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THE LITTLE MERMAID - November 11th, 2013

MEET SOME OF THE NEWEST MEMBERS OF THE PANTO FAMILY..

MEET LANA CARILLO & TIM GLEDHILL.

lana tim
Lana Carrilo Tim Gledhill

WE ASKED THEM BOTH A FEW QUESTIONS A COUPLE OF DAYS INTO REHEARSALS..

HOW ARE REHEARSALS GOING?

LANA - SHRIMPTACULARLY =)
TIM - SO FAR SO GOOD.  MY STOMACH IS HURTING FROM LAUGHTER!  PRETTY AWESOME WAY TO SPEND THE DAY!

WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO THE MOST ABOUT THE PANTO?

LANA - CHILINA KENNEDY LIP-SYNCING TO MY VOICE (I MEAN?REALLY?!!)

TIM - WORKING OVER THE CHRISTMAS HOLIDAYS.  ALL THE CRAZY COSTUMES AND CHARACTERS.  TRYING TO NOT LAUGH ON STAGE

1 WORD TO DESCRIBE PLUMBUM:

LANA - FLASHY!
TIM - COLOURFUL.

1 WORD TO DESCRIBE ROSS PETTY:

LANA - SMOOOOTH.

TIM - BOO!  (BECAUSE HE IS THE BAD GUY.)

PinoSNOW WHITE   December 22,  2012.

Pino here! Just ‘logging’ in to say Happy Holidays to all you Ross Petty panto fans! Things are getting pretty festive here in the Enchanted Forest and this punny puppet is looking forward to sharing this special time with all of you.
I come from a long line of Christmas trees, so this holiday season always takes me back to my ‘roots.’ I just love all the colourful decorations, the excitement in the air, and the chance to spend time with family and ‘fronds.’ This year, I’m thrilled to get to share this holiday with the cast and crew here at the Elgin. Nowhere is the spirit of the ‘holly’-days more alive than in our cozy little cottage.

Many of you have sent me some interesting questions, so I thought I’d take this opportuni-‘tree’ to answer a few of them! Here goes:

Q: What is your favourite holiday movie?
A: I’m a ‘sap’ for the classics… so I’ll have to say Miracle on 34th ‘Tree’

Q: What’s your favourite holiday song?
A: O Christmas Tree, of course… but I’m also partial to ‘Oak’ Come All Ye Faithful

Q: What is your most anticipated holiday tradition?
A: I love having everyone over for a big party! When my fairytale friends and I get together, though, things can get quite rowdy… I just hope my neighbours don’t call the ‘copse.’

Q: Do you have a real tree or an artificial one?
A: Artificial! I’m ‘knot’ a monster!!

Q: Who’s your favourite reindeer?
A: ‘Branch’-er… you don’t hear about him much. He’s the swing.

Q: What is your holiday beverage of choice?
A: Warm apple ‘cedar’… with a splash of ‘maple’ syrup!

Q: What’s your favourite part about being in Snow White this time of year?
A: Honestly, I love hearing all the booing and cheering each day and looking out and seeing tons of smiling faces. The panto is such a fun, family tradition and I feel very lucky to be a part of it! ‘Wooden’ ‘yew?’

Alright, folks, we’ve got our big holiday party this afternoon so I better ‘spruce’ this place up a bit before the guests arrive! Time for me to make like a tree… and get moving!

SEASON’S ‘GREEN’-TINGS!!!

Yours ‘tree’-ly,
Pinocchio

The Wizard of Oz

December 06, 2011

There's no place like home - How two Wizard of Oz performers met and made a beautiful family together, Toto and all!

By Charlotte Herrold - Post City Magazine

When Yvan Pedneault left his family in Montreal to perform in Toronto, he didn't expect that he'd find a new one here. Enter Kelly Fletcher and her Bichon Frise Hauli. With the treesome performing on stage together in Ross Petty's Wizard of Oz this month (Yvan as the Tin Man, Kelly in the ensemble and Hauli as Toto), they're happier than ever. Here, the couple tells their story: Kelly_and_Yvan


How They Met

Yvan - We met [working on] We Will Rock You. I was the new French guy from Montreal and she was the hot Dance Captain. In a room filled with 50-60 people, I noticed her right away.

Kelly - I remember feeling sorry for him because he didn't speak much English. Anytime someone in the cast made a joke everyone would laugh except for him.

The First Date
Kelly - It was after a show. We were about 8 months into the run of We Will Rock You. His English had improved a lot and he felt comfortable talking to me. We sat down, had a bite, a couple beers, and chatted for hours. I knew then that I wanted to be more than friends.
Yvan - When Kelly brought up the fact that she would like to take French lessons so that she could communicate with my family I knew she was a keeper.

The Courtship
Kelly- I call him my ?easy going? guy; we just clicked so well. There was no drama - just lots of laughs and good memories with friends. We were both in our late 20's so we knew what we were looking for in our life companion. Another huge factor was the way he treated my dog Hauli. He was just so nurturing and sweet with her. That meant a lot to me.
Yvan- We realized quickly that we were meant for one another. Also Kelly and her family made me feel very at home [in Toronto]. For example I realized that because I was away from my family traveling for shows etc. I hadn't had a birthday cake for about four years. You can be sure that Kelly got my favorite cake in a heart beat, topped it with candles and surprised me with it at home.

The Proposal
Kelly - We decided to go to NY City to celebrate my 30th birthday. As we both enjoy that city, Yvan thought it would be a great idea to propose a few days before my big 3-0. We definitely have great memories of our first time in New York together.
Yvan - Actually, I wanted to propose a bit later but I was so excited that I couldn't wait.

