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A Toto-ly New Fall Tradition: Attend A Family Panto at the King’s Wharf Theatre!

November 1, 2022

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Toto, we’re not in Penetanguishene anymore! This fall, follow the Yellow Brick Road as one of the greatest tales ever told touches down with a brand new twist! Drayton Entertainment’s family panto tradition continues with a brand new version of the popular story Wizard of Oz. This fun-filled production will be on stage at the King’s Wharf Theatre in Penetanguishene from November 10 to November 26.

Wizard of Oz: The Panto is a twisted take on the famed children’s story by L. Frank Baum. When Dorothy and her beloved dog Toto are whisked over the rainbow in a tornado, she must band together with some newfound friends to journey to Oz and defeat the Wicked Witch who is determined to take over the land. The traditional tale has been adapted for the stage as an interactive panto by E. Houldershaw and S. Cartwright.

Wizard of Oz: The Panto is pure family fun – it’s packed with outrageous characters, extravagant costumes, and lots of music and dancing that make it wildly entertaining for everyone from kids to grandparents,” says Alex Mustakas, Artistic Director of Drayton Entertainment. “We love seeing three generations of theatregoers enjoying the panto productions together. It’s a great opportunity to make lasting family memories leading into the holiday season.”

This marks the first time the King’s Wharf Theatre will present a show in the lead-up to the holiday season, as the theatre season traditionally ends on Labour Day. This unique theatre experience is being offered in November to engage the local community as well as bring tourists to the area.

Wizard Of Oz: The Panto will be helmed by Director and Choreographer David Connolly, who is credited with several past Drayton Entertainment hits including Disney’s Newsies, Annie, and the popular pantos Sleeping Beauty, Jack and the Beanstalk, Cinderella, Aladdin and Snow White, among other shows.

Connolly is joined by Music Director Steve Thomas, Set Designer Jean Claude Olivier, Costume Designer Rachel Berchtold, and Lighting Designer Jeff JohnstonCollins. The team also includes Stage Manager Amber Archbell, Assistant Stage Manager Kelsey Rae, and Apprentice Stage Manager Kirstyn Keeble.

Making her Drayton Entertainment debut, Lia Luz stars as headstrong heroine Dorothy. Luz’s musical theatre résumé includes Janet in The Rocky Horror Show and Princess Slumber-Lee in Sleeping Beauty: Panto (Stirling Festival Theatre), and Little Sally in Urinetown (Toronto Musical Concerts).

Dorothy would be lost without her faithful friends, the Lion, Scarecrow, and Tin Man.

Recent finalist on Season 1 of Canada’s Got Talent, recording artist Stacey Kay displays her impeccable vocal range and comic timing as the cowardly Lion. Audiences may remember Kay’s vivacious talent from past Drayton Entertainment productions including Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Jack and the Beanstalk: The Panto, Legends of Rock'n'Roll, Legally Blonde, and Godspell.

JJ Gerber, former finalist of CBC’s Searchlight, takes on the role of the lovable Scarecrow in search of a brain. Gerber has entertained audiences in a number of Drayton Entertainment shows such as, A Few Good Men, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, and Anne of Green Gables.

Complete with his oil can, Noah Beemer takes on the role of the endearing Tin Man for his Drayton Entertainment debut. Beemer boasts an impressive résumé having appeared in numerous musicals including, Ricky in Ride the Cyclone, Sky in Mamma Mia at Tweed and Company Theatre, Tobias in Sweeney Todd, Jack in Into the Woods, Bosie in The Judas Kiss at Talk Is Free Theatre, Finally There’s Sun at The Stratford Festival, and The Adventures of Pinocchio at Young People’s Theatre.

Justin Bott is sure to have audiences rolling in the aisles as Auntie Em. Bott is well known for his over-the-top panto roles including Widow Twaddle in Jack and the Beanstalk, step-sister Revolta in Cinderella, evil sorcerer Abanazza in Aladdin, and Nurse Tickle in Snow White.

Tim Porter returns to take on the role of Harry Trotter. Porter has appeared in many other Drayton Entertainment family pantos including Sleeping Beauty, Jack and the Beanstalk, Cinderella, Aladdin and Snow White and starred as Buddy the Elf in the 2019 sold-out hit Elf: The Musical.

Erica Peck as Glinda the Good Witch is out to foil the plans of the Wicked Witch, Billy Lake. Peck started her career as Scaramouche in the original Toronto production We Will Rock You and has appeared in the Toronto and National Tour productions of Kinky Boots. She has also appeared at the Stratford Festival and in the Drayton Entertainment productions of Kinky Boots, Grease, and Sleeping Beauty: The Panto. Lake spent 10 seasons at the Shaw Festival and was last seen in the Drayton Entertainment productions of Kinky Boots, Priscilla: Queen of the Desert, Beauty and The Beast, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Cinderella: The Panto, and Sleeping Beauty: The Panto.

Returning to the King’s Wharf Theatre stage as Toto is Will Parry. Hailing from Barrie, Will was previously seen in Penetanguishene as a member of the youth ensemble in Peter Pan: The Panto.

Nestor Lozano Jr, Tama Martin, Teddy Moynihan, Stephanie Pitsiladis, Ben Skipper, and Christine Watson make up an impressive ensemble cast, which also features 23 local youth performers who appear in the show on a rotating schedule throughout the run alongside the professional company.

The children’s chorus performers include:

·        Hannah Hester of Barrie

·        Grace Cherry, Maya Jenkinson, Carina Jones, Luke Jones, Brooke Lind-Lediard, Avery McDonald, Ainsley Morris, Emily Rabey, and Isabelle Rabey of Midland

·        Colson Good of Orillia

·        Ava Gravelle, Cooper Reynolds, and Olivia Reynolds of Penetanguishene

·        Erdman Henderson and Jalise Henderson of Springwater

·        Nala Beans of Tay Township

·        Sophie Charelebois, Isabella Gendron, and Scarlett Gendron of Tiny

·        Callum Goodhue of Victoria Harbour

·        Maki Duxbury of Waubaushene

·        India Faris of Wyevale

All traditional pantos include audience participation and Wizard of Oz: The Panto is no exception. Families and young spectators are encouraged to join in the fun and boo each time the Wicked Witch enters the stage and sing along with familiar chart-topping songs by artists such as Lizzo, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, BTS, Alanis Morissette, Sarah Bareilles and many more.

Wizard of Oz: The Panto is proudly sponsored by Brooklea Golf & Country Club. The Media Sponsors are Simcoe.com and Pure Country 106. The Design Sponsor is The Peak 95.1. The Tourism Partner is Experience Simcoe County. The 2022 Season Media Sponsor is CTV.

Wizard of Oz: The Panto is on stage from November 10 to November 26 at the King’s Wharf Theatre in Penetanguishene. Regular performance tickets are $53 for adults, $32 for youth under 20 years of age and $43 for groups of 20 or more and select Discount Dates. HST is applicable to all ticket prices.

Tickets may be purchased by calling the Box Office at 705-549-5555 or toll free at 1-855-drayton (372-9866), or online instantly at www.kingswharftheatre.com

 

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