Meet the Creative Team for VOS Theatre’s Anne of Green Gables


VOS THEATRE is pleased to announce that Anne of Green Gables will come to life under the direction of Joel Varty (Artistic Director) Angela Main (Vocal Director) and Jill Baker (Orchestra Director). This talented team will be holding auditions the end of March.

Watch our Facebook page and for more information.

Anne of Green Gables opens July 13 and runs until July 22 at Victoria Hall in Cobourg, Ontario.

Tickets are already selling quickly!
Reserve yours today by calling 905-372-2210 or Book Online.

In their own words: Conversations with the Cast of A Certain Singing Teacher

A Certain Singing Teacher opens Friday, February 10th.  If you haven’t yet reserved your seats, call 1-855-372-2210 or Book Online now.

The cast of A Certain Singing Teacher in rehearsal

 The Cast

Allan Fairfax Christopher Spear
Hillary Carlyle Heather Town
Francine LaSalle Kristiane Black
Antonio Pasquali Liam Cragg
Sam Saller Stephanie Koomen

VOS Theatre caught up with the cast from A Certain Singing Teacher and here’s what we found out.

Liam Cragg & Kristriane Black in rehearsal for A Certain Singing Teacher

Tell us about yourself in two sentences or less.

Kristiane:   I’ve been a resident of Cobourg for the past 11 years, and I love living, working and playing in this town.  My passions include my partner Dave, our children, my work as a United Church minister, gardening, cooking and playing the piano.

Liam:   I got up the nerve to get on stage in 1999 and haven’t looked back since then.
I love taking on bigger than life characters and Antonio Pasquali is no exception

Heather:  I am a colour consultant at Colour Your World in Port Hope. I’ve been involved in lots of VOS musical productions – I love singing and dancing. I’m a board member with VOS THEATRE and long time volunteer.

Christopher Spear in the PTG Production of Hedda Gabler

Many of you have been involved in large musicals with 30 or more cast members and equally large production teams. What’s great about a smaller ensemble?

Kristiane:    It’s a lot easier to feel like family and work out little glitches – it’s really fun to know that we’re all in it together, with all of us doing the heavy lifting together!

Christopher:  It is good to get to know everyone in the cast and to see what everyone is doing before the dress rehearsal.

Liam:  The great thing about a small cast is that everyone is integral to the show.
It’s a tight knit group and we rely heavily on each other.

Stephanie:  What I love about a smaller ensemble is that you get to know each individual person. With a cast of 30 or more you don’t really get to bond with every person in the cast.

Heather:  I’ve enjoyed that the entire cast is part of every rehearsal. We’ve all been able to watch each other’s characters develop from the start, and watch the show come together like the production team of a larger show does! 

Liam Cragg prepping for Grandpa in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Which popular sitcom character is closest to your character in the play?

Kristiane:    Maybe a cross between Maude, Rhoda and Mary Tyler Moore in the newsroom?  It’s hard to find anyone quite like Francine in contemporary sitcoms – she’s completely a product of her era – the 70’s and 80’s

Christopher:  No Satellite and no cable so I’m afraid I don’t know sitcoms

Liam:  Massimo from the movie, ‘The Wedding Planner’, and I’ve used a bit of Homer Simpson (but an Italian Homer Simpson)

Stephanie:  The first character that comes to mind is Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory but I don’t think my character is quite that extreme. I’m not too familiar with any neurotic phobics on television.

Heather:  I actually don’t watch much sit-com type TV so I’m not really sure.. to pick a movie character from (somewhat near) that time period, I think I’d say she has a little Connie Conehead in her! Tough on the outside, kind of trendy but individual. really just a softie romantic on the inside though.

Stephanie Koomen in rehearsal for A Certain Singing Teacher

Is there a moral to the story – does Singing Teacher have a message?

Kristiane:    It’s a story about second chances and the hard work that it sometimes takes to make a relationship last – along with love, you need trust, commitment and the ability to forgive and move forward…

Christopher:  Your sins will find you out but you may get forgiven……or you may not. And possibly that hard work gets its reward (in one way or another) in the end.

