The Faces of Seussical

One week from today, our cast will walk into the Olde Walkerville Theatre and see what our crew had been up to!  The set will be all set up and gorgeous, and the theatre will become our home and our world for a hectic, intense week!

As with any of our shows, but especially with our musicals, there have been MONTHS of rehearsals, and costumes being made, and sets and props being constructed, and dances being learned, and songs and harmonies perfected.

It is a long labour of love and passion. And these are most of the people who are bringing it to you (a few of our crew have been camera shy about this!).

We can’t wait to have you out to join us to see this bright, zany, and wonderful world of Seuss!

 

Seussical the Musical – Opening May 25th!

Well, we know it’s getting closer when the sign goes up at the theatre!  The new digital marquee at The Olde Walkerville is great, and it’s fun to see notice of our show make its appearance! I had to pull over this morning on the way to work to get a good shot.

Seussical at Walkerville.jpg

Surprisingly, I still run into people who don’t know Seussical, and want to know what it’s all about. So I just thought I’d make a wee post about that for anyone who’s not sure.

If you take a bunch of your favourite Dr. Seuss books and stir them together, you find your story. Here we have the story of the Cat in the Hat encouraging young Jojo the Who, son of the Mayor and his wife, to use his imagination. In the meantime, we have Horton the Elephant, hearing the Whos in the speck of dust on the clover, and all of his “friends” mocking him. We have him abandoned to babysit an egg for lazy Mayzie LaBird, and Gertrude McFuzz pining for him, and figuring out she doesn’t need to be anyone but the wonderful bird that she is to gain his appreciation. We have appearances by many other beloved characters, including the Grinch. And it’s all stirred together with fantastic music and dance, and perfect for you and your family to enjoy.

This production will be performed by our entire company, nearly sixty kids, ages 6-18.  We’re only 10 days away from moving into the theatre, and we can’t wait to get started with our audiences. Our school performance on the morning of Friday, May 25th, sold out very quickly, but we have three performances that we can’t wait to present for general audiences. Tickets are available through the Olde Walkerville Box Office (in person and online), through Eventbrite.com, and at the theatre one hour before each show!  They’re also available from any cast member!
Riverfront likes to end our season each year with a family-friendly musical. We’re proud to bring Seussical to the stage this year, and we hope that you will be joining us!

 

New Seussical poster

Our May 2019 Musical Will Be…..

We promised an announcement would come soon!  We haven’t quite got our posters ready for the rest of the 2018-2019 season, but we CAN make an announcement about the musical we’ll be producing next spring!

It’s big, it’s beautiful, it’ve very, very exciting!  And because it’s so big, we’ll go back to a two-week run next year!  May 17-19 and 24-26, 2019, at the Olde Walkerville Theatre, plan to see:

Mary Poppins announcement

Thanking a Sponsor, and ALMOST ready for next season’s announcement

It’s a good day today, friends! We’ve just received word that the Windsor Police Association has just approved ongoing sponsorship for Riverfront again this year. We are so grateful for their support over the past four years. Community sponsorship means a great deal from all our sponsors. There’s something especially encouraging, however, to know that our local police feel so strongly about encouraging our efforts with the youth in our community. As they state on their own website:

“In addition to the many countless hours that WPA members spend volunteering their time, the Association also donates thousands of dollars annually to charitable organizations.  The WPA is pleased to be associated with likeminded groups who work towards the betterment of the citizens of Windsor.”

WPA image

Our Executive Director is one of the WPA members volunteering her time with Riverfront. Having the backing of the rest of the Association means a lot.

In other happy news, we have just sent off our signed contract for next year’s spring musical, which is the last of our arrangements for next season’s productions! We anticipate an announcement by the end of the month – we’re just working on some design elements now!  So STAY TUNED!!  Exciting things lie ahead!

 

 

April 2018 Update & SPONSORSHIP REQUEST!

It looks like spring is finally starting to arrive, and I know we’re all more than ready for it!

Spring is a very busy time for Riverfront. Right now, we’re putting the final touches on Seussical! – which opens next month, May 25-27th at The Olde Walkerville Theatre. So that’s very exciting. Our set construction will begin soon, the costumes are nearly ready, we’ve got our Juniors back after their winter break and are incorporating them into the show, and things are ticking along there!  Posters are being picked up today so you’ll begin to see them around the city and county this weekend!

Tickets for Seussical are available through Eventbrite and at the The Olde Walkerville Theatre itself (as of next week). They will also be available at the box office one hour before each performance, or from any of your cast members. Lots of options to buy tickets!