Kelly_Yvan_Hauli

The Big Day
Yvan- We got married in January 2011. Exactly four years + one day after we first met. We didn't plan it that way; we only realized a few months after we set a date.
Kelly - The reception was at Auberge du Pommier. They have the best food ever, plus the servers could speak French which was necessary for Yvan's family. We have a lot of very talented friends who attended and by the end of the evening everybody was dancing and singing. The staff at Auberge said they were very entertained.
Yvan -The very next day we flew to the St. Lucia for our honeymoon.

Family Life
Kelly - We have a little fury Baby named Hauli. She's a Bichon Frise. I've had her for 9 years. Yvan fit in to our little family quite well!
Yvan - We definitely want to have kids. Family is very important to us.
Kelly - Before that day comes, we'd really like to travel. Whether it be for work or pleasure, we definitely want to see more of the world together

Secret to their success
Yvan- We both love and respect one another. We also have admiration for what the other person does. Kelly has a talent that I admire and vice versa.
Kelly - Our career can be very challenging at times. Sometimes one of us is working and the other isn't. No matter what, we always support the other person. We realize that in order for us to be happy we have to be happy with what we are doing for a living.

December 05, 2011

Yvan Pedneault

Holiday Questions with Kyle Blair

Favourite Holiday Song: Oh Holy Night - it reminds me of Christmas eve with my family.

Favourite Holiday Movie: White Christmas! I got to play Phil last year at MTC and the music is brilliant.

Favourite Holiday Musical: The Ross Petty panto of course!!!

Favourite Holiday Treat: Gingerbread. Cake, cookie, man, house, I'm not picky...

Favourite Holiday Drink: Cafe Mocha from the Balzac's in Stratford.

Yvan Pedneault

Favourite holiday Tradition: I love putting lights on the house!

Favourite Cold Weather Accessory: long underwear (is that an accessory?!)

Favourite Reindeer: Dancer :)

White or Green Christmas: White!!

Frosty or Rudolph: Rudolph.

Partridge or a Pear Tree: Do I have to answer now? Can I think about it for a bit?

Finally, for those unfamiliar with the Panto or looking to make new holiday traditions, what is the number one reason you would tell them to come out and experience the show? I can't think of a more hilarious outing for a family. Come party with us!!

December 05, 2011

Yvan Pedneault

Holiday Questions with Elicia MacKenzie

Favourite Holiday Song: Everything on the Bing Crosby & Andrew Sister's Christmas Album. But If I had to choose one song it would be Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.

?Favourite Holiday Movie: It's a Wonderful Life/ A Christmas Story

Favourite Holiday Musical: White Christmas

Favourite Holiday Treat: Nanaimo bars! I don't know if that's a holiday treat, but they are so good!

Favourite Holiday Drink: Hot Totties!!

Yvan Pedneault

Favourite holiday Tradition: An Austrian Christmas tradition in my family is a big Schnitzl dinner. Mmmm!

Favourite Cold Weather Accessory: A stylish little hat

Favourite Reindeer: Definitely Rudolph, he's just misunderstood.??

White or Green Christmas: Doesn't matter, as long as my families there. But...probably White.

Frosty or Rudolph: Frosty. Still Rudolph, he's just so cute!

Partridge or a Pear Tree: Hmmm, that's a tough one but, I think I'm gonna pick a Partridge...it just sound cooler.

Finally, for those unfamiliar with the Panto or looking to make new holiday traditions, what is the number one reason you would tell them to come out and experience the show? It's a great show to come and bond with your families and friends of all ages during the holiday season. And also have a great night of entertainment filled with lots of fun and laughs!

December 05, 2011

Yvan Pedneault

Holiday Questions with Steve Ross

Favourite Holiday Song: This year it seems to be a tie between The Christmas Song (Nat King Cole) and Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.Favourite Holiday Movie: A Christmas Carol (the one with Alastair Sim...the scene with Jacob Marley is fantastic!!)

Favourite Holiday Musical: Santa Claus Is Coming to Town (The animated special....is that considered a musical? I LOVE IT!!

Favourite Holiday Treat: Shortbread Cookies...a true weakness

Favourite Holiday Drink: Hot Chocolate with Whipped Cream.

Yvan Pedneault

Favourite holiday Tradition: I love to cook, so I really like taking the day to prepare Christmas dinner.

Favourite Cold Weather Accessory: My bright green scarf that I bought in New York.

?Favourite Reindeer: Definitely Blitzen!

White or Green Christmas: I think I'm good with either.

Frosty or Rudolph: Frosty. He's always seemed like a good guy to me.

Partridge or a Pear Tree: Hmmm...tough choice...I'll go with pear tree.??

Finally, for those unfamiliar with the Panto or looking to make new holiday traditions, what is the number one reason you would tell them to come out and experience the show? It's nothing but fun. Silly, crazy, wacky fun. Is there anything better??

December 05, 2011

Yvan Pedneault

Holiday Questions with Yvan Pedneault

Favourite Holiday Song: Baby, it's cold outside

Favourite Holiday Movie: Elf

Favourite Holiday Musical: The Wizard of Oz of course!

Favourite Holiday Treat: Eggnog

Favourite Holiday Drink: No publicity but the Starbucks Christmas drinks are pretty awesome. Yvan Pedneault

Favourite holiday Tradition: Kissing under the mistletoe.

Favourite Cold Weather Accessory: My tuque...I'd wear it in the summer if I could.

?Favourite Reindeer: I haven?t met them all...it?s hard to make a choice.

White or Green Christmas: White..definitely.

Frosty or Rudolph: Rudolph! That said, Frosty is a pretty cool guy too.

Partridge or a Pear Tree: What are you talking about? *laughs*

Finally, for those unfamiliar with the Panto or looking to make new holiday traditions, what is the number one reason you would tell them to come out and experience the show? It's a good time for the whole family!

Beauty and the Beast News

September 12, 2010

Posted by: Ross Petty

Melissa O'Neil and Jake EpsteinWith eager anticipation, and a haughty toss of my wild mane......I'm proud to announce our 15th anniversary season at the Elgin Theatre! 15 years.....Justin Bieber was just a gleam in his father's eye.... but we obviously struck a responsive chord with you... our faithful audience, and I'm happy to say that our Ontario family tradition is happily ensconced at Yonge and Queen Streets, and has evolved into a must-see entertainment over the winter holidays.

