As Windsor’s seasoned eye on the ever-shifting stage of theatre, I’ve observed the comings and goings of countless productions, the rise and fall of ambitious theatre companies, and the ebb and flow of artistic trends. Yet, there stands before us today a scene that is undeniably vibrant, a tableau of talent and tenacity that is shaping up to be nothing short of a golden era for our city’s theatre.
This year, the city’s stages are alive with the sound of music, the power of prose, and the dynamism of drama. Windsor Light Music Theatre, a jewel in our cultural crown, marks a remarkable 75 years with a production of “The Sound of Music” this month that promises to be as timeless as the hills that once came alive with the original score.
Windsor Light’s decision to reimagine “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” with a female lead was not a mere casting choice—it was a statement, a declaration that in Windsor’s theatres, tradition and innovation can dance a delightful duet.
Celebrating two decades, Korda Artistic Productions has, quite literally, set the stage ablaze with perhaps their most audacious show yet—a revisited “Rocky Horror Show” that could only be described as a stroke of genius in its audacious delivery and vibrant performance.
The University Players are not merely announcing their 65th season; they are proclaiming a renaissance of theatrical bravura with a line-up that is as bold as it is innovative, which began with a rendition of “Mac Beth” that strips away the centuries of tradition to its core. They’ll be staging one of the most anticipated shows of the year, The Play That Goes Wrong, later this month.
ACT’s “Guys and Dolls” wasn’t just a show; it was a masterclass in modernizing a classic without losing a beat of its original heart. It was pure Broadway joy without the high prices of theatre along its golden strip.
Cardinal Music Production’s concert rendition of “Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” has expanded our conceptualization of stage performance, elevating the experience to new auditory heights. It’s a format I hope they aspire to bring more of in the coming years.
Post Productions’ “Hangmen” was nothing short of a theatrical coup, a gamble that paid off in spades, proving that risks on stage are not only necessary but vital for the art form’s evolution. The daring decision to incorporate an actual live hanging on stage was a bold move that underscores the company’s willingness to embrace the raw and visceral elements of storytelling.
The Windsor Feminist Theatre, true to its mission, has offered up narratives that compel us to confront, consider, and perhaps change. Probably the most daring of all our companies, WFT deserves a standing ovation for its daring pride and world of acceptance.
The Purple Theatre Company’s “The Case of the Odd Shaped Gas Tanks” is a testament to the intellectual rigor our local theatre can and does achieve. With humour and wit, their original scripts both tantalize and invigorate.
The Bank Theatre in Leamington continues to be a pillar of the regional arts scene, consistently delivering performances that captivate and inspire – their recent production of Art, left audiences enthralled. Their ability to present stunning works with a blend of professional finesse and community spirit keeps the arts vibrantly alive outside Windsor’s immediate reach.
One of my personal favourites, The Little Tomato Children’s Theatre, truly dazzles. setting a high bar for youth theatre with their recent rendition of “Frozen Jr.” Their performances brim with a maturity that belies the youthfulness of the troupe, outshining many adult companies and proving the robust potential of Windsor’s theatrical future.
Revolution Youth Theatre earns its name by revolutionizing youth performance, nurturing the brightest of future stars and they continue to feed the other companies with incredible actors every year. Their dual dedication to staging compelling productions and hosting vibrant concerts has made them a linchpin in developing the next generation of Windsor’s theatrical talent.
Riverfront Theatre Company’s “Shrek the Musical” was a delightful romp that reinforced their reputation for fun, engaging theatre. Their spirited approach to youth theatre not only entertains but also fosters a love for the arts in the hearts of both the young and the young-at-heart.
Monkeys With A Typewriter Theatre Company provides a unique blend of theatre and local lore with their ghost and spirit tours. They offer an experience that is as educational as it is entertaining, enriching Windsor’s tourism and cultural offerings for both visitors and residents. It’s the best graveyard walk you’ll ever take.
Windsor’s Own Abridged Opera, in collaboration with Toronto’s Opera Revue, brings “Ruckus! on the Road” to the stage, intertwining local flair with Toronto’s operatic punch. Their upcoming tour stop in Windsor is a much-anticipated event that showcases the thriving operatic scene in Ontario.
Newcomer A Warped Mind Productions burst onto the scene with “Wicked Women of Windsor,” a title and a production that demands attention and respect, heralding the arrival of a new voice in our midst.
In an era still shadowed by the remnants of a global pandemic, what Windsor’s theatre scene has accomplished is not just a revival; it is a revelation. The resilience, the innovation, the sheer audacity of our local companies has not merely brought back what was lost—they have created something new, something better. Is there room for improvement? There always is and always will be, but the growth of the companies, the producers, the crews and the actors need to continue down this path of positivity and excitement – in that situation, everyone wins.
To sit in the dark of a Windsor theatre is to witness the very alchemy of art. It’s where nostalgia and novelty meet, where the familiar is made fresh, and the new is welcomed with open arms.
Savoie Faire is a new editorial column from 519 Magazine Editor and Entertainment Critic Dan Savoie.