Theatre on the Ridge launches its 5th summer festival season this July at Town Hall 1873 in Port Perry with the premiere production of a new Canadian musical.
Willow Quartet Musical has been adapted from the stage play by the same name, by Richmond Hill playwright, Joan Burrows. The original Willow Quartet was published in 2013 and is the heart warming story of the power of family roots as a rural Ontario couple recovers from grief to find their way back into each other’s heart. Theatre on the Ridge acknowledges the generous support of The Courts of Canterbury, Port Perry for making this production possible.
By 2015, positive audience response, production feedback and discussions between Ms. Burrows, Ron Cameron-Lewis and Jason Saunders, both faculty members of Sheridan College’s musical theatre program, led to extensive workshopping of the music at Sheridan College, and the development of the production now being produced by Theatre on the Ridge this summer. In the fall of 2018, Willow Quartet Musical was one of the three finalists for the Best New Musical category in the national Tom Hendry Awards, awarded annually to Canadian plays and playwrights.
For Ms. Burrows, the process of learning how to turn "script" moments into "musical lyrics" was challenging but necessary to keep the flow of the story within the constraints of a two act musical. “The workshops with the Sheridan students were thrilling, to say the least” says Ms. Burrows, “I was sitting with all these young musical talents, some of whom had already performed on Broadway…and who were so eager and invested in making this new musical work for us.”
Theatre on the Ridge Artistic Director, Carey Nicholson is also excited for the opportunity to work closely with playwrights, composer and cast to bring this new adaptation to the stage as the show’s stage director. She is joined by long time artistic collaborator, Carol Salamone as music director, who in the words of Ms. Nicholson “is the perfect artist to bring a new musical score to life.”
The cast of Willow Quartet Musical includes Lyle Corrigan from Port Perry, Chris Daniel, Roz McArthur-Keyes and Nathan Simpson from Durham Region, with guest artist Ashlie White from Toronto. Ms. White last performed in Scugog as Lily in the Port Perry Confidential’s production of Kiss Me Kate.
Production dates are July 3 @ 2 pm (Preview) and performances July 4, 5, 6, 9, 10, 12 @ 7:30 pm, July 13 @ 2 pm
Tickets are now on sale at the Town Hall 1873 box office from $25 - $35 with senior/student pricing and group discount packages. Visit the box office at www.townhall1873.ca.
Pictured above, from left to right: Ashlie White, Nathan Simpson, Carey Nicholson, Carol Salamone, Roz McArthur-Keyes, Chris Daniel, Joan Burrows at the Willow Quartet Musical first readthrough. Photo by Ron Cameron-Lewis.