Liam:  Follow your dreams. You may not realize them but you’ll find something interesting along the way.

Stephanie:  I think that there are many messages throughout the story and that they are told through each character. For my character, Sam, I believe the message is to take advantage of every opportunity you are given because something great might come of it.

Heather:  I think Singing Teacher encourages individuality, and independence.


Heather Town & Kristiane Black in rehearsal for A Certain Singing Teacher


This production is set in the 80’s. Favourite 80s culture detail?

Kristiane:    Being an 80’s show, there’s a lot of material that would have been quite forward thinking, not the least is that Francince and Alan lived together for 18 years without being married.  You gotta love the portable phones of the time, and since you couldn’t text in those days, a lot of the miscommunication between Allan and Francine works:  in the play they do have to rely on either face to face or live phone calls to get a message across!

Christopher:  Has to be the “cell” phone

Liam:  The 20 minute workout on TV

Stephanie:  I wasn’t even thought of in the 80’s so I couldn’t really tell you.

Heather:  Go big or go home! The big hair, the big jewelry!


This show is a romantic comedy and we hear it’s something everyone  will enjoy Valentines weekend. True?

Kristiane:    If you’re a Cobourger, you get a chance to support local talent, including most of the cast, production team and the playwright.  If that’s not enough, you can relax as you sit around a table with friends enjoying the fun.  And if all that isn’t enough, you get to enjoy some silliness along with some heart-warming and bittersweet moments.  Personally, I think Francine is just a great character, and I’m loving getting to know her better with every run of the play!

Christopher:  Hints of naughtiness, a touch of desparate longing, unfaithfulness and jealousy, lovers spats, some good laughs and a happy ending – all life is here.

Liam:  Yes! I feel there are many genuine ‘laugh out loud’ moments in this show. It’s the perfect way to do something special with your special someone.

Stephanie:  Yes, it’s a great show to see Valentines weekend. It’s dramatic and funny, and it’s even funnier if you know the actors personally. I hope that everyone gets a chance to see it.

Heather:  I’d say so! Also a great girls’ night show.

A Certain Singing Teacher opens Friday, February 10th.  If you haven’t yet reserved your seats, call 1-855-372-2210 or Book Online now.

A Certain Singing Teacher: OPENS THIS WEEKEND


We had a conversation with the Director of A Certain Singing Teacher over the weekend, and we thought we’d share it with you.  Here is Florence Fletcher.


VOS: Why did you choose to direct this play? Directing is a huge time com
mitment and we know it’s easier if you love the script you’re directing.
Florence Fletcher: I was fortunate enough to be chosen to read the part of Francine LaSalle, the singing teacher, in the VOS Play Reading series last season and I enjoyed the play so much that when it came up as a possibility to be chosen as one of the play to be performed this season I jumped at the chance to direct.

VOS: What is it you like so much?
FF:The characters, they are so diverse and interesting. I could see lots of comic possibilities coming out of the script.

VOS: How did you choose your cast?
FF:Having participated in the play reading of “A Certain Singing Teacher” last year I had a good appreciation for the story and how the characters interacted and fit together. I had some ideas about who might possibly fill the roles. We held auditions and then still had to call a couple of people before we had a full cast that worked together with the correct ages and attributes to make it all work. I have an amazing cast who are a joy to work with, a wonderful team.


VOS: How has it been working with a playwright who is local?
FF: Linda Hutsell-Manning has been wonderful to work with. This will be the first time the play has been performed so we have been able to do a little work shopping of the script during the rehearsal process. Linda has attended some rehearsals and has been extremely helpful in working out any little issues we have come across. Linda has a great deal of experience as a published author and as a published children’s playwright so she brings a wealth of knowledge to the table. I am thoroughly enjoying the experience.


