Bygone Theatre’s 2017/18 Season


Bygone Theatre Announces its 6th Season

TORONTO, ON (Tuesday September 26, 2017) – Now entering their sixth season, Toronto based, indie nonprofit, Bygone Theatre announces their season lineup, which includes a classic 1965 British farce, a unique night of vintage Vaudeville, and the World Premiere of a new Canadian play.

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LOOT by Joe Orton
Directed by Emily Dix

England, 1965; Only hours before her intended burial, the late Mrs. Leavy is removed from her coffin by her son, Hal, and his best pal, Dennis, who have together just robbed a bank and need the coffin to stash the loot. Absurdity abounds in the dark, 1965 farce that examines attitudes surrounding death, police integrity, and the Catholic church.

This timely classic will run from March 8-17th (11 performances) at the Alumnae Theatre, 70 Berkeley St., Toronto. Casting TBA late 2017.

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JOE by Rachel Ganz

England, 1967; Joe and Kenneth live together. Following their experience in jail for a crime they believe was just an excuse to criminalize their homosexuality, Joe and Kenneth begin planning for their future. Kenneth believes they should break up to avoid further persecution but Joe believes they should die together as a desperate statement against policy. As Kenneth attempts to leave, Joe attempts to die. The domestic dispute exemplifies the ways in which public policy can affect private living and the small flat the men share fills with tension until Kenneth kills Joe with a hammer. Inspired by the real-life murder of playwright, Joe Orton.

ABOUT RACHEL GANZ: Rachel Ganz is a Toronto-based playwright. She is a recent playwriting graduate from The National Theatre School as well as the Artistic Director of Newborn Theatre and the Co-Creator of The Odds and Ends Festival. Works include: Blip/I Didn’t Need To Know You (Newborn Theatre, 2017), Plucked (Newborn Theatre, 2016), Vacuum (The National Theatre School, 2016), The Dumb War (Newborn Theatre, 2015), Teach Me (Newborn Theatre, 2014), Rhyme Reason or Otherwise (Hart House Players, 2014), Plasterface (Newborn Theatre, 2014), The Long Run (Sunnybrook Hospital/Newborn Theatre, 2014).

Staged Reading – April 8, 2018, the Social Capital Theatre, 154 Danforth Ave., Toronto

World Premiere – June 21-23, 2018 (limited engagement, 5 performances), the Alumnae Theatre Studio, 70 Berkeley St., Toronto

VAUDEVILLE REVUE – in partnership with the Revue Cinema

A one-night-only performance of vintage Vaudeville acts combined with classic silent films. Exact date TBA.

Visit for details and updates on casting.
Tickets: available at
Media Contact: Artistic Executive Director Emily Dix,, 647-343-5965


Bygone Theatre’s 2017/18 Season Launch Party

This year marks our 6th season, and what we’ve got planned is bigger than ever. Join us on Sunday September 24, 8pm, at the Social Capital Theatre (154 Danforth Ave.) for our Season Launch Party; there’ll be music, comedy, magic, a vintage radio play, and our season announcement. Come share a few drinks and a lot of laughs and see what we’re up to this season – tickets are $10 (cash at the door or in advance through Brown Paper Tickets). Hope to see you there!

Top 10 Tragic Stories & Scandals of Early Hollywood – Part 1

With the passing of several Hollywood greats over the past few months, as well as my recent acquisition of some autographed photos of Silver Screen stars, I’ve been thinking a lot about some of the forgotten stories and scandals of the early days of cinema.

For this list, I’m not going to include those who died tragically young of natural causes; Jean Harlow, Rudolph Valentino, Harold Lockwood. I’m also going to omit the cases where it is generally agreed that the death was caused by an accidental overdose, like in the case of Judy Garland, or Marilyn Monroe, reason being that there are simply too many of those, and they could easily make an entire list of their own (that may be one we do soon). For this, I’m going to focus on the bizarre, the types of tales that fed the tabloids and imaginations of millions of star-struck fans. So, in no particular order, here we go…

1.Olive Thomas (1894-1920)


Autographed photo of Olive Thomas, available for sale at TuckedAwayAntiques


The beautiful Olivia R. Duffy started her career as a model in 1914, before quickly moving on to become one of the celebrated Ziegfeld Follies girls. By 1916, she had started a career in silent films, and would go on to appear in over 20 features in a short 4-year span. While she found success during her short career, her early life had been troubled; she lost her father in 1906 when he died in a work-related accident. At age 15, she left school to help support the family, and by 1915 she had already been married and divorced (on the grounds of “desertion and cruelty”). But in late 1916 it seemed her fortunes would change, when she met and married the younger brother of silent film star, Mary Pickford; Jack Pickford.

