Tag: port dover

Review: ‘Clue The Musical’ brings board game to life on stage

Clue Cast
Cast of Clue: The Musical

A fun night of dance, song and superb acting… it’s a “must see”

By Donna McMillanPort Dover Maple Leaf

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

It was hilarious! It was boisterous! It was suspenseful! Above all, it was thrilling to see the launch once again of the Lighthouse Festival Theatre’s community play after a three- year Covid absence. A stellar cast of local actors energized the theatre as they sang, danced, connived and bantered their way through “CLUE The Musical”, bringing CLUE, the sleuthing Parker Brothers board game, to life.

Directed by Derek Ritschel, LFT Artistic Director, CLUE The Musical, is a Classic “Who Done It” Mystery with a possible 216 answers of who did what with what and where to keep the audience guessing. The cast of eight, with six suspects who skulk from room to room to complicate the crime scene diorama, are iconic CLUE characters and include: Mr. Boddy – JP Antonacci; Mrs. Peacock – Julie MacLeod; Professor Plum – Charly Buck; Miss Scarlett – Carmen Davis; Colonel Mustard – Brian Reichheld; Mrs. White – Robyn Cunningham Edl ; Mr. Green – Adam Liefl; and The Detective – Jason Mayo.  Literally, each actor “killed” their part.   

Mr. Boddy is the host of the event and planner of mayhem.  “It’s his house.  It’s his game.  He is going to be killed and he delights in being murdered,” JP told the Maple Leaf in an earlier interview.    Mr. Boddy, with sinister intonations, narrates, confuses and provides riddled clues to help the collective audience solve his heinous murder.    Each suspect finds him to be an odious character for varied reasons.   They all have axes to grind.  JP was superb in this role.

Clue Cast
L-R Jason Mayo, Robyn Cunningham-Eld, Julie Macleod, Charly Buck & Carmen Davis

Each of the suspects represent colours in the board game.    Mrs. Peacock, elegant in blue, has lost four husbands under mysterious circumstances and now husband number five, Mr. Boddy, is dead.   Miss Scarlett, flashy in red, dates wealthy bachelors.  Was Mr. Boddy on that list?    Both Julie MacLeod and Carmen Davis were flamboyantly wicked in their respective roles. Smooth talking Mr. Green and Colonel Mustard, smitten by Mrs. Peacock, were well performed by Adam Liefl and Brian Reichheld. Over worked and underpaid, Mrs. White, played by Robyn Cunningham Edl, was hysterical as she aired her complaints with a heavy cockney accent. Professor Plum certainly offered a “degree” of suspicion; so ably played by Charly Buck.   

L-R Carmen Davis, Julie MacLeod, Robyn Cunningham-Eld, JP Antonacci, Brian Riecheld, Charly Buck & Adam Leifl

“So, I’m dead” at the start of Act 2 confirms the demise of Mr. Boddy and brings the hilarious “hard nosed detective”, Jason Mayo in drag, onto the stage.   He was added comic relief that had the audience roaring.   “Rub a dub dub; six suspects in a tub” was his puzzle to solve.    The detective scurried from room to room with the big question on stage: wrench, candlestick, pipe, knife, revolver, rope……and by whom.   

The play gave the audience a fun night of dance, song and superb acting. It’s a Must See!

L-R Adam Liefl, Carmen Davis, Robyn Cunningham-Eld, Julie MacLeod, Charly Buck, Brian Riecheld & Jason Mayo

 Heather Reicheld is Stage Manager for CLUE The Musical.    Meredith Woods is Musical Director.  Hailey Parker is Technical Director.  Kiri – Lyn Muir is Choreographer.   Sally Bellamy and Jan Rainey are responsible for Costumes and Props. Colin Mahon built the stunning set.   

CLUE runs until April 21 and is a Must See.   For tickets, visit the Box Office in Port Dover, online at lighthousetheatre.com or call 519 – 583 – 2221.          

Blog: The Home of the Canadian Sense of Humour has a Season to Celebrate!

