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.

Cast Spotlight: Guifré Bantjes-Ràfols

guifre_9845webGuifré Bantjes-Ràfols plays cop-killer Earl Williams in our upcoming production of His Girl Friday; this is his first show with Bygone.

Bio: Guifré Bantjes-Ràfols is an emerging international artist who has worked on productions in Toronto, Barcelona, and Saskatoon, and is thrilled to be joining Bygone Theatre as Earl Williams. Most recently he has appeared as Jacob Mercer in Salt-Water Moon (Quarter Century Theatre), Lazarus in Lazarus and his Beloved (Broken Hill Theatre), Cheever in The Crucible (Kindling Collective), and Nelson in the feature film Sebastian (Bonpland Pictures). He recently graduated from George Brown College’s Theatre Arts program where, in addition to playing roles such as Alexander Kalabushkin (The Suicide), and Joe (The Crackwalker), he produced and directed trailers and other promotional materials for the graduating season in 2015-16.

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

I first heard about Bygone Theatre a couple of years ago when they were taking their production of Kill, Sister, Kill!, to the New York Fringe.  The show sounded really interesting so when my wonderful friend Sean Jacklin, who is playing the role of Walter Burns, was kind enough to tell me they were casting for His Girl Friday, I jumped at the opportunity. 

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

I really enjoyed the witty dialogue and fun characters when I read the script. All the characters offer so much room for play and depth. Even though there is a central narrative, and characters, that drives through the play, you really get a sense of everyone’s quirks and idiosyncrasies.

What’s your favourite old movie?

Probably Singin’ in the Rain. (Or perhaps Lion in Winter)

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

No, I can’t say I’ve ever been in a show quite like this before. It’ll be interesting to bring that film style to the stage.

In January, I played Jacob Mercer in Quarter Century Theatre’s production of Salt-Water Moon. But it was in Collingwood so… Unless you have a car, I won’t hold it against you if you didn’t make it out :p Before that, I played Cheever in The Crucible with Kindling Collective.

Why should people come and see the show?

Because it’s going to be great! Do you like wit? Do you like it with a touch of slapstick? Do you like to have a great story to tie it all together? (and do you like it to have a vintage film flavour?) Then you’ll love it. You’ll have a great time! What better reason to go to the theatre!?

Anything else you want us to know?

Not really.. 🙂 Most of my life is up in the air most of the time and I’m never really sure what I’ll be working on next. Hopefully something as cool and fun as this.

Get your tickets to His Girl Friday online now.

Cast Spotlight: Jessica Danov

jessica-danovJessica Danov plays secretary Maisie, and blonde bombshell Jeannie in the upcoming production of His Girl Friday; this is her first show with Bygone.

Bio: Jessica is thrilled to be making her debut with Bygone Theatre in ‘His Girl Friday’! A graduate of George Brown and Fanshawe College, Jessica has continued studying and working steadily. Some of her favourite roles include Lisa in Wine, Women, and Song (LIVEact Theatre), Tyler in Some Girl (s) (Tarragon Extra Space), and Natalie in Jenny’s House of Joy (Scarborough Players). Recent film and television credits include The Miracle of People, A Very Candid Game (Bronze Remi-award winner at the WorldFest-Houston Film Festival), and Haunted Case Files, where Jessica portrays real life paranormal investigator Marie Yates. She is currently producing and acting in her first original short film ‘Bad Vegan’ slated for release this fall.

How did you hear about Bygone Theatre and this production of His Girl Friday?  
A friend saw the posting and knew it’d be right up my alley so they passed it along to me. 

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

I’m a big fan of the classics.  Sometimes I feel like I was born in the wrong era!  What’s not to love about the story? It has everything! Madcap humour, romance, and a sprinkling of suspense and drama.  It’s great fun.

What’s your favourite old movie?                                                                                            

I have to pick just one? Alright, I’ll have to go with ‘Bringing up Baby’ with Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant. It’s a fantastic, fast-paced, screwball comedy.  I grew up watching old movies with my grandmother and her favourites were with Katharine Hepburn. She always wanted to see me play Katherine.  Though that opportunity hasn’t arisen (yet!), I think she would’ve really loved this play.

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

I’ve never done anything like this up until this point, which is why I’m so thrilled to be getting the chance now!  The last play I did was called ‘Wine, Women, and Song’, a fun comedy where my character was described as a cross between Jessica Rabbit and Cruella DeVille! As far as film and television go, I’ve recently played a recurring role on the series ‘Haunted Case Files’ and am filming a short called ‘Bad Vegan’ slated for release in the fall.