The marriage was a passionate but tumultuous one. In her biography, Mary Pickford described it as such;

“She and Jack were madly in love with one another but I always thought of them as a couple of children playing together.”


The couple’s marriage was strained when, in 1920, they took a vacation together to Paris. After a night on the town, the couple returned to their hotel suite, and Jack either fell asleep or passed out drunk, with Olive in another room. The heavily intoxicated woman found a flask of her husband’s, and mistaking it for either water or medicine, ingested its contents; sadly, this turned out to be mercury bichloride, a poison prescribed to Jack to treat his sores from syphilis.  Apparently she immediately realized her mistake, and screamed out “Oh my god”, prompting Jack to rush to her side. She was taken to hospital where she died of poisoning 5 days later.

While her death was ruled an accident, it was the subject of media speculation, and became one of Hollywood’s first heavily publicized scandals. Some believed that she had committed suicide, devastated by Jack’s numerous affairs. Others pointed the finger at her husband, speculating that he had tricked her into drinking the concoction so that he could collect on her insurance money. Neither these nor any other rumours held much weight, and her death was almost certainly accidental, however it goes to show the power that the tabloids hold over stars’ careers. By 1923 he was making only a single film a year, and during his brief life he married 2 more times, both to other Ziegfeld girls. Both marriages ended in divorce, apparently due to his abusive behaviour. In 1933 he died, at the young age of 36, from progressive multiple neuritis, a result of his alcoholism.

2. Carl Switzer (1927-1959)

You may not know the name, Carl Switzer, but you almost certainly know the face. Switzer was a child star known for playing the character Alfalfa in the popular depression-era shorts, Our Gang (Little Rascals). While he had a number of bit-roles in films and on television in his later years, he found it difficult to find sustaining work due to typecasting.

In 1954 he married the heiress daughter of grain elevator empire Collingwood Grain. The pair lived for a time with the woman’s mother, but by 1956, wife Diantha was pregnant, and the couple was nearly out of money. Switzer’s mother-in-law gave them a farm in Kansas, and their son was born shortly after. Despite having been born in Illinois, Switzer was not made out for the farming life, and the arrangement didn’t last long; they were divorced in 1957.

In 1959, a series of unfortunate and frankly, petty arguments built up and eventually lead to his death. Essentially, Switzer had offered to train a hunting dog for a man named Moses Samuel Stiltz. The dog ran away and was lost, and so Switzer offered a $35 reward for its return. Several days later, a man found and returned the dog, and Switzer paid him the reward, as well as bought him $15 worth of drinks. A few days later, Switzer and his friend, Jack Piott, decided that Stiltz, the owner of the dog, should be responsible for paying the reward, and so in the early evening of January 21, 1959, the two went off to the home of Rita Corrigan, where they knew Stiltz was staying, to collect the $50 they felt they were owed.

What happened next has been a subject for debate for years. Originally, the story went that the pair entered the home and Switzer and Stiltz got into an argument which escalated violently when Switzer struck Stiltz with a glass clock. Stiltz then retreated to his bedroom to fetch a gun, which Switzer tried to wrestle away from him, causing it to shoot at the ceiling. Switzer then forced Stiltz into a closet and pulled a knife, before screaming “I’m going to kill you!”. Fearing for his life, Stiltz shot Switzer in the groin, causing massive internal bleeding. He was pronounced dead at the hospital. At the time, the death was ruled justifiable, as it was self-defence, however, in 2001 a new witness stepped forward with evidence that has since changed the popular view of the case.

Tom Corrigan, 56 year old son of Western star Ray “Crash” Corrigan, and stepson of Moses Stiltz, was present the night Switzer was killed. He claims that a drunk Switzer appeared at the door complaining of a month-old debt, and threatened to beat up Stiltz. Stiltz confronted him with a .38-caliber revolver, which Switzer did try to wrestle away, causing it to fire at the ceiling. A fragment struck young Corrigan in the leg, and his sister’s ran next-door for help. He recalls Switzer saying, “Well, we shot Tommy, enough of this,”and turning with Piott to leave. Corrigan followed out the front door and heard a shot come from behind him. When he turned, he saw Switzer sliding down the wall, shot and surprised. A closed penknife lay at his side, presumably having fallen out of his pocket. Stiltz shoved Piott against a counter and threatened to kill him too, while a the terrified man begged for his life. At this point, they heard sirens approaching, and the man was let go. To put the whole night simply, Corrigan stated, “He didn’t have to kill him,”. Moses Stiltz died in 1983 at the age of 62

3. Virginia Rappe (1895-1921)

250px-virginia_rappeSadly, model and silent film actress Virginia Rappe is not remembered for her career or life so much as for her death, and the way it ended the career of Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle.