Beauty and the Beast is a world premiere and we're excited to add the title to our eclectic list of fractured fairy tales that find their origin in English Pantomime. To the uninitiated....no, this is not a tribute to Marcel Marceau.....quite the contrary. Our productions are filled with a cacophony of sound, over-the-top acting, wonderful singing, exuberant dancing, brilliant ad libs, and the sweetest sound of all.....the audience jeering at my every entrance. Yes my friends.....booing season is fast approaching.Jake Simons

And what a cast! Melissa O'Neil is indeed beautiful and Jake Epstein is an incredible hunk...even as a hulk. Melissa knocked us out with her gorgeous voice.....we first heard that powerful instrument when she won Canadian Idol in 2005, but her growth as an artist since then is remarkable. And Jake was so terrific as Cinderella's Prince in 2008, that we're delighted that he's joining us again this year to showcase his animalistic tendencies.

It seems that if you're named Jake, you have a certain captivating effect on the female population. Jake Simons played the seductive lead role of Johnny in the Mirvish production of Dirty Dancing at the Royal Alexandra Theatre and he's with us this year as the very debonair Antonio, sidekick to the Beast. Two Jakes.....double your pleasure!

Eddie Glen is the lovable red head who has appeared in more of my shows than any other performer. He's a true triple threat.....actor, singer, dancer.....and one of the funniest guys you'd ever want to share a stage with.

Ross Petty and Scott ThompsonAre you fans of The Kids in the Hall? Probably one of the most successful comedy troupes to have originated in this country, and I'm really happy to have Scott Thompson onside as Beauty's guardian. The Kids are known to have spent a lot of time playing women on their CBC-TV series, and Scott in a dress is like a duck to water. One of my favorite TV memories of Scott was as a regular on The Larry Sanders Show, playing opposite Gary Shandling.

Eddie GlenOur creative brain trust is once again in place to lead us through the silliness, with Ted Dykstra directing his 6th production. Besides being one of Canada's finest actors, and a creator of the brilliant theatre piece Two Pianos Four Hands, Ted's directing is taking focus, as witness his staging last year of the iconic Billy Bishop Goes to War as well as Jitters for Soulpepper Theatre.

Tracey Flye, after great success choreographing the two major musical hits for Stratford this summer.....Kiss Me Kate and Evita, returns to the Elgin for her 10th year of merriment.

Mark Camilleri, probably Canada's busiest music director, is back for a second season with us. Mark has been the conductor for The Canadian Tenors as well as CBC-TV's Triple Threat, and was the Associate Music Director for the Mirvish production of Mamma Mia.

We have brand new script writers for Beauty and the Beast...Lorna Wright and Nicholas Hune-Brown. They're so young that when we began this madness at the Elgin in 1996, they were brought to the theatre by their parents...in strollers. How old does that make me feel!

OK folks.....start getting your vocal cords in shape! November is just around the corner....and I can't wait to hear you roar when I make my first entrance!beauty and the beast cast

 

Jeff Irving, Photo By: Paula Wilson

December 13th 2009

Posted By: Jessica Holmes

Hey there!

I'm having the time of my life, despite being petrified (since this is my first stage play and you never know what's going to happen). When Air Farce ended I promised myself I would take risks and try new things. This is definitely new for me; as evidenced by the 600 times I had to be shown the basic dance moves I do. But every moment has been worth it. The cast and crew are such a ton of fun - we even have a five minute dance party before most shows. So far, the show is a little different every night. Usually because Ross switches his lines, or Dan launches into tirades during his ribbon dance. But also because I tend to mix up my words.

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During today's matinee I accidentally called my fairies "hairy fanmaidens" and gave the wrong spell during my opening scene. But that's the beauty of being a comedian - I got to let the audience in on my mistake and make a bigger joke out of the situation. Only downfall is, I get the giggles after those moments and struggle to get serious again. (That's the truth - I'm a nervous laugher: hence I had to give up skiing and horseback riding long ago since I sounded like I was in hysterics whenever I tried either). So wish me luck - hopefully I'll be able to keep a straight face for tonight's show.

Jessica

 

December 7th 2009

Posted By: Jeff Irving

Jeff Irving, Photo By: Paula Wilson

Hey there!

It's Robin Hood, coming to you straight from Sherwood Forest. ....actually its Jeff Irving coming to you straight from his lap top.

WE'RE OPEN! This past thursday was the big day. After 4 weeks of rehearsals and a week of previews we now declare the holiday season finally ON! I remember talking to Ross a few months before starting rehearsals about the process of putting up this show. He said it was going to be a lot of tough work and long hours. In my head, at the time, I thought 'Ya right. Its the panto. Easy peasy.' ....Yeah he was right. I guess I should trust a guy 24 years in the Panto biz. But even though he was right about the tough work and long hours, its been a heck (its a family blog) of a load of laughs and good times. I consider myself supremely lucky to be in this show with these amazingly talented people.

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I share a dressing room with Dan Chameroy and Colin Heath. Those dudes are ridiculously hilarious. Dan plays Plumbum von Botox, and his jokes are always a challenge to deal with. It takes a lot of effort to keep a straight face on stage around that guy for sure. Sometimes I think he does it on purpose....... .

Colin plays Pinch and his physical comedy is straight from the old silent films of Chaplin, Keaton and Lloyd. Its worth the price of admission alone to watch him beat himself up.

Then there's Jessica Holmes. I think her and Dan have a secret 'Who-can-be-funnier-off-the-cuff' competition every show. She plays the fairy Eyuba, protector of Sherwood. In one scene she ends up going into Nottingham disguised as her Uncle Willy, and everyone on stage has a really tough time keeping it together (Ross especially) and it 's hilarious.

