BACK AT IT AGAIN - Artistic Director of Cow Patti Theatre AnnaMarie Lea is excited to be back on the stage for the company’s 22nd year. Lacombe Express File Photo

BACK AT IT AGAIN - Artistic Director of Cow Patti Theatre AnnaMarie Lea is excited to be back on the stage for the company’s 22nd year. Lacombe Express File Photo

Lacombe’s Cow Patti Theatre is back

Dinner theatre returns for 22nd season

In its 22nd Season of Live Professional Dinner Theatre, The Cow Patti Theatre Company is starting to raise the barn on a season that we know will be your Favorite by a Country Mile!

This season, Cow Patti has chosen two plays for their 22rd season that are penned by two iconic playwrights, The Odd Couple by America’s most famous playwright Mr. Neil Simon and our second show of the season, Half Way There by Canada’s most celebrated Playwright Mr. Norm Foster.

When looking at when these shows were first produced: The Odd Couple in 1963 and Half Way There in 2016, I couldn’t help but notice that even though they were written 41 years apart, there is a through line in both that makes them both timeless.

First and foremost, humour! Both men are genius at creatng characters and situations that could easily be your friends next door – real people in real situatons. Whether it’s the guys gettng together for a game of poker or the gals gettng together at the local diner for a coffee. Both plays tell a wonderful story that will entice and entertain our audiences.

I have produced both playwrights many times before and am ecstatic to be doing so again!

With the passing of Mr. Simon this August, I am honored to be producing his signature play. My career as a stage actor began in 1986 with Mr. Simon’s play: Brighton Beach Memoirs, personally it is very fittng to pay special tribute to a playwright that I have a long history with as an actor, producer and director.

We have a lot of great things in store for our audiences this season. We are thrilled to be holding our benefit performances again this season for ten, very worthy, non-profit organizations: November 15th Sawyer Kiist Passion for Life Bursary, November 24th Caroline Seniors, December 1st Kasota East Camp, December 6th Bentley Library Society, December 8th The Lending Cupboard and December 9th for The Lacombe Performing Arts Center Foundation.

During our second production- Half Way There, our benefits will be: GramaLink Africa, March 16th, 2019, Rocky Pioneer Seniors, March 23rd, 2019, Kasota East Camp, March 30th ,2019 and St. Luke’s Restoration, April 6th ,2019. To date, Cow Patti has raised over a half a million dollars for many groups using the tool of professional theatre to enhance our communities financially and to bring a voice to this amazing groups!

When planning the season, I wanted to ensure that we accommodate the huge span of people we entertain. So, between: Wing Wednesdays, Senior Discount Brunch Wednesdays (which are all sold out), Taco Thursdays, Group Discounts (both new this season) Weekend Brunches, and AAA Prime Rib Weekends.

We have something to fit everyone from nine to 99 and their pocket books. This season, not only are we going to be offering up two great scripts to our audiences but the actors that will bring these characters to life will be joining us from all over Canada! Some are new to the Cow Patti Stage and others are ones you have come to love over the years at Cow Patti!

In our production of The Odd Couple, Garfield Andrews will be plying the lead role of Felix Ungar, Garfield has been working with Cow Patti since 2000 (for Cow Patti- Alberta – The Butler Did It, Perfect Wedding, Odd Couple Female version and The Long Weekend) Not only has Garfield has been on the Cow Patti Stage many times both here in Alberta and back in Ontario for many seasons he is a true family friend and a force to be reckoned with when it comes to comedy theatre!

Our Oscar Madison will be Sal Scozzari, this will be Sal’s first time treading our stage and judging by his 30-plus year resume which includes working for Mirvish Productions- nationally and internationally, the Strattford Festival and has an acclaimed credit in the movie Hairspray, to name but a few, we are feeling lucky to have snagged this guy!

Our Poker players Speed, Vinnie, Murry and Roy are all new to Cow Patti as well, except our Roy who is being played by Eric Finlayson. Our audiences loved Eric in our production of The Butler Did It! For the last two years Eric has been in Japan working for Disney as Prince Charming and Jack Sparrow.

We are absolutely thrilled to have Eric back in Canada as part of our cast! Liam Collins will be our Murry, Liam Collins, is the son of Jesse Collins, who directed The Ladies Foursome for us (2015) and is directing our second show of the season Half Way There. Liam recently received his master’s at McGill University in Computer Science but with both parents in the theatre business, Liam has dabbled in theatre all his life and we are very happy to help nurture this young talent.

John Dickhout will be treading the Cow Patti Boards for the first time as Vinnie. John carries a special story- John spent many years in the corporate world and was very involved in community theatre. Nearly three years ago John was a heart recipient and after his recovery he was able to meet the parents of the young man from whom he received the gift of life. With the bucket list John had created prior to his surgery and learning about Adam, his donor, and Adam’s love for the arts, John gave up the corporate world and started pursuing his career as a professional actor. We’re blessed to have John’s story continue with Cow Patti.

New as well to Cow Patti is Mark Burgues, a seasoned actor who’s career spans over 30 plus years. An actor who has worked across Canada from the Vancouver Playhouse to the Shaw Festival, his resume is very impressive, and our audience is in for a treat to have this talent entertain them. Rounding out the cast is myself and Valerie Barrett playing the Pigeon Sisters. Val and I have shared the stage many times since Cow Patti’s beginning in 1997 but it will be the first time we have played sisters!

So, on behalf of myself and the entire HERD at Cow Patti, join us at The Lacombe Golf and Country Club for an a��ernoon or evening that will sure to tickle your funny bone and tempt your taste buds. For more information on our season please contact me personally at theatre@cowpatti.com or 403 304 6329.

– Submitted by Cow Patti Theatre