Rappe had more than her fair share of tragedy in her short life. She was born to an unwed mother who died when Virginia was only 11. She started a modeling career in Chicago at age 14, and by 1916 had relocated to San Francisco to pursue her career. There she met dress designer Robert Moscovitz, and the pair became engaged. However, shortly afterward, Moscovitz was killed in a streetcar accident; this prompted Rappe to make the move to LA.

In LA she was hired by director Fred Balshofer and given a prominent role across from Harold Lockwood, in the film Paradise Garden. Her personal life continued to be troubled, and in 1918 she gave birth to a child that was promptly put into foster care. She stared in a film titled Over the Rhine with newcomer Rudolph Valentino, for which she was awarded the title of “Best Dressed Girl in Pictures”. By 1919 she was engaged again, this time to director/producer Henry Lehrman.

The exact circumstances that lead to Rappe’s untimely death are not clear, but were the fuel of media fire at the time. In 1921, Rappe attended a Labor Day part at the home of Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, a popular film comedian. At some point during the party, Rappe allegedly suffered a trauma that caused her ruptured bladder and secondary peritonitis; her cause of death. It was alleged at the time that this was caused by a violent sexual assault by Arbuckle. The accuser was Maude Delmont, a new friend of Rappe who attended the party with her. While Delmont was quick to point the finger at Arbuckle, she was not present for any of the events she described, and was barred from testimony at the following three trials due to her own extensive criminal background that included extortion. More likely, Rappe’s cause of death was a result of cystitis, a condition that could be aggravated by alcohol. Various witnesses also testified that she suffered from venereal disease, and so it is more likely her death was a result of poor health, rather than assault.


Fatty Arbuckle, circa 1916

After 3 manslaughter trials, Arbuckle was acquitted, but that did nothing to save his career. Another case of media frenzy having a greater impact than truth and justice. Despite his acquittal, his films were banned for a year after the trials, and he was publicly ostracized. He worked only sparingly through the 1920s, but made a brief return to acting in 1932 when he made short two-reel comedies for Warner Bros. He didn’t get the chance to make a Warner feature, as he died in his sleep of a heart attack in 1933, and the young age of 46.

4. The Horowitz Brothers aka The Three Stooges


The stooges with Ted Healy

The blue-collar, Jewish brothers from Brooklyn were “born without an ounce of theatrical blood in their veins” but, nonetheless decided to try their hand at showbiz in the height of the Vaudeville days. Moses and Samuel, better known by their stage names, Moe and Shemp, had moderate success in burlesque shows before getting their break in 1922, when they met up with old friend, and current Vaudeville hit, Ted Healy. He brought them together with comedian/musician, Larry Fine, and Ted Healy and His Stooges were born. While their style of comedy may be dismissed by many today, they essentially invented the form of brutal slapstick that made them popular, and comedy greats such as Bob Hope and Milton Berle credited them with inspiring their careers.

There was so much tragedy surrounding the Stooges, that I’m going to break them up individually here, starting with the man who pulled them together, Ted Healy.


Ted Healy (1896-1937)

In the early 1930s, Ted Healy’s Stooges made a film for Fox, and while The Stooges impressed the execs, they weren’t fans of Healy, and decided to cut him loose. Incensed, Healy tried to demand that the Stooges not use any of their old routines, and even went so far as to threaten to bomb the theatres where the group performed. But by 1932, with Moe now working as the group’s manager, Healy and the Horowitz brothers managed to reignite their partnership. Unfortunately, Healy’s erratic behaviour and heavy drinking was too much for the skittish Shemp, who decided to leave the group and start a solo act. With one man down, Moe suggested his young brother, Jerry, but Healy dismissed him as untalented. Eventually, after a impromptu walk-on in a stage act that proved insanely popular with the audience, the most famous of the Stooge brother’s was born; Curly Howard.