VOS: We hear you did some tweaking of the characters in casting.
FF: Having tried a couple of possibilities I found that just the right young man was not available to play the part of Sam Saller. I re-read the play and then contacted Linda with a proposal for her to consider. Would she consider changing the sex of the character Sam Saller? After all the name Sam could just as easily be short for Samantha as for Samuel. We discussed the ramifications, decided that it was certainly possible and Linda gave me the go-ahead to make the change. Other than changing some references to Sam from him/he to her/she there has been virtually no change to the script in order to accommodate the switch and Linda is actually going to make that change in her script so that the part could be played by either a man or a woman.


VOS: How are things going this week in the count down to Opening Night on Friday?
FF: We have now moved into the Concert Hall at Victoria Hall, the set is built, furniture, piano, props, costumes and equipment are all on site ready to go. There are a few last minute touch ups and finishing touches required on the set which will be completed by Dress Rehearsal. We will be rehearsing on the set this week, working out any little glitches and getting comfortable with our surroundings. The team is working very hard to make sure that everything runs smoothly for the cast and the cast is having a ball making sure that we are all ready for Opening Night!


VOS: What is next on the horizon for you Florence?
FF: After the show we will be taking a little trip, away from the cold for a couple of weeks, and then back to Cobourg. No doubt I’ll be getting to work on some aspect of the next VOS production – Anne of Green Gables, the Don Harron musical version,  which is going to be performed in July this year from the 13th to the 22nd in the Concert Hall at Victoria Hall. Actually tickets for that show are already a hot item and are selling well. The play of course is such an iconic Canadian play, it was a natural for us to choose to perform it during Canada’s 150th celebrations.

Get your tickets now for the VOS Premiere Production of A Certain Singing Teacher

Box Office: 1-855-372-220
Or Book Online Now



A Certain Singing Teacher – Speaking with the Playwright


We sat down with Author and Playwright Linda Hutsell-Manning, who tells us more about A Certain Singing Teacher, and about herself.

About the Play: Aspiring singer song-writer, Francine LaSalle leaves her philandering theatre agent partner, Allan Fairfax, to set herself up in small town Kraymer’s Corners as a singing teacher. She gives versions of her one published song to her students. Meat market entrepreneur Antonio Pasquali who dreamed, when young, of an opera career has the opera version. Waitress Hillary Carlyle who emulates a rocker chick, has the pop version. Co-op worker Sam Saller who longs to attend Julliard works on an improvised jazz version. When the local radio station advertises a Talent Contest and Allan shows up as a judge, hilarious and improbable complications develop. 

VOS Theatre: Linda, when was your first writing project accepted for publication?
Linda Hutsell-ManningLinda Hutsell-Manning: My first publication was a children’s book, Wondrous Tales of Wicked Winston, Annick Press 1981. I had been writing for several years and had a book review column in the  Cobourg Daily Star. I was mainly writing short stories, sending them out to literary magazines and having them rejected. Winston is a rhymed narrative poem, the first verse of which simply came into my head one day. I developed it into a story in rhyme and Annick Press was the 32ndpublisher I sent it to! As I recall, this took several years as the manuscript had to be mailed with a self-addressed-stamped-envelope (SASE) and publishers often took months to reply. The story was 26 verses long and Annick asked for a second one, saying the first wasn’t long enough for a book. The first story takes place in summer and the second over Hallowe’en. I still have the outline for winter and spring episodes but have never completed them.

VOS: Have you written any other plays?

LHM: During the time I was sending Winston out and getting it back, I attended a school play production at Merwin Greer School. The play they used was American and when I asked why not a Canadian play, they said they couldn’t find one. This motivated me to write the first of three children’s plays. Freddykid and Seagull Sam was first produced by the newly formed Northumberland Players in 1978 and the cast included  Shelley Netherton as Seagull Sam, my son David as Freddykid and Tom MacMillan as the Captain. It was incredibly exciting to see my characters come to life and, after a successful run in Cobourg, I sent the script to Playwrights Canada asking about publication. They promptly sent it back saying I must have an equity actor production before they would consider it. Kawartha Summer Festival in Lindsay produced it in 1979 and Playwright’s published it in 1982. I wrote two more kid’s plays for Kawartha Summer Festival: Merch the Invisible Wizard, published in 1983 and The Great Zanderthon Takeover published in 1984. The music for the first two plays was written jointly by Jacqui Manning-Albert and Don Herbertson.