Here’s what’s ahead at Lighthouse Festival in 2023

Laughter is coming your way this summer in Port Dover and Port Colborne as Lighthouse Festival raises the curtain on comedy in 2023. Get ready for some of the finest and funniest live theatre in the country with a playbill that brings two world premieres to the stage along with some of Canada’s best and brightest writers, directors and acting talent.

Our season starts off with Come Down From Up River, a tale by comedic bard Norm Foster, set at first in the wilds of New Brunswick, where a man who’s lived in the wilderness for most of his life suddenly finds himself at his estranged niece’s house that she shares with her wife. A fish-out-of-water tale becomes a reality for all three of them. It’s a sweet and emotional account of family reconciliation and working to understand each other better. Directed by renowned Canadian performance artist Sheila McCarthy, who recently starred in the 2023 Oscar®-winning film Women Talking and the Netflix® hit Umbrella Academy, and stars Lighthouse favourite Ralph Small, who brought Buying the Farm to life in our 2022 Season and Sexy Laundry in 2019, Come Down From Up River shows that with a little give and take, no obstacle is insurmountable.

Next up, we find ourselves at a small radio station in Lake Kashagakaganee where there are nearly zero listeners and an assortment of staff who are in over their heads. Throw in a new and determined station manager, along with a meddling former station manager’s son and voila! A recipe for comedic disaster. On The Air was written by first-time playwright, Toronto born and raised screenwriter and actor Ephraim Ellis. Most often recognized for his role as the troubled Rick Murray on Degrassi: The Next Generation, Ellis was introduced to Lighthouse by his wife Meghan Speakman, a stage manager in the summer seasons. Ellis worked with Lighthouse Artistic Director Derek Ritschel to sharpen the script before bringing it to the Lighthouse stage this summer. He most recently played the role of Tom in the 2016 Lighthouse production of Perfect Wedding, directed by Derek Ritschel. On The Air is directed by Lighthouse Festival’s Artistic Associate Jane Spence, and is a relatable story where hard work, new ideas and forging relationships is the key to turning things around.

Now we come to a familiar old tale; two men try and fail to buy a house in Toronto. Two men inherit a bed and breakfast in a quaint yet blinkered village. Two men attempt to run their new B&B and fit into said small village. Does hilarity ensue? You bet it does! Bed & Breakfast was penned by the talented Mark Crawford, who currently stars in the Mirvish production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and who wrote the hit production of The Gig, now on stage at Theatre Aquarius in Hamilton. With a cast of 24 characters being played by 2 people, the talented Adrian Shepherd-Gawinski & Warren Macaulay, you’ll have to ask for your eggs over easy and your laughter on a plate at Bed & Breakfast.

Where You Are, wonderfully written by Kristen Da Silva, who wrote Lighthouse favourites Hurry Hard & Beyond The Sea, tells the tale of two sisters selling jam in their retirement years on Manitoulin Island who have their sights set on a local (and handsome) veterinarian for one of their daughters, however a secret they can no longer contain, along with new secrets from the daughter, complicate matters which will change their lives forever. We promise this is a comedy! Directed by Lighthouse Artistic Associate Jane Spence, who directed last summer’s hit comedy Halfway There by Norm Foster, and who has acted in a number of Lighthouse productions including When The Reaper Calls, The Melville Boys, and Beyond The Sea, Where You Are will illicit tears of joy and heartache and leave you with urge to call family members just to hear their voice.

Our main season ends with another play from Canada’s king of comedic theatrical compositions, Norm Foster, making its world premiere on the Lighthouse stage. In A Pack of Thieves, two troubled, middle-class souls, Robert & Jeff, decide that their need for extra cash can be solved by stealing a racehorse and holding it for ransom, which is what MOST people think of immediately when the need for extra cash arises, right? After enlisting the aid of Padre, an experienced criminal, and a pair of dim-witted twins named Chip and Dale, everything goes exactly according to plan… Which, of course, it does not. Starring Lighthouse Artistic Director Derek Ritschel, along with Brad Austin, who brought the house down in last summer’s Halfway There, as well as Lighthouse favourites Jeffrey Wetsch, Brad Rudy and Allan Cooke, the world premiere of A Pack of Thieves is an outstanding way to close out the season.

