Neil Simon’s “Plaza Suite” - FINAL WEEKEND!
Portal Players Dramatic Society presents our Director’s Workshop play, Neil Simon’s “Plaza Suite” in its final weekend, December 4, 5 & 6. This classic comedy features three acts, each with different characters, all set in the same suite of the Plaza Hotel. Replacing our annual Director's Workshop One Act Series, each act has at its helm a novice (or nearly novice) director: Megan Cathers, Dave McGarry and John Milne are under the gentle guidance of Portal Players President, Elliot Drew.
Above, cast of Plaza Suite: Back row, left to right: Peter Wienold, Chris Arthurs, Tanner Zurkoski. Middle row: Melanie Anderson, Mary Ann Naesgaard, Terry Switzer, Mary Ellen Shimell, Rob Mooney & Melissa Lowe. The seated bride is Megan Cathers. Photo by Helgie Naesgaard.
For opening night of “Plaza Suite” on November 20, Portal Players partnered with the Alberni Clayoquot Continuing Care Society & Fir Park Village/Echo Village Foundation to help in their campaign to raise funds for new bathing rooms in those facilities. “Plaza Suite” runs for three more shows only, on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, until December 6. Tickets are available now at Rollin Art Centre, Echo Centre, Curious Coho Books and The Graphics Factory. Ticket sales from the box office at the door on show nights start at 7:00 pm - the curtain rises at 7:30 pm each show night.
PPDS Producer’s Workshop: Sunday, November 23
So you’ve thought about putting on a play, but don’t know how to start - this workshop is for you! Portal Players’ veterans Cindy Solda and Peter Wienold will describe the ins and outs of getting the rights to perform a play, selecting your production team, and all the things that need to happen for a successful show on opening night. Runs from 1 pm to 4 pm at the Theatre; open to members and the public; please send an e-mail to email@example.com to let us know you’re planning to attend. This workshop will help members know what needs to be done in preparation for Portal Players’ 2009 - 2010 season, planning for which is already underway.
Portal Players Hat Trick at
Vancouver Island One-Act Festival
for 2nd Consecutive Year!
The Fourth Annual Vancouver Island One-Act Play Festival wrapped up in Qualicum Beach on Sunday night, November 9, 2008 with an awards ceremony and party that left Portal Players Dramatic Society members all smiles. From a field of 9 entries in this festival, our production of "Ballerinas" by Don Nigro came away with three big awards. The wins are all the more impressive, as the Sunday, November 9 show at the festival was the first public performance of "Ballerinas" in a year.
Director Elliot Drew is extremely proud of the work the cast has been able to achieve in re-mounting this play, with only two rehearsals to prepare. This is the second consecutive year Portal Players has won the Best Play Award in this annual one-act play festival, having also taken home that honour last year with “The Marriage Proposal”.
In presenting Portal Players with the Ensemble Award, jurors Michael Armstrong & Robb Mowbray said our strong cast of Teresa Nicholson, Carrera Schroeder and Mary Ellen Shimell was extremely well chosen for their specific roles. They also said the production showed a strong director’s hand with excellent blocking and character choices when presenting Elliot Drew with the Best Director award. (Juror #3, Corinne James, was unable to attend the final two performances of the festival this year.)
“Ballerinas” was originally produced as part of Portal Players one-act series in November of 2007, but was not entered into that year’s festival. Without any one-act plays being produced by our group in 2008, cast and director agreed to bring “Ballerinas” back for this year’s festival, a choice we can now say was a wise and winning one - congratulations to all!
3 Awards for "The Dinner Party" at 2008 North Island Zone Drama Festival . . .
Portal Players Dramatic Society took Neil Simon's "The Dinner Party" on the road on May 16, to the Sid Williams Theatre in Courtenay. Complete award winners list below, but here are our awards and the Festival results:
Honourable Mention Supporting Actor: Terry Switzer!
BEST SET: Elliot Drew, Set Design; Mary Ann Naesgaard, Set Decor; Stephen Drover, Adjudicator.
BACKSTAGE AWARD: Yvette Van Metre, Production Assistant, Elliot Drew, Team Leader; Shari Jakubiec, Festival Stage Manager; Melissa Lowe & Nick Barrett, "The Dinner Party" Stage Managers.
HONOURABLE MENTION: Supporting Actor,
Terry Switzer & Adjudicator Stephen Drover.
For these photos, we sincerely thank Terry Penney from Courtenay Little Theatre.
