Stage Door News
Fort Erie: Lee Siegel gets “Oh Canada Eh?” gang back together
Friday, December 4, 2020
Lee Siegel was devastated when the Oh Canada Eh? Dinner Show closed its doors in Niagara Falls back in June.
He was the one who had to tell members of the troupe that they were out of a job thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, despite attempts to keep the theatre afloat with online fundraisers.
“When Oh Canada Eh? closed, telling them was the hardest thing I ever had to do,” Siegel said.
The angst was short-lived, however, as within a few days, the Fort Erie resident was plotting his next move. Within six months, he had formed NewWerx Productions, enlisting the help of several members of the Oh Canada Eh? cast. Siegel is artistic director for the company, the same role he held at Oh Canada Eh?
“Three days later (after it was announced Oh Canada Eh? was shutting down), I contacted a few people to see if they were interested. They all said great.”
Now, NewWerx is about to go public with a number of holiday projects, including a virtual concert and an online murder mystery, Murder at Mistletoe Manor.
While the concert will be pretaped and feature Oh Canada Eh? alumni like Melissa Penner, Matthew Yipchuck, Louisa O’Keane and others, the mystery is a unique event that Siegel has spent hour upon hour putting together in the past month.
“It’s all original; I wrote all of it,” he said.
It’s done in the style of the old “Create Your Own Adventure” book series, where readers could choose the direction of the plot by turning to different pages of the books.
“Those books, I loved them when I was a kid,” Siegel said. “We’re really excited for it.”
Murder at Mistletoe Manor will take views through various rooms via the Zoom teleconferencing app. Viewers can choose the order in which they visit rooms.
“It’s something families can play together,” Siegel said.
It is the NewWerx’s first foray into theatre and is something Siegel hopes will serve as a launching pad for the company.
“Not having a theatre means we don’t have as many expenses,” Siegel said. “By the time we are able to have our own building, we might have built a fan base.”
The virtual concert will be broadcast Dec. 12 via NewWerx’s Facebook and YouTube channels. Viewers are asked to donate what they can to the non-profit theatre group. Murder at Mistletoe Manor debuts Dec. 6 at 7:30 p.m. Performances are also scheduled for Dec. 8, 12, 13 and 16. All performances begin at 7:30 p.m. except for the Dec. 12 show, which starts at 8 p.m.
Tickets for Murder at Mistletoe Manor at $32, which includes up to six viewers via Zoom, can be purchased at newwerxproductions.com.
NewWerx will also stage a vintage Christmas radio show throughout December via Facebook.
Murder at Mistletoe Manor
Where: Virtual show via Zoom
When: Dec. 6, 8, 12, 13, 16 (All shows 7:30 p.m. except Dec. 12 (8 p.m.)
Tickets: $32 (Allows for six viewers via Zoom)
Where to get tickets: newwerxproductions.com
By Richard Hutton for www.niagarathisweek.com
Photo: Lee Siegel. © 2020 Richard Hutton.