Larry, Curly, Moe and Healy signed an MGM contract and made several films through the 1930s, but when it wasn’t renewed, the group broke up and went their own ways. Healy, not coping well with this change or life in general, made a series of stupid choices that eventually lead to his death; he angered mobster “Lucky” Luciano by trying to rob one of Capone’s safes, and flirted with actress Thelma Todd while she was still married to Maffia man Pat DiCicco. In 1935, now married to a UCLA student named Betty Hickman, Healy went out to celebrate the birth of his first child. Drunk, he ran into DiCicco again, as well as character actor Wallace Beery. The three got into a fight, and Beery and DiCicco beat Healy so badly that he fell into a coma, and died a day later. Officially, the death was ruled accidental, with the cause being acute alcoholism. Of course, this was performed after the embalming, when the organs would have been soaked in alcohol. No one took much interest in Healy’s death, and when his widow complained to MGM, where she was working as a contract player, she was promptly fired.

Meanwhile, the Three Stooges were working for Columbia Pictures, and were on the brink of their greatest success…

Jerry “Curly” Howard (1902-1952)

The Stooges spent a remarkable 23 years with Columbia, but were kept on 12-month contracts the entire time. While they made the company enormous amounts of money, and took them from Poverty Row to being a major player, they saw very little of this financial success. By 1942, the physical strain of playing a human punching bag was getting to Curly. Apparently, many of the hits were “as real as they seemed”, and that, combined with his alcoholism, was taking a toll on his health. Doctor’s insisted that he take a break, but the studio wouldn’t allow it, so he stayed on, until, in 1945, he suffered his first major stroke, at the age of 42. He was back to work in a month, despite clearly not being up to it. They attempted to hide this by using old footage, and focusing more on Moe and Larry, but eventually even this was too much of a strain, and at the age of 45 he suffered a paralyzing stroke. It was later found that, from enduring blows to the head, he had suffered several brain haemorrhages. He died in 1952.

Samuel “Shemp” Howard (1895 – 1955)

Shemp re-joined his brothers after Curly’s death, in an effort to save their careers. Sadly, he was dead a few years later, from a heart attack at age 60.

Moses “Moe” Howard (1897 – 1975) & Larry Fine (1902 – 1975)

After 23 years of service, in 1957 the remaining troop was unceremoniously fired. Moe returned to the studio lot after a couple weeks to say goodbye to old friends, and was refused entry by the security guard.

On the verge of a comeback, Larry suffered a stroke and died in 1974, at the age of 72. Around the same time, Moe was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, and died in 1975, making him the oldest Stooge at age 78.

5. Thelma Todd (1906 – 1935)


Thelma Todd

Being a mobster’s girl can be bad for health, as was the case with actress Thelma Todd. Known for her comedic roles in Marx Brothers, Buster Keaton and Laurel & Hardy flicks, she died under suspicious circumstances at the age of 29.

She was found dead in her car, in a garage, having asphyxiated from carbon monoxide poisoning; it was speculated this was either a suicide, or an accident, and that she had been locked out overnight and was seeking refuge in the warm car. However, earlier in the evening she had had a brief, but unpleasant exchange with her ex-husband, mobster Pat DiCicco. The autopsy ruled that it was an accident with suicidal tendencies, however there was no suicide note, and nothing to suggest that she had been planning to end her life. Were the suspicious aspects pointing not to suicide, but to a hit? Murder? We may never know.


Stay tuned for part 2!


Bygone Theatre Rentals – Office Furniture

We recently did a production of His Girl Friday, which meant acquiring a LARGE volume of vintage office furniture and supplies; here’s some of the furniture pieces we now have available to rent.


  1. Vintage Wood Office Chairs: see individual pictures for details
    Rental Price: $20.00 each/wk
  2. Burgundy Faux Leather Executive Chair: see individual picture for details
    Rental Price: $30.00/wk
  3. Small Telephone Desk: see individual picture for details
    Rental Price: $15.00/wk
  4. Wood Arts & Crafts and Mid Century Modern Desks: see individual pictures for details
    Rental Price: $40.00 each/wk
  5. Metal Cabinet: see individual picture for details
    Rental Price: $15.00/wk

The styles we have available would be suitable for someone looking for something from the 1920s-60s, or something modern day with a vintage twist. Discounts available when renting multiple pieces at once, prices listed are for a single item, before HST.

Stay tuned to see some of the smaller set dressing items we have as well.

Bygone Theatre Rentals – Appliances

Bygone Theatre has finally gotten our  storage space sorted, which means we are ready to start renting out some of our great vintage pieces! Take a look at some of our larger items here; all prices listed are before HST. Please note that we are able to negotiate payment structures, and that discounts are available when renting multiple items at once. Email us at with any questions, or to place an order; we require a minimum of 3 days notice for all prop rentals.