Here are the results from this year's festival:
Best Production - "Arms and the Man" by Nanaimo Theatre Group
Best Director - Roger Desprez, "Arms and the Man"
Male Lead Actor - Darren Karpuik (most recently acting with Portal Players), "Arms and the Man"
Female Lead Actor - Kirsten Humpherys, "Mail Order Bride" by Courtenay Little Theatre
Supporting Male - Gordon May, "I Never Sang For My Father" by ECHO Players, Qualicum
Supporting Female - Amy Mikkelberg, "Arms and the Man"
Best Set Design - "The Dinner Party", Portal Players Dramatic Society
Best Costume Design - Liz Mowbray, "Arms and the Man"
Best Lighting Design - Fred Thompson, "Mail Order Bride"
Best Sound Design - Marika Patrick, "Someone Who'll Watch Over Me", TheatreWorks, Courtenay
Best Graphic Design - TheatreWorks for "Someone Who'll Watch Over Me" Poster
Best Ensemble - "Someone Who'll Watch Over Me", TheatreWorks
Backstage Award - Portal Players Dramatic Society
Male Actor - Steve Gordon, "Mail Order Bride"
Supporting Actor - Terry Switzer, "The Dinner Party"
Set Design - Roger Lappin, "I Never Sang For My Father"
Most Promising Newcomer - Joe Conway, Stage Manager for "Someone Who'll Watch Over Me"
A Season of Comedies for Portal Players' 2008-2009 Shows
Portal Players Dramatic Society has announced its play series for 2008 - 2009.
Kicking the season off on September 25, 2008 is the hilarious Canadian farce written by Allan Stratton, "Nurse Jane Goes To Hawaii".
Our 2nd show will be the Classic Neil Simon comedy, "Plaza Suite", which starts on November 20, 2008. This play features three acts, each with different characters, all set in the same suite of the Plaza Hotel. Replacing our annual Director's Workshop One Act Series, each act has at its helm a novice (or nearly novice) director, under the tutelage of Portal Players President, Elliot Drew.
Show number 3 in our season is the comedy thriller "Accomplice" written by Rupert Holmes. You'll have to be watching carefully to keep up, and discover the exciting and unexpected twist at the end of the play. "Accomplice" is directed by Scott Lowe, and opens on February 5, 2009.
The 4th and final show this season is also our entry in the North Island Zone Drama Festival next May. Joe Orton's comedy with a twist, "Loot" will be directed by the team of Derek and Debbie Burke. The Burkes directed our award-winning entry in the 2007 One Act Play Festival, where they garnered best play, best actor and best supporting actor kudos for Anton Chekhov's "The Marriage Proposal". "Loot" opens on April 23, 2009.
All plays are scheduled to run three weeks on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights; in the 2nd week of each run, a Sunday matinee will also be performed.
Season tickets are now available at a cost of only $49.00. This is an $11 savings over the individual adult ticket prices of $15.00 each. Season tickets can be purchased at The Graphics Factory, 3157 2nd Avenue, from 9 - 5 weekdays. For more details, call 250-723-6227.
Portal Players Dramatic Society will perform the Canadian farce comedy "Nurse Jane Goes To Hawaii" by Allan Stratton as our season opener this September.
When Vivien Bliss, writer of Harlequin Romance novels, comes to spend a romantic weekend with respectably married school teacher Edgar Chisholm, she starts a train of events which involves all the classic elements of farce, including: confused identities, disguise, long lost relatives, ambushes, chases and glorious mayhem. How Vivien gets her new novel finished in the face of, behind the back of, in spite of and with the help of an advice columnist, a nosy reporter, a doctor in panty hose, an orphan with a cake and Helga the evil Russian physicist, is the story of this hilarious play. "Howlingly funny ... sophisticated comedy and farce." Newsday; "Coincidence piles on coincidence with characters whirling in and out of enough doors to make Feydeau dizzy.... Excellent" Backstage; "Hilarious." N.Y. Daily News.
An outstanding cast of veteran, returning and new performers to Portal Players are featured in this play, including:
Teresa Mulligan as Doris Chisholm
Terry Switzer as Edgar Chisholm
Teresa Nicholson as Vivien Bliss
Scott Lowe as Bill Scant
Demi Pedersen as Peggy Scant
James Brook as Peter Prior
Kirsten Smith as Betty Scant
"Nurse Jane Goes To Hawaii" opens Portal Players' 2008-2009 season this September. See our entire list of shows coming up this season below.
"Treasure Island - The Panto" opens July 18 . . .
