Actor discovered his rock star stage persona after Feast helped open a door
He grips his guitar and breathes out, “three, two, one,” then strums a gritty rock tune with the same confidence and concentration he showed when he performed in the Feast Dinner Theatre show, ‘Summer of ’69’ that hit the stage 10-years ago.
“I had been coming to the dinner theatre at Brothers 2 Restaurant in Summerside with my family to see the performances, and we always enjoyed them. Then I started studying music at the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI) and Feast seemed like a natural fit for a summer gig,” shared Andrew Waite.
“I auditioned and was cast in the summer show called, Summer of ’69, right here at Brothers 2 Restaurant. It had a hippy theme, so I had to grow my hair and beard long, and I guess that stuck. We worked with Mike Allison and Matt Stewart that year and had a lot of fun with the theme,” he said.
In the Feast Dinner Theatre the actors sing, dance, play instruments, and serve food and drinks while remaining in character – from the moment they seat the audience until they take their final bows.
“It definitely helped shape my view on performance, and since I did that gig with Feast I’ve wrapped up a degree at UPEI and finished studies for music education at Memorial University of Newfoundland, in addition I’ve recorded a couple of albums,” chimed Waite, who is the music director for the upcoming Feast show, ‘Up in Smoke.’
“In terms of the 40th season of Feast, I think it’s incredible,” smiled Waite, who admits the dinner theatre helped pave the way to his music journey.
“It opened a door and brought me out of my shell in a lot of ways,” reflected Waite. “When you’re out there all summer improvising and acting, you begin to be something other than yourself – this extroverted version. It really helped take me out of my comfort zone.”
Waite discovered his gutsy roots-rock persona and used it to land his own band, ‘Andrew Waite and the Firm.’
“We released an album a couple of years ago called ‘Burning Through the Night (feat. Irish Mythen)’ and it won the 2016 Music P.E.I. Rock Recording of the Year. It was nominated the year later for Music PE.I.’s Songwriter of the Year award, and Group Recording of the Year,” listed off Waite.
The band, full of rich harmonies, has a loyal and consistent following in the Charlottetown music scene, and they just recorded their newest single that will be released on Friday, June 22.
Waite is also setting the stage for future rock stars, sharing his passion of music and song-writing.
“Five years ago my wife, Nikki, and I founded ‘Island Rock Camps,’ which is almost like Feast but with younger musicians, and partnered with the Holland College program. The camps are formatted to place students in smaller ensembles, while they work with a lead musician, choose and arrange material together.”
The rock camp runs five-weeks in the summer, and the youth perform their work in a concert.
Waite concluded with his thoughts on the upcoming Feast Dinner Theatre show, and its music direction.
“We’re spanning a broad number of genres with the music and I’m really happy the way it’s shaping up,” he said. “It’s great to work with both Sherri-Lee Pike and Don Groom, and this year I’m really lucky to have Jaime Hunter as my assistant director. It’s really quite a team we have to pull this show off.”
For more information on Andrew Waite, his band or Island Rock camps go to www.andrewwaitemusic.com. To learn more about the dinner theatres visit www.feastdinnertheatres.com or, to buy tickets online for ‘Up in Smoke’ check out www.ticketwizard.ca.