VOS: How did the idea come to you to write A Certain Singing Teacher?
LHM:  The Canadian playwright, Allan Stratton, had written a playNurse Jane Goes to Hawaii and, in 1985 , in the old space at the Best Western, I played the lead, Vivien, a ditzy Harlequin Romance writer. This play was enormously successful all across Canada and this inspired me to write my own comedy. However, I did not, as Allan did, have theatre contacts to get it started. Once written, I mailed it  to over 20 professional theatres across Canada with a SASE and not one answered or returned the script. I found out later that theatre companies were known for not replying to unsolicited manuscripts. I’m fairly sure I wrote the first draft a year after I was in Nurse Jane. How the exact idea came to me, I don’t know. One of the mysteries of being a writer. I can say a number of real life situations probably inspired me. I certainly knew people who were having marriage and/or partner problems and, in the eighties, more women were venturing out on their own, trying new roles. Francine is one of those women. I purposely made each of her students a distinct individual whose past and present influenced why they wanted to take singing lessons. The plot developed as I wrote these characters although I did purposely bring her ex back to cause complications. As soon as I heard the wonderful song, “I’m Not Through With You Yet” written by Jacqui Manning-Albert, I knew it would be perfect in the play. However, after so many rejections, I put the script away and went on to write in other genres. It was my good fortune that, in March 2016, the VOS read my play during one of their play-reading  sessions and decided to produce it in their 2016/2017 season.

VOS: Is the main character, Francine LaSalle, based on a real person you know
LHM: She is, as are the rest of the characters in the play,  an amalgam of people I knew or had met as well as bits and pieces of characters in books and plays. Whatever a character starts out as, he or she soon takes on a definite personality, their own persona so to speak and, often, they do or say things the writer has never consciously thought of. Sometimes the writer may argue with these characters as to a certain line or action and, usually, the character tries to get the upper hand. It’s an interesting mind-wrestling exercise and often a tossup as to who wins. The play Six Characters in Search of an Author  explores this mind tussle between created  characters and their author. After seeing this play, I remember being so impressed and feeling, somehow, justified that what was happening when I wrote was a viable aspect of the creative process.

VOS: How much time do you spend on writing projects?
LHM: It all depends on the length of the manuscript, which is usually tied to the genre. My first picture book, Animal Hours, I wrote in a day, with very few subsequent changes, while my novels have taken, usually, a year for the first draft and another year  for rewrites. The first draft of Singing Teacher was written, I think, during  six months and then another year or more for rewrites. We are still tweaking the script as it is rehearsed.


VOS: Has you writing career involved any travel?
I have travelled across Canada a number of times promoting my books. In the eighties and nineties there was more grant money for book promotion. Then and now, I often combine family, relative and friends visits with readings. In 1999 I, travelled to Coburg, Germany and Luxembourg  giving readings in schools (in Germany mainly high schools). The research from visiting these two places gave me material that became the settings for my two juvenile time-travel novels, Jason and the Wonder Horn and Jason and the Deadly Diamonds. Whenever a new book comes out, an author has, with much self-promotion and hustling, the possibility of setting up readings and traveling.  Jason and the Portrait Snatchers, the third in the series but not published, was written after a family trip to England and, in particular, Bristol.


VOS: What are you working on now?
LHM: I am researching and writing a memoir about two years, 1963 to 1965, when I was teacher and principal of eight grades in a one room school, SS#2 Hamilton Township School known as  the Front Road School West. It was situated on Highway Two between Cobourg and Port Hope, on the south side, two doors east of Lane’s Garage. In those days the land on either side was pasture for nearby farms. The brick school, which had seen better days, had two chemical toilets inside the front door, a wood stove for heat, one cold water tap and no storm windows. Talking to former students and finding information is both challenging and rewarding. A trip down memory lane. I am, also, thinking of beginning another two act comedy. I haven’t written anything down yet, but probably will soon.