  1. Vintage Fridge: used in Wait Until Dark, gorgeous late 50s/early 60s white fridge with dusty rose interior. Inside latch has been modified to make for easier opening. Rental Price: $75.00/wk

2. Vintage Stove: used in Wait Until Dark, charming late 1940s white stove with oven.
Rental Price: $75.00/wk

3. Vintage 1950s Ringer Washer: used in Wait Until Dark, white General Electric washing machine with wringer, mid-50s, excellent condition.
Rental Price: $75.00/wk

Bygone Theatre - 1950s Wringer Washer Rental

4. Vintage 1950s Red Mini Fridge: Late 1940s/1950s, bright red mini fridge with chrome handle. Great for a photoshoot, or for a cafe/soda shop look.
Rental Price: $75/week

Bygone Theatre Red Mini Fridge

Stay tuned for much more, including vintage office supplies, props & costumes.

A Summer of Fringe – More Festival Picks

While we are based in Toronto, our talented friends go all over to perform. You recently saw our Top 5 Toronto Fringe Festival list, now it’s time for our Top Fringe Picks that are outside of Toronto, again, all feature a “Friend of Bygone”. Why not take a mini road-trip and check these out? We plan to!

Turtleneck – Storefront Fringe Festival, Kingston, ON (Sean Jacklin)

Turtleneck - 2017 Storefront Fringe Festival, Kingson

Synopsis: Vick is a recovering sex addict on a road to recovery. Along the way she befriends Darcy, a rehabilitation worker. Things seem to be going well for her until she accidentally meets Darcy’s volatile sex-obsessed older brother. What follows is a spiralling chain of events that threatens her new life and the lives of everyone around her. Turtleneck is a dark comedy about sex addiction, pornography, gender roles and the exploration of human limitations.

Featuring: Sean Jacklin, Annie Tuma, Karen Scobie, Bryce Fletch, Steven Vlahos

Sean Jacklin: Recently played hard-boiled newspaper editor Walter Burns in our production of His Girl Friday. Sean is a natural onstage, easily switching between comedy and drama, he can steal the show in any scene he’s in. Definitely worth the drive to Kingston.

Venue:  177 Princess St (formerly XO Lounge), Kingston, ON K7L 1A9

Showtimes: Time is running out on this one! All that remains are;
Friday June 30, 10:30pm
Saturday July 1, 2:00pm

Some Of Us Pretend – Hamilton Fringe Festival (Alex Clay)

Some Of Us Pretend - 2017 Hamilton Fringe Festival

Synopsis: A chance encounter between a painter and a writer plants a seed that promises to blossom, that is, until the death of a stranger. What can one do when all they feel is blame? Is it selfish to use art to help heal that pain? Some of us Pretend is a new play by Bricks n’Sticks Productions, the company that brought you Scribe! at the 2015 Hamilton Fringe Festival.

Featuring: Alex Clay, Brittany Cope and Melinda Jordan

Alex Clay: Alex recently performed as McCue in His Girl Friday, and has also been involved in our Retro Radio Hour performances. He’s a talented and versatile performer, and a super great guy – go see his show. You’ll be glad you did.

Venue: The Player’s Guild of Hamilton, 80 Queen Street South
Hamilton, Ontario, ON L8P3R8. 

July 21 @ 6:00pm
July 22 @ 9:30pm
July 23 @ 8:00pm
July 25 @ 7:30pm
July 27 @ 9:30pm
July 28 @ 5:00pm
July 29 @ 4:00pm

The Blue Bird – Hamilton Fringe Festival (Eric Lehmann)

The Blue Bird - 2017 Hamilton Fringe Festival.

Synopsis: Human beings are very odd! Since the death of the Fairies, they see nothing at all and they never suspect it! With the help of a magical diamond, Mytyl is able to finally see the souls of all the things around her. As she embarks on a perilous and exciting journey in search for the mysterious Blue Bird of Happiness, she discovers exactly how much she has been missing. But does she find the Blue Bird?

Featuring: Monique Stinchcombe, Constantine Karzis, Kelly McAllister, Kasha Pinel, Tanisha Sinclair, Marisa McDonald, Eric Lehmann, Jared Doke, Anjali Rai, Holly Pace and Alyssa Blasak.

Eric Lehmann:  You may remember Eric from one of our Retro Radio Hour shows, or from his performances at our Vaudeville Revue. Don’t believe there’s any singing in this one, but we’re excited to see what he’s up to!


Elizabeth Rose Morriss and Eric Lehmann in Bygone Theatre’s Vaudeville Revue

Venue: Aquarius Studio, 190 King William St., Hamilton, ON.

