‘Heard It Through the Grapevine’ to run all summer

Ancelene MacKinnon newsroom@journalpioneer.com
Published on June 16, 2014
Aaron Ellis, (from left) Lindsay Gillis, Tom Hearn, Cat McCluskey, Jacob Hemphill, and (back) Lindsay Schieck star in “Heard It Through the Grapevine,” which begins June 20 at the Brothers 2 in Summerside.
Ancelene MacKinnon/Journal Pioneer

SUMMERSIDE – In the fictional town of Potatoville, the rumours run big for such a small place.

Brothers 2 in Summerside will be serving up gossip-worthy fun all summer with the Feast Dinner Theatres production of “Heard it Through the Grapevine,” produced by Don Groom with White Rose Entertainment.

Opening night is Friday, June 20, and it will also begin at the Rodd Charlottetown on Saturday, June 21. Both productions will run Tuesdays through Saturdays until Aug. 29.

When the beloved, long-serving mayor of Potatoville decides to resign, a popular farmer and town councilor runs against the local Zamboni driver for the much-sought-after position, causing the rumour mill to start turning.

Aaron Ellis will be playing the role of Mayor Bert MacEwen, and said he has been acting for the past four years.

Feast was the first acting audition he did, which was three years ago, and it’s something he loves being part of.

“It’s really nice to come in every day and get to have fun with an audience. To be a different person and bring joy to the people in the crowd is great.”

Ellis said he’s looking forward to playing this role, and he commits to each character he takes on by doing a lot of character research to make it feel authentic.

He thinks the audience will be able to relate to the characters because the show reflects great things about small-town P.E.I.

“The show is written about all these characters that are essentially people you could see in your real life.”

Lindsay Gillis will play the mayor’s daughter, Kim MacEwen.

Gillis said her character is conflicted because she’s hoping to move away to pursue a career in politics, but she has a close relationship with her father and has a love interest in town.

Performance art has been a big part of her life as she started acting five years ago and has taken dance, guitar, and voice lessons.

She said it’s always exciting acting in front of a room of people.

“I just love being able to connect to an audience and have fun on stage with a lot of really talented people and to be able to bring people joy with something I love.”

Adam MacGregor, music director for the show, enjoys having a job that allows him to be creative.

Some of the songs for the show include “Celebration” by Kool and the Gang, “Bad Reputation” by Joan Jett, “Happy” by Pharrell Williams, and Marvin Gaye’s “Heard it Through the Grapevine.”

“When you see people sing along to every song, that is the ultimate happiness for a music director,” he said.

Sherri-Lee Darrach is the director. MacGregor says, “All of our actors have been growing under her direction.”

Mike Allison, who writes for the CBC-TV show, “This Hour Has 22 Minutes,” wrote the script for this year’s dinner theatre.

They really wanted to do an Island-based show to celebrate 2014 being the 150th anniversary, said MacGregor.

“This is one of the most fun shows we’ve had in a long time. The way these actors have made these characters come to life is just incredible. It’s one the audiences are absolutely going to love this year.”

For tickets, call the Summerside box office at 436-7674, and in Charlottetown at 629-2321.