And then there's the amazing singers in the show. Eva Avila and Yvan Pedneault . Maaaaann they're good. Eva's song in the second act knock's me socks off every time, and when Yvan wails in his songs me jaw drops and me head shakes at the voice that comes out of the guy.

And then there's everyone in the ensemble who are hilarious, amazing singers AND crazy dancers!

AND THEN, there's Ross. He kills it every night. I've never seen someone thrive so much off of people booing their faces off. If you want to get your Boo on, come to our show. He'll let you boo him til the cows are done whatever they do.

I know this may seem like my internal review of our show but, f'real, these people are truly amazing up on the stage, and man do I feel lucky to be up there with them. Then to look out into the audience and hear the Boos and the Cheers and see the kids waving their glowy swords and wands. Its pretty magical. And I must say, it definitely puts me in a holiday mood. If you've seen the show, thanks for the boos and cheers, they really feed us up there on stage, and if you're on your way to see the show, boo and cheer your face off, then come to stage door after the show to say hi. We love to meet the folks and the kids. Well I best be off. Gotta get ready for the next one.

Happy Holidays. peace Jeff

 

December 3rd 2009

Alter egos: Dan Chameroy and Plumbum von Botox - thestar.com

By: Richard Ouzounian - Theatre Critic for the Toronto Star

Dan Chameroy Dan Chameroy is understandably irate. The handsome leading man of numerous Stratford musicals has just been told that Plumbum von Botox (the character he's currently playing in Ross Petty's annual holiday musical, Robin Hood) is running around Toronto claiming she is actually appearing on the stage.

"The woman is clearly delusional and not paying attention to small details like the truth," snaps Chameroy with that unequivocally virile charm he's brought to roles from Lancelot to Miles Glorious.

"Ross paid her for the rights to her life. Well, he didn't actually pay her. Ross doesn't pay anyone. But he gave her some very nice Clinique samples that Karen Kain wasn't using and I hear old Plumbum was quite happy."

Plumbum made her first appearance last season in Cinderella, sharing the stage with her equally ugly sister, Carnivia. She was a grotesquely made-up creature with no gift for tact, a roving eye for the men and an excuse for everything. Sarah Palin threatened to sue for identity theft, but was ultimately persuaded not to.

It didn't matter. Critics raved, audiences cheered and when it came time to do this year's panto, it was taken for granted that Plumbum would reappear and Chameroy prepared to make theatre magic again.

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"The only trouble is with my daughter," sighs Chameroy, speaking about 3-year-old Olivia. "Last Christmas was the first time she'd ever seen me on stage, and I was wearing a dress. This summer in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, I was wearing a skirt, and here I am in a frock again.

"A few weeks ago, I was out of town doing a benefit concert and she asked me if I was wearing a pretty dress and if my lipstick looked nice. She thinks I'm a drag queen."

That proved the least of his problems. When the real Plumbum started hanging around the stage door and karate-chopping the security guards to get into rehearsals, Chameroy demanded a restraining order.

Now, he's reasonably relaxed over a sandwich on a break from rehearsals, and talks about the fun he had doing two musicals this past summer at Stratford.

"The shows couldn't have been more different (West Side Story and Forum), since one was a tragedy and the other was a farce. Des McAnuff and Gary Griffin also had two totally different approaches to directing.

"But both shows and both men had one thing in common: they were great."

Next summer, Chameroy is putting musicals aside to do The Winter's Tale and As You Like It, but he uses the same basic approach on every show. "I always try to start from reality, because all of the best comedy comes from a truthful place."

Although he admits portraying Plumbum is a bit of an exception. "When I look in the mirror while applying Plumbum to my face, I have to try very hard not to start laughing. She's that funny."

He looks over his shoulder to make sure no horsey nymphomaniac is stalking him. "I mean she's funny as long as she's not around."

PLUMBUM VON BOTOX

I've interviewed many of the great sex symbols of our time ? Angelina Jolie, Nicole Kidman, Kathleen Turner ? but nothing could prepare me for Plumbum von Botox.

The creature who grabs my arm outside a midtown luncheonette has roving hands, beady eyes and the worst makeup I've seen since they closed Ronald Reagan's coffin.

"You're Richard, aren't you?" she coos. "May I call you Dick for short? But I hope not too short..." Before I know it, I'm wedged into a corner table upon which arrive a plate of pickled herring and a vanilla milkshake. "I have to keep my energy up," the harridan simpers. "It's a lot of work performing in this show."

Taking hold of what's left of my sanity, I try to tell von Botox she's not actually going to be appearing in Robin Hood at the Elgin Theatre, but that Dan Chameroy is playing her onstage instead.

"That's me on that stage and don't you let some psychotic Stratford actor tell you otherwise," she snaps. "Even his own daughter thinks he's a drag queen. It's a disgrace."

I want to get to the heart of von Botox's mystery because no research had revealed any clues. Not Wikipedia, not the New York Times, not the back issues of Tiger Beat. She remains a secret, but she finally opens up to me.

"I began my career in Amsterdam. I was famous for the shows I used to do there with animals. But I want to make it clear that those shots on the Internet with me and the three chihuahuas were all Photoshopped."

An unfortunate incident with Dutch immigration ensued, and von Botox found herself deported to Canada ("Where they'll take anybody!"). She was leaving the Eaton Centre one day after picking up some makeup ("My special blend: equal parts of Mary Kay, Cover Girl and Drano") when fate took a hand.

"This handsome but very old man stopped me and asked if I had ever acted. I told him I'd dabbled in show business and he took me down to the Elgin Theatre for an audition. He said his name was Ross Petty, which I thought was adorable.

"But he wanted me to read from a script, and I told him I didn't read. Then this boy with a lot of fuzzy hair named Ted Dykstra said that was fine, because not reading the script is one of the greatest strengths an actor can have in doing one of these musicals."