Portal Players Dramatic Society proudly presents rollicking fun and hijinx on the high seas, with this summer’s production of"Treasure Island - The Panto".
This swashbuckling tale of skullduggery upon the high seas, treasure on a desert island, a Guatemalan parakeet named Cap'n Haddock, Dame Ladd's fisherman's pies and death by chocolate combines the pastiche of the Robert Louis Stevenson classic with all the essential elements of pantomime, including romantic interludes and knockabout fun.
Directed by Portal Players President Elliot Drew & written by Richard Lloyd, this show features daring performances by Scott Lowe as the Dame, and Brent Ronning (last seen as King Herod in last February’s “Jesus Christ Superstar”), playing Bertha Gunn. Doug Chisholm turns in a star-making performance as Long John Slither, the pirate you love-to-loathe. Some of our youth actors in this show include Melissa Lowe, Walter Thompson, Randi Levasseur, Tanner Zurkoski, and Demi Pedersen; Chris Arthurs gives a stand-out performance as Spaniard Don Iguana Del Anaconda Con Queso. Cast members attending Vancouver Island University theatre studies program this fall include Carrera Schroeder and Cody Taylor, along with assistant director Nick Barrett.
Many other cast members from “Jesus Christ Superstar” return to the stage in this show, singing and performing to delight audiences of all ages. The pirate brigade is like none other displayed on stage or screen, and must be seen to be believed. You’ll also enjoy the roster of “junior” pirates in the chorus, looking fine in their decked-out seafaring gear. Preview vignettes from the show at last weekend’s Tall Ships Festival wildly entertained audiences from here and abroad.
"Treasure Island - The Panto" is the perfect summer outing for the whole family, and opens this weekend, on Friday, July 18. It plays for a total of three weeks, with a one week break over the BC Day weekend. Evening shows are on Friday and Saturday; matinees are on Sundays.
Evening shows start at 7 pm sharp, with doors open at 6:30; matinees start at 2 pm, with doors open at 1:30. Tickets are available at Rollin Art Centre, Echo Centre, Curious Coho Books, The Graphics Factory and at the door before each show.
Tickets are $12 adults; $10 seniors (65+) and students (enrolled in full time studies); and for this production, a special $5 children's ticket for those aged 12 and under - who MUST be accompanied by an adult. Charge-by-phone for out-of-town ticket purchases can be made by calling 250-723-6227 during weekday business hours.
Thursday, June 5:
CBC Radio 2
In recognition of the start of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission into Indian Residential Schools, CBC Radio 2 presents a concert called "Stolen Children - Truth and Reconciliation" The concert takes place Thursday June 5 at 7:30 PM at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni.
The concert will feature a local drum ensemble from the Hupacasath First Nation, a band led by the North Vancouver Cree/Metis singer-songwriter Wayne Lavallee and songs from the Prince George Carrier singer Marcel Gagnon.
The concert will be recorded for broadcast on Canada Live on Thursday June 19, 2008 at 8 PM on CBC Radio 2.
The concert is free. Seating will be first come, first served. Doors open at 7:00 pm.
Sunday, June 8:
MacKenzie School of Dance presents Ceilidh 2008 at the Capitol Theatre, Sunday June 8th, 2008 at 2:00 pm. Tickets available at Somass Drugs, Echo Centre or at the door.
SIX PERFORMANCES ONLY:
April 24 (Thu), 25 (Fri), 26 (Sat)
May 1 (Thu), 2 (Fri) & 3 (Sat)
Doors open at 7:00 pm
Curtain rises at 7:30 pm
Comedic Drama or Dramatic Comedy? You Decide!
Neil Simon's 31st play, written in the late 1990's. A fusion of farce and drama, examining relationships. "The Dinner Party" is also our entry in this year's Theatre BC North Island Zone Drama Festival, playing Friday, May 16 at the Sid Williams Theatre in Courtenay.
"The Dinner Party" is presented in two acts, with one intermission.
- Scott Lowe as Claude Pichon
- Terry Switzer as Albert Donay
- Elliot Drew as Andre Bouville
- Teresa Nicholson as Mariette Levieux
- Megan Cathers as Yvonne Fouchet
- Mary Ellen Shimell as Gabrielle Bounoucelli
Tickets available at:
Rollin Art Centre, Echo Centre, Curious Coho Books & The Graphics Factory. For out-of-town ticket purchases, you can charge by phone (Visa or MasterCard) to 250-723-6227 between 9am and 5 pm, Monday through Friday.
