Stage Door News
Blyth: The Blyth Festival announces the casting for its 2022 season
Thursday, June 30, 2022
The 2022 Season on Blyth Festival’s Harvest Stage is now open, with rave reviews coming in for season opener: The Drawer Boy, “Incandescent…a perfect production in a perfect setting of a classic Canadian play” says Kelly Moynihan of OntarioStage.com
“This production is pure celebration of the magic spell that was cast in Huron County fifty years ago when some actors from the city knocked, and some farmers answered the door. Really, from that moment on, we have been making and producing singular summer theatre in this community ever since,” says Gil Garratt, Blyth’s artistic director.
The Drawer Boy, written by Michael Healey runs June 22 to July 16,
Fifty years ago, in 1972, a group of actors arrived in Huron County from downtown Toronto. They wanted to learn all they could about farming and rural life, then turn what they learned into a play. The result was The Farm Show, and it inspired Blyth’s founders to launch the very festival.
Playwright Michael Healey came to Blyth as a young actor and met many of the people whose stories had inspired the original Farm Show. He wrote The Drawer Boy as a tribute to the power of art to heal hearts and minds, and to inspire an entire community. The Drawer Boy was originally commissioned by Blyth and has gone on to achieve international renown as one of the best Canadian plays ever written.
The Drawer Boy features, Blyth Festival favourite Randy Hughson, Stratford Festival veteran Jonathan Goad, Clinton native Cameron Laurie, together with phenomenal musicians Anne Lederman and Graham Hargrove.
Audience members will be familiar with Randy who portrayed Stompin’ Tom Connors in The Ballad of Stompin’ Tom, as well Scrooge in A Huron County Christmas Carol. Hughson spent 12 seasons at the Stratford Festival, played leading roles across Canada and has won numerous awards including eight Dora Awards. Randy plays the role of Angus.
Jonathan Goad makes his Blyth Festival debut as Morgan. Previously, Jonathan spent 15 seasons at the Stratford Festival in dozens of leading roles. He has directed and appeared in several TV programs including Alias Grace and Murdoch Mysteries.
Cameron Laurie, who plays Miles was last in Blyth in Our Beautiful Sons: Remembering Matthew Dinning. Cameron is a founding member of Howland Company and award wining theatre company based in Toronto.
Well known to Blyth audiences, fiddler extraordinaire Anne Lederman has created astounding music for and performed in such pieces as The Outdoor Donnellys, and her own autobiographical work Spirit of the Narrows.
Percussionist Graham Hargrove made is Blyth debut in 2019’s A Huron County Christmas Carol, and returns here playing an array of farm implements (from hoes, to wash boards, to buckets), vibraphone and piano.
Cottagers and Indians, written by Drew Hayden Taylor runs July 21 to August 6.
Award Winning playwright Drew Hayden Taylor’s biting comedy about communities in conflict in Ontario’s Cottage Country exploded onto the theatre scene in 2019, garnering rave reviews before COVID-19 shut down all theatres. This powerful (and hilarious!) play opens a much-needed dialogue about Indigenous rights, and what happens at the grass roots when consumerism comes into conflict with environmentalism. Reconciliation may mean one thing on Parliament Hill, but what does it mean on the back porch in the Kawarthas in July?
James Dallas Smith and Kelly McIntosh play the two leads. Smith was last in Blyth for The Berlin Blues and Ipperwash. Smith is reprising his role as Arthur Copper.
Kelly McIntosh most recently co-wrote In the Wake of Wettlaufer with Gil Garratt for the Blyth Festival and Kroehler Girls in 2021 for Here For Now New Works Festival in Stratford. Kelly takes on the role of Maureen Poole.
The Waltz, written by Marie Beath Badian runs August 11 to August 27.
Billed as a sequel to Blyth Festival’s 2013’s Prairie Nurse this is a world premiere. Prairie Nurse told the story of two Filipina nurses working in a small-town Saskatchewan hospital in the 1960s. The Waltz picks up the story a generation later in 1993. Romeo Alvarez is driving cross-country, from his home in Scarborough, ON, to his first day of University in Vancouver, BC. At his mother’s incessant urging, Romeo reluctantly agrees to drop in on her old friends. When he arrives unannounced at a remote family cabin, he is greeted by a less than welcoming, Beatrice Klassen. What follows is a single night under the prairie moon, a boom box, a dance lesson, fate and a full moon.
This show is produced in partnership with Toronto’s Factory Theatre.
The Blyth Festival welcomes two new actors to the company for their Blyth debuts. Ericka Leobrera as Bea Klassen and Anthony Perpuse as Romeo Alvarez.
Ericka is a Filiipinx-Canadian interdisciplinary performer and graduate of Humber College’s Performance program in 2020 where she received the Distinguished Performer award and Dean’s Scholarship. Anthony Perpuse is a Dora-nominated, Toronto-based Filipino-Canadian Performer. Anthony graduated from Toronto Metropolitan University with a BFA in Performance Acting where he also earned a Perry Schneiderman award for comedy.
Full bios of all performers can be seen on blythfestival.com
Stay tuned for more casting announcements for Cheryl Foggo’s upcoming John Ware Reimagined with original folk songs by Miranda Martini and Kris Demeanor.
Four plays on the beautiful new outdoor HARVEST STAGE from June to September. Watch the building of the Harvest Stage here.
The Drawer Boy by Michael Healey June 22-July 16
Cottagers and Indians by Drew Hayden Taylor July 21 to August 6
The Waltz by Marie Beath Badian August 11 to August 27
John Ware Reimagined by Cheryl Foggo September 1-24
For more information please visit blythfestival.com for tickets.