Why should people come and see the show?                                                                              

With a stellar cast and classic laughter-inducing story full of heart, it’s guaranteed to be a great night out!          

His Girl Friday runs March 2-5 at the Aki Studio, Daniels Spectrum, Toronto. Buy tickets here.

Cast Spotlight: Elizabeth Rose Morris

elizabeth-rose-morriss-headshotElizabeth Rose Morriss plays uptight Gertrude Baldwin in His Girl Friday. You may remember Liz from her role as Miss Kentley in Rope and as a performer in our Vaudeville Revue, as well as numerous Retro Radio Hours. She is also currently on the Bygone Theatre Board of Directors.

Bio: Elizabeth Rose Morriss most recently performed as Anne Egerman in A Little Night Music (Confidential Musical Theatre Project), as Adella in The Little Mermaid (Lower Ossington Theatre), and as Margot Frank in The Diary of Anne Frank (Plain Stage Theatre Company). Previous Bygone Theatre roles include Miss Kentley in Rope, singer in the Vaudeville Revue, and a regular performer in their Retro Radio Hour shows.
She has degrees in Music Theatre (Acadia University) and Education (Nipissing University), is currently on the Board of Directors of Bygone Theatre, and does Marketing for the Toronto Confidential Musical Theatre Project. Keep up with Elizabeth online: Twitter and Instagram @lizrosemorriss, and facebook.com/elizabethrosemorriss.

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

Emily Dix directed a play I was in with Newborn Theatre, and I’ve been happy to be involved since the beginning of Bygone Theatre! I’m currently on the Board of Directors, and was intrigued from the first time Emily announced His Girl Friday as the next mainstage play.

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

I love the snappy, very stylized 1940s dialogue. The whole script is so witty and fast-paced, it’s a lot of fun!

What’s your favourite old movie?

I love a lot of old movies, mostly musicals, but my favourite has to be Singin’ in the Rain.

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

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Ian McGarret as Mr. Kentley and Elizabeth Rose Morriss as Miss Kentley in Rope, 2014.

In 2014, I played Miss Kentley in Bygone Theatre’s production of Rope—different decade and not a comedy, but also a period piece, and also a play with a classic movie version. Most recently I played Anne Egerman in A Little Night Music (Confidential Musical Theatre Project), Adella in The Little Mermaid (Lower Ossington Theatre), and was a singer in Bygone’s Vaudeville Revue.

Why should people come and see the show?

For fun, entertaining vintage comedy!

See Liz live onstage this March in His Girl Friday – tickets available online.

Cast Spotlight: Steve Hobbs

steve-hobbs-high-rez-headshotComedian Steve Hobbs plays sweet but bland insurance salesman, Bruce Baldwin, in His Girl Friday; this is his first production with Bygone Theatre.

Bio: Steve Hobbs is an actor/comedian and a long-time Toronto improviser. A graduate of the Second City Conservatory sketch and Long-form programs, he’s known for his stage performances in hit Toronto Fringe shows like “Behold the Barfly!” (2016, 5N’s – Now Magazine) and performed, co-wrote and produced in “Everything Is Fine” (2014, 4N’s – Now Magazine, 4.5 stars – The Torontoist). In improv, he plays monthly in the James Bond-themed “Double Oh!” show, previously headlined Impatient Theatre Co. comedy nights with “El Fantoma”, and has been featured internationally in various comedy festivals (Detroit Improv Festival, North Carolina Comedy Arts Festival, NYC’s Del Close Marathon). Off-stage, he’s been a writer for The Second City Network, CBC Punchline and the Beaverton, as well as co-wrote the 48 hour film project 2016 finalist “Fumbled”. When he’s not performing, he’s coaching and teaching as part of the Second City Toronto faculty.

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

I heard about the production through Emily Dix herself at Bygone, but she also close ties to a director/producer team that I go way back with to past Fringe successes and beyond. They kind of recommended me and played match maker a little bit, which was nice. Small world!

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

The theme of professional versions of ourselves clashing with our romantic ideals is something that I not only identify with personally, but it’s also pretty trendy these days (have you SEEN La La Land??). His Girl Friday nails the frustrating balancing act for me, and grabbed me as a lighter, more fun exploration of that same dichotomy and realities.

What’s your favourite old movie?

