The Crawley family is abuzz with anticipation for Lady Mary’s birthday celebration, when a mysterious visitor claims they know a dark secret about someone in the house. The problem with Downton, is that everybody has a dark secret. As the people upstairs and downstairs speculate over the potential fallout, their secrets start bubbling up. Will the household finally meet its demise, or will the Crawleys live to dine another day? With more drama than you can shake a 20th century riding stick at, this show is guaranteed to make your family look normal! And it’s all set to the music of the most British rock band in history; The Beatles.
Director's & Writer's Notes
Artistic Director/Co-Writer: Randy Apostle
It is always a pleasure getting to work with old friends, and creating this script with Cory was fun indeed. We shared many rewrites coming up with our story and deciding which characters to employ. As any fan of the TV show knows, there are many characters involved in this show and it was a puzzle deciding which ones we would use to help us spoof this very popular drama. Using classic Beatles songs to accompany this classic show seemed a perfect match and we hope you all enjoy our little murder mystery at the Abbey!
I thank Cory for his great work as co-writer and director and of course send my gratitude to our extremely talented cast for bringing it all to life. I also thank the fantastic staff here at Celebrations, from the box office to additional cast, for their many hours of outstanding work. I thank our General Partners, Janet Cunningham and Doug Stephen for their leadership and faith in our theatre company and I would also like to acknowledge the generous support of Canadian Actors’ Equity Association.
Lastly, I thank our amazing production team for their incredible work and would like to send a most heartfelt thanks to Mr. Romolo Fantini who after 24 years or so of serving as our set designer and builder, is now preparing to bid us farewell as he embarks on a new life adventure. I first met Rom about 45 years ago in Moose Jaw (where else?) when I was but a lad, about 20 years later I asked him to help us with some signs for a set and shortly after that he was hooked on our crazy circus and has been creating our incredible sets and wall murals ever since. Rom has gone over and beyond for our company many, many times and as a friend he has done the same for me many, many times. He is leaving us in the very capable hands of Jaimie Cooney who he has mentored and enjoyed working with for many years but his fine contributions to our company shall resonate forever. Thank you Rom!
Director/Co-Writer: Cory Wojcik*
Welcome to Downton Abbey Road! I was completely thrilled when my old pal and Artistic Director, Randy Apostle, asked me to direct and co-write this show with him. We put together a fun show that I think has much to offer you: mystery, suspense, love, hate, poking fun at Saskatchewan, drama, comedy, and, of course, the Beatles. If you’ve never seen the TV show Downton Abbey, don’t worry, Mr. Carson, the head Butler, will catch you up with what you need to know.
At Celebrations, Downton Abbey Road is my 3rd show as a director and 7th show as a writer (Pirates of the North Saskatchewan 1, 2 & 3, and Jump for Glee-to name but 4). Some may also remember my face from my time on stage here or as an ad-cast many moons ago. It’s always great to come back here and have some fun.
I want to wish a happy retirement to set designer and builder, Romolo Fantini. If you’re a regular here, you’ve seen him create the equivalent of a whole city over the years: from Wild West saloons to pirate ships to 1930s mansions. The sets were all breathtaking in their own way. Cheers, Rom! All the best down the line.
Big thanks to this amazing cast, production team, the box office staff (especially the one I married), the additional cast for being consistently funny, and to you, the audience.
Thanks for reading and enjoy the show!
Kelly Benzing - Detective Carmen Sampson, the Singing Mountie/Mildred Johnson
Kelly is very excited to be returning to the Celebrations stage for her eighth show. Born and raised in Winnipeg, Kelly started taking both classical and opera singing lessons at the age of five and has always known that performing was what she wanted to do. Past shows include: Pretty Woman, Pirates of the North Saskatchewan III, British Invasion, My Big Fat Winnipeg Wedding, Jump for Glee, Mugs and Molls, and Thank You, Mr. Presley. Thank you to Cory, Randy, the ad-cast and everyone behind the scenes. A big thank you to Perrin and Coach for always being there. And a special shout out to Kelly’s friends and family (Mom, I love you). Tonight’s performance is dedicated to her hero and late father, Stewart. Enjoy the show!!
