Backstage Pass

Episode 3

Airs Online Sunday, February 13

In this episode, artists Gabi Epstein, Sarah Nairne, Ralph Small, and Cynthia Smithers perform some of their favourite songs or scenes and chat with host Alex Mustakas about their life and work in the theatre industry. The Great Community Talent Search continues with the third contestant Emily MacRobbie of Harriston. Plus, Neil Aitchison (a.k.a. Constable Archibald F. Inkster) pops by to make audiences laugh with the Smile of the Day, and funnyman Wade Lynch makes a royal appearance. Get your “Backstage Pass,” and join us from the comfort of your home for this fun-filled episode packed with enlightening conversations, engaging performances, and a few surprises.

Sneak Peek Photos

Gabi Epstein performing in Backstage Pass
Photo credit: Gabi Epstein
Ralph Small performing in Backstage Passs
Photo credit: Ralph Small
Sarah Nairne performing in Backstage Pass
Photo credit: Sarah Nairne
Cynthia Smithers performing in Backstage Pass
Photo credit: Cynthia Smithers

Appearing in this Episode

(In alphabetical order)

Gabi Epstein Gabi Epstein
Drayton Entertainment: Blood Brothers, The Sound of Music, Perfect Wedding, Cowgirls. Other theatre: Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors, Billy Elliot (Stratford), Once (Mirvish - DORA AWARD), Fanny Brice in Funny Girl, Prom Queen (Segal Centre), Yitzhak in Hedwig…, Candide, Dani Girl (TIFT), Home for the Holidays (Grand), Funny Girl in Concert, Stars of David, To Life (HGJT - DORA NOMINATION), Fiddler on the Roof, The Little Mermaid (Capitol Theatre), Killer Queen in We Will Rock You (Magnus), Porchside Songs, Edges (Musical Stage Co.). Film/TV: Jeanette the Efficient Officiant (Quickbooks) Hailed “Canada’s Queen of Cabaret” by eTalk, Gabi has performed her cabarets all over North America. Her latest show, Gabs Sings Babs, debuted at the Toronto Jazz Festival and will be presented at the Port Stanley Festival Theatre in June. Her sophomore album of the same name will be released in 2022. Instagram: @gabifayepstein

Sarah Nairne Sarah Nairne
Drayton Entertainment: Fairy Godmother in Cinderella The Panto. Other theatre (selected): Standby (multiple roles) in Come From Away (Mirvish Productions), Sasha in Stretchmarks (Virtu Arts), Church Lady in The Color Purple (Citadel Theatre/Royal MTC Co-production and Neptune Theatre), Multiple Characters in ALECK BELL: A Canadian Pop Rock Musical (Tweed & Company Theatre), Mrs. Muller in Doubt: Parable (Lost and Found Theatre). Sarah Nairne is an Actor/Theatre Creator based in the Waterloo Region. She’s an alumnus of Black Theatre Workshop’s Artist Mentorship Program, and is thrilled to be a part of Drayton’s Backstage Pass. Thank you to all those who have supported me, and my agents - WTG!

Ralph Small Ralph Small
Drayton Entertainment: 'Art', Marathon of Hope, Unnecessary Farce, Bedtime Stories. Other theatre: Buying The Farm, Sexy Laundry, I’ll Be Back Before Midnight (Lighthouse), Bar Mitzvah Boy (Harold Green Jewish Theatre), Pat & Skee, A Few Good Men (Theatre Aquarius), Jonas & Barry in the Home (Bluewater Summer Playhouse), Hamlet Live (Bathurst Street), Separate Beds (Theatre Orangeville), Brantwood (Theatre Sheridan). Film/TV: One Small Visit, Suits (Netflix), Living in Your Car (TMN), Stone Cold (CBS). Director: Fair & Square (Lighthouse & Bluewater), Buying The Farm, Melville Boys, Stag'n Doe, The Full Mounty (Bluewater). Other: Artistic Director - Bluewater Summer Playhouse.

