A New Musical to Make its Debut at Grove Hall

A New Musical to Make its Debut at Grove Hall

The cast of On the Line.

Based on the true story of Doris Palmer and George MacDonald, local Patrick Pietrykowski’s newest creation, On the Line, transforms local lore into Grove Hall’s newest musical, set to premiere on Friday, April 7th.

Directed by Mark Bye, the play’s musical composition has been put together by Christopher Pennington, while a homegrown cast of actors, dancers and musicians will be taking the stage.

The team behind Huntingdon’s creative hub Grove Hall brings the twenties to life, exploring life in the Meridian Hotel, a site that was once found on the Canadian/American border during the Prohibition era. When the infamous gangster, Dutch Schultz (Andrew Eastwood) enters into a business arrangement with the hotel’s owner, Conrad Labelle (Howard Welburn), the site becomes the focus of a notable bout of drama. Replete with smugglers, dancing girls, flappers, criminals, and a live band, this busy saloon soon finds itself immersed in mystery. A murder soon follows, bringing the audience along for a thrilling adventure.

The role of Doris Palmer will be taken up by Summer Eastwood while Huntingdon’s Jeremie Roy will fill the shoes of George MacDonald. Following the discovery of a body in Huntingdon, both are sentenced to be hanged in Valleyfield. A leap from the hall’s other productions, On the Line will introduce a new kind of production to the venue—one that explores mature themes alongside a touch of violence.  According to a recent press release, this is also one of the largest ensembles Grove Hall has ever out together, with 26 performers, as well as a network of volunteers working behind the scenes. “We have a really closely knit cast,” says Tina Bye, co-owner of Grove Hall. “Auditions for the play took place in November, and cast and crew have been working since then to bring the atmosphere and the era to life. People are finding all kinds of neat and interesting ways of contributing,” adds Bye.

“The cast and crew were very conscious of one aspect of the story they felt was especially important to get right. The whole notion of smuggling in this area is sensitive, and we have tried hard to avoid the Hollywood stereotypes or a black and white approach to the issue,” explains Bye. “Instead, the play reflects the more complex and nuanced relationship between a community and the ‘local economy’ by simply normalizing this reality as part of everyday life that goes unnoticed by most.”

The play will enjoy a three-week run, premiering on Friday, April 7th, at 8:00 P.M. Performances will follow on April 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 21, 22 and 23, with Friday and Saturday performances beginning at 8:00 P.M. and Sunday matinees kicking off at 2:00 P.M. Tickets can be reserved by calling 514-791-5100 or 450-322-1033. Admission is $20 . For more information, visit www.grovehall.ca.

Please note that audience members who choose to attend in twenties era garb will be treated to preferential seating and a discount on their bar tab.

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