Everyone needs to take a break from the stresses of life and be entertained for a couple of hours. Brian Austin Jr. hopes the public will spend that break at the Imperial Theatre.
“Theatre is the only form of entertainment where every performance is one of a kind. No one sees the same show,” says the Sarnia theatre’s executive director. “It’s so important to be a part of the entertainment, instead of just consuming the entertainment at home. Theatre is more interactive.”
Austin Jr. says the Imperial is trying to appeal to a broad range of people and interests and he is always open to suggestions for shows and concerts that the public is interested in seeing staged locally.
The Christina Street theatre’s biggest user is Theatre Sarnia. The local theatre group has unveiled its 2019/2020 lineup.
The season kicks off on Friday, Sept. 20 with Mamma Mia! Shows continue on Sept. 21, 25 to 28 and Oct 2 to 5 at 7:30 p.m. Matinees are Sundays, Sept. 22 and 29.
Austin Jr. says securing the rights to put on Mamma Mia! is a “huge deal.”
Andrew Colborne is directing. The show will feature “big sets and big lights.”
Mamma Mia! is the hit musical based on the songs of ABBA. The storyline follows a young bride-to-be who secretly brings together three men from her mother’s past to try to discover the identity of her biological father. Songs include I Do, I Do, I Do, Dancing Queen, Take A Chance and S.O.S.
The second show of the season is Heathers The Musical on Oct. 23 to 26 at 7:30 p.m. Ian Alexander is directing.
Based on the 1989 movie of the same name, Heathers tells the tale of mean girls and murderous vengeance between outcasts and the popular in-crowd.
“I think the message still resonates today. As much as we have tried to teach kids not to bully, school will always be cliquey,” says Austin Jr.
Theatre Sarnia is drawing from the classics for their holiday show. They are presenting A Christmas Carol on Nov. 22 and 23 and Nov. 27 to 30 at 7:30 p.m. A 2 p.m. matinee will take place on Nov. 24.
Based on the Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol tells the tale of Ebenezer Scrooge’s journey from an embittered, miserly man into a giving, caring human being at the hands of three spirits.
“We’re really going to focus on making it a spectacle. Director Jean Simon has already talked about making one of the ghosts walk thorough a wall,” says Austin Jr.
He hopes A Christmas Carol will attract people of all generations.
“I really hope people will bring their kids and grandkids to the show. We love it when families come to the theatre.”
The Tony award winning musical, Fun Home, will be Theatre Sarnia’s entrance in in the Western Ontario Drama League Festival. Fun Home will be presented on Jan. 29 to 31 and Feb 1 at 7:30 p.m. Director and Choreographer Holly Wenning saw the show on Broadway and recommended it.
Fun Home is an honest, original musical about seeing your parents through grown-up eyes. When her father dies unexpectedly, Alison dives deep into her past to tell the story of the volatile, brilliant, one-of-a-kind man whose temperament and secrets defined her family and her life. Moving between past and present, Alison relives her unique childhood.
“It’s a coming of age story. I think the audience will really get a lot out of it,” says Austin Jr.
Theatre Sarnia traditionally presents a comedy in the spring and 2020 is no different. A Fox on the Fairway will take place April 1 to 4 at 7:30 p.m. and on April 5 at 2 p.m.
A Fox On the Fairway is set at a golf club. Filled with mistaken identities, slamming doors, and over-the-top romantic shenanigans, it’s a comedy that recalls the Marx Brothers’ classics. The show is described as “a charmingly madcap adventure about love, life, and man’s eternal love affair with golf.” Norm Francouer will direct.
“I think everyone, coming out of winter, is looking for a good laugh and this show will definitely deliver it,” says Austin Jr.
Theatre Sarnia wants to end the season with a bang by featuring the popular musical, Grease on May 22 and 23, May 27 to 30 at 7:30 p.m. and May 24 at 2 p.m.
The setting is 1959 at Rydell High School. Head “greaser” Danny and new good girl Sandy try to recapture the romance of their “Summer Nights” as the rest of the gang sings and dances its way through songs that recall the music that became the soundtrack of a generation.
“Everyone knows the music. It’s going to be a blast to put on.”
Director and Choreographer Jackie Burns is already talking about putting a real car on the theatre stage during the Grease Lightning number.
Theatre Sarnia 2019/2020 season subscriptions went on sale May 1. Each subscription includes: tickets to each of the six shows, six $5 drink/snack vouchers for the Capitol Bar, up to three complimentary Theatre Sarnia subscription ticket exchanges from September to May with 48 hours notice, the opportunity to keep your favorite seats all season long, the chance to secure your seating for the following season and a Theatre Sarnia commemorative button.
Early bird pricing currently in effect until May 18 has Adults paying $170 for six shows, seniors (60 and over) paying $150, young adults (19 – 29) paying $100 and youth (18 and under) paying $95.
Regular season ticket pricing is in effect May 19 to Oct. 5. Prices range from $190 to $95.
Single ticket sales are available June 1. Prices range from $12.50 - $40.
Tickets are available at the Imperial Theatre box office on Christina Street or by visiting www.imperialtheatre.net.