Cynthia Smithers Cynthia Smithers
Drayton Entertainment: Annie. Other theatre: Diana Morales in A Chorus Line, Martha in Guys and Dolls, HMS Pinafore, A Little Night Music, The Sound of Music, Carousel (Stratford Festival), Sophie in Mamma Mia! (Neptune Theatre), 2nd Hunter/4th Nymph in Acteon, Amore in L’Incoronatione di Poppea, 3rd Spirit in The Magic Flute, eight seasons with the Artists of Atelier Ballet (Opera Atelier), The Sound of Music (Theatre Aquarius). Graduate of the University of Toronto (B. Music, M. Musicology). Thanks to friends and family for your endless patience and support!



Alex Mustakas Alex Mustakas (Host)
Drayton Entertainment: Alex has directed over 100 productions for Drayton Entertainment and other theatre companies across Canada including Rocky: The Musical, Kings & Queens of Country, Rock of Ages, Million Dollar Quartet, Beauty and the Beast, the world premiere of Marathon of Hope, Legends of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Spamalot, Les Misérables, Twist & Shout and more. Alex holds a Master’s Degree in Arts Administration from City University in London, England, and an Honorary Doctorate from Wilfrid Laurier University. He is the recipient of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Media & Entertainment, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, the Maggie Bassett Award from Theatre Ontario, and the Governor General’s Meritorious Service Medal.

Neil Aitchison Neil Aitchison (Constable Archibald F. Inkster)
Drayton Entertainment: Canada 151: Better Late Than Sorry, Canadian Legends, Sorry ... I'm Canadian, Canadian Toonie, Canadian Loonie, Bending the Bows. A former radio personality, Neil was also the CTV Romper Room Santa for 14 seasons. He is currently a construction executive, as well as a sought-after speaker. He is an avid community builder, and the recipient of The Waterloo Award (2015), The Citizen of the Year Award (2016), and the Queen’s Golden/Diamond Jubilee Medals (2002/2012). Born in Harriston, Neil was the first graduate of Conestoga College, and now lives in Waterloo with his first wife, Helen, whom he thanks for her unwavering support of his wacky lifestyle. This show is dedicated to Neil’s four favourite grandchildren Patrick, Rebecca, Tanner and Brier.

Wade Lynch Wade Lynch (A Royal Minute)
Drayton Entertainment: Annie, Hairspray, The Music Man, The Last Resort, Director/Little Big Man in A Closer Walk With Patsy Cline, Director for Look, No Hans!, Tony in Shear Madness, Sancho in Man of La Mancha. Other theatre: Director for Anne of Green Gables, Dear Johnny Deere, Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, Stones in His Pockets (Charlottetown Festival); Playwright/Director for On the Road with Dutch Mason (Charlottetown, Bishop’s); Director for Speech & Debate, L’Affaire Tartuffe, Seven Stories (Bishop’s University); Director for I Love You You’re Perfect Now Change (Segal Centre); Professor in 2 Monkeys, 1 Grape (Centaur).

Steve Lavoie Steve Lavoie (Accompanist)
Drayton Entertainment: Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Canada 151, Hairspray. Other theatre (selected): Sister Act (CCMP), Dogfight (First Act), Evita, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Man of La Mancha, Damn Yankees, Spamalot, Sweeney Todd, Urinetown, The Who’s Tommy (Scarborough Music Theatre), Les Misérables, Ragtime (Etobicoke Musical Productions). In addition to music directing, Steve is an audition and rehearsal accompanist with over 20 years of experience. He has accompanied over 50 shows in and around the Toronto area. Find him online on YouTube or visit

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Backstage Pass is available for purchase as a collective series or by the episode. Buy individual episodes for $20 each or purchase the complete Backstage Pass series for only $150 ... that's a savings $50! Plus, each episode will feature one of the nine finalists in The Great Community Talent Search, so series buyers will have the opportunity to see all those performances and vote for the winning act. Get 10 weeks of entertainment to watch from the comfort of your home for one low package price when you buy the series.

Tickets for Backstage Pass are sold by the household, so gather your crew and enjoy weekly episodes of this exciting series on Sunday nights from January 30 to April 3. And if Sundays don't work for you, no problem! Each episode is available for 7 days after it airs. During that viewing period, you can watch it whenever you want, as many times as you want. There’s no business like show business, so get your “backstage pass” and join us from the comfort of your home for this special digital series packed with enlightening conversations, engaging performances, and a few surprises. Click here to buy the series now. To puchase this episode, click the buy button below now.

Funding provided by the Government of Ontario. The views expressed in this program do not necessarily reflect those of the Province of Ontario.