they not only lost their performance work for the better part of two years, they also lost secondary work as teachers, waiters and bartenders because the entire hospitality industry was hit hard.
It was tough for Drayton as well, which had seven theatre properties to maintain with no income from productions. The organization proved itself resilient.
“We are back.”
The pandemic was also hard on the public who lost the freedom to gather.
“People are coming back to that live communal experience that only live theatre can provide them,” Mustakas said.
Live performances are an important part of a healthy society, he said.
“I’ve always held that arts and culture is as important as sports and education and health care. It makes for a balanced community.”
BUDDY — THE BUDDY HOLLY STORY
“The Buddy Holly Story is a good old rock and roll show. It’s one of the great stories. He was an influence on a lot of bands and singers to follow,” said Mustakas.
The show runs June 15 to July 1. Musicians Isaac Bell, Alex Panneton, Tyler Check, and Al Braatz make up the band. The show is directed by Adam Furfaro.
FIDDLER ON THE LOOSE
“The one I’m really excited about is the show called the Fiddler on the Loose. It features Jesse Grandmont, a Canadian fiddle virtuoso.
Theatre goers will be in for a high energy show as all the performers play instruments and it features an eclectic song list.
“I think people are going to love it.”
The show runs from July 5 to Aug. 15. It was created by David Rogers with musical arrangements by Mark Payne.
JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNOCOLOUR DREAMCOAT
Joseph and the Amazing Technocolour Dreamcoat with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber is one the most popular musicals of all time, said Mustakas.
The show runs from Aug. 10 to Sept. 3.
PETER PAN: THE PANTO
Last but not least, Peter Pan: The Panto runs Nov. 8 to 25.
Last year, Mustakas ran a “risk mitigation” season. He experimented by putting the panto show in the fall, rather than in June and it was a success.
The panto show always features a combination of professional adult performers with a cast of local, talented children.
“We love our pantos because it brings in three generations of theatre goers,” said Mustakas.
“It builds the future audience as well. We are exposing theatre to young people and bringing in adults that don’t go to theatre regularly,” he said.
Tickets are $55 for adults and $34 for youth under the age of 20. Tickets for groups of 10 or more are $50 each and for groups of 20 or more $45 each. To book go to the website: draytonentertainment.com or call 1-855-DRAYTON.