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From High School to The Stratford Festival and Beyond

By Evie Marcotullio

Since 2002, Beal Musical Theatre has produced elite musicals and fostered an impressive cadre of talent, several of whom are at the Stratford Festival this year.

The unique high school program provides students the opportunity to gain experience in a full-scale musical theatre production while earning credits. Currently their production of the hit musical “Mamma Mia” is running in the historic and beautiful H.B. Beal Secondary School Auditorium.

The first program of its kind in the Thames Valley District School Board,  Beal Musical Theatre courses are offered at the grade 11 and 12 levels. This year, the students will gain three credits for their production of “Mamma Mia.”

Charlie Stimac, Alex Pearce, and Company. Photo Ross Davison

Currently, Beal Musical Theatre is run by Jessica Dawson, Tracy Iddison, and Kelsey Gordon who are maintaining the legacy of theatrical excellence with their production of “Mamma Mia.”

Joe Liston, Chloe Petteplace. Photo Ross Davison

Another Ontario high school that excels in the performing arts is the Etobicoke School of the Arts. ESA is the oldest arts-focused school in Canada. Their program allows students to specialize in musical theatre as well as fine arts, dance, film, and more.

Both programs have made their mark in Canadian theatre by fostering an educational process that motivates and inspires emerging young creatives.

Numerous alums from both programs have progressed with their studies at top schools, including Sheridan College and the National Theatre School.

The Etobicoke School of the Arts’ most famous alumnus is Canadian acting legend and “John Wick” star Keanu Reeves, who was actually expelled from ESA shortly after enrolling.

From H.B. Beal Secondary School to The Stratford Festival

A name synonymous with Beal Musical Theatre is Thomas Alderson. Thomas, who played Lumiere in Beal’s production of “Beauty and the Beast” is currently the assistant director of Stratford Festival’s “Rent.”

Thomas Alderson

Alderson holds an Honours Bachelor’s Degree in Music Theatre Performance from Sheridan College and has worked on numerous national touring productions and with well-known Canadian theatre companies such as Mirvish Productions, The Grand Theatre in London, The Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, Theatre Calgary, and Drayton Entertainment. He has played memorable roles including Mordred in “Camelot,” Bud Frump in “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,” Mary Sunshine in “Chicago,” and swinging in the original Canadian production of “Kinky Boots.”

Olivia Sinclair-Brisbane is currently playing Joanne in Stratford Festival’s “Rent,” while her fellow alumni Justin Eddy, who was in BMT’s 2017 production of “Pippin,” is playing the Groom in Shakespeare’s “Richard II.”

Other Beal Musical Theatre alums currently performing at the Stratford Festival include Justin Eddy, Henry Firmston, Cameron Carver, Trevor Patt, and Travae Williams.

We recently did a five questions with Travae Williams, which can be viewed here.

Travae Williams and the cast of Pippin. Photo Ross Davison

H.B. Beal Secondary School Alums on TV

Kendra Timmins, a thriving actress in film and television, got her start in Beal Musical Theatre and Musical Theatre Productions. She played the lead in Beal Musical Theatre’s production of “All Shook Up” and had her breakout role playing “Denise” on the Disney Channel show “Wingin’ It.”

Timmins has continued to impress with her portrayals of various characters, appearing in notable shows such as the Emmy award-winning “The Handmaid’s Tale,” and she headlined the television series “Ride.”

Mike Dubreuil, another Beal alumnus, recently won the reality television series “Love Boat” and appeared in Drake’s hit music video “Where You At.”

Those are only two of many former Beal students who have appeared on TV recently. Beal Musical Theatre, one of the best high school theatre programs in Ontario, has produced countless stars and successful emerging artists who perform throughout North America.

The only question left to ask is “who is next?”

Lauren Brooks, Chloe Petteplace, McKenzie Trudgeon. Photo Ross Davidson

To find out, don’t miss BMT’s “Mamma Mia!”

“Mamma Mia” runs May 10-13th at 7 pm in the Beal Auditorium. With direction by Jessica Dawson, choreography by Tracy Iddison, and vocal direction by Kelsey Gordon. Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door.

Details, Details
Mamma Mia
Runs through May 13 at 7 pm
H.B Beal Secondary School auditorium
525 Dundas St, London, ON
Book online or at the door

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From High School to The Stratford Festival and Beyond

Keith Tomasek
11 May 2023
News and Rumors

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