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‘Priscilla, Queen of the Desert,’ ‘Rocky’ and new Canadian plays on the Drayton 2019 playbill

Drayton Entertainment just announced the playbill for the 2019 season.

Once again Drayton includes new Canadian plays and continues its tradition as a leader in North American theatre with the Canadian professional regional premieres of both “Newsies” and “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.” This will be the first time “‘Priscilla” has been produced professionally in Canada outside of the pre-Broadway run at Mirvish’s Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto in 2010.

Drayton is also one of the first professional regional theatres in North America to have secured the rights to produce the epic “Rocky: The Musical,” based on the popular Sylvester Stallone film.”

“This landmark season promises to be remembered for years to come,” says Artistic Director Alex Mustakas. “The wide selection of shows reflects our commitment to providing quality, affordable entertainment for theatregoers at every stage of life.”

Mustakas shares some of the secrets to Drayton’s success on our podcast which you can listen to here.

Rocky: The Musical” is the heart-pounding story of struggling small-time boxer Rocky Balboa, who gets a once-in-a-lifetime shot to fight against heavyweight champ Apollo Creed in South Philadelphia. Featuring the famous Rocky theme song and Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger,” this adrenaline-fueled musical about unwavering determination in the face of adversity will have audiences cheering for the underdog. The production will open the season at the Hamilton Family Theatre Cambridge from March 6 to March 31 and then run in the summer at the Huron Country Playhouse in Grand Bend from July 18 to August 3.

Inspired by a true story, Disney’s “Newsies” is the rousing tale of a band of teenaged newsboys in New York City at the turn-of-the-century, who rise up and strike against the unfair conditions imposed on them by the titans of publishing. Packed with spectacular dancing and a sensational score, this uplifting Broadway blockbuster has a timeless message that inspires everyone to fight for what’s right and seize the day.

“Newsies” will be on stage from June 27 to July 13 at the Huron Country Playhouse in Grand Bend, and then July 18 to August 3 at the St. Jacobs Country Playhouse.

Australia’s glittering musical masterpiece, “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert,” will launch the season at St. Jacobs Country Playhouse, playing for four weeks from March 13 to April 7. Based on the Academy Award-winning film, this sparkling stage adaptation follows three dazzling drag queens as they set out on a hilarious adventure across the Australian outback in a battered old bus nicknamed Priscilla. With a spectacular array of outrageous costumes, flamboyant choreography, and a hit parade of classic disco hits including “It’s Raining Men,” “I Will Survive,” “Hot Stuff,” and more, this wildly fresh and funny musical is a journey to the heart of fabulous.

In addition to”Rocky,” “Newsies” and “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert,” other musical blockbusters including “Annie” and “Grease” are on the playbill, along with the return of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” and “Thoroughly Modern Millie.”

The world’s favourite family musical “Annie” runs from June 5 to June 30 at the Drayton Festival Theatre, and then October 2 to October 27 at the Hamilton Family Theatre Cambridge.

Summer brings the hit Broadway phenomenon that inspired one of the most successful movie musicals of all time – “Grease.” Featuring memorable characters like Danny, Sandy, Rizzo, Kenickie and the gang, as well as unforgettable songs like “Summer Nights,” “Greased Lightnin’,” “We Go Together,” and many other popular hits, Grease will delight theatregoers from July 10 to August 3 at the Hamilton Family Theatre Cambridge, and then August 8 to August 31 at the Huron Country Playhouse in Grand Bend.

After playing to sold-out crowds in Cambridge and Grand Bend in 2017, Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” is back – this time in Drayton and Penetanguishene. It rus from July 11 to August 10 at the King’s Wharf Theatre in Penetanguishene, and August 15 to August 31 at the Drayton Festival Theatre.

Winner of the Tony Award for Best Musical, the roaring twenties romp “Thoroughly Modern Millie” will launch the season in Grand Bend. This romantic musical comedy follows gutsy small-town girl Millie Dillmount who moves to New York City in 1922 to make her dreams come true. After wowing audiences with its catchy tunes, frisky flappers, and explosive dance numbers in St. Jacobs during the 2017 Season, this fun-filled musical will be on stage at the Huron Country Playhouse from June 5 to June 22.

Adding to the variety of offerings, the nostalgic Canadian musical “You’ll Get Used To It … The War Show” will be on stage at two venues in celebration of the 75th Anniversary of D-Day. The joys and sorrows of war are explored in this sentimental musical that follows the journey of six Canadian infantrymen. This poignant production written by Peter Colley brings history alive featuring popular music from the 1930s and 1940s including “The White Cliffs of Dover,” “We’ll Meet Again,” “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square,” “I’ll Be Seeing You,” and many more signature songs of the era. This unforgettable theatre experience in tribute to veterans is on stage June 5 to June 22 at St. Jacobs Country Playhouse, and June 27 to July 13 at the Huron Country Playhouse II in Grand Bend.

In addition to its signature musicals, Drayton Entertainment’s 2019 playbill also includes plenty of comedies as well as more serious fare.

