Just a heads-up, Theatre-Goers!
There are three upcoming productions that should be outstanding, particularly when we consider the lead actors. Folks in the Grand Bend area in particular will be interested in these cast members.
Tess Benger in The Penelopiad and Cabaret
Tess Benger is currently appearing in The Penelopiad at the Grand Theatre in London. (See my review of The Penelopiad here.) Then from April 9 to 27, she will be starring as Sally Bowles in Cabaret on the McManus stage at the Grand. You may remember Tess from her appearances on the Rotary Stage on Grand Bend’s beach in the summers of 2017 and 2018 as part of the group singing “Broadway on the Beach”. I’ve been a longtime fan of Tess’s: I have seen many Annes starring in many different productions of Anne of Green Gables, and Tess is the best. She played the part in Charlottetown, and was selected to appear in character, complete with the famous red pigtails, to meet the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, William and Kate, when they visited PEI. Tess was also a very endearing Leisl in Huron Country Playhouse’s Sound of Music in 2013. In 2015, she had the title role of Carrie, in the Canadian premiere of the horror-musical, Carrie, directed by someone near and dear to me, Thomas Alderson. Last year she played Sophie in Mamma Mia at Edmonton’s Citadel Theatre. She also spent three seasons with the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake, appearing in the musicals Cabaret and Sweeney Todd, among others. If you want to see her powerful performance as Sally Bowles, call the Grand box office right away as it sold out and was extended, so tickets are limited.
Robert Markus and Alessandro Costantini in Dear Evan Hansen
The show that actually beat Come From Away for the Tony award for Best Musical in 2017, Dear Evan Hansen, is opening at the Royal Alexandra Theatre in Toronto March 5. And we all know and love Come From Away so much, it’s hard to believe anything could top it for best musical. So Dear Evan Hansen must be good! Robert Markus has the lead role of Evan Hansen. You will remember Robert from his performance on Grand Bend’s beach in 2017. He wowed the audience with songs from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat, a role he played later that year at Theatre Aquarius in Hamilton. Robert is best known for the lead role of Tommy, the pinball wizard in the musical The Who’s Tommy, at Stratford Festival in 2013. Last year, Robert was amazing as Riff Raff (with the oddly coloured dreadlocks) in Stratford’s hit The Rocky Horror Show. He also starred as Denny Doherty in The Mamas and The Papas show Dream a Little Dream at London’s Grand Theatre. In 2015, he convincingly played reporter Mary Sunshine in Huron Country Playhouse’s production of Chicago.
Alessandro Costantini is known in Grand Bend for his singing in Seasons of Song, performed at “The Premiere Gala” at Huron Shores United Church/Concert Hall. Alessandro is playing Jared Kleinman in Dear Evan Hansen. He has run an independent musical theatre company, YES Theatre, in Sudbury for 10 years, and last year starred as Marc Hall in a Montreal production of Prom Queen.
Alexis Gordon in Brigadoon
Alexis Gordon was also part of Seasons of Song, impressing everyone at “The Premiere Gala” at Huron Shores United Church/Concert Hall, Grand Bend. As well, she came to Grand Bend last spring to perform at a Rotary Club Conference at Oakwood Resort. A favourite at the Stratford Festival, Alexis is making a move to the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake this year, where she will be starring as Fiona in the magical Scottish story Brigadoon. Alexis was a favourite at the Stratford Festival where she performed in last year’s very popular Coriolanus, The Tempest and Napoli Milionaria!. But she is best known as Stratford’s leading lady, in roles such as street missionary Sarah Brown in Guys and Dolls in 2017, Anne in A Little Night Music in 2016, and Julie Jordan in Carousel in 2015.
Bus Trips from Grand Bend are available:
Wednesday, June 5 – Dear Evan Hansen with Robert Markus and Alessandro Costantini. Bus will travel from Grand Bend to the Royal Alexandra Theatre in Toronto. $184.10 per person.
Thursday, September 12 – Brigadoon with Alexis Gordon. Bus will travel from Grand Bend to the Shaw Festival, Niagara-on-the-Lake. $192 per person.
To book either trip, Contact Charlotte or Gavin at Robert Q Travel, 47 Ontario St. N., Grand Bend, or call 519-238-6666. A $50 deposit will hold your place. I am pleased to be your escort on both trips!