Delusional she may be, but von Botox is already planning her opening-night guest list.

"Ben Mulroney is coming. I've forgiven him for stealing my makeup. I said, `Honey, that shade of orange only looks good on me and a pumpkin.' And Céline Dion has said it's okay I didn't make her opening at Las Vegas.

"I wanted to go, but the police detained me. It's a long story." Von Botox is already confident of another smash success, and she has her next career move already mapped out. "I'm going to be on Season 2 of Battle of the Blades. I love being on the ice and the thinner it is, the better."

November 10th 2009

Eva Avila

Posted By: Eva Avila

Hello! Bonjour! Buenos dias! This is Eva, writing to you directly from the big city of Toronto.

Just wanted to give you guys a little update on my rehearsing for Robin Hood! First of all, I'd like to point out that this is my official acting debut. I mean, I've done lots of acting and musical theatre back in Gatineau when I was younger, but this is my first professional production.

I've always wanted to pursue professional acting and I feel so very blessed to be a part of this adventure! And you know what? I?m LOVING it! It is sooo much fun, and I totally feel like I'm in my element. In fact, it's bringing me back lots of wonderful, fun memories from my youth. I forgot how much I enjoyed vibing with an amazing group of talented people, and working very hard as a team to put together an incredible show. I've missed that thrill, that drive and that delicious rush of adrenaline running through my veins night after night while performing, knowing you?ve worked so hard towards that magical feeling.

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The cast is just fabulous, everyone is super nice and soo talented. You can just feel the team spirit in the room as we rehearse. And I must say, the best part of rehearsing is all the laughter! I think I might live a whole year older thanks to this show. All day long everyone makes each other laugh, I absolutely adore that. For example, Dan Chameroy, who plays Nurse Plumbum, is so terribly hilarious that I am constantly going to have to bite my inner lip during the performances, because he is just too darn funny! It?s impossible not to laugh. But seriously, I think after doing it many times I?ll get used to it, hehe. Every member of the cast has a unique charisma and brings something special to the show. I cannot wait to start playing in front of people. I am so excited for my friends, family, and all of you guys to come and watch it! Until then, I send you all my love and smiles, and I will see you very very soon at the Elgin theatre!!!! Mwah! à bientôt, abrazos!

Xoxoxo Eva

October 12th 2009

Posted By: Ross Petty

Jeff Irving and Eva Avila The manly, albeit green-tighted Merry Men of Sherwood Forest, last set foot on the stage of Toronto's Elgin Theatre in the winter Yvan Pedneault and Jessica Holmes of 2002. It's 2009 and here we are, sillier than ever. 14 years into our run at the Elgin Theatre, we have several great young talents to be excited about. Particularly our hero, in the handsome personage of Jeff Irving. Jeff is 6'2", and a young Tom Cruise look-alike. Having travelled from THE SOUND OF MUSIC'S mountain range to the forest of Sherwood, Jeff is looking forward to flexing his vocal and romantic muscles in tandem with the most talented CANADIAN IDOL winner that ever exploded through the TV screen, Eva Avila. Eva's beautiful, with a killer voice, and a concert and recording career in the ascendancy, as witness her opening for Superstar Beyonce this year in 3 Canadian cities.

I've been a fan of Jessica Holmes for a long time, and only with the demise of CBC's ROYAL CANADIAN AIR FARCE was she available to join us as the Good Fairy of Sherwood Forest. Jessica's comedic artistry will join forces with the rock and roll power of Quebec's Yvan Pedneault. Yvan took Toronto by storm as the lead in the Mirvish production of WE WILL ROCK YOU...and we can't wait to give this town another taste of his searing vocals.

As the immaculately coiffed, but still extraordinarily evil Sheriff of Nottingham, I'm looking forward to teaming up with Stratford's Colin Heath, a human boomerang who honed his incredible physical skills with CIRQUE DU SOLEIL.

Graham Abbey Rex Harrington

But let's circle back for a moment and wax nostalgic. The 2002 production of ROBIN HOOD starred Stratford leading man Graham Abbey, currently looking glum but gorgeous on CBC-TV's THE BORDER. It also marked the musical theatre debut of NATIONAL BALLET super star "Sexy Rexy" Harrington as the Evil Wizard of Sherwood Forest. Rex is currently Artist in Residence at THE NATIONAL BALLET OF CANADA, when he isn't making appearances as a guest judge on CTV's SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE CANADA.

Allow me to digress for a moment and acknowledge another guest judge on SYTYCDC...one Karen Kain, Artistic Director of THE NATIONAL BALLET OF CANADA, former star of my earlier shows.....CINDERELLA (1986), SNOW WHITE (1987) and ROBIN HOOD (1996)....and my current wife since 1983. Even though Karen wasn't in her sweet spot of classical dance on the hit CTV show, her positive comments about the courageous young dancers inspired their subsequent performances.

That 1996 version of ROBIN HOOD was the Debut of Silliness at the Elgin Theatre, and I reunited Karen with her ballet partner of many years standing, Frank Augustyn. For all the balletomanes, Frank is now happily ensconced as the Director of Dance at Adelphi University in New York State.

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Karen KainDan ChameroyThe production also featured a dashing young man named Dan Chameroy in the title role, and after appearing this year in Stratford's WEST SIDE STORY and A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM, Dan returns to the Elgin as Plumbum Von Botox...fondly, or perhaps grotesquely remembered as one of the Ugly Stepsisters in last year's production of CINDERELLA. Dan made such an indelible impression as Plumbum in 2008, that we made the unprecedented move to have a character from one show transfer seamlessly (well that remains to be seen), to another production. Plumbum left her mother and sister (Bertha and Carnivia Von Botox) in the dust of the pumpkin patch, to move to Sherwood Forest, enlist in Nottingham Nursing Academy, and become Maid Marion's guardian.

