This Week In Art/Culture/Entertainment

By John Swartz

One theater season is coming to a close and another is going to be starting soon. Mariposa Arts Theatre has their last production of the year starting Thursday night and the Opera House is only a few weeks away from the start of rehearsals for their summer seasons.

MAT is doing something different. The last few years they’ve had smaller plays to end the season and staged them at their Brammer Drive warehouse. This year it’s a full two week production, still flying under the A Play and A Tart banner at the warehouse.

They are doing Educating Rita. Of course you saw the movie. If not, it’s about a returning-to-school hairdresser, Rita, and her tutor, Frank, and their evolving relationship. It’s by Willy Russell, who also wrote, Blood Brothers and Shirley Valentine.

Stay Schat is directing and she really took the whole tutoring thing to an extreme. She got two actors, Robert Knapp and Rachel Dechamplain, we don’t see often, and enlisted a crew who have not worked on any MAT productions before, at least backstage.

The point is to teach people how a play gets put together. Each crew person was mentored by someone from MAT.

The newcomers are Joan Mizzy-Fry playing the role of producer, Frances Gelder is stage managing, Vicky Anderson is handling the props and painting, Cheryl Van Vliet worked the lighting and sound design, Ada Malmstrom got off easy doing wardrobe for a two hand play, Laurel Dewar moved behind the curtain as – and this is how MAT listed the function – ASM (Stop it!. This is theater. It stands for assistant stage manager, I think) and Roberta Ewing is doing make up. Congrats and good luck. I have no idea what you say to the crew before opening night. Maybe, break some legs?

The play has the usual Thursday, Friday, Saturday 7:30 pm. and Sunday 2 p.m. matinee schedule. Get tickets online or at the Opera House box office.

Orillia Opera House

While you are at the online box office, click on upcoming events or summer flex pac to get tickets for any of the three plays at the Opera House in July and August

First up is Kristen DaSilva’s comedy, Where Are You. It’s set on Manitoulin Island, where two sisters are hiding something, a daughter visits, she’s hiding something, and the whole joint turns into Peyton Place.

Next is Norm Foster’s newest, The Gentleman Clothier. Steve Orr, wait, not that gentleman clothier, Mike Davenport, wait (again), different Davenport, Norm Davenport opens a clothing store but no one wants classic suits, just the new trendy stuff. It’s driving him nuts.

Last is Bernard Slade’s Same Time, Next Year, and you saw the movie, right? Oh well, a guy and a girl meet, they live on opposite sides of the U.S., they’re married to others, but meet once a year at the same hotel. They don’t get separate rooms.

Before I move on to other stuff, MAT is having auditions June 22 and 24 for Urinetown: The Musical at the warehouse. For info on the roles or to book an audition time email

Music Now
Liz Anderson

The Orillia Concert Band has a show Saturday night at St. Paul’s Centre. Liz Anderson is their guest. You’ve heard her sing right? (Have to keep the gag running.) No, what have you been doing with your life? I don’t know anybody who hasn’t said, wow, after hearing her sing.

She’s doing three tunes in each half. If You Could Read My Mind, some song by some guy some of you may have heard of, is first. She’ll then do a song by Suzie Vinnick and another from the new version of A Star Is Born.

In the second half its stuff by Bonnie Raitt and then one for her mother, Pat, Etta James’s At Last and ending with Carole King’s Beautiful.

The band will play Bernstein’s Wrong Note Rag, music from Pixar Movies, Band of Brothers and the Wizard of Oz.

You can get tickets ($25 for adults, less, less and free depending your level of dependency – or $30 for 2 adults and kids under 17) at the door. Showtime is 7:30 p.m.

All Together Now

If the two events above are not enough to have happening all at once, read on.  Forget Sustainable Orillia is launching their community project this weekend (you can read stories about it here), it’s also the first downtown sidewalk sale weekend.

Woo-who there’s free parking for the Green and Blues Festival – and music too.  The DOMB has put more effort the last two years getting great musicians in to entertain. Paul Reddick, The Slocan Ramblers, the Ever Lovin’ Jug Band, Petra, Hobo Jam, and Delta Stone & the Wardogs will be playing. Most are doing several sets and there are 6 stage areas. There’s bounce rides, face painting, a magician and pop-up art with Paul Baxter happening too. That’s all on Saturday.

On Sunday The Orillia Vocal Ensemble has a concert at St. Paul’s Centre at 3 p.m. As usual admission is by donation and proceeds from the concert are going to the youth center’s Valis Sound Studio project.

Arty Stuff

Urban Sketchers Orillia is a fairly new group. They’ve had monthly get-togethers at various places with the intent of bringing their tools and creating some art. Saturday they’ll meet, you can too, at OMAH at 11 a.m., go sketch the sidewalk sale, and return to OMAH at 3.

