Theatre in Winter: Some Joy, Some Madness, and More

Written by Jane Antoniak

Looking for an escape from the dark winter nights? Getting a bit of cabin fever? Then consider a night out being entertained by live theatre. Kick off 2017 and beat the winter blues, challenge your mind and support the arts in our area.

Reefer Madness Poster_700pxTo set the mood for 2017 comes Reefer Madness from the King’s Players at King’s University College. While Canadians contemplate legalized marijuana this is a hilarious look at how marijuana use was regarded in decades past. This is a live musical version of the 1936 film of the same name. The Players are alerting the audience that this is a “highly stylized and satirical political commentary that contains adult humor, religious parody, drug use as well as suggested violence and sexual explicitness – inappropriate for younger audiences.” Reefer Madness runs from January 25 – 28th in the Joanne and Peter Kenny Theatre at King’s University College. This is a large cast production with a nine-piece jazz band.

The Grand Theatre in London presents Lions in Winter January 10th to 28th. This drama about the life of Henry II promises to intrigue fans of Game of Thrones and House of Cards in a bizarre Christmas setting. The play takes the audience back in time, 800 years, as Henry and his wife battle for power. Directed by Krista Jackson, who asks the question, “what shall we hang…the holly or each other?”

Lion681In February, The Grand lightens up the mood with the Tony Award Winning Best Play, Art. It runs from February 21st to March 11th. Originally a French play, it was translated into English and wowed theatre-goers in London’s West End and Broadway. This introspective discussion — what is art? and is beauty truly in the eye of the beholder? — makes a rare appearance in Southwestern Ontario.

The Imperial Theatre in downtown Sarnia presents Willow Quartet January 27th to February 4th. While it sounds like a musical event, this play is about unresolved grief and love. The theatre is located near the fabulous Lola’s Lounge restaurant, a great place for a post theatre drink and discussion.

The Port Stanley Festival Theatre runs a winter program and will warm your soul with some Billy Joel on January 14th (two shows). Billy Joel and the Piano Men starring Bruce Tournay as Joel is a romp through the 70’s and 80’s and includes performances of songs by Elton John, Burton Cummings and more.

If the 50’s and 60’s are more your style, Port Stanley Festival Theatre heats things up for Valentine’s Day with Buddy Holly’s Rockin’ Valentine’s Party on February 11th (two shows). Starring Jeff Giles, this show is a follow-up to Giles popular performance in The Buddy Holly Story.

jennys-house-of-joyWhat could be a more Canadian way to kick off Canada’s 150th in Southwestern Ontario than with a Norm Foster play? The Palace Theatre in London’s Old East Village and the London Community Players present Jenny’s House of Joy, a look back at prostitution in 1870 Kansas. The play runs January 12th to 22nd. In February, the London Community Players at the Palace turn to a more serious drama, A Raisin in the Sun, which was performed on Broadway in 1959. The show runs February 9th to 19th.

Finally, if you might have some kids under foot during the upcoming March Break and are looking for entertainment, check out Peter Pan Jr., by The Original Kids Theatre Company in the Covent Garden Market, London. Many local and professional actors got their start at OKTC — think Rachel McAdams — and for hundreds of other local kids it is a great way to learn confidence, acting skills and have fun performing. Peter Pan Jr. runs March 9th to 18th and is sure to get your toes tapping all the way to Neverland.

Jane Antoniak is a regular contributor to eatdrink magazine. She is also Manager, Communications & Media Relations, at King’s University College in London.

About the author

Jane Antoniak

Jane Antoniak is a longtime contributor to Eatdrink, sharing her passion for food, drink, travel and the arts through her writing, while always connecting with the people she meets along the way. She is also Manager, Communications & Media Relations, at King’s University College in London.