Drayton Entertainment has two world premiers in 2009

Two world premieres, along with Broad­way musicals, compelling dram­as, and lighthearted come­dies form the crux of Drayton Entertainment’s 2009 playbill.

Twenty-three productions will be presented at six venues across Ontario in a season that runs February to December.

"This is our biggest and most ambitious season to date," said artistic director Alex Mus­takas. "We are excited to ex­pand our mandate and expose increasingly diverse audiences to the magic of live theatre."

Tickets for the 2009 season have been on sale to members and groups since Oct. 1, ac­counting for more than 65,000 in advance sales. Tickets are now on sale to the general public.

"It is our goal to provide you with the best entertainment possible for your dollar," said Mustakas. "The eclectic mix of programming once again af­firms our commitment to pro­vid­ing quality professional en­ter­tainment at a price that is afford­able."

In the same vein as Twist and Shout: The British Invasion and Legends is anoth­er world premiere. Country Legends celebrates some of the genre’s artistic pioneers in a musical revue: Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Willie Nelson, Conway Twitty, Charley Pride, Merle Haggard, Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, Patsy Cline, Tam­my Wynette, and more. Country Legends runs May 5 through 30.

After being kicked out by their wives, two men (one a neat freak and the other a slob) are forced to live together and tolerate each other’s differences despite their opposite person­alities in Neil Simon’s comedy The Odd Couple, June 3 to 20.

Next up is Blue Cham­pagne, July 8 through Aug. 1. Jump and jive through the hey­day of the hepcat in a produc­tion that swings, scats, stomps, and soars its way through more than 65 timeless songs of the 1940s, including the unforget­table music of Cole Porter, Duke Ellington, Ira Gershwin, and Rodgers and Hart.

Laughter is next with See How They Run. When a nosy spin­ster tries to expose the scan­dalous affair of her belov­ed vicar’s actress wife, a tran­quil village becomes a centre of chaos and confusion as each resident gets in the race to reveal – or conceal – his or her own indiscretions. The hilari­ous British farce runs Aug. 11 to 29.

The season ends on a high note with Brigadoon, Sept. 15 through Oct. 10. Two wayward travellers unlock the mystery of the fantastic Scottish kingdom in a magical musical that will stir the soul.

At Drayton’s other local venues, there is also much activity.

The 2009 St. Jacobs Coun­try Playhouse season kicks off with a world-premiere. Starring the Waterloo Regional Police Service, Caught in the Act II: Repeat Offenders, celebrates the area’s finest in a brand new revue as they pack up their troubles in an old kit bag and go overseas to entertain Cana­dian Forces. Timeless war tun­es like White Cliffs of Dover and We’ll Meet Again are tem­pered with dancing and slapstick comedy as the police force engages in rather disord­erly conduct. All proceeds from the fundraiser are given to charity. The production runs Feb. 11 through March 1.

Popular entertainers Judy & David will create March break memories for young children with PigMania. That refreshing spin on the Three Little Pigs runs March 19 through March 22.

Drayton Entertainment has scored the Disney sensation, High School Musical, April 29 through May 30. Watch heart­throb football captain Troy and bookworm Gabriella surf the tricky tides of peer pressure and school cliques to follow their dreams and score the leads in the big school show – and a place in each other’s heart.

The stage will be filled with music and laughter during a landmark summer production of Me and My Girl, one of the greatest hits of London’s West End. A common bloke is pres­sured to ditch his beloved, yet unrefined, cockney girlfriend and be transformed into a true gentleman in order to receive an inheritance in the rags to riches comedy of love, laughter and irrepressible spirit. Me and My Girl runs June 16 through July 18.

Laughter is next on the schedule. When two fading ac­t­ors are given another shot at stardom, backstage antics in­evitably take centre stage in Ken Ludwig’s farce, Moon Over Buffalo, Aug. 5 through 22.

Next up is The Heiress, a drama of misfortune based on Henry James’ beloved novel, Washington Square. A plain-looking, unmarried daughter of a tyrant is given a chance at hap­piness when she is wooed by a dashing bachelor. Or so she thinks. With its clashing them­es of romance, betrayal, and obedience to authority, The Heiress will run from Oct. 7 through 25.

The season ends with Robin Hood, a traditional British pantomime, just in time for the holi­days. The beloved child­ren’s fairytale comes to life in an action-packed stage produc­tion. With its winning combina­tion of musical numbers, slap­stick comedy, double enten­dr­es, outrageous costumes, and audience participation, Robin Hood will charm all ages Nov. 18 through Dec. 20.

At the Schoolhouse Theatre, St. Jacobs there will be lots to enjoy.

Inspired equally by the wizardry of classical pianists like Bach and Beethoven, to rock ‘n roll legends like Jerry Lee Lewis, two virtuosos strive for fame in 2 Pianos 4 Hands, running Sept.. 2 to December 20. The charming production captures the indefatigable em­bodi­ment of the human spirit with a warmth, wit

Other venues include Huron Country Playhouse in Grand Bend, with:

– Oliver a rags to riches musical, June 2 to 20;

Blue Champagne, June 24 to July 4;

Camelot, July 8 to 25th[

See How They Run, July 29 to Aug. 8; and

Evita, Aug. 12 to 29.. 

At the Playhouse II in Grand Bend: 2 Pianos 4 Hands runs July 15 to Aug. 29.

At King’s Wharf Theatre, in Penetanguishene:

High School Musical, June 3 to 20;

The Odd Couple, June 24 to July 11;

–  Moon Over Buffalo, July 15 to Aug.. 1; and

Country Legends, Aug. 5 to 29.

Ticket information

Drayton Entertainment of­fers flexible subscription pack­ages that enable theatregoers to book tickets to any perfor­mance, at any theatre, for any date. When theatregoers buy tickets to four, five, six, or even seven different productions, they could save more than 33% off the regular price.

Individual theatre tickets are $38 for adults; $20 for youth 18 and under, and $31 for preview performances.

To receive a complimentary 2009 Theatre Guide, call the Drayton Entertainment Box Office at (519) 638-5555 or 1-888-449-4463 or visit www.­draytonentertainment.com.