Wes Trinier

Lee Contemporary has new paintings by Wes Trinier up. Hibernation Art has Abstractly Thinking up and Bling for Mother (work by Cheryl Sartor and Donna Howlett) up now. Hibernation’s next show, Dads and Grads (what? we have to share?), has room for your work; email for details. Peter Street Fine Art has Raune-lea Marshall as the featured artist for the month.

OMAH has Scott Sawtell’s Playful Banquet: An Anthropomorphic Apocalyptic Feast, Mnjikaning: Mapping the Life of the Gaudaurs, and Styling Orillia: A Look Back at Our Fashionable Past up at the moment. The monthly Storytelling Orillia event is Sunday at 2 p.m. John Gaudaur Savage and Frank Kehoe, who are descendants of original Gaudaurs, will be speaking. OMAH is also getting ready for the annual Carmichael Canadian Landscape Show, or rather you should be. The deadline for submissions is July 26. Check out the rules online.

The Orillia Fine Arts Association has an exhibition/fundraiser for Mariposa House Hospice happening at Peter Street Fine Arts with the opening reception June 1 at 1 p.m. Get more info about OFAA and having your work in the show here.

The City is still looking for some artists to come up with a design for a couple pianos (one at the Port, another at Tudhope Park) that will be out for noodlers to entertain spuriously all summer. There is an honorarium of $500 for each. See the details for submission online.


The Shorts

*  The Mariposa Folk Festival lost a headliner, the first time that’s happened since the festival has been in Orillia. Sweden’s First Aid Kit cancelled their whole North American tour due to “unforeseen medical circumstances.” Mariposa president Pam Carter said they are still looking for a replacement, and mentioned they’ll have a lot of work to do to replace all the promo material that’s been distributed. More on this when info is available.

*  The Building Hope project has a fundraising concert happening May 31 at Casino Rama. The Country Gala features a speaker, Pat Nixon, photographer and author (Nowhere to Call Home) Leah Denbok will be there and Jason McCoy will have his band on hand for the country part of the evening. Tickets are $150 and cocktails start at 6 p.m.

*  The Cultural Roundtable is partnering with the City and ODAC for public forum June 19 at the Opera House. The subject is creative hubs. Of course, you read about Creative Nomad Studios last week here at SUNonline/Orillia and there are others in the wind. You’ll learn more about them and get to chip in your thoughts. Some consultants from the Arts Build Ontario organization will be there too. It starts at 5:30 p.m. but as always there’s a half hour schmoozing beforehand.

*  The Leacock Museum has some workshops happening (June 1, reading for writers with J.M. Frey; June 8, selling your book with Josh Poitras; June 22 podcasting with Amanda Cupido) and they draw on Leacock’s work for examples of what still works. Each workshop is $25, or $60 for the works. Call 705-329-1908 or email to register. And, get tickets at the Museum for the annual Leacock Medal dinner June 8 and the meet the author night June 7, both at Mariposa Inn. Ali Bryan (The Figgs), Mark Critch (Son of a Critch) and Cathal Kelly (Boy Wonders) are in the running – from emcee Ian Ferguson and the Grand Chief of Mariposa (formerly Mayor of Mariposa) Drew Hayden Taylor.

*  Tickets are on sale now for the ShineBrite Festival at the Coldwater Arena. It happens June 8. The legion is operating the bar, the Lions Club of Coldwater is running a food concession, and there are 9 bands playing starting at noon. You can get tickets at TNT Fine Lingerie, or online.

James Hilts and Patrick Fogarty music students

* Congratulations to the Patrick Fogarty Catholic Secondary School’s band members. At music festivals this semester the senior band got a gold rating at Carnegie Hall, Regionals and at Nationals. For the first time in PF history the jazz band got a gold rating at the annual National festival. The spring concert is Thursday at the school from 7 to 9 p.m.; get tickets at the school office.

*  Coming up… The Hog ‘N Penny has Darrin Davis in Friday night; Olivia (Duck) and Alex (Taylor) play Saturday night… The Brownstone has an open mic jam every Tuesday evening; Gillian Nicola has an album release party Thursday night; Bobby Dove is in Friday; Hot Pants play Saturday night… the Geneva has the Rush tribute band My Favorite Headache coming June 15 and Eric Gales July 13; get tickets here; and the popular 80’s Bash is happening Saturday night, get tickets ($10) at 705-434-8588… the Jubilee Chorale, with guests the Sean Patrick Trio, have a concert June 2 at 2:30 p.m. at Westmount United Church… Steven Henry is playing Tailwinds at the Lake St. John airport Saturday from 6 to 9 p.m.

Rants & Raves

(Main Image Supplied; Photos by Swartz – SUNonline/Orillia)

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