Getting happy at the VPP in 2015


Artistic Director David Hogan dances with Merridy, Dendais, the daughter of Callandra Dendias who will be one of the performers in The Women of Country in 2015 at the VPP.


Victoria Playhouse Petrolia is “turning up the dial on happy.”

Co-Artistic Directors David Rogers and David Hogan unveiled the 2015 season at an event filled with song recently.

Hogan says he is constantly surprised to see return patrons coming back to see widely differing shows “and I tell them ‘I am so happy to see you.’” So this year, the theme of the season is Always Happy to See You.

Hogan and Rogers expect to see a lot of familiar faces for the opening production, the sequel to Church Basement Ladies – the sellout from 2014. A Second Helping will bring back some of the actors from the VPPs’ first production.

The original Church Basement Ladies brought as many bus tours to Petrolia for its run as had been at the theatre in all of 2013. “And we’re going to hit records again,” predicts Hogan of the show.

What a Wonderful World – a show featuring powerful voices singing powerful music from gospels to old standards like Louis Armstrong’s’ What a Wonderful World – is the second show. “In many of the productions have gospel sections in them and they go over great,” says Rogers. “This is going to be a great show…the hit of the season because we have so much to be grateful for here.”

From the Heart – The Women of Country will bring the music of great artists from Patsy Cline to Dolly Parton to Carrie Underwood to the stage.

That’s followed by Norm Foster’s Outlaw. “Our audiences have said they’ve missed Norm Foster,” says Rogers. Foster is one of Canada’s most prolific playwrights and has been featured at VPP over the years.

The 2015 will also put the spotlight on Mark Payne, the VPP’s musical director. Payne creates the scores for the VPP’s production but will star in I Love the Piano in August. “We are so fortunate to have Mark Payne here,” says Hogan. “David Rogers has said to me… he has never worked with a better musical director, arranger and piano player in his 30 year career. He says ‘He’s seamless. He breathes with me.’”

The final show of the season is an unlikely pairing – Fiddler Jesse Grandmont of Fiddler on the Loose fame – and Crooner Michael VanHevel combine for The Fiddler and The Crooner.

VanHevel says the show started with a mash up of The Devil Went Down to Georgia during a cabaret night. Hogan and Rogers decided the duo should pair up for a full show. “It’s such a ridiculous thing but its going to be so much fun,” says VanHevel.

And it’s bound to draw a smile, according to Hogan who says the 2015 season is all about “turning up the dial on happy.”