The 1996 show was also noteworthy for launching the career of a towering and boyishly enthusiastic Kevin Durand as Little John. I remember Kevin being thrilled that in his first professional gig, he was dancing with Karen Kain. Well, obviously we had an eye for talent as Kevin went on to forge an impressive career in film and television, having major roles in X MEN ORIGINS:WOLVERINE; AUSTIN POWERS: THE SPY WHO SHAGGED ME; Kevin Durand3:10 TO YUMA; and 8 episodes of LOST. How ironic that from his very first role as Little John in our production at the Elgin, Kevin will soon be seen as the same character in the eagerly anticipated new film version of ROBIN HOOD, playing opposite Russell Crowe as the man in green and directed by screen legend Ridley Scott. Did I ask Kevin to reprise his Little John role at the Elgin this winter? Absolutely......and he would have loved to have returned to Canada, if not for shooting his next picture, a supernatural thriller called LEGION, co-starring with Paul Bettany and Dennis Quaid.

But enough about movies....would you like to join us at the Elgin Theatre this winter and give your family the Greenest gift of all? I think you all know the answer to that question...SHER-WOOD!

Ross Petty

January 26th 2009

Posted By: Ross Petty

I have the January blahs...the inauguration of Barack Obama notwithstanding. I'm mourning the closing of Cinderella at the Elgin Theatre and the absence of having a destination to go to as I did for the past 6 weeks. The comfort of walking into a messy dressing room, after checking out the green room to see if any of the cast had brought goodies. Wandering downstairs, greeting the stage crew who were preparing for the coming performance, and checking my name off the sign-in sheet...wait a minute...I'm the bane of any stage manager's existence...I never sign in.

Back upstairs, I drop in on my daughters...Dan Chameroy and Adam Brazier. Bertha Von Botox (my character) was a lucky woman...having two of Canada's most handsome, talented, and funny leading men to joke around with both onstage and off. Eddie Glen, everyone's favorite red head, pokes his head in and wonders if we're doing any new adlibs for tonight's show. I have to explain to Eddie that if they were pre-planned, they wouldn't be adlibs. Kidding...Eddie's one of the sharpest guys in the biz.

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At the 5 minute call, I throw on my Fairy Godfather costume and head to stage left. Paula Brancati, our Cinderella, greets me in her wonderfully warm way; I chat briefly with Karen LeBlanc ( I can't believe she doesn't have a boyfriend...maybe her status has changed by now), and go to the front curtain and listen to the audience. Yes, folks, we actors spy on you before the show starts, so that we'll get a hint of how much electricity is in the air, and whether we'll get the energy back from you that we need to soar.

After my brief opening scene with Patty Sullivan as the Fairy Godmother (what a treat to have her in the show), I make a mad dash back to my dressing room...I have 7 minutes to become Bertha Von Botox...Cinderella's evil stepmother. Listening to the show over the speaker as I race to become "Cougar, hear me roar", I smile when Jake Epstein lands his big joke about "the artist formerly known as the Prince...TAFKATP". Moments later, Bertha enters to deafening jeers...I thought I heard something special in the crowd...and the funfest gallops off in all directions.

We had a great run of Cinderella. The critics were all in agreement as to their praise, and your response both in applause and emails was heartwarming. What actor doesn't love to be in a hit show! All the more reason to feel that empty place in your heart that only recently was filled with camaraderie and adoring audiences. But, we've all been here many times before and we know that very soon, a new show will begin and new friends will be made...and if we're lucky, very lucky...we'll hear that special buzz from the audience as we listen to you from behind the curtain.

The Elgin Theatre curtain will rise on my next show the last week of November 2009...I look forward to seeing you then! Stay tuned for breaking news.

Ross Petty

December 25th 2008

Posted By: Jake Epstein
aka Prince George

It's Christmas Day and the Cinderella cast and crew were all given the day off. I've spent the day doing one of my favourite pastimes: eating. And right now, my stomach could not be happier. We've been performing Cinderella for about a month and I can honestly say the shows are becoming even more and more fun to do. This whole experience has really made me appreciate live theatre... 'live' being the operative word here. Though we were given an initial script, Cinderella was largely created through improv, and general silliness. Therefore, it hasn't been surprising that many lines are changed from night to night and the general silliness just continues to grow. It's exhilarating to be up on stage with the feeling that 'anything' could happen. With the brilliant comic minds of Dan Chameroy, Adam Brazier, Patty Sullivan, Eddie Glen, Laurie Murdoch, Karen Leblanc, and of course, Mr. Ross Petty, I am constantly floored at the creativity and hilarity that ensues. I truly wonder what would happen if Degrassi were done live on a stage... I don?t think I want to go there.

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For me, what has kept me on my toes throughout this whole process has been the singing. Now I love singing with my band, and I'm a huge fan of a good ol' power ballad sung in the shower, but it's an entirely different thing singing live at the Elgin Theatre to a full house. Even though I've performed and sung for lots of people, the fear of singing in public has never fully gone away. Doing Cinderella every night has really given me confidence singing in public, and my voice has gotten stronger and stronger. I'm blessed to have such a supportive cast.

Throughout this experience I've eaten one too many chicken fingers (the older you get, the more you crave 'em), learned how to play the banjo (Laurie Murdoch, my dressing room guru, has more hidden talents than anyone I know), been attacked by a couple of sisters onstage (Dan Chameroy has tried to pick my nose!), and gotten to know an ensemble of some of the most lovely and talented people I've ever worked with. Plus, it ain't too shabby falling in love with Paula Brancati on stage every night. Paula is wonderful onstage and off and it's been a real highlight working with her. I'm digesting this whole process... just like what my stomach's doing right now. I'm soaking it all in and enjoying every last moment.

Happy Holidays folks!
Jake

 

 

December 24th 2008

Posted By: Patty Sullivan
aka Forgetful the Fairy Godmother

"So, what's it like?"
"Is it everything you thought it would be?"
"Are you loving it?"