You’ve got a lot to look forward to this summer at Lighthouse Festival in Port Dover & Port Colborne. A season of great Canadian laughter on the shores of Lake Erie surrounded by food, friends, and the knowledge that you’re supporting one of this country’s finest theatre festivals is coming your way.

Volunteer Sign Up Days are Coming Soon!

You’ll laugh… You’ll cry… You’ll show someone their seat!


Volunteers are vital to the Lighthouse experience, welcoming patrons at the doors, scanning tickets, handing out programs and ushering theatre goers to their seats. Volunteers are needed to support Lighthouse Festival in Port Dover and Port Colborne all year round.

If you’re been thinking of volunteering for Lighthouse, you’re in luck! We’re hosting a Volunteer Sign Up Day on Wednesday, April 5th from 10 AM to 1 PM in Port Colborne and April 12th from 10 AM to 1 PM in Port Dover. Spend your summer surrounded by laughter… in a good way!

If you are interested in volunteering at one of our locations, Port Dover – Lighthouse Theatre or Port Colborne – Roselawn Theatre, and you’re unable to make it to our Sign Up Days, please fill out the form linked below or contact our box offices.

Auditions Announced for Lighthouse Festival’s Young Company Production of Robin Hood

Audition Poster for 2023 Young Company show Peter Pan!

Hear ye, hear ye! Auditions for the Lighthouse Young Company’s production of Robin Hood are nigh! Convey thyselves to the theatre on the 24th of May but prithee contact the box office first to book thy time! May you find success in your thespian quest! Call 519-583-2221 or by electronic post at portdover@lighthousetheatre.com!

Art Open House – The Artwork of Cristina Zanella

Cristina Zanella Open House
Cristina Zanella Open House

Lighthouse Festival invites you to join us in celebrating
the work of Port Dover artist Cristina Zanella

Join us as we unveil Cristina’s new art pieces that will hang in the theatre’s long bar for the 2023 summer season at Lighthouse Festival. The Open House will take place on Sunday, March 1st, 2023 from 1 PM to 3 PM in the Long Bar on the 2nd floor of the theatre.

Cristina Zanella is a Port Dover-based artist who, for several years, was the art curator at the Lighthouse Festival Theatre. Her paintings have been exhibited in galleries in Toronto, Halifax, Brantford, Sarnia and various communities throughout Southern Ontario. 

She received her B.F.A from Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. Zanella has been the recipient of various awards including the Hazel Race Award for the Norfolk Visual Arts competition and the Peoples’ Choice Award at the Glenhyrst Gallery in Brantford.

Please note tickets are not required to attend this open house. This is a drop in event.

We hope you will join us, 

The Lighthouse Team

Important Update to Lighthouse Festival’s 2023 Playbill

2023 Lighthouse Festival Season

New Play to be Featured this Summer!

 February 14, 2023. Port Dover, ON: There is an old saying in the theatre world about how the show must go on despite any possible hindrances. If a cast member is ill, you call in the understudy. If a sound system malfunctions, the actors just talk louder. If the theatre catches fire, the production is moved to the front lawn and continues… You catch our drift. 

The same cannot be said for replacing irreplaceable actors in order to stay true to the very personal and local story of Port Dover resident Kobi Kobayashi for our 2023 season production of Sakura: The Last Cherry Blossom Festival. Despite valiant efforts, we could not acquire cast members of Japanese descent needed to authentically tell this tale because of the depth and breadth of roles available for these actors right now; it’s a great problem to have if you’re an actor! We are, however, pleased to announce that this production will move to our 2024 Main Season in order to ensure our casting, and the story we’re telling, receive the attention they deserve. 

At the same time, we’re very pleased to announce that Bed & Breakfast, a comedic play about two men whose failure to buy a house in Toronto leads them to inherit a bed and breakfast in a small town which, of course, results in all sorts of hilarity in a touching story about fitting in. Written by accomplished playwright and actor Mark Crawford, who wrote Stag and Doe and Birds and The Bees, which were both hits with Lighthouse audiences, and who currently appears in the Toronto production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Bed & Breakfast will run on the same dates and times that Sakura was schedule for. 