In other news, we are looking for a sponsor to help us with an alternative storage plan – we will be letting one of our rented storage units go, and purchasing a large shed in which to house our larger set pieces, props and lumber.
Shed
In the long run, this will represent savings for us. In the short term, it’s a $2000 expense. Riverfront would be very keen to secure someone willing to help cover or assist with that purchase, which we will be making this month. Charitable tax receipts are issued to our sponsors. Please contact us (Riverfronttheatrecompany@gmail.com) if you would like to help RTC with this purchase, or sponsor us in any way! Donation buttons are also available here at our website and on our Facebook page if you would like to make individual, rather than corporate, donations.

Finally – although we aren’t quite ready for a public announcement of our plan yet, we have decided on our productions for next season. That announcement – and it’s a pretty exciting set of shows, we think – will be coming very soon, so stay tuned!

Anne’s Over – On to Seussical!

With the curtain having closed on Anne of Green Gables, we have barely had time to stop and reflect on how much of a lovely success it was, and how much fun, before diving right into the next show. Such is life at Riverfront – heck, we’re even busily making decisions about next season!

But let’s stop for a second. Anne of Green Gables was FABULOUS. We had so many people come out to see it – really wonderful attendance. Right around a thousand people saw it in one incredibly busy weekend.  And they were loving it – the audiences were laughing, and clapping, and the ripples of shock at key dramatic moments were so warming – we felt that everyone in the audience was so much on our side with this show. We had a very, very smooth weekend, and couldn’t be happier about how things turned out. Thank you, everyone – actors, crew, audiences, sponsors – there’s a lot to be proud of in what we accomplished together with Anne of Green Gables!


The simple fact of the matter, though, is that in theatre, you just can’t sit back and rest on your laurels. We were back in rehearsal on Saturday, March 3rd, and all our attention is turning back to Seussical. We’ve been working on it all year in tandem with Anne of Green Gables, but we had a bit of a tidying and a refresher on Saturday, ready to really move into high gear.

Our upcoming production is the last week in May (May 23-25th) at the Olde Walkerville Theatre. The kids are having a ball with this show, and the school performance sold out ridiculously early, so we think that our community is keen to see us perform it. We’ll be giving you plenty of sneak previews and updates in the next few months.

Here’s a link to a vocal review of one of our songs. We did it as a Facebook Live video, I’m afraid, so this is the only way I can share it!

If you’re wanting to dive right in and purchase tickets for Seussical, of course we’re glad to help you with that!  You can purchase them online already at Eventbrite. You can get them from cast members, and you can get them at the Box Office soon – and every day of show one hour before the performance.

New Seussical poster

Opening This Weekend!

This is tech week for Riverfront’s production of Anne of Green Gables!  We moved into the theatre on Sunday morning, and started rehearsals there with the kids on Monday afternoon. We’ve been there every night, and tonight is dress rehearsal!  Tomorrow morning, we perform to our sold-out school show at 10 a.m., and then continue on with our public shows, Friday and Saturday evening at 7, and Sunday afternoon at 2.

Calls have been flooding in every day about tickets, which are available online at Eventbrite, or at the box office every day an hour before each performance. Anne of Green Gables is iconic, a classic for every Canadian, and we are delighted to be bringing our fresh adaptation to the stage here in Windsor.

At our last rehearsal in our weekly rehearsal space, we interviewed our kids at large about their experiences with Anne. Please enjoy one of our small videos for your amusement. The kids are loving the experience of working on Anne.

See what our cast’s favourite lines are!

Nearly half our cast, 15 out of the 39 cast members, had no previous experience with Anne of Green Gables in any form – they’d never read it, seen the movie, or any other production – before we announced the show last season. That was surprising to us, but very satisfying, as well, because we know we’re in the business of introducing literature and educating our kids, too!  We had much the same experience with doing Pride and Prejudice in 2014, and as we’ve been introducing and expanding their understanding of Shakespeare every year as well with our productions and our annual field trips to Stratford.  This year, it’s Anne.  And of course, with over 400 students attending our school performances every time, and all our public shows, our reach extends far beyond our own company.  That’s something very important to Riverfront. We want to be family-friendly, but beyond that, we really do want to present shows with value to our audiences. Even our musicals, which are inherently lighter fare, we select with care for what our students and audiences can take away in a message.

Right now, we have Anne of Green Gables. In a way, both of our big plays this year are about finding the right balance between imagination and reality. Anne needs to be more grounded, and finds that balance as she matures. In Seussical, Jojo and Horton need to convince everyone around them that imagination and faith are essential components in life.

