Beauty and the Beast is the summer blockbuster in the Chemainus Theatre Festival’s 2020 show lineup, unveiled Tuesday night.
Theatre staff, volunteers, supporters, board members and special guests attended a gala reception to announce the shows that will grace the stage in the year ahead.
Beauty and the Beast will have a hard act to follow. The last two summer hits, Grease and Mamma Mia!, both set previous attendance records. This summer’s long run of Mamma Mia! resulted in the theatre’s all-time mark of more than 31,000 tickets sold.
“We realize we can’t keep breaking records year after year, but we’re going to try,” said Chemainus Theatre Festival Society chair Pat Moore.
The new decade at the theatre commences with the Marvelous Wonderettes, featuring memorable songs from the 1950s and ’60s. It runs from Feb. 14 to March 28.
“It’s a perfect way to celebrate the arrival of spring,” said Mark DuMez, who’s in his 12th season as artistic director at the theatre.
The pop doesn’t stop in this nostalgic musical. Four girls from their high school prom sing classics such as Stupid Cupid, Mr. Sandman, Son Of A Preacher Man and Leader of the Pack.
April 9 to May 3 features the return of The 39 Steps that previously played at the theatre in 2011.
“It’s one of the most requested shows for us to bring back,” pointed out the theatre’s managing director Randy Huber.
DuMez calls it “a fast-paced, non-stop thrill ride.”
The 39 Steps is a mix of an Alfred Hitchcock masterpiece, a juicy spy novel and some Monty Python added for good measure.
That leads into Beauty and the Beast, running from May 28 to Aug. 29. There’s a bit of a longer set-up time for this one after The 39 Steps ends.
“Very excited to put this on stage here in Chemainus,” enthused DuMez.
“It’s about transformation and enchantment and a parable for love endearing.”
It’s a well-known and heartwarming classic that family members of all ages will enjoy.
Glory hits the stage from Sept. 11-Oct. 3. It’s the true story of Ontario’s Preston Rivulettes women’s hockey team, whose members were pioneers in a man’s world in the 1930s.
“It’s a very clever and creative Canadian piece and I can’t wait for you to see it,” said DuMez.
The spotlight turns to Joyful Noise from Oct. 16-Nov. 7. It involves the writing and performing of Messiah, known for being one of the greatest religious compositions in history, and the trials and tribulations of composer George Fredrick Handel and famous actress/singer Susannah Cibber.
Another show making a return to the theatre for the 2020 Christmas season is Elf: The Musical, running Nov. 20-Dec. 31.
“This is a story about finding one’s true identity,” Huber indicated.
It’s the tale of Buddy, an orphan who mistakenly crawls into Santa’s bag and is transported to the North Pole. He’s raised unaware he’s actually a human until his size and poor toy-making abilities bring out the truth.
“I couldn’t be more excited for this lineup of plays we have for you,” said DuMez.
“We think it’s going to be one of our biggest (seasons) ever,” added Huber.