Upper Canada Playhouse

You just have to mention there’s a new Norm Foster show at The Playhouse and the Box Office phone starts ringing’, laughs Artistic Director Donnie Bowes. ‘But when you have an ace director and dynamite cast to boot, you know this hit comedy is going to be a great way to end a fantastic season!’ Halfway There, Foster’s sparkling new comedy, runs September 7th through October 1st and is directed by Playhouse veteran and Orillia Opera House Artistic Director, Jesse Collins, who has also directed such hit productions of other Foster plays such as The Affections of May and Bedtime Stories. He recently wowed Playhouse audiences with his own hit show, Dean and Jerry: What Might Have Been, which sold out virtually before it opened.

Halfway There has a distinct Maritime feel being set in Junior’s Café, a small diner in the town of Stewiacke, Nova Scotia, which is actually located halfway to the North Pole. ‘In fact the play originally was called Halfway to the North Pole,’ added Bowes. ‘But the title was changed so folks wouldn’t mistake it for a Christmas play!’ The small town setting where the story unfolds is typical of Foster’s comedies and the likeable cast of characters are both hilarious and relatable ordinary folks audiences can immediately identify with.

Every afternoon after work, three women meet up at the diner to catch up with each other’s private lives and gab about the local gossip. Rita, the only single lady of the group, is the vamp, Vi, who has been living with a guy for nine years, is the know-it-all and Mary Ellen, married with children, is in a rut. The fourth member of the group is their friend, Janine, the waitress at Junior’s Café. She lives with a guy who is gone most of the time working at the Oil Sands in Alberta.

The action and comedy ramp up when their daily routine is thrown into excited chaos when Sean Merrit, a young doctor from Toronto, arrives to take over for the town doctor for a month. He’s recently been dumped by his girlfriend and is looking for a change in his life. The ladies immediately set their sights on him but it’s waitress, Janine, that catches his eye. In typical Foster style, the ladies’ reaction to this newcomer makes for great comedy, while at the same time giving us a glimpse into their personal lives and struggles. This winning combination of hilarity and heart is the unique Foster experience that will once again make for an entertaining time in the theatre.

Once again The Playhouse has assembled a stellar cast led by Jamie Williams as Sean, Melanie Janzen as Rita, Viviana Zarrillo as Vi, Debra Hale as Mary Ellen and Jane Spence as Janine. Williams has starred in Playhouse shows ranging from Run For Your Wife, The Affections of May and A Christmas Carol. Janzen has just appeared in the first production of a new Foster play, Lunenburg, at The Foster Festival and previously appeared here in Here On The Flight Path. Hale was seen in last season’s There’s A Burglar in My Bed and Zarrillo starred in last season’s Last of the Red Hot Lovers. Spence was part of the first cast to perform Foster’s The Ladies Foursome, which had its world premiere at The Playhouse.

Halfway There runs September 7-October 1 with 2pm shows Tues, Wed, Thu, Sat & Sun and 8pm shows Thu, Fri & Sat. Call 543-3713 or 1-877-550-3650 or uppercanadaplayhouse.com