At Riverfront, we’re just more grateful than we can say for imagination and faith. Our students are showing us their capacity for imagination and creativity as they bring their characters to life on stage. And it extends to all of us. We have costumers, and set designers with that desire to work together to make something beautiful. And every one of us involved in RTC steps out in faith that in working as a team, we bring our various skills and frailties together to bring the audiences something we’re very proud of. We think we’ve done it again with Anne of Green Gables, and we hope that you will think so, too!

Anne is on her way to Green Gables. Are you?

Empty bench.jpg

Anne FINAL poster

Meet our Anne Shirleys!

Riverfront Theatre Company’s production of Anne of Green Gables will be opening in just one week at the Olde Walkerville Theatre! We thought this would be a good time to introduce you to our two actresses playing Anne Shirley, the title role.

Because the play, like the novel, spans a period of five years, we wanted to divide the role up between two different actresses. Alisa Whalen (11 years old, in her 2nd year with RTC) will be playing the role of younger Anne, from the time she arrives in Avonlea up until shortly after the dreadful incident of the raspberry cordial. When the time comes to start taking courses to prepare for Queen’s University, Grace Clarkson (age 14, in her 7th year with RTC) will take over for the remainder of the story.


We recently interviewed our young actresses to ask them about their experience with this production.

Q:  What excites you about playing Anne?

Alisa: This summer, I read the books, and I really liked Anne’s personality. I just thought the way she was so dramatic about everything that happened to her was so fun!

Grace: I’ve never played a lead before, and I really welcome the challenge of playing a character with this range of emotions.

 

Q:  What are you learning from this role?

Alisa: I’m learning a lot about blocking – I have a lot more movement than I had in last year’s plays. I’m learning even more about memorizing my lines. I’m also learning a lot about how to deliver those lines effectively, to keep them interesting.

Grace: It’s a challenging role, and there are a lot of lines to memorize. The vocabulary is a lot different from today’s, and the structure trips me up sometimes.

Q: Do you like playing Anne?

Alisa: Yes, because she gets to do a lot of different things. Also, she gets in trouble – a lot more trouble than I do, so I get to do strange things I never thought I’d do in my lifetime!

Grace: Yes, because it’s something that I can really work hard on, but also have fun with – there’s a lot of artistic freedom I can bring to putting Anne across to the audience.

Q:  Do you feel pressure about being Anne?

Alisa: Yes – the biggest pressure is about getting all the lines and the blocking right. I have one scene where I have almost a full page of uninterrupted talking, and it’s hard. I have to put a lot of thought into how to deliver different lines, and make it all seem natural, and give people the Anne they expect to see, with all her ups and downs in drama.

Grace: Sort of. I have a bit of pressure to be like Alisa, for continuity, but also pressure to be like Anne herself, more mature. I feel like there’s a lot of pressure to live up to being like the actress who played Anne in the movie (Megan Follows), or from their own image of her from reading the books. She’s an iconic character, and people have their own visions of what Anne is supposed to be. So I have my ideas, traditional portrayals, what my directors are looking for, what people have always expected to see – and I have to merge that all together.

Q:  How are you and Anne Shirley alike, and how are you different?

Alisa: Anne is like me, because I can sometimes be a bit over-dramatic, and we both have a lot of attitude. But I think Anne can be a lot more mean than I am (to the other kids in her class, and to Gilbert), and I don’t do a lot of the impulsive things that she does.

Grace: Anne and I both talk a lot, and quickly, and get excited easily. We have different pasts, and of course are from very different times, so we express ourselves differently.  I feel like I’m glad to be playing older Anne, because she’s more emotionally restrained, which suits me more.

Q:  What’s your very favourite line in this show?

Alisa: I have so many that it’s hard to pick. The cast laughs the hardest, I think, when I apologise to Mrs. Lynde, but I think my favourite is the part where Diana’s getting drunk while I tell her about my daydream about her getting smallpox and me taking care of her, because I get to be so dramatic, and it’s pretty funny, when you think about it.

Grace: I actually like just running out onto the stage calling out “Merry Christmas” in the scene where I get the dress with puffed sleeves. I love Christmas, and it’s one of the brightest, happiest moments that older Anne has on the stage.

These two young women will bring their cast together February 23-25th at the Olde Walkerville. Tickets are available online, or through the box office one hour before each show. Don’t miss our fresh adaptation of Canada’s most-beloved classic.

Anne FINAL poster