More information about Linda can be found on her web page:

Tickets are available now for A Certain Singing Teacher on Feb 10-11, 2017
Call 1-855-372-2210 or Reserve Online Now

The Haynes Sisters!

They’re like peanut butter and jelly – mac and the cheese. Marlena Sculthorpe and Samantha Clark are great friends who finally have the chance to be sisters – if only in a show! They will appear in our upcoming production of White Christmas as Betty and Judy Haynes.

We thought it would be fun to have them chat and ask questions of each other. So… over to you, girls!

Marlena & Sam backstage at Oklahoma (2012)
Marlena & Sam backstage at Oklahoma (2012)

Marlena: Sam, how many shows have we worked on together? I’ve lost count….

Sam: I went back to the VOS website and was looking through the old posters.  We’ve worked on 3 shows together. There was White Christmas the first time around (2010), Oklahoma and Nunsense before I went to University, then some with me as crew, and now I’m excited to be back on stage with you! What’s your favourite memory of us doing theatre together? You have to have at least one.

Sam as Sister Mary Leo in Nunsense

Marlena: I have lots of memories of us working on shows together. Mostly backstage dancing, jokes and eating dinner between Saturday shows.  I have a specific memory of the performance of Nunsense, when we were doing the “Dying Nun Ballet” (a ridiculous ballet piece where we recreated the death of the Sisters of Hoboken from the poisoned Vichyssoise soup).  I had a big soup pot that I pranced around with and at the end of the ballet, the pot is passed off to another Nun and you (Sister Mary Leo) were supposed to throw up in the pot.  We finished the piece, went backstage and you were crying because the pot hit you in the nose when you were doing the “throw up in the pot” business and it made your nose bleed.  I was so thrown off by this because you gave NO indication on stage that anything went wrong.  I went back up to the stage to enter to sing my next number and the band started the number in the wrong key, but somehow we managed to get everything back on track.  That’s the beauty of live theatre – you never know what the hell is going to happen up there!

Marlena goofing around during Nunsense rehearsals

Marlena: What are your fav backstage memories from 2010 White Christmas?

Sam & grandfather Bill Hubb - White Christmas 2010
Sam & grandfather Bill Hubbs – White Christmas 2010

Sam: Oh that’s easy, dancing with Mary Ann during the overture!  It was my first show back onstage with VOS since The Wizard of Oz and after having worked backstage and under the stage (true story) for so many years. Getting to work with my Grandpa again, who was playing the general, was also very special as White Christmas is one of our favourite movies. During ‘Best Things’ I would have my big moment as the cigarette girl and my one line “Cigarettes, cigars, candy!” and then run a loop of the backstage before coming back on stage left and singing during Emma (Judy) and Sean (Phil)’s big dance number. I always made a point of doing a new dance move each night back there as the crew of people waited for my move of the night.

Sam as the Cigarette Girl in White Christmas 2010

I also remember dancing ‘Let Yourself Go” at the top of the show and looking off Stage Left each night to see you and Emma mimicking me fanning myself and singing “hot” and killing yourselves laughing. I still laugh watching the current cast dance that number and thinking about you two in the wings.

Marlena backstage with Emma Fleury – White Christmas 2010

Sam: The process of creating a show from scratch is very different from remounting it.  What would you say are the benefits to revisiting a show again?

Marlena: Well, revisiting a show is a great way to put it, but I would disagree.  The process is very much the same.  Saying remount, makes the process sound much easier than it is because in reality the only “easy” part is that your lines and songs are the same.  Even then, your brain forgets lines and lyrics.  At times I have flashbacks to blocking or choreography from previous productions, so a remount can be more confusing.