MORE ABOUT BED & BREAKFAST

Brett and Drew want to move out of their tiny downtown condo and into a house, but they just lost their seventh bidding war in Toronto. When Brett’s beloved Aunt Maggie dies, he unexpectedly inherits the historic family home in a quiet little tourist town. Unhappy with their careers and frustrated by life in the fast-paced city, the couple decides to make the move and start up a B&B. But when the guys face friction in their new community, they discover the simple life is more complicated than they thought… 

With more than a few unexpected and hilarious plot-twists, we follow Brett and Drew over the course of one year— through the real estate rat race, renovation hell, a farcical opening weekend at their B&B, and encounters with small-town prejudice—all the way to their big decision: do they stay here, or do they pack it all in? 

With dozens of characters—male and female, young and old—all portrayed by two men, Bed and Breakfast is a theatrical tour de force. As riotously funny as it is deeply moving, this is a heartfelt comedy about “being out” in small town Canada, skeletons in the closet, and finding a place to call home. 

DESTINATION FOR LAUGHTER

Lighthouse Festival regularly welcomes upwards of 60,000 people through our doors each summer season with 52% of our attendees travelling more than 40km to come to our theatre. As a charitable organization, we recognize the value of strong community partnerships and local support. We encourage anyone planning a visit to Port Dover to utilize the “visit” section on Lighthousetheatre.com and add some local attractions, restaurants, accommodations, and more to your itinerary. 

ABOUT LIGHTHOUSE FESTIVAL 

Lighthouse Festival is a charitable organization devoted to the development and production of new and existing Canadian plays. Lighthouse Festival strives to be artistically excellent, support and encourage local and regional artists, and be a source of enjoyment and pride in local communities while promoting local tourism. Operating in two towns on Lake Erie, our theatres operate on a central policy of hospitality, accessibility, and affordability for all. 

For more information or to arrange an interview with Artistic Director Derek Ristschel, please contact: Don Kearney-Bourque, Marketing and Communications Officer at 519-583-1031 x 225 | 289-541-7410 or don@lighthousetheatre.com

Lighthouse Festival’s March Break Shows Announced

Lighthouse Festival March Break Shows 2023
Lighthouse Festival March Break Shows 2023

Dufflebag Theatre to perform Peter Pan & Snow White

 January 28, 2023. Port Dover, ON: Lighthouse Festival is pleased to be offering two March Break shows from DuffleBag Theatre: Peter Pan & Snow White. These amazing shows for the whole family create theatrical magic by inviting up audience members as the stars of the show! The result is an exciting, interactive, and unique experience for all. Tickets are available at www.lighthousetheatre.com.

DESTINATION FOR LAUGHTER 

Lighthouse Festival regularly welcomes upwards of 60,000 people through our doors each summer season with 52% of our attendees travelling more than 40km to come to our theatre. As a charitable organization, we recognize the value of strong community partnerships and local support. We encourage anyone planning a visit to Port Dover to utilize the “visit” section on Lighthousetheatre.com and add some local attractions, restaurants, accommodations, and more to your itinerary. 

ABOUT LIGHTHOUSE FESTIVAL 

Lighthouse Festival is a charitable organization devoted to the development and production of new and existing Canadian plays. Lighthouse Festival strives to be artistically excellent, support and encourage local and regional artists, and be a source of enjoyment and pride in local communities while promoting local tourism. Operating in two towns on Lake Erie, our theatres operate on a central policy of hospitality, accessibility, and affordability for all. 

For more information or to arrange an interview with Artistic Director Derek Ristschel, please contact: Don Kearney-Bourque, Marketing and Communications Officer at 519-583-1031 x 225 | 289-541-7410 or don@thousetheatre.com.

 Tickets on sale for Lighthouse Festival’s Community Show

Clue The Musical Image
Clue The Musical

 March & April laughs are here! 

 January 27, 2023. Port Dover, ON: After an absence of numerous years due to a pandemic that prevented in-person laughs, our community show is back with a vengeance and ready to wow audiences in Port Dover. Based on the entertaining and addictive board game of the same name, Clue the Musical will rely heavily on audience participation and quick thinking from the talented cast. The play is directed by Lighthouse Festival’s Artistic Director Derek Ritschel. 