The new Canadian play “GLORY,” written by Tracey Power, and based on the incredible rise of Ontario’s Preston Rivulettes Women’s Hockey Team, will be on stage at four Drayton Entertainment venues. Set in 1933, this inspiring true story chronicles the lives of four friends who set out to show the nation that Canada’s favourite pastime isn’t just a sport for men. Featuring electrifying swing choreography inspired by the jazz age, this unique play captures all the thrills, exhilaration, and tension of a great hockey game while celebrating female empowerment. “GLORY” is on stage from May 15 to June 8 at the Hamilton Family Theatre Cambridge, June 12 to June 22 at the Huron Country Playhouse II in Grand Bend, June 26 to July 6 at the King’s Wharf Theatre in Penetanguishene, and July 10 to July 20 at the Drayton Festival Theatre.

After entertaining audiences in St. Jacobs previously, the hit murder mystery comedy “Shear Madness” will come to the King’s Wharf Theatre in Penetanguishene from August 14 to August 31. Listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as America’s longest running play, this hilarious whodunit follows hairdresser Tony Whitcomb and manicurist Barbara DeMarco as they comb through the tasks of a normal day … until concert pianist Isabel Czerny is murdered. Tony, Barbara, and the Shear Madness customers are all suspects, and everyone must put their detective skills to the test to help solve the crime.

Building on the success of praised productions like “Death of a Salesman” and “The Rainmaker,” the acclaimed plays “ART,” “Twelve Angry Men” and “The Miracle Worker” will be on stage next season.

ART” is the winner of countless awards and touted as one of the most successful plays ever on Broadway and London’s West End. This serious comedy about three friends who disagree on the merit of an expensive painting explores both the value of art and the fickleness of friendship. It will be on stage from October 2 to October 20 at St. Jacobs Country Playhouse.

Twelve Angry Men” will play two stages in 2019. On a humid summer day, twelve jurors from all strata of society must decide whether an inner-city teen is guilty of the murder of his father, thereby sentencing the young defendant to death. It looks like an open-and-shut case, until Juror #8 plants the seed of reasonable doubt. This clever, compelling and relevant drama about the complicated quest for justice is on stage at the Huron Country Playhouse II in Grand Bend from July 18 to August 3, and at the Hamilton Family Theatre Cambridge from August 7 to August 24.

Based on the extraordinary true story of Helen Keller and her determined teacher Annie Sullivan, the inspiring Tony Award-winning play “The Miracle Worker,” by William Gibson, will be on stage at St. Jacobs Country Playhouse from April 24 to May 12. Young Helen who has been blind, deaf, and mute since infancy is trapped in a secret, silent world, unable to communicate. Refusing to give up on her troubled student, Annie realizes that there is a mind and spirit waiting to be rescued from the dark. Helen’s incredible journey from darkness to light is explored in this stirring saga of perseverance.

Two entertaining tribute shows are also on the docket – “Fiddler on the Loose” and “Good Ol’ Country Gospel,” both conceived by David Rogers with musical arrangements by Mark Payne.

Anchored by the extraordinary talents of fiddler and showman Jesse Grandmont (Canada 151), “Fiddler on the Loose” is a gregarious musical variety show that features over 60 songs running the gamut of genres from country and bluegrass to Celtic, classical, pop, and more. The eclectic song list includes “Dust in The Wind,” “Devil Went Down to Georgia,” “You Raise Me Up,” “Footloose,” “Tennessee Waltz,” “Orange Blossom Special,” and more. This high-energy musical extravaganza is on stage from July 24 to August 10 at the Drayton Festival Theatre.

Good Ol’ Country Gospel” is a heartfelt tribute to the beloved canon of sacred hits … with a country twist. Featuring glorious arrangements and heavenly voices, this uplifting celebration shines a new light on spiritual favourites including “Amazing Grace,” “Peace in the Valley,” “How Great Thou Art,” “When The Saints Go Marching In,” “I Saw the Light,” and many more. This inspirational musical tribute is on stage from September 11 to December 22 at the St. Jacobs Schoolhouse Theatre.

With a winning combination of popular songs, energetic dancing, tongue-in-cheek humour, and outrageous characters, two fun-filled pantos will be on stage for families to enjoy. “Jack and the Beanstalk: The Panto” will entertain audiences from June 5 to June 22 at the King’s Wharf Theatre in Penetanguishene, and then August 8 to August 31 at the Huron Country Playhouse II in Grand Bend. Jack and the Beanstalk: The Panto is by Caroline Smith.

Later in the season, the beloved fairy tale “Sleeping Beauty” will bring its dozy princess, feisty fairies, dashing prince, and malevolent villainess to St. Jacobs for the holiday season. This panto adaptation of the cherished fable follows the story of a young princess cursed to prick her finger on a mystical spinning wheel causing her to fall asleep for hundreds of years. Doomed by fate, can the prince stir her from a ceaseless slumber? Boo the baddie and cheer the heroine in this dreamy holiday panto at St. Jacobs Country Playhouse from November 27 to December 22.

The Hamilton Family Theatre Cambridge will have a spectacular Christmas musical on stage during the holiday season from November 20 to December 22. Details are still being finalized and the name of this exciting production will be “unwrapped” in the New Year.

Detail, Details:
Tickets are on sale exclusively to members on Thursday, November 1, followed by groups of 20 or more on Thursday, November 15, subscribers on Monday, November 19, and the general public on Monday, December 3.
For more information about the 2019 Season, please visit Drayton Entertainment.
 

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‘Priscilla, Queen of the Desert,’ ‘Rocky’ and new Canadian plays on the Drayton 2019 playbill

Keith Tomasek
11 September 2018
News and Rumors

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