These are the kinds of questions my friends have been asking me since being cast as 'Forgetful' the Fairy Godmother in "Cinderella". And, to be honest, only one word can truly describe how it feels.... "surreal". Every day, as I stand in the wings at the Elgin Theatre, I think to myself, "Am I really here?" "Is this a dream?" I mean, seriously! What am I doing here? I'm a children's television host, on a public television network, and here I am surrounded by super-talented, seasoned, highly acclaimed actors from Stratford and Shaw. WHAA???

When we first started rehearsals, I would go home every night and tell my husband about all the amazing people I was working with. I watched everything they did, and tried to soak up as much of it as possible. I mean, I may never have this kind of opportunity again! (although my fingers are crossed) Working with the likes of Ted Dykstra, Tracey Flye, Dan Chameroy, Adam Brazier and Eddie Glen has been the most incredible experience. Paula Brancati and Jake Epstein are as sweet as they are talented. Karen LeBlanc, Laurie Murdoch and the rest of the cast are so multi-talented it makes me wish I never quit taking dance and music lessons as a kid! And of course, watching Ross Petty transform from producer extraordinaire to a... dare I say attractive?...evil stepmother every night is remarkable. And what has made this experience all the more satisfying is knowing that I have been able to contribute more than just my "name" to the show. Many people might not realize how much the entire cast (and crew!) contributes to the final product you see on the stage. We started with a full script, but then at each rehearsal, we were all encouraged to try new things... new lines of dialogue... make suggestions to the director & choreographer... all in an effort to get the best possible final product. And I think we did. It was -- and still is -- a real collaborative and friendly working environment. I cannot tell you how great I felt when Ted (Dykstra) said to me "That's a great idea Patty". Wow. Maybe I do fit in here after all.

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Sure, I have always loved performing.  I did all the dance recitals as a kid, auditioned for all the high school plays, even went to theatre school in the summer and performed at Hamilton Place (with the now very successful stage actors George Masswohl and Sharon Matthews).  But, like Cinderella, I was raised to be "practical" and, even though I always had the itch to perform, there was always a voice in my head saying "Get a job with some security" (that voice sounded a lot like my Dad's).  Not that there is any real security in any job anymore, but I digress.
So, I set my sights on being a veterinarian.  But after my first experience at a vet's office putting an animal to 'sleep', I knew I couldn't do that for a living!  And since the voice inside still nagged at me I thought -- what can I do that still involves perfoming, but might give me more security?  And that's how I ended up taking broadcasting.  Ironically though, it wasn't my schooling that got me the job as a children's host... it was my performing abilities. Perhaps I was always supposed to perform and fate just stepped in?

But the one thing television didn't give me was the "rush" of performing for a live audience, getting that immediate response, knowing you've connected with people and given them an emotional experience.  So, I got involved with community theatre groups around the G.T.A.     I have had some wonderful experiences and have made life-long friends.  But community theatre actors don't get paid to perform.  We do it because we love it.  And I know, when "Cinderella" is done, I'll be right back out there doing shows in my community, just for fun.  But, I have to say, to actually get paid to perform this time?  That has also been a real thrill!

I won't say this hasn't been a challenge.  It has.  In addition to doing this show, I was also continuing to work at CBC, shooting my pre-school morning show Kids' CBC.  I had many days when I would be in studio at 8am, shoot all day, then go to rehearsal in the evening... or shoot in the morning, rehearse in the afternoon and do a performance in the evening!  Absolutely exhausting.  Nuts.  Crazy.  And yet, I don't regret a minute of it -- except for all the the time I missed with my wonderful husband, sweet little daughter and 2 big goofy dogs.  (I owe them all big-time!)

Now here I am, on Christmas Eve day, over half-way through our run, and I am still in awe of everyone around me.  When this is done, I will return to my "regular" job, and I'll get to spend time with my family again.    But these men and women will continue to do shows and entertain the masses, working crazy hours and missing their families, they'll keep performing through sicknesses and injuries, all for the love of the theatre. I will miss performing with them. I will miss watching Dan and Adam making each other laugh on stage. (**sidenote -- another highlight for me was when I actually made THEM laugh on stage!).  I will miss seeing Karen rock "Midnight Hour", and watching Jake do "Elvis", and hearing Paula's "warm up".  I will miss Laurie's wisecracks, Crox's 'Heatwave', and the twinkle Eddie gets in his eye as soon as he sets foot on stage.  I will miss watching the ensemble dance, secretly wishing I was dancing with them.  I will miss the smiles and encouragement I get every day from every person involved in the show.  And yes, I will even miss Ross' adlibs with the audience!    

My dream to perform on the "big stage" came true and it has been a truly magical experience.  Thanks to this amazing group of people, the cast and crew of "Cinderella, The Sillylicious Family Musical", I have wonderful memories to last a lifetime.
I hope to see you all again someday.

Offstage or on?  I'll leave that up to fate.
Keep Dreaming
Patty

November 21st 2008

Posted By: Adam Brazier aka Carnivia Von Botox

There are very few traditions in Toronto: The CNE, Honest Ed giving away turkeys, the Santa Claus Parade, TTC strikes, the Leafs missing the playoffs and Ross Petty's Annual Holiday Family Musical.

This is my third time through the Ross Petty experience and it once again reminds me of advice my mother always gave me: that anything easy to do is simply not worth doing at all. Well that may be the most perfect analogy for working with Ross. To most actors a script is a sacred text that leads the actor into both character and artistic expression; to Ross it's merely a suggestion.

I recall while performing Aladdin in 2004, Ross and I were alone on stage and he decided to go off script on a tangent he thought would be funnier than what we had rehearsed and performed the previous weeks. Well Ross had talked himself so far off book he couldn't remember what came next. In his usual charming and self-deprecating way he simply turned to me and asked, "What comes next?". I took a few steps toward him, placed my arm over his shoulders and said "Ross, I have a book for you to read. It's called the SCRIPT!". I was ever so grateful Ross had lost his way on stage that night for it provided me with the biggest laugh of the evening.

