It’s a recipe that has worked for Eastern Front Theatre in the past, and — with an extra dash during the holidays — it’s a theatrical meal the Dartmouth-based company is serving up again.
“The musical tribute show has been very good to us box office-wise,” said Scott Burke.
The artistic director of Eastern Front announced yesterday that Canada’s Songbird — A Musical Tribute To Anne Murray, will end its 2008-09 season. The show builds on the success of 2006’s Singalong Jubilee — about the popular TV series — and 2007’s tribute to folksinger Stan Rogers.
“Our mandate is to focus on eastern Canadian stories, so the opportunity to focus on those great musicians, and music of the region, has been a godsend,” Burke said. Already named to appear in the three-woman and three-band performance is singer Margot Sampson.
Opening Eastern’s new season is Vimy, a memory play by Vern Thiessen about a young woman from Shubenacadie nursing four soldiers back to health and trying to learn the fate of her missing lover.
It also follows up the success of 2006’s Corvette Crossing, an original play by Mike Melski about the Battle of the Atlantic.
Vimy will feature emerging actors from the region, including Ryan Doucette, Andrew Kasprzak, Ari Millen and Kate Valentine.
“I just like to find that young talent and putting them before a bigger audience,” said Burke. “There is a strong groundswell of theatre, and it is great for us to take that talent and put it out there.” Added to the mix this year is a third mainstage show, Dear Santa. Written by the humourous Norm Foster, it tells the story of Santa Claus’ chief of staff trying to get everything ready for a new Christmas season.
Adding to his mix is Santa’s housekeeper, who has a crush on him. Announced to play the two roles are local actors Stacey Smith and Marty Burt. “There is no secret about programming comedy and music in your season to bring people in,” Burke said.