Fri July 21: 8:30pm
Sun July 23: 3:00pm
Mon July 24: 6:00pm
Wed July 26: 8:00pm
Fri July 28: 6:00pm
Sat July 29: 9:00pm
Sun July 30: 3:30pm


Bygone Theatre’s Top 5 Toronto Fringe Picks 2017

As always, here’s our round-up of the Top 5 2017 Toronto Fringe shows we think you should see – we know they’re gonna be great because they feature past Bygone artists! Check it out:

32 Short Sketches About Bees (Shannon Lahaie)

32 Short Sketches About Bees - 2017 Toronto Fringe

Synopsis: It started out as a bet: could this team put together a sketch comedy show with thirty two sketches about bees – any kind of bees, from honey bees to the letter B to Bea Arthur (if we can get the impression right) – in sixty minutes? Maybe they will. Maybe they won’t. Let’s find out!

Featuring: Created by Andrew Bushell (Bad Dog), Leigh Cameron (Second City), Claire Farmer (Dame Judy Dench), Jessica Greco (Dame Judy Dench), Shannon Lahaie (Dame Judy Dench), Chris Leveille (Dame Judy Dench), and Cameron Wyllie (O Dat Dum), and directed by Paul Bates (Second City).

Shannon Lahaie: You may remember Shannon as Susy in Wait Until Dark. While she did a stunning job as a young, blind housewife in this suspense drama, Shannon’s greatest strength is in comedy. I saw her last year in Everything Else Is Sold Our and it was absolutely brilliant. With many of the same faces onstage this year, I know this show will be a hit.


Caitlin & Eric Are Broken Up (Caitlin Robson, Eric Miinch)

Caitlin And Eric Are Broken Up - 2017 Toronto Fringe

Synopsis: Newly-Singles Caitlin and Eric walk into a bedroom… and go on a painfully funny rebound to look back on their past relationships.

Featuring: Misery loves company! At a story-telling event in 2015, Eric Miinch (Fratwurst Comedy, Behold the Barfly Fringe 2016) told the audience a funny story from his personal heartache, and Caitlin Robson (Karenin’s Anna, Fringe 2014) countered with one from hers. Realizing what they had, they teamed up with Director Jess Beaulieu (Crimson Wave Comedy & Podcast), and through some improv, roleplay and imagination, they devised this candid, laugh-til-you-cry dialogue about love lost, and the art of moving on.

Caitlin Robson: You may remember Caitlin from her role as Miss Jeffries in our 2015 production of Rope. While this was another drama, Caitlin showed off her comedic timing at our Retro Radio Hour – Suspense! fundraiser, and I can’t wait to see her in this original show.

Eric Miinch: Eric played the sinister Mr.Roat in last year’s production of Wait Until Dark. While he made for an excellent villain, it was very against his character, and almost felt like a waste not giving him a chance to show off his comedic improv skills. Eric shines in comedy, I can’t wait to see him in this.

Confidential Musical Theatre Project (June 9 – Elizabeth Rose Morriss)

Confidential Musical Theatre Project - 2017 Toronto Fringe

SynopsisOur casts are given their scripts and scores and asked to familiarize themselves with their roles – but not to reveal the show title or their role in it to anyone. With no rehearsals, the cast and crew meet for the first time one hour before the performance begins. The audience shows up with no knowledge of what show they’re about to see. The only rule: don’t stop. No matter what.

Featuring: It varies, but we recommend the June 9th performance as it features the lovely Elizabeth Rose Morriss!

Elizabeth Rose Morriss: Liz has been a Bygone staple from the beginning. You may remember her from her role as Miss Kentley in RopeGertrude Baldwin in His Girl Friday, her performances at our Vaudeville Revue, or from one of our many Retro Radio Hour shows. CMTP is an ambitious project at any time, but doing them for a Fringe sounds incredibly challenging. Liz is a wonderful actor and a beautiful singer, so you know that, regardless of what the show is, the June 9th performance is going to be great.

On The Inside (Ryan Kotack)

On The Inside - 2017 Toronto Fringe

Synopsis: On The Inside is a docutheatre production inspired by Ashley Smith, a young female inmate from New Brunswick. Convicted of a minor infraction, Ashley later spent nearly three years in solitary confinement. This piece takes a close look at the effects of solitary on a young person and the hunger for relationships. Shame and vulnerability reveal themselves at different moments in the lives of an inmate, nurse and two prison guards. Each character journeys through the contrast between a harsh penal system and the reality of our universal desperation to be felt, heard and seen.

