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Break a leg

by Jonathan van Bilsen

I have always been a fan of musicals, and have seen most of the major productions when they are hosted in Toronto. The thrill of the crowds, the anticipation of the production, the music and the costumes create an air of unparalled excitement for me.

There are, of course, a few drawbacks as well: driving an hour, if not more, can be tedious; spending a small inheritance on parking is stressful; finding a table in a nearby restaurant is challenging; and of course, inevitably, getting lost several times, takes away from the pleasure of the day.

Thank goodness I have discovered an alternative, and that is, community theatre, right here in Port Perry. I seldom miss a production, and am very impressed with our roster of local talent. We have three production companies, Scugog Choral Society (SCS) Musicals, the Borelians and Theatre on the Ridge, performing several times a year at two great venues.

Our own Town Hall Theatre, located in the historic Town Hall 1873, has been upgraded, to include state of the art sound and lighting equipment. Theatre on the Ridge performs at the Scugog Shores Museum Village, in a specially built theatre tent.

Driving, for most of us, is ten minutes or so, and there are plenty of great eateries within walking distance. Parking is free anywhere, and the quality of the productions are second to none.

Last weekend I saw ‘The Last Resort’, a musical murder mystery, performed by SCS Musicals, and it was hilarious. I will not give away any secrets, as the production will run this coming weekend, but guaranteed, you will enjoy yourself.

Toronto Theatre prices are rivaling New York and London, and finding a seat for less than $200 is becoming a challenge. That of course, is not the case in community theatre, where prices are affordable.

The theatre in Port Perry is attracting many quality performances, by a variety of artists. I recently saw a Gordon Lightfoot tribute, which was so real, I felt the Edmund Fitzgerald swaying beneath me. The Durham Chamber Orchestra, with more than 40 musicians, performs several concerts a year. Also, dozens of tribute bands, solo performers and a variety of shows, grace the stage of our historic theatre.

If you have not experienced a local production, give it a try. It is fun, nearby, inexpensive, and a great form of enjoyable entertainment.

Jonathan van Bilsen is a television host, award winning photographer, published author, columnist and keynote speaker. Watch his show, ‘Jonathan van Bilsen’s photosNtravel’, on RogersTV, the Standard Website or YouTube.

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