Sam: You have had a number of fantastic roles since I’ve known you, each have had a very different personality. Betty has to be the most uptight of the bunch and probably the furthest from the Marlena most people would know. What character have you played that you would say is closest to your own personality?

Marlena as Betty in White Christmas 2010

Marlena: Well, that’s tough question. There are definitely aspects of Betty that are totally me.  It’s not so much that I’m not like Betty, but that comedy and silliness is second nature to me onstage.  I find it much easier to do an impression or a gag.  I’m a combo of all of them but, I’m probably most like Princess Fiona.

Marlena as Princess Fiona – Shrek the Musical

Marlena: To copy the newest trend on Facebook, what 3 fictional characters are you most like?

Sam: This is probably the hardest question so far. I’m going to look at this like who I wish I was a combination of… Donna from Suits, Lorelei from Gilmore Girls & you would say a little bit of Nellie Forbush haha nothing wrong with a cockeyed optimist.

Marlena: What have you been doing since the last time we saw you onstage in a VOS Production?

Sam as Joanne in Company (Queens)
Sam as Joanne in Company (Queens Musical Theatre)

Sam: Well after Oklahoma I went off to Queen’s for four years and studied Drama. I thought initially I wanted to go into sciences but it became clear pretty quickly that I wanted to be in the arts.  Queen’s was amazing. I loved my program and the student culture and my profs and I got heavily involved in student theatre. I just graduated this past spring and am back living in Cobourg now. This past summer I had the awesome opportunity of being in an Opera written by Brian Finley at Westben Arts Festival Theatre in Campbellford called the Pencil Salesman. Joel Varty who plays Bob was actually my scene partner. It was a riot.

Sam as Rhonda in The Pencil Salesman (Westben)

Marlena: While you were away at University you managed to get home to work backstage for the VOS.  We have seen you in your ‘blacks’ many times back there, hanging out after your final exams…….

Sam: Oh no, I didn’t actually volunteer. I was just bored and everything I own is black Lululemon 🙂 I love being a stage hand back there.  When I was away at University it wasn’t really a trip home unless I went to Vic Hall for an extended period of time. Working as a dresser, stage hand, dragon puppet master, wig mistress, FOH girl were just awesome ways for me to continue my involvement in the organization with all the people I love. But, I’m still sorry for that time, as your dresser, I sent you out in one leg warmer…. maybe it was a strong choice on the part of your character?

Backstage during Shrek

Sam: There was a bit of a secret last time you played the role of Betty, you were pregnant! How did you manage performing a lead role while also being 4 months pregnant with Ewan?

Marlena: Ugh.  Honestly, I don’t know.  The only time I didn’t throw up was when I was onstage.  No one in the cast knew, so I guess mind over matter so that they didn’t find out.  I kept a bucket in my car and used it frequently.  Again, you never really know what is going on behind the scenes.  People frequently perform when they’re ill, exhausted or injured and it’s our job to not let the audience see that.

Sam: Your dad and mom are both involved in the show this time around.  Your dad played trumpet in the pit for Young Frankenstein, your mom is working front of house. What do you like about having your family involved and do you think you’ll ever get your boys in theatre?

Walker & Ewan helping to promote Mom's show
Walker & Ewan helping to promote Mom’s show

Marlena: My parents have always been involved in music.  They met when they were in the Concert Band a million years ago and I grew up following them to band events. Of course I don’t like it when they get too wrapped up in the production because they are my go-to babysitters.  Mom – if you’re reading this, you can only commit to 50% of the shows for front of house 😉  At some point very soon, the boys will start coming to see theatre and I’m sure they will love it.

Marlena: Are we like Betty and Judy in real life?

Sam:  Absolutely not. If anything I think we’re switched. You’re probably the most fun loving human I know and I have a history of being a wee bit apprehensive to try new things.


Sam: We worked with J.P. back when we did Nunsense and had a riot. I’m also jealous of the fact that you worked with J.P. when you were in High School and doing Ganaraska Summer Stage. What’s your favourite part about working with him as a director and choreographer?

