“I want to say we are the first theatre in the province to reopen,” said Reg Parks, artistic director of Theatre in the Country (TIC), “but I can’t be 100 per cent sure that is true.”
No matter the distinction, Parks said he has indeed opened his doors, and their first full scale production is ready to open later this month.
Langley’s only dinner theatre, which has its roots in Maple Ridge, is reopening after a six-month closure by producing the two-person musical The Last 5 Years.
TIC is launching its newly announced “Socially Distant Season” with the Tony-Award-winning production by Jason Robert Brown.
The show runs from Sept. 10th – 26th, and features a full roast beef or vegetarian meal served in a no-contact fashion.
The show, The Last Five Years is an intimate window into a couple’s complicated marriage.
Cathy, a struggling actress, and Jamie, a budding novelist on the brink of wild success, are 20-somethings in New York who meet, fall in love, marry, and divorce over the span of five years.
Cathy tells the story from the end of their marriage; Jamie begins from when they first meet.
As the musical unfolds, Cathy moves backward in time to the beginning of the relationship as Jamie moves toward the end; they meet only once, in the middle, at their wedding.
Since its Off-Broadway premiere in 2002, Brown’s two-person production has enraptured audiences around the world with its emotional score and libretto.
The production will feature two veteran performers, Rachel Stephens of Mission and Paul Kobilke of Cloverdale.
Stephens has her Masters degree from the world-renowned Royal Conservatoire in Scotland and Kobilke graduated with his BFA from Trinity Western University.
They last performed together in The Hunchback of Notre Dame at TIC as Esmeralda and Quasimodo respectively.
Parks said he has been looking forward to reopening the theatre space since they shuttered their doors on March 15th.
From April to August the theatre company kept their patrons and performers active by offering weekly costumed readers theatre via zoom for a Pay-What-You-Can rate.
“It was a raging success, and during the days of COVID closures, TIC was able to engage 58 actors from their homes in 21 plays online,” Parks explained. “Actors from the Lower Mainland, Prince George, Kelowna, Victoria, and Edmonton participated in the effort.”
Audience seating in the theatre space has been reduced from 200 to 50.
Food service is now non-contact, and the big space has lots of ventilation, alternate exits and well signed one-way traffic flow.
The other shows in TIC’s Socially Distant Season are all small cast offerings which include the mystery thriller, Sleuth, and The Gift of Magi for the holidays.
Also coming to TIC are Murder Mystery Nights, Readers Theatre, and a professional guest production of Billy Bishop Goes to War.
Theatre in the Country is a community based dinner theatre, which was founded by Reg and Erin Parks in 2013.
It was first located in Maple Ridge, before moving to downtown Langley in 2017.
Theatre in the Country is located at 5708 Glover Road.
Tickets are available at the box office, 604-259-9737, or at theatreinthecountry.com.
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