“Both the cast and crew are very excited to be back in rehearsals after a long time away from the stage,” said Ritschel. “The interactive element in this production mixed with the musical and comedic talents of our cast will add a new dimension to our community theatre that we haven’t done in past productions.” 

The massively popular board game comes to life as a hilarious & fun-filled musical that brings the world’s best-known suspects to the stage and invites the audience to help solve the mystery: who did it, in what room and with what weapon. With 216 possible solutions, audience members must hone their sleuthing skills while enjoying a beguiling score, witty lyrics, and comedic antics. In the end, only one hard-nosed detective is qualified to unravel the mayhem and help solve whodunnit! On stage from April 6th to April 21st, 2023 with tickets on sale now at lighthousetheatre.com

DESTINATION FOR LAUGHTER 

Lighthouse Festival regularly welcomes upwards of 60,000 people through our doors each summer season with 52% of our attendees travelling more than 40km to come to our theatre. As a charitable organization, we recognize the value of strong community partnerships and local support. We encourage anyone planning a visit to Port Dover to utilize the “visit” section on Lighthousetheatre.com and add some local attractions, restaurants, accommodations, and more to your itinerary. 

ABOUT LIGHTHOUSE FESTIVAL 

Lighthouse Festival is a charitable organization devoted to the development and production of new and existing Canadian plays. Lighthouse Festival strives to be artistically excellent, support and encourage local and regional artists, and be a source of enjoyment and pride in local communities while promoting local tourism. Operating in two towns on Lake Erie, our theatres operate on a central policy of hospitality, accessibility, and affordability for all. 

For more information or to arrange an interview with Artistic Director Derek Ristschel, please contact: Don Kearney-Bourque, Marketing and Communications Officer  at 519-583-1031 x 225 | 289-541-7410 or don@lighthousetheatre.com.

Lighthouse Festival set to Welcome Patrons Back Next Summer with Seminal 2023 Playbill 

2023 Season Poster
The 2023 Season Poster

Tickets are on sale now for the new season of summer comedies.  Written by Canadians, about Canadians, and for Canadians. 

PORT DOVER & PORT COLBORNE, ON (Nov24,2022) – During a visit to Lighthouse Festival in the summer of 2022, veteran theatre critic Gary Smith described Lighthouse as, “the home of Canadian theatre comedies.” A badge the Festival wears proudly.

“To all comedy and theatre lovers across Ontario and beyond, we can’t wait to welcome you back home,” shares Lighthouse Festival Artistic Director Derek Ritschel. “Lighthouse Festival has put together an exhilarating and diverse lineup of comedies for the summer of 2023. Written by Canadians, about Canadians, and for Canadians.”

Tickets are now on sale for a new season of laughter that truly sets itself apart from other summer theatre festivals for one simple fact: most of the shows, you can’t see anywhere else. As part of their Play Development Program, Lighthouse Festival has commissioned and developed three world premieres for this season that Lighthouse patrons will be able to see before other theatres even have an opportunity to stage them. The opportunity to bring new works to the stage is a point of pride for Ritschel, who shares, “part of our commitment to supporting Canadian theatre is to give Canadians a chance to share their stories and ideas. A lot of work goes into writing a good comedy with heart. It doesn’t matter if it’s a seasoned writer or an aspiring playwright with an interesting idea; we’re here to use our resources and virtuosity in theatre to take their creativity from the page to stage.”

The Season:

Come Down From Up River by Norm Foster (May 17 – June 18)

Norm Foster’s signature writing brings us a hilarious yet poignant tale of a woodsman from Northern New Brunswick trying to reconnect with his estranged niece and her wife in the big city.

On The Air by Ephraim Ellis (June 7 – June 28):

World Premiere – Lighthouse favourite Jane Spence directs this world premiere that sees a rag- tag group of amateur radio broadcasters use diversity to their strength and embrace chaos to save their small-town radio station on Lake Kashagakaganee.

Sakura: The Last Cherry Blossom Festival by Terry Watada (June 28th – July 30th)

World Premiere – A charming and humorous true story of Japanese Immigrant Kobi Kobayashi, who settles in Port Dover in the 1930s and inspires us all to be good members of our community. This uplifting story is not one to be missed.