Gizelle Danyk - Lady Mary Crawley/Anna Bates
Hi, I’m Gizelle. I was born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Go Oilers!!! I am very happy to be back on the Celebrations stage and am even more thrilled that this show is running during summer, because there is nothing more horrifying than a Winnipeg winter. I have spent the past several years touring the world with my band, which gave me the opportunity to see some pretty amazing places. Among my favorites were Dubai, Oman, and China- I highly recommend visiting these places if you ever get the chance, but for now, let’s take a trip to Downton, have some drinks, eat some food, and rock out to some Beatles, shall we?
Geoff Hughes - Mr. Carson/Mr.Bates
Geoff Hughes has loved the music of The Beatles since childhood, for that; he thanks both his parents profusely. Geoff is also very happy to be a part of the extended and eccentric Celebrations Family…and beyond thrilled to be performing in his 5th show here. Previous roles include Tom Jones, Tony DiNizzio and Jay in Modern Family Vacation. You can catch Geoff this summer in DnD Improv at the Winnipeg Fringe. Voice acting credits include Supa-Strikas, Lego: Bionicle on Netflix and Ice Age on Ice which skated through Winnipeg last year.
Cherise Kotelniski - Lady Violet/Mrs. Padmore
Cherie is bloody chuffed to be joining you for this kerfuffle of British finery! Hailing from the Crown colony of Winnipeg, she welcomes you to our world of cheeky upstairs and downstairs drama - hot from the telly! Cherie was gobsmacked by The Beatles in 2007, when she graced this stage in Magical Mystery Tour: The Search for the Holy Cuplet, and has fancied them ever since. Most recently, she appeared here as Amy Farrah Fowler in The Big Boom Theory III.
Poul Egelund Jensen - Thomas/Mr. Molseley
Poul is ready to rock the night away with you all in his Celebrations Dinner Theatre debut! He's thrilled to work with such a talented cast and crew that the production team has put together. Poul would like to thank the Prairie Blend men's choir and the Winnipeg Pops Orchestra for allowing him to take a hiatus to perform in Downton Abbey Road for you. Some of Poul's favourite past performances include Peter Pan (Rainbow Stage), RENT (The Academy of Acting), George Milton in Of Mice and Men, Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar, Willard in Footloose, Orin the Dentist in Little Shop of Horrors, and as Pharaoh in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Mecca Productions). When Poul's not acting, singing and playing trumpet you'll find him working on, or riding his motorcycle. Poul is blessed to have amazing people in his life and would like to dedicate this performance to his Mecca Productions theatre friends, his family, and especially his mother, Elaine who has always been supportive of his career... Luv ya mum!
Skål! That's Danish for cheers!
Rebecca Jessamine - Lady Edith/Daisy
Hello and welcome to Downton Abbey! Rebecca is very excited that you all were able to make it to the birthday celebration this evening. She is stepping out from behind the tray and is making her Celebrations stage debut. Rebecca is a 2015 graduate from MacEwan University’s Theatre Arts program, as well as a past Ad Cast member at Jubilations Dinner Theatre. Some of Rebecca`s favourite work includes; Aladdin Pantomime with Wyvern Players (Princess Jasmine), HMS Pinafore with Opera NUOVA (Sailor Ensemble), as well as Everybody says Sondheim with Triple Threat Theatre (the Three Woman Ensemble). Rebecca would like to extend a thank you for all the love and support she has received from her family and friends. You all rock! So sit back, groove along with us to The Beatles, and enjoy the show!