Featuring: Harry Lavigne, Ryan Christopher Kotack, Marnie Wohl Bennett, Kelechi Ofoha.

Ryan Kotack: Ryan was recently seen as Murphy in His Girl Friday, and before that as a cop in Wait Until Dark. In both of these roles, as well as others I’ve seen him in, he plays a gritty, disillusioned tough guy, and with the sound of this show I think he’s well cast and will be right at home – can’t wait.

Grey (Kenton Blythe)

Grey - 2017 Toronto Fringe

Synopsis: Twelve years ago Richard Buttle killed Jayden Alexander. Today is the day of his parole hearing. Jumping through time, the circumstances that lead to the crime begin to unravel. Who is really to blame? Not everything is as black and white as one would like to perceive.

Featuring: Kenton Blythe, Andrea Carter, Kion Flatts, Mandy Roveda, Asante Tracey and Veshone Cunningham.

Kenton Blythe : You may remember Kenton from way back in 2013, when we mounted our second ever production, Dial M For Murder. Kenton played loveable crime-writer Max. Since then he’s gone on to perform in a tour of Evil Dead; The Musical and to do a season at the Shaw Festival. Can’t wait to see him onstage here at home!


The Toronto Fringe Festival has an amazing 160 ticketed events, as well as over 50 free, drop-in events – so get out there and get Fringing!


Top 5 Vintage St. Patrick’s Day Songs

Looking for some classic tunes to accompany tonight’s festivities? We’ve got you covered. Here’s our top five vintage songs that are perfect for a Patty’s Day celebration.

1. The Wearing of the Green

While there are dozens, if not hundreds, of renditions of this 1798 Irish ballad, we’re personally partial to this 1940 version by Judy Garland. The tune laments the oppression of the supporters of the Irish Rebellion, and as such is an important bit of history for anyone who wants a true understanding of the wearing of the green. The jazzy score and silky voice of Miss Garland keep the song from being too dreary, making it a perfect addition to our list.

2. When Irish Eyes Are Smiling

Originally published in 1912, it became famous during WWI when recorded by John McCormack. We like Bing’s sultry version, recorded in 1939.

3. It’s a Long Way to Tipperary 

You can’t have an Irish song list and not include one by John McCormack. This is another song that was first recorded during WWI, and became popular again during the second World War.

4. Danny Boy

While the lyrics to this ancient Irish melody also originate from the first World War, you would be hard-pressed to find someone today who isn’t familiar with it; more than maybe any other on this list, it has proven to have a lasting popularity, and has been covered by everyone from Elvis Presley to Johnny Cash. We chose this Jim Reeves version as we think it incorporates the more modern (eg. mid century) style we like with the classic tune, beautifully.

5. My Wild Irish Rose

And finally, another Irish folk ballad, here sung by the charming Connie Francis.

Have a safe and happy St.Patrick’s Day!


Crew Spotlight: Emily Dix

25.pngEmily Dix is the Artistic Executive Director of Bygone Theatre, and is directing, stage managing, designing and producing His Girl Friday. Emily has produced all of Bygone’s shows and directed 5 of the 6, with this now being her 7th.

Bio: Emily Dix is a Toronto based theatre artist, a “jack of all trades” who has worked as a director, producer, stage manager, set & costume designer and performer. In 2008 she moved to the city to attend UofT and quickly became involved with companies on campus, like Victoria College Drama, the UC Follies, St. Mike’s Drama and Hart House Theatre. In 2012, she founded Bygone Theatre, a company which she still runs today as the Artistic Executive Director. Emily has worked as a producer for Theatre 20 and as the assistant producer at Tarragon Theatre, as well as a production assistant for Poculi Ludique Societas, the PR Manager for the Social Capital Theatre, and numerous other freelance positions. In addition to her work in theatre, Emily is a vintage lover and avid collector. She owns an Etsy shop, Tucked Away Antiques, that specializes in small vintage items and digital downloads. Emily has also dabbled in design, making web sites and posters for local artists. For past credits and more information, visit her website,

What made you want to mount His Girl Friday?

While not a conscious decision, I realized that all of the shows Bygone had mounted so far were either dramas, or at the very least rather dark comedies. I never intended for us to stick to style like that so when I was planning our 2016/17 season I knew I wanted a comedy. I had a list of several that had caught my eye, but one day I stumbled across a list of films that were currently in the public domain, and couldn’t believe His Girl Friday was one of them! I was going to write the adaptation myself, but my uncle, Craig Dix, had recently sent me a radio of script of his he’d done, so I asked him if he’d like to do it, and the answer was an enthusiastic “yes”. It’s a great story, with a large and diverse cast, strong female lead AND in the public domain – how could I not want to put it on?

