There is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes to make the production and actors’ performances. From the left, front row: Kevin Aichele and Erin Mackinnon. Back row: Laura LaKatosh (assistant stage manager); Bryan Young, Jackie McCormick (stage manager); Anna Marie Lea and production intern Megan McDonell. Absent from photo: director Donnie Bowes. Thompson Goddard Photo
MORRISBURG – Sugar Road, which has thrilled and excited audiences across Canada, is set to open at the Upper Canada Playhouse in Morrisburg on July 7. The play by Kristen Da Silva is being performed at Upper Canada Playhouse between July 7 and July 31. In a June 23 press release, director Donnie Bowes noted Sugar Road had originally been scheduled for 2020 but was rescheduled to the 2022 season because of the COVID-19 pandemic. He continued that Da Silva is an emergent Canadian playwright, with Sugar Road being performed in several Canadian theatres.
Described by Bowes as a ‘country comedy’, the setting is a country amusement park, inherited by Hannah Taylor who is trying to keep the business viable during difficult economic times. Taylor, played by Erin Mackinnon, decides to host the “Spurs and Heart Festival” to increase business during the summer. The event’s headlining act is Jesse Emberley, played by Kevin Aichele, a country music star who had played at the amusement park many years ago. He and Taylor had a brief romance at that time before he hit it big in the country music world. Aichele has appeared in several theatres across Canada and is returning to the Upper Canada Playhouse for this performance.
Aichele explained during an interview his character had performed at the amusement park before hitting it big in the country music world. He mentioned the play has a great storyline, great characters, lots of humour and action. He continued the audience should be left wondering what will happen next, noting the Sugar Road is episodic in nature.
Hannah’s best friend Caroline Dawn, an Elmvale resident and huge fan of Jesse Emberley, is played by Anna Marie Lea. Lea comes to this production after producing Sugar Road at Alberta’s Cow Patti Theatre Company and has been “in countless playhouse productions… there is nothing like live theatre,” commented Lea who described how Sugar Road keeps you on the edge of your seat as the journey unfolds before your eyes. Veteran actor Brian Young plays the amusement park’s custodian Ray Bishop, a friend of Hannah’s mother and a source of support for the young woman.
“Sugar Road draws audiences in and quickly involves them in the lives of these everyday people with their dreams, relationships, joys, and challenges. It’s all about small towns and big hearts. And a lot of laughter in between” explained Bowes. He mentioned how it is a play that has a wide appeal and “all the elements of an engaging theatre experience.”
Sugar Road runs between July 7 and 31, directed by Donnie Bowes, set design by John Thompson of Cornwall and lighting design by Sean Free of Morrisburg. More information is available by contacting the box office of Upper Canada Playhouse in Morrisburg by phone at 613-543-3713, 1-877-550-3650 or on their website at uppercanadaplayhouse.com.
Carolyn Thompson Goddard, grew up in Chesterville and attended North Dundas District High School. After completing her BA in Political Science at Carleton University she has worked as a medical secretary and library technician. In 2020 she graduated from Algonquin College with a diploma in Journalism and has been a reporter and column writer for The Chesterville Record for over 10 years.