|Writers||Randy Apostle and Cory Wojcik|
|Artistic Director||Randy Apostle|
|Music Producer||WAMARH Music|
|Music Director||Greg Dunstan|
|Sound/ Light Design||Randy Hadubiak|
|Sound/ Light Assistant||Gail Ksionzyk|
|Set Design||Jaimie Cooney|
|Set Construction||Jaimie Cooney, Rom Fantini, & Casey Richards|
|Mural Design||Jaimie Cooney|
|Scene Painters||Jaimie Cooney, Karen Turnbull, Genevieve Levasseur, Casey Richards, and Camille Beauchamp|
|Costume Design||Charm Logan|
|Cast Photographer||Jim Woroniuk|
|Playbill Advertising & Design||Call 1-866-414-1560|
Celebrations Dinner Theatre is licensed by The Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN)
|*The participation of these Artists are arranged by permission of Canadian Actors’ Equity Association under the provisions|
Dinner Theatre Concept Production Team
The dinner theatre concept uses a consistent team for all productions. If a particular member of the production team is unavailable for a specific show, other alternatives are explored, such as guest writers and directors. The productions begin in Winnipeg where they run for approximately 10 weeks. At the end of the run in Winnipeg, the set, including lighting and sound designs, props, music and actors all move on to Edmonton where the show runs for another 10 weeks. The production team will then move on to Calgary. Unlike the restaurant business where management can be developed and moved from one location to another, the theatres require the services of a very specialized group of individuals. This group has been associated with the company since Janet Cunningham and Doug Stephen took over the Winnipeg dinner theatre in 1993. The biographies of the key individuals involved with the dinner theatre productions are presented below.
For the past 20 years or so, Randy has been the Artistic Director for WOW Productions the company that provides all of the shows for the Celebrations and Jubilations dinner theatre's in Winnipeg Edmonton and Calgary. Randy has headed up over 75 original productions for our venues, serving as writer on many and director of the vast majority.
In addition to artistic director, Randy also acts as producer for the shows. Auditioning and selecting the casts, script supervision, music selection and working with all other members of the production team on all aspects of each of our presentations.
Over his years in the Canadian arts, Randy has worked in many theatres across Western Canada as a Technician, Stage Manager, Writer, Actor, Singer, Musician and Director. Some of Randy's favourite roles have been in shows such as: Pontius Pilate in Jesus Christ Superstar, The Fantastics, Toronto Mississippi, The Foreigner and Last Call. A few Film and T.V. credits include: the motion picture - The Hessen Affair, made for TV projects - C7: The end of the world, Naughty or Nice, Killer Instinct, Hell on Heels and for those of you with long memories... 2 years on the children's show Putnam's Prairie Emporium!
Randy makes his home in Winnipeg where he lives with his wife Terri and their two year old son Jack! Besides his very busy schedule with the 3 theatres, Randy finds time to collaborate on a improvised soap opera on Monday evenings - "Soap Scum" at the Park Theatre in Winnipeg.
Randy would like to thank all of our patrons for their many years of laughter and support!
Randy is the individual responsible for the lights and sound in each dinner theatre production, including all aspects of the design process. Randy has performed those duties for over 20 years as a technician and designer. As the opening of each production approaches, Randy researches the music and history of the period in which the show is set in order to ensure that the production is as authentic as possible. Randy heads the technical staff in each location and as such is responsible for the transition from one show to another. That transition involves the set-up of the lights and speakers to suit the show, taking into consideration the uniqueness of each theatre. When Randy is not involved in a transition, he can often be found working the lights or sound in the Jubilations dinner theatre in the West Edmonton Mall.
Rom has been designing and building sets for the Celebrations and Jubilations concept dinner theatres since 1993. As a result of his technical expertise and professional background in graphic art, Rom was the logical choice to take charge of the entire set production and design.
While the design and building of each set is a major focus five times a year, Rom is also responsible for creating the environment for each production. That usually involves the design and decoration of the room in which the production is taking place. This adds to the authenticity of the production.
Over the past seven years, the beauty and complexity of the sets has grown dramatically. Rom's vision has the ability of bringing the stage to life while the themed walls complete the picture.
Van assists Randy Apostle in selecting the music for each production. Once the music is selected, Van maps out the music, records the bass and drum tracks, hires the stage musicians and goes into a studio to create the final product. When Van is not working for the Celebration and Jubilation dinner theatres, he is very much in demand on the Edmonton music scene as both a musician and musical director.