Marlena:  I worked with J.P. in South Pacific with Ganaraska Summer Stage when I was 14.  I can still visualize him in a sailor cap and stripes.  We reconnected when I went to Nunsense auditions, the day after the White Christmas 2010 cast party, completely unprepared and feeling tired from finishing a run.  I think I did the Sisters dance by myself with a file folder instead of a fan.  J.P. is great because he has the confidence that you can do great things, but without any of the pressure.  He and I like to play the same kind of roles.  To quote J.P. we are both “Waka Waka” actors and we have both played the role of Sister Robert Anne.  He easily sees the jokes and knows what’s funny.  He’s a professional, and treats us all with great respect whether we are working with him onstage as an actor or as our director/choreographer.  We are lucky to have him.

Marlena as Fiona & the Tap Dancing Rats in Shrek (J.P. Baldwin on far left)

Sam: You’ve worked on the VOS Board for 3 or 4 years? Even though performing is obviously your home base in theatre, what aspects of the other jobs you’ve held do you enjoy and why do you do them?

Marlena:  I have been on the Board since 2012, but in that time I had 2 kids so sometimes my involvement was spotty at best.  I try to help out with things when I can.  Walking in parades is very doable with kids. I am happy to email, organize and fill out applications because I can do this on my own time.  I’ve been in lots of shows because that’s obviously the thing that I enjoy most.  I try to help out behind the scenes because that is where a HUGE bulk of the work is.  Producing, directing, building sets etc takes hundreds, if not thousands of hours and those people don’t get a laugh or a big clap at the end of a number.  Doing that stuff isn’t my favourite part, but it’s stuff that needs to be done so that we can do what we love onstage.  If everyone helps out here and there it really helps the entire effort.

Sam & Marlena perform at a VOS Christmas 2014


Don’t miss Sam & Mar in White Christmas!

Nov 17-26 – Victoria Hall, Cobourg
Tickets $27, $24.5o for groups of 10 or more

Call Now: 1-855-372-2210
Book Online


A Final Bow for an Awesome Foursome


With the performances of White Christmas fast approaching, we took a look at some special folks in our cast who have been appearing in  VOS shows for many seasons – Emma Sandziuk, Ewan Mireault, Stephanie Koomen, and Justin McKague.  As they are all graduating from high school this June, this could well be their last opportunity to appear on-stage together.

Here’s what they had to say about their theatre experiences with VOS.

VOS THEATRE: Hi guys! You’re all so important to our organization and you’re heading off next year to higher educational pursuits. What was your first show with the VOS?

Stephanie: My first show with VOS was Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in 2015.

Emma, Stephanie, Ewan, & Justin in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Emma: My first show with VOS was Fiddler On The Roof

Emma in Fiddler on the Roof, 2009

Justin: Fiddler on the roof.

Justin in Fiddler on the Roof, 2009

Ewan: My first show with VOS was Oliver.

Ewan in Camelot.

VOS THEATRE:  What was your favourite onstage experience with us?

Stephanie: My favourite onstage experience with VOS was probably Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. It was my first show with VOS and I find the first show with a theatre company to be very important because it determines whether you are going to audition for them again or not. I was greeted with a warm welcome and felt right at home. I instantly fell in love with VOS and I am so grateful to have been part of the cast for 3 of their productions.


Emma: My favourite onstage experience with VOS was White Christmas back in 2014. That’s why I am so happy to come back and be apart of such a great show.


Justin: Getting my very first laugh. 

Ewan: I think my favourite onstage experience was Spamalot.

Ewan performs a lift with brother Remi in Spamalot


VOS THEATRE: What’s your best memory working in a show?

Stephanie: The way it made me feel. Especially with VOS, I always felt important even when I had a small role. There was one person in particular who always reminded me that I was beautiful and always told me, “You’re rocking it, babe”. This really helped me with my confidence and comfort towards going on stage in only a body suit and a suit jacket 🙂

Emma: My best memory working in any show I have done is moving into Victoria hall. That is the point when all of our hard work pays off and we get to enjoy performing, as well as enjoying the backstage experience with each other.

