Charlottetown cast: Jocelyn Reyome, from left, Kristena McCormack, Aaron Ellis, Ben Aitken, Taran Kim, and Josee Champoux.
Up in Smoke’ crew ready to kick off the biggest Feast show with a bang
An uproarious musical comedy called ‘Up in Smoke’ will have the audience dancing in their seats, as a talented cast and crew kick off the Feast Dinner Theatre season’s 40th celebrations with a bang.
Assistant director Brandon Roy, a graduate of Sheridan College’s bachelor of music theatre performance program, says the biggest set of talented directors to date have come together to create the most compelling and on point performance with a mesmerising cast.
“It’s been really exciting. Normally there’s just the director and music director, but this year we have a directing team of four,” he acknowledged. “And the passion comes across the cast every day because they love what they’re doing.”
He continued, “Don Groom, the founder of Feast, has created thousands of memories for people to look back on, as well as hundreds of incredible opportunities for performers. It’s so valuable, and there’s so much to celebrate, so we’re working on making this show the best it can be.”
Roy, born and raised in Montreal, brings a wealth of experience to the stage. He performed in three seasons of Feast Dinner Theatre, in addition made his professional Montreal debut under Canadian choreographer Donna Feore in the world premiere of ‘The Hockey Sweater: A Musical’ in 2017.
“Theatre in a proscenium style is wonderful, but you don’t get to interact with the audience, know their names, where they’re from or hear how they relate to your character, unlike Feast that’s so special, exciting and worthwhile,” observed Roy, who will join The Guild after the season for ‘Anne and Gilbert.’
Assistant music director Jaime Hunter, from New Brunswick, says the crew have amped up the volume this year and “it’s going to be one beautiful musical experience” with pitch perfect vocals.
“For the opening song we’re doing an Eagles tune, and it starts out as an acapella with these beautiful three-part harmonies that are so rich and juicy,” hummed Hunter, who has four summers of experience with Feast Dinner Theatre, in addition to studying music at Memorial University of Newfoundland.
“The music in the show will appeal to every member in the audience, and we hope many will sing along,” she chimed. “It’s definitely not one to miss this summer.”
Music will play a big part in the show and echo the incredible history of Feast.
Andrew Waite, music director, says the show has an “ambitious music selection” to ring in the 40th season. The well-known P.E.I. musician remarked, “I think it’s incredible that Feast has run this many years, which is a testament to hard work and credit to Don for what he has built.”
Kristina McCormack, from Montague P.E.I., plays the character Dani Simpson in the Rodd Charlottetown dinner theatre location.
“She’s a middle child and wants her own way. I developed her basically out of my own sassy habits, so when I play her I always feel like I’m at the end of a fuse, but I want everything to go well in the rally the Simpson sisters hold to raise money for their family farm,” explained McCormack, a Feast veteran for five seasons.
“Whenever we step into character, we’re not just stepping onto the stage and reciting lines. We’ve done a huge amount of homework to bring this character to life, with a back story, so when people ask me questions about my parents I automatically go to my character’s parents,” she continued.
To commemorate the 40th season of the Feast Dinner Theatre, Briane Nasimok will make a special guest appearance where it all first began. He was hired in 1978 to help develop the dinner theatre format, which opened at Summerside’s Brothers Two restaurant in 1979.
Nasimok, along with owner and operator Don Groom, crafted the original show, The Governor’s Feast, which ran for five years.
“We will bring back old traditions, including the original writer and director Briane and Don, as well as make the show as big as it can be with the most talented personalities,” concluded McCormack.
‘Up in Smoke’ will run five nights a week from Tuesday to Saturday. The Rodd Charlottetown hotel on 75 Kent Street kicks off the show on Saturday, June 23. Brothers 2 Restaurant on 618 Water Street in Summerside follows on Friday, June 29.