What do you love about the show?

It really is very funny. I love the fast-paced dialogue and the opportunity for cheesy, over-the-top humour. While there are certainly complications with having such a large cast, I did want to be able to include a lot of people, so the size of it appeals to me as well. Plus, I love stories that include a great romance, without it being the central part of the story. It keeps things endearing but not sappy, and makes for a plot everyone can enjoy.

Which role – director, producer, designer, stage manger – have you found most challenging? Why?

I think with this one, I’d have to say director, simply because of the size of the cast. While I did the first round of auditions very early December, it took a very long time to get everything cast; I’m glad I held out for the right actors, but it has been stressful not having the whole group. As producer, it’s always stressful because there is a lot of money on the line, but I feel like I’ve done it enough by now that I have a pretty solid idea of what it takes, and just look at past show reports to calm myself when I start worrying about whether we’ll be able to make rent.

What has been the most rewarding part of the process so far?

Seeing the advances the cast has made. Like I said, big show, lots of fast-talking dialogue, it’s not an easy play. It’s exhausting, especially for the leads. But I’ve got an amazingly talented cast, and every rehearsal they’re leaps and bounds above where they were before, so it’s super fun and rewarding to see them get comfortable in their roles and play with a lot of the silliness that is there in the script. It’s going to be a funny show.

Why should people come and see the show?

It’s so much fun. Fast-paced, goofy, it’ll have you laughing and on the edge of your seat. Not to mention we’ve got a huge cast, so if you’re in the local theatre scene, chances are you know someone involved! Come out and support Toronto Theatre.

Anything else we should know?

Sadly, it’s a very limited engagement, just one weekend. So there are only 5 chances for the public to come and see the show; Thursday March 2, 8:00pm; Friday March 3, 8:00pm; Saturday March 4, 2:00pm and 8:00pm; Sunday March 5, 2:00pm. We encourage you to buy your tickets in advance, which can be done through the Native Earth box office, at Hope to see you there!

Cast Spotlight: Cass Van Wyck

cass-van-wyck-heashotCass Van Wyck plays “newspaper man” Hildy Johnson in our upcoming production of His Girl Friday; this is Cass’ first show with Bygone.

Bio: Cass Van Wyck is a Toronto based actress who splits her time between her online sketch comedy group ‘Cookie Biscuits’ and her role as volunteer coordinator at The Storefront Theatre. In addition to her BA in performance from Brock University, Cass has worked with many notable directors including Soheil Parsa, Sonia Norris & Daniel MacIvor. Her latest credits include Mercy Lewis in ‘The Crucible’ (The Kindling Collective) and Bridget in Broken Soil Theatre’s ‘#dirtygirl’ (Audience Choice Award winner at the Hamilton Fringe Festival). Originally from the small town of Fenwick, Ontario, Cass currently lives in Toronto and can normally be found baking chocolate chip cookies and cheering on the jays. She is so excited to be working with the Bygone Theatre team can’t wait to share the work with everyone!

How did you hear about Bygone Theatre and this production of His Girl Friday?

I had worked with the fabulous Sean Jacklin previously and he reached out and mentioned that Bygone Theatre was looking to cast the iconic role of Hildy Johnson in His Girl Friday. 

What made you want to be involved?/ what do you love about the story?

Bygone Theatre has a reputation for producing amazing work and when I heard there was an opportunity to audition for them, it was a no-brainer. Hildy Johnson is such an amazing character who’s gusto and wit tops most of the male characters which is incredibly refreshing, especially for the 1940s. She is unapologetically vibrant and such a treat to play. 

What’s your favourite old movie?

Wizard of Oz.

Have you been in a show like this before? What else might people have seen you in recently?

I’ve never done a show like this before. Recently I’ve been doing a lot more contemporary theatre including Hamilton Fringe Festival 2016 Audience Choice Award winning production of “#dirtygirl” director by Michael Kras. 

Why should people come and see the show?

As fast paced screwball comedy, His Girl Friday is an absolutely hoot with crazy characters who find them selves in crazier situations – just good ol fashion fun! 

Anything else you want us to know?

I’m so excited for people to see the amazing work this group of talented artists are doing! Going to be a good time!

See Cass live onstage March 2-5, 2017 at the Aki Studio, Daniels Spectrum.
Buy your tickets today.