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This year we tackle Cinderella. The last time Cinderella went through the Petty treatment I was playing the Prince. Oh how things change. Five years later I'm playing the Ugly Step Sister Carnivia. A food-obsessed woman more interested in the king's buffet than his son. My sister Plumbum, is being played by Stratford veteran Dan Chameroy.  Dan and I worked together in 1997 in the Stratford production of Camelot. Dan played Sir Lancelot and I played spear carrier number four to the left. I was amazing. I recall my mother saying that she saw me on stage...or at least she thought it was me. She did however remember Dan.  I can tell you in all honesty that the hardest part of this job will be not laughing at Dan on stage. He has a brilliant mind for comedy and it's a privilege working beside him? even if we are both in women's clothing.

It's rare that two straight leading men get a chance to prance around in drag and throw catty remarks back and forth. Oddly enough we both seem to slide into it very quickly. I can't speak for Dan's wife but my girlfriend Melissa has never been prouder. She was on the subway the other day with her girlfriends and sat across from the Cinderella poster. "That's my boyfriend", she proclaimed. "Which one?", asked her friend. The one in the pink dress, missing a tooth wearing a tiara that reads Hot Stuff. "She quickly fell silent as her head sank to her chest. "It's alright" her friend said, "it's probably just a phase".

The love affair that Ontario has developed with the Ross Petty Holiday Musicals is definitely a beloved tradition...family fun that is truly hilarious at the most heart-warming time of year.

 

November 18th 2008



Posted By: Paula Brancati aka Cinderella

Hi everybody, Paula Brancati here! We are in the midst of rehearsals right now and I cannot believe that our first performance is less than two weeks away. I am having an amazing time with my fellow cast mates, laughing hysterically at the hilarious scene work, belting out an awesome line-up of songs for the show, and learning challenging dance routines.

 Some people may recognize me as Jane from Degrassi: The Next Generation, Cally on YTV's Dark Oracle, or other appearances in youth series and Disney channel films. Cinderella:The Sillylicious Musical is my first endeavor into professional musical theatre and I could not be more pleased to be a part of a cast of such seasoned and incredibly talented performers. I began singing and playing piano when I was 7 years old and began performing in community musical theatre productions shortly after. I loved the stage right away. There is something so thrilling about being able to perform to a live audience and get an immediate reaction from them.

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I think every girl can attest to the fact that at one moment in time, they have longed for a little bit of fairytale magic in their lives, who wouldn't love to have a Fairy Godmother create a beautiful gown fit for a princess? I had my first fitting last week and I'll be honest; it was a little surreal to be wearing Cinderella's infamous ball gown! I had seen the movie time and time again as a little girl, so it was exciting to be dressing up in such a lovely, and iconic, outfit. However, as traditional as Cinderella's costume may be, the rest of the show will be sure to throw the audience quite a few curve balls and spice up the age-old tale more than a little bit. For everyone coming out to watch the show, get ready for a night of great music and all around hilarity I promise, you will not be disappointed!

October 31st 2008

Posted By: Ross Petty aka Bertha Von Botox

Somehow I know it's coming...that time of year...an innate sense that it's time to give up my day job. After all these years, it's almost inbred...like salmon swimming upstream to lay their eggs or swallows flying home to Capistrano.

I know it's not the cool autumn air stealing through the bedroom window prompting my wife to dig out the duvet, or the Blue Jays again not making the playoffs. I know it has nothing to do with the last Film Festival star sighting at the Bloor Street boites or the first pumpkin on display at Pusateri's...wait a minute...actually this year, the sight of that pumpkin did trigger my deep-seated need for change. .

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Walking across Avenue Road, I burst through the doors of Shoppers Drug Mart and a herd of wild horses couldn't have kept me away from the lipstick display. Not only lipstick but eye shadow, eye brow pencils, blush and mascara...there they were in all their garish glory enticing me to buy. Without batting an eye lash (pun intended), I whipped out my MasterCard and gorged on Max Factor, Revlon and, in a reckless moment, Chanel.

If you think this is a self-destructive expose that will shred my reputation as a businessman, and leave my relationship with my wife hanging by a thread, nothing could be further from the truth. I'm not in the business of self-immolation as practiced earlier this year by U.S. senator John Edwards.
With my somewhat bizarre career dichotomy, the fall season always turns my mind to thoughts of performing in the Fractured Fairy Tale Musicals I've been producing at Toronto's Elgin Theatre for the past thirteen years. Conversely, the spring and summer months revolve around putting the financing together to allow these productions to thrive as an Ontario family tradition.

My pre-production dollars are achieved through strong relationships with my sponsors, and during the early part of every year, meetings with my Presenting Sponsor BMO Financial Group, and Associate Sponsors Tim Hortons and Procter & Gamble's Mr. Clean, are ongoing. I think that my corporate friends actually relish the fact that come December, they'll be able to visit the beautiful Elgin Theatre and boo the guy that sat across the boardroom table from them in March. I'm the one actor that really enjoys being jeered by his audience!

This winter's offering is Cinderella, the Sillylicious Family Musical, featuring the stars of CTV's Degrassi: the Next Generation and Kids' CBC. Knowing that title, you'll be able to understand why the earlier pumpkin sighting incited me to accumulate more make-up than the supply required by the entire cast of Desperate Housewives, and turn a mild-mannered business man by day into Cinderella's evil stepmother by night.

I hope youll bring your family to see Cinderella during the holidays, and that you'll remember that the maniacal matriarch abusing everyone on stage as well as in the audience is really just a guy who gave up his day job, but if truth be told, he can't wait to get the suit back from the cleaners and start making plans for the 2009/10 production.


 

 

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