$12.00 - adults
$10.00 - 12 & under or 65 & over
$8.00 - PPDS members who are current, in advance at The Graphics Factory only
This play features a mature theme with very brief coarse language.
AUDITIONS ANNOUNCED FOR “Treasure Island – The Panto”
Portal Players Dramatic Society will present pirates-a-plenty this summer, when “Treasure Island – The Panto” makes its debut on the Capitol Theatre stage. Richard Lloyd’s swashbuckling tale of skullduggery upon the high seas, treasure on a desert island and all the usual piratey hijinks includes romantic interludes and knockabout fun, and will be fun for the entire family.
Show director Elliot Drew has called auditions for this production, which will be on stage this July and August. Auditions are being held on Monday, March 31 and Friday, April 4 at 7:00 pm, at The Capitol Theatre. Acting hopefuls are asked to come with a short comic story or a (clean) joke, and should be prepared to sing “Mary Had A Little Lamb” a cappella.
Those willing to help out behind the scenes backstage, or with front of house duties are also invited to attend auditions.
DOWNLOAD our "Treasure Island Audition Form and Character List."
For more information about “Treasure Island – The Panto”, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
SOLD OUT! Extra Show, All Others: “Jesus Christ Superstar”
February 11, 2008 – In less than one day of ticket sales, Portal Players Dramatic Society has sold out our additional performance this Wednesday of “Jesus Christ Superstar”. This seventh sold-out show adds to the also sold-out, originally-scheduled run of six shows.
Peter Wienold, producer for "Jesus Christ Superstar", said “we send our tremendous thanks to everyone who purchased tickets today for this extra show. Both local and out-of-town ticket sales were extremely brisk, and by 4 in the afternoon, the show had sold out. I'd especially like to thank our entire cast, crew, orchestra and production team for agreeing on short notice to do this extra show. It is a tribute to them that we will be able to perform "Jesus Christ Superstar" to yet another sold-out audience. Not only did everyone agree to perform the extra show, they did so willingly, enthusiastically and almost expectantly - many dearly hoping they would have one more chance to perform this well-loved musical."
7th Show Added to 6 Sold-Out shows for “Jesus Christ Superstar”
February 11, 2008 - Portal Players Dramatic Society is exceptionally pleased to announce that all six originally-scheduled performances of “Jesus Christ Superstar” have sold out. The group has now added a seventh performance, to be held this Wednesday evening, February 13, 2008.
Tickets for this extra show are available in advance from The Graphics Factory only, at 3157 2nd Avenue in Port Alberni. Charge by phone orders from out-of-town purchasers can be called in to 250-723-6227.
Speaking about the sell-out crowds, producer Peter Wienold says “This is unprecedented in Portal Players history. We have never had every single performance of a run of shows sell out. Our most recent success with sold-out audiences was at the end of our run of Neil Simon’s “Rumors” in the fall of 2005. We’re very pumped up to be able to bring a seventh performance of “Jesus Christ Superstar” to the public on Wednesday this week.”
Tickets to “Jesus Christ Superstar” are priced at just $15 per child (12 & under) or senior (65+), and $18 per adult. Season ticket holders are advised that they will need to pre-redeem their season ticket if they haven’t already, at The Graphics Factory.
Sold-out performances of “Jesus Christ Superstar” continue this weekend on Friday and Saturday night, and on Sunday afternoon, all at The Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni. This musical rocked the world, prompted boycotts, picketing, bomb threats, and letter writing campaigns all over America. This production dared to recount the Greatest Story Ever Told in the earthiest, most democratic, most populist language of all -- rock and roll.
The cast and crew were under the guidance of Canada’s Jeff Hyslop three weekends ago in a day-long workshop, and have been inspired to take their performances to even greater heights. Director Cindy Solda was delighted that Hyslop was able to mentor the local group, saying “Jeff’s amazing talent is so well-known and respected throughout Canada and the world, and our cast was just in awe of being in his presence.”
The production team includes Director Cindy Solda, Choral Director Dave Price, Music Director Jen Price and Choreographer Alison Cowan from Pat Cummings School of Dance. Peter Wienold and Mary Ann Naesgaard are the show producers.
For more information on this production, please call show director Cindy Solda at (250) 723-7139 or, about ticket sales, call Peter Wienold at (250) 723-6227.
