With every theatre season, there is a little magic. For the 2019 summer season at the King’s Wharf Theatre (KWT) in Penetanguishene, it’s sprinkled throughout four shows. Sometimes it’s in bringing a show to life.
“Disney’s Beauty and the Beast – we’ve been working for weeks to figure out how we’re going to do the set on this small stage because we don’t have a lot of wing space or depth at the King’s Wharf Theatre,” said artistic director Alex Mustakas, who has assembled a whole creative team to figure everything out. That includes the costuming for Mrs. Potts, the teapot who sings the Beauty and the Beast song. The challenge with her costume is it won’t fit through the door to go back to the green room (an off-stage, between-scenes waiting area).
“We will probably have to take the teapot off and fly it up into the air,” he laughed. “It’s little things like that you have to work out.”
While he has staged the show in the past at other Drayton Entertainment theatres, it is the first time for the King’s Wharf. It has universal appeal for all ages and has been very popular so it will have the longest run, five weeks.
“It ’s a magical show – probably Disney’s most famous and most successful musical in their history I think,” he said.
The season kicks off June 5, 2019, with another KWT tradition, a panto, which, this year, centers on the story of Jack and the Beanstalk. It features magic beans, a gigantic beanstalk, a headstrong princess and a humungous giant with an even bigger appetite. In addition, there are lots of popular songs, dancing and tongue-in-cheek humour. Watching it come to life will be as much fun for adults as children.
The show will also include another tradition, a children’s chorus, of young local actors who audition each year for the opportunity to appear in the show alongside professionals. The feedback he’s received details the changes in the children’s confidence.
“The letters we get from parents and teachers you would not believe,” said Mustakas. “They were really quiet or had issues in school and now they stand up in front of their class with more confidence. They can recite things. It’s a great life experience.”
Next season also features a new Canadian play. Glory, originally developed in British Columbia, centres on a women’s hockey team that won many championships back in the 1930s. The play is unique in that the women do a ballet on ice to 1930s music. It’s playing June 26 to July 6.
Last, but by no means least, is Shear Madness, a clever murder mystery set in a hair salon. Performed in Boston for the past 40 years, it is considered to be the longest-running nonmusical play in the world. As the story unfolds, the audience becomes a witness and they have the opportunity to interrogate the suspects and decide who did it by vote. That has the potential to make every performance different.
Tickets go on sale to the general public on Dec. 3. Visit draytonentertainment.com for more details.
Photo: Alex Mustakas is staging a summer theatre season at the King’s Wharf Theatre that is akin to a buffet: something for everyone. It starts next year, in Penetanguishene, on June 5, with Jack and the Beanstalk: The Panto.