For Immediate Release

Where YouAre by Kristen Da Silva (July 19 – August 20)

Lighthouse staple Kristen Da Silva brings us a story of quiet retirement turned hectic family reunion in this story filled with family, humour, and heart.

A Pack Of Thieves by Norm Foster (August 16th – September 17th)

World Premiere –This is an unrelenting comedy, get ready for some big laughs. Don’t miss out on being the first to see a new Norm Foster production.

The season wraps up in September with a concert in the form of Opry Gold with The Wayward Wind Band. This musical blockbuster, created by Leisa Way, showcases former and current kings and queens of country music while celebrating the history of Nashville’s iconic Grand Ol’ Opry.

Tickets for performances start at $42 with savings available in the form of a Lighthouse Festival subscription, allowing patrons to see each production this season with up to 15% in discounts. Full ticket information can be found at lighthousetheatre.com.

Destination For Laughter:

Lighthouse Festival is a charitable organization that has been a top tourist destination in Norfolk County for almost half a century, regularly welcoming over 60,000 patrons from all over Ontario through their doors each summer. Now, with a location in Port Colborne at the Roselawn Theatre, Lighthouse laughter spreads along the shores of Lake Erie boosting local tourism, community spirit, and Canadian arts in two beautiful lakeside towns. Our theatres operate on a central hospitality, accessibility, and affordability policy for all. With over 50% of patrons travelling 40km or more to get to their theatres, theatregoers are encouraged to utilize the “Visit” section at Lighthousetheatre.com to explore the amazing restaurants, shops and more in our wonderful communities.

To arrange an interview with Artistic Director Derek Ritschel, or for more information please contact: Ryan Daly, Marketing & Communications Officer. ryan@lighthousetheatre.com | 226-922-7905

Lighthouse Festival celebrates our Port Dover volunteers

Lighthouse Festival is a charitable organization supported by the most passionate, dependable, and all-around fantastic volunteer base. Volunteers are vital to the Lighthouse experience; they welcome patrons at the doors, scan tickets, hand out programs, usher patrons to their seats and handle many other behind the scenes activities.

On October 18th, 2022, Lighthouse hosted the “Volunteer Appreciation Night” for our Port Dover volunteers. Complete with a delicious spread from Schofields Bistro and the sweet sounds of Amber Banks and Nolan Gibson on guitar. Here we celebrated those so crucial to the Lighthouse Festival experience and handed out commemorative pins for select volunteers that celebrated milestone years of volunteering. Some have volunteered to be an essential part of your Lighthouse Festival experience for over 25 years!

Thank you to all our volunteers!

Lighthouse Festival donates $30,000 worth of tickets to community organizations.

Lighthouse Festival has wrapped up a donation campaign that saw $30,000 worth of complimentary tickets given to fellow non-profit and charitable organizations throughout the Norfolk County and Port Colborne area. 

“It’s been talked about to no end, but the fact remains that the pandemic was rough for so many in our community,” shares Lighthouse Artistic Director, Derek Ritschel. “Businesses, families, individuals, everybody. Lighthouse is fortunate that we have such a passionate and dedicated base of supporters that helped us navigate the past couple of years. And now that we’re looking at our first full season at the theatre in over 30 months, we wanted to support the communities that show us so much support. We’re so proud to operate in Norfolk County and Port Colborne.” 

Lighthouse is doing what they do best, providing a “leave your worries at the door” night out on the town with some first rate, professional comedy theatre. But this year those who might not have been able to attend can take in a show compliments of Lighthouse. “We wanted to get these tickets to those that would have not been able to go otherwise,” shares Ritschel. “What we do at Lighthouse Festival really is for everybody, and laughter is good for the soul. We hope they can enjoy a show this summer on us, and experience the joy of theatre.”

Organizations that received complimentary tickets this summer include:

  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Grand Erie
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Oxford County 
  • Community Living Access
  • Simcoe Caring Cupboard 
  • Port Cares
  • Port Dover Food Bank
  • Waterford Food Cupboard 
  • Youth Unlimited Norfolk