2019 season features Up at Fred’s – Allons-y!, a Cuban concert and the new Stone Fence Theatre Showband
Up at Fred’s – Allons-y!
For fifty years or so, “Fred’s” – the Hotel Chapeau in Chapeau, Quebec – was the destination of choice for diners, drinkers, and dancers, lumbermen, hunters and soldiers, tourists and locals, celebrities and salt-of-the-earth.
It was known for two-inch thick prime steaks, for fine wines, for great music, and for fun and tricks of all kinds. Mention the “silver beaver,” the “hare-a-lope,” the clock running backwards or the “time-out room” anywhere in these parts and you’ll get a sly wink of recognition.
Stone Fence Theatre’s new musical Up at Fred’s – Allons-y! is the story of Fred Meilleur, his family, his guests, and the remarkable little town of Chapeau, Quebec. Photo above: Fran Pinkerton and Conrad Boyce as Helen and Fred Meilleur (submitted).
The show was written by company producer and musical director Ish Theilheimer, who played at the hotel as a young man. “It seems I can’t go anywhere locally without someone accosting me with their memories of great times at Fred’s,” he says, “Somehow, that place came to represent all the things we love about the Ottawa Valley.”
For the show’s creative director, Chantal Elie-Sernoskie, who is half French-Canadian and half Irish, and who grew up in Embrun, Ontario, the show is an important statement. “The uniquely French-Canadian character of Meilleur family shaped the hotel’s environment and its charm, and gave everyone who walked in there a sense of home, ” she said. “They gave back a great deal to the community.”
The show features a strong cast, including Stone Fence Theatre and Yukon theatre veteran Conrad Boyce as Fred Meilleur, supported by Stone Fence Theatre veterans Danielle Bissonnette, Evan Burgess, Ambrose Mullin, Fran Pinkerton, Derek Tolhurst. Newcomers include Andrew Galt, Beverly Lewis and Robert Tremblay, as well as musical siblings Dexter and Serena Sernoskie.
Musicians are Peter Brown, keyboard; Emilyn Stam, keyboard, accordion and fiddle; Jonathan David Williams, button accordion and clarinet; Ish Theilheimer on fiddle, mandolin and guitar; and Derek Tolhurst on bass.
The show opens July 11 in Rankin, ON, with most shows scheduled there, from July through October. One special show will be performed in Barry’s Bay August 8 and in Chapeau, Quebec on August 10.
Cuban band Manacanabo in concert
Also this season, Stone Fence Theatre features some very different traditional music in this year’s summer concert. Two years ago, our producer Ish Theilheimer met Manacanabo – a band specializing in traditional Cuban music while on a tour of southern Cuba. One thing led to another, friendships were formed, and now, Manacanabo is coming for a July tour of the Ottawa Valley, including a gala July 23 concert in Rankin, featuring free salsa dance lessons and fun with some very cool Cubans!
Manacanabo (photo: stonefence.ca)
Getting Manacanabo to Canada, “It has taken a lot of doing,” says Theilheimer, “But people are going to love their music and their charm.” The gala will be co-hosted by Stone Fence Theatre’s own Fran Pinkerton, who has spent a lot of time in Cuba and who can help everyone learn salsa dancing. The members of Manacanabo will be eager to help you learn too. They’ll also introduce you to the rhythms of Cuba.
Stone Fence Theatre Showband
Also new in 2019 is the Stone Fence Theatre Showband. It plans to tour the Ottawa Valley with a new show called Fine as Binder Twine. It features songs and comedy from the company’s fifteen amazing seasons. The Showband makes its first appearance August 16 in Killaloe at the Irish Gathering and also appears November 16 in Eganville at the Eganville Arena.
Click HERE to visit the company’s website for the full schedule and to buy tickets, or call 613-401-1497 or toll-free 866-310-1004.
Theilheimer,I. (2019,May10) Stone Fence Theatre 2019 season release [press release].