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St. Albert Dinner Theatre announces 2024-25 lineup

Prepare for screwball comedy, time-travelling romance, and a murder mystery
St. Albert Dinner Theatre actor Joanne Popplett and technical director Courtney Wild (right) share a joke during a break. Wild is making her directorial debut in SADT's season opener, Leading Ladies, starting Nov. 14.

St. Albert Dinner Theatre announced the lineup for its 13th season with an online post on May 31. The three-part program will feature works by Canadian playwright Norm Foster and American playwright Ken Ludwig, as well as Hollywood screenwriters Flip Kobler and his wife Cindy Marcus. 

Last season, the company enjoyed great popularity, with most seats sold. Part of St. Albert Dinner Theatre's (SADT) success was due to bringing back playwrights with name recognition. 

A committee read 60 scripts before they were whittled down to three for the upcoming season. To tackle these projects, three new thespians are making their directorial debut this season. The new contributors are Courtney Wild, Darienne Johnson and Ralph Troschke. 

The season kicks off Nov. 14 with Ken Ludwig’s Leading Ladies. In this screwball comedy, Leo and Jack, two Shakespearean actors scraping the bottom of the barrel, hear that dear old Florence in nearby York, Penn., is about to kick the bucket. Florence’s last wishes include leaving her fortune to two nieces she’s never met. In a desperate cash grab, the duo dress up as the long-lost nieces. 

“It’s really Twelfth Night meets Some Like It Hot,” said Donna Beeston, SADT president. 

Courtney Wild, a board member and technical director since 2018, is shifting her focus to the director’s chair in this production. 

“She’s always had a very good rapport with the other directors and actors, and we like to give our younger people the opportunity to direct. She’s very detail-oriented. She’s very much into character. She works with the actors and helps develop their characters, and she’s into working with people.” 

The season's middle production is the Kobler-Marcus Valentine offering, Some Sweet Day, running Jan. 30 to Feb. 15. In this time-travelling romance, Ken regrets losing the girl of his dreams 24 years ago. He builds a time machine that takes him back to change events. 

Once back in time, he desperately tries to make his younger self marry Jenny. But his younger self stubbornly refuses to listen to a strange old man. Complications arise when Ken slowly finds himself falling in love with Jenny once more. 

“It’s a show about a fellow who regrets losing a girl. He goes back in time and tries to woo her. Audiences will relate because we all wish we could have done something different or better. In this case, he tries to see the girl and his younger self in a different way. There’s a lot to be said for, 'Be careful what you wish for.'” 

Playwrights Kobler and Marcus have written screenplays since 1988, when Paramount bought their first script. The couple wrote for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and spent five years at Disney working on animated films such as The Lion King II, Beauty and the Beast The Enchanted Christmas, Hunchback of Notre Dame II and Lady and the Tramp II

Darienne Johnson, who last performed in SADT’s production of Lend Me a Tenor, will direct this production. It is her first directing challenge with the theatre company. 

“Darienne is a dance instructor. She organizes and carries out shows and she has experience putting on presentations. During Lend Me a Tenor, she was able to take the material and put it in a light other actors could understand. She’s very good at paraphrasing and explaining the mechanics.” 

The season closer is Foster’s Sinners, a murder mystery with a twist ending. Peter, a local furniture store owner, is having an affair with Monica, the local minister’s wife. When the minister arrives home earlier than expected, things become awkward. A web of deceit involving a death throws the community into disarray. 

“You think you know who did it, but you don’t.”  

Directing Sinners is Ralph Troschke, who recently directed two plays at King’s University. He is vice president of finance and operations at King’s. 

“Having three new directors this season means we are growing. If you use the same people, the same directors, you lose your freshness. We have three new directors with different styles and that gives us a broader voice.” 

Shows are held at Kinsmen Banquet Hall, 47 Riel Dr. Single tickets have increased to $70 from $65 last season due to higher food costs, building materials, rental fees and transportation. Call the box office at 780-222-0102 or send an email to [email protected]

Anna Borowiecki

About the Author: Anna Borowiecki

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