Justin: Seeing everyone so excited right before opening night.

Ewan: My favourite memory is opening night for any of the shows I’ve done.

Ewan as the Bishop in Shrek as Justin looks on in the costume parade.

VOS THEATRE:  Everybody – one word to describe your friend Justin……your friend Ewan…..your friend Emma……your friend Stephanie….

Stephanie: Justin – entertaining; Ewan – amusing; Emma – Happiness

Emma: I don’t think it is possible for me to describe some of my best friends with just one word but I will do my best:   Justin- hilarious; Ewan- forthright; Stephanie- irreplaceable.


Justin: Ewan: Bromance; Emma: Puns; Stephanie: Sass

Ewan: Justin: Hilarious; Emma: Energetic; Stephanie: Enthusiastic

Justin takes Lord Farquaad down a notch in Shrek

VOS THEATRE: We know its early days but what are you up to next year?

Stephanie: I would really love to go to either Sheridan College or St Lawrence College for musical theatre performance, but I’m also considering taking a year off to work and maybe go for a couple of auditions in Toronto.


Emma: Next year I plan to work on my undergrad towards speech pathology. I am not sure what school I will be attending yet.

Justin: I will be studying Computer Science in University.

Ewan: At the moment, I’m not too sure.

Stephanie & Emma rehearse with the cast of White Christmas, 2016

VOS THEATRE: What has it been about musical theatre that has kept you coming back year after year?

Stephanie: Besides the singing and dancing? I love the audience, they’re the reason I do this. I love the feeling you get when you finish a spectacular dance number and the audience just goes wild.  We the performers wouldn’t survive without them.

Emma: The people are what keep me coming back. I love music and drama, and to be able to spend time with other people that also enjoy the theatre is so much fun. These people have become like a second family to me.

Justin: The people. You build such a bond with these people while making a show. You become a family with these awesome people. That’s what keeps me coming back.

Ewan: The people and the enjoyment of doing shows are what keep me coming back.

Ewan leads Sir Robin and his Minstrels in Spamalot

VOS THEATRE:  It’s hard balancing the demands of a job and school with a hobby of theatre. How do you do it?

Stephanie: After a lot of tears have been shed and hair has been pulled out, I prioritize and organize. Considering that I want to have a career in theatre/film I usually put my rehearsals and shows at the top of my list. However, I am very lucky to have a manager who is very flexible when it comes to me booking time off work. Also, whiteboard calendars are a blessing.


Emma: I do find it a little crazy to balance rehearsals, work, and school sometimes. I often bring my homework to rehearsal and work on it whenever I am not needed on stage.

Justin: Work, school and theatre all at once seems like a lot of work, and it is but you just have to push that much harder to get out and do what you love, and it won’t feel that stressful when you are around the great people that volunteer their time for the shows.

Ewan: It’s tough, but you just have to push yourself to get through it all and enjoy it.

Ewan & Emma in White Christmas, 2014

VOS THEATRE: White Christmas – your thoughts?

Stephanie: It’s simply a must see. I hope everyone gets a chance to see this show because it is such a beautiful work of art.

Emma: White Christmas is one of my absolute favourite musicals because of all the music and dance numbers. The music is great, the choreography is fun, and the costumes are always so creative. Thank you VOS for all the great years!

Justin: This will be my last show with VOS, and that is a very sad thing to think about but this show is so fun and well done that I feel great ending this amazing chapter of my life with this awesome show and these even more amazing people.

Ewan: It’s a fantastic show full of amazing songs and incredible dancing. I’m really glad I got the chance to do it again.

Emma, Stephanie & Ewan rehearsing for I Love A Piano in White Christmas


Don’t Miss White Christmas!

Nov 17-26 – Victoria Hall, Cobourg
Tickets $27, $24.5o for groups of 10 or more

Call Now: 1-855-372-2210
Book Online