Jeff Hyslop to Mentor Port Alberni Cast & Crew of “Jesus Christ Superstar”
Portal Players Dramatic Society is very excited that Jeff Hyslop will mentor the cast & crew of “Jesus Christ Superstar”, on stage in Port Alberni starting February 8, 2008. As a member of Theatre BC, Portal Players has been able to make arrangements for this special one-day instructional workshop.
Vancouver-born Hyslop is indisputably one of Canada's foremost performing artists. Equally masterful as a singer, dancer, actor - he has starred with unqualified success in such landmark musical productions as Cabaret, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Jacques Brel, The Producers and of course the role of Mike in both the London West End and Broadway productions of A Chorus Line. To many he is the quintessential Phantom of the Opera, a role he embraced for over 900 performances.
Most significantly for Portal Players’ upcoming production, at age 21, Jeff was dancing and singing in Norman Jewison's film “Jesus Christ Superstar”. As an assistant choreographer and lead dancer on the film, Hyslop portrayed the apostle Philip. In agreeing to workshop with the local cast and crew, Jeff said the day would be “a blast from the past” for him.
Jeff Hyslop is now based on Vancouver Island with his Showcase Festival production company. For more information about Jeff Hyslop, click here and scroll to the bottom of the page.
“Jesus Christ Superstar” Tickets Selling Fast
Tickets are selling fast for this production of “Jesus Christ Superstar”, on stage at The Capitol Theatre next month. Advance tickets are available from Rollin Art Centre (724-3412) at 3061 8th Avenue, Echo Centre (4255 Wallace Street), Curious Coho Books (4841 Johnston Road) and The Graphics Factory (723-6227) at 3157 2nd Avenue during regular business hours. For out of town ticket sales, charge by phone (Visa/MasterCard) purchases can be called in to 250-723-6227 during weekday business hours.
Tickets to “Jesus Christ Superstar” are priced at just $15 per child (12 & under) or senior (65+), and $18 per adult.
Season ticket holders are advised that they will need to pre-redeem their season ticket by choosing one of the six performances to ensure seating is available for everyone – this can be done by dropping in to The Graphics Factory at 3157 2nd Avenue, being sure to bring your season ticket with you.
Performances of “Jesus Christ Superstar” are on Friday and Saturday evenings; afternoon matinees will be performed on Sundays. Evening performances are on February 8, 9, 15 & 16, 2008; Matinées will be performed on February 10 & 17, 2008, all at The Capitol Theatre (location) in Port Alberni. There will be NO HELD OVER DATES for this production.
"Jesus Christ Superstar" rocked the world, prompted boycotts, picketing, bomb threats, and letter writing campaigns all over America. This production dared to recount the Greatest Story Ever Told in the earthiest, most democratic, most populist language of all -- rock and roll.
It seems especially fitting that the first rock opera, created as a concept album at the end of the turbulent ’60s, should have at its center a social and political rebel. Jesus’ meteor-like rise in renown provides, as the title suggests, a parallel to contemporary celebrity worship. As His radical teachings are evermore embraced, Judas increasingly questions the enlightened motives of this new prophet, resulting in betrayal. Christ’s final days are dramatized with emotional intensity, thought-provoking edge and explosive theatricality. Propelled by a stirring score, by turns driving and majestic, satirical and tender, "Jesus Christ Superstar" illuminates the transcendent power of the human spirit with a passion that goes straight to the heart.
In the lead role of Jesus of Nazareth is well-known Port Alberni actor and singer Elliot Drew. Elliot has performed in and directed many Portal Players productions, and currently serves as the group’s President. Performing the role of Mary Magdalene is a Portal Players newcomer, Jessica Bleasdale. Jessica is no stranger to singing and performing, having been most recently seen in Bard to Broadway’s production of “A . . . My Name Is Still Alice” in Qualicum Beach. For the role of Judas Iscariot, the production team has chosen local vocalist Dave Price, whose credits include recently directing “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat” at ADSS.
The production team includes Director Cindy Solda, Choral Director Dave Price, Music Director Jen Price and Choreographer Alison Cowan from Pat Cummings School of Dance. Peter Wienold and Mary Ann Naesgaard are the show producers.
Originally produced on Broadway by Robert Stigwood, "Jesus Christ Superstar" opened on Broadway at the Mark Hellinger Theatre on October 12, 1971 playing for 720 performances.
"Jesus Christ Superstar" is presented through an exclusive agreement with R&H Theatricals, 1065 Avenue of the Americas, Suite 2400, New York, NY, 10018 and Two Knights Rights Limited. www.rnhtheatricals.com. www.reallyuseful.com.