As the Chemainus Theatre Festival’s 25th anniversary season winds down, everyone’s been wondering what might be in store for theatre patrons in 2018. We have the answers after a season launch luncheon announcement at the theatre Friday.
“This is the marquee event in our member program for the year,” managing director Fandy Huber told the invited guests.
“You are the first to hear what we’re going to be doing for 2018. We’re real excited about the lineup.”
“It’s been a pretty well-kept secret,” added artistic director Mark DuMez. “We didn’t even tell all the actors that come here.”
So, without further adieu, first up is Once, running from Feb. 9 to March 10, 2018.
Once is a musical based on the 2007 film of the same name by John Carney. It premiered at the New York Theatre Workshop in 2011 before transferring to Broadway in 2012.
Back by popular demand, show No. 2 is Million Dollar Quartet, featuring the music of Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash, from March 23 till April 14.
The third show may already be familiar to those who’ve seen the comedy series of the same name on CBC Television, Kim’s Convenience, that will play on stage from April 27 to May 26.
The summer musical blockbuster next year is Grease, taking place from June 8 to Sept. 1.
“It’s the one you want,” quipped DuMez.
The comedy in the fall is Glorious, being staged from Sept. 14 to Oct. 6. Readings from the script were conducted in the theatre following the luncheon and it promises to be hilarious.
Outside Mullingar, promoted with the appearance of a live goat as a prop, takes the stage from Oct. 19 to Nov. 13.
Many have probably never heard of it, but “it really is a beautiful play,” said DuMez. “I hope you give it a chance if you don’t know it.”
And the 2018 campaign concludes with the classic Little Women over the Christmas season from Nov. 16 to Dec. 30.
“We last produced this play in 2005,” pointed out DuMez.
The original Meg is not in the cast but this time returns as the director, Julie McIsaac.
The Kidzplay show for 2018 is The Little Prince, running from July 14 to Aug. 5.
“Many of you will love this show and love the book already,” noted DuMez.
The studio stage is going on hiatus next year.
The theatre has stuck with a tried and true template each season that seems to strike a chord with audiences – offering something for everyone, if you will.
“You find people who come along for the entire season,” DuMez indicated. “They seem to enjoy that diversity and the experience.
“I think we serve such a wide range of people. When you serve that many people, you want to make sure there’s something that appeals to your wide constituency.”
Those purchasing season tickets for 2018 by Dec. 8 will be eligible to win a trip to New York City and see some stage shows there.
Duncan Iron Works is back on board as the 2018 season sponsor after sponsoring the anniversary season.
“It was the easiest sale they ever made,” said manager Brent Dellebuur. “I feel you people have become part of my family.”
Huber said 2017 has been a banner season for the theatre, including the record-breaking run for ticket sales by Rock Legends.
“Some real exciting milestones we’re celebrating,” he noted.
Huber added the Cheeky Seats campaign to restore the theatre’s seats has been a great success. About 60 per cent of the theatre’s seats are now sponsored.
Charitable donations of $225 sponsor restoration for one chair and $425 for a pair. Donors are recognized with a personalized silver plaque affixed to the bottom of each sponsored seat.
Huber also reported nine students ages 12 to 17 are currently learning and discovering theatre through the Theatre Academy program that runs until the end of December.