Uh oh. I know I should probably say “Casablanca” or something, but honestly, its probably more like that 60’s Adam West batman film. Bombs, sharks…it’s basically Casablanca.

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

I haven’t been in a production set in this particular era before, but I’ve been in multiple successful Fringe shows (“Behold, the Barfly!”, “Everything is Fine”) and make TV/youtube/stage appearances fairly often. I play in a monthly James Bond themed improv show as well, and guest as a comedian when I can.

Why should people come and see the show?

This show has a stellar cast, fast talking drama and comedy, and my character goes to jail a lot. It’s a winner, come watch!

Anything else you want us to know?

It’s my first time working with Bygone, and I’m PUMPED.

See Steve onstage this March in His Girl Friday tickets available online. 

Cast Spotlight: Sean Jacklin

sean-jacklinSean Jacklin plays hardboiled newspaper editor Walter Burns (Cary Grant in the film) in our upcoming production of His Girl Friday; this is Sean’s first production with Bygone Theatre.

Bio: Sean is a graduate of both George Brown College and the University of Guelph’s theatre training programs. While not acting, Sean also fancies himself a playwright, theatre technician, director and musician. Sean will be appearing shortly alongside Epigraph Collective in their show Don’t Look Back and as part of the Mercury Song series in Bright Lights, City Nights. Recent credits include: Deputy Governor Danforth in The Crucible (Kindling Collective), Eric Birling in An Inspector Calls and Harry Pepper in Barefoot in the Park (The Classic Theatre Festival), The Inspector in The Enchanted, Foigard in The Beaux’ Stratagem, Aristarch in The Suicide, and Augustus Lorton in Lady Windermere’s Fan (George Brown College)

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

I actually heard about Bygone theatre last year when they were putting up Wait Until Dark. I had finished a run of that show the summer before and knew someone in it as well. This production (His Girl Friday) I learned about from Alex Clay. He messaged me saying the show needed another actor and I remember thoroughly enjoying the movie (and always loved Cary Grant) so I joined up!

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

The show is so witty and quick that I had to jump on the opportunity to play Burns. So much of the humour is influenced by the old vaudevillians (The Marx Bros., The Three Stooges, Laurel and Hardy etc.) and I was practically raised on that so it felt pretty natural to say yes to the show. 

What’s your favourite old movie?


Duck Soup. Hands down the best Marx Bros. film and one that leaves me in stitches every time I watch it. It’s also interesting to note when it was made. 1933, the same year a certain sad wannabe dictator was made chancellor of Germany. The whole movie is a send up of militarism and idiotic diplomacy. A movie well suited to our times as well I’d say (sadly).

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

I’ve worked with the Classic Theatre Festival in Perth, ON for the past 8 years or so on and of, both on stage and off and their mandate is to do the golden hits of Broadway and the West End so there is some overlap between their shows and Bygone theatre’s show. Most recently with them I played Eric in An Inspector Calls and Harry Pepper in Barefoot in the Park. More locally I played Deputy Governor Danforth in The Kindling Collective’s production of The Crucible  back in October and graduated from George Brown College’s theatre program last April, where I performed in Lady Windermere’s Fan, The Suicide, The Beaux’ Stratagem, and The Enchanted.

Why should people come and see the show?

If you love comedy, come to the show. If you want to see a show that stands out above some of its contemporaries when it comes to gender dynamics it is also an interesting piece. Most of all it’s gonna be a fast paced barrel of fun, and nobody should miss out on that.

Anything else you want us to know?

If you are looking for something completely different come to the Mercury Cafe on Queen E. March 10 and 11 for Bright Lights, City Nights. It’s a song series/play that myself and some of my George Brown colleagues have crafted about life in the city and all that entails. It’s a low-key but fun kinda thing. Alternatively I am also working with Epigraph Collective on Don’t Look Back, a verbatim theatre piece centred on the millennial generation and it’s struggles with life, love, and the baby boomers. It’s been incredibly eye opening interviewing different people to get material for the show and seeing how many different perspectives there are on certain issues and also how many similarities in opinions there are.

Tickets are on sale now for His Girl Friday – buy before Feb. 15th to take advantage of our Earlybird Discount.

Cast Spotlight: Chris Peterson

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Bio: I’m originally from the U.S. and have been in Canada for almost 5 years. I’ve gone away and come back to acting a few times in my life, including studying at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting in NYC and performing in theatre/film projects there before taking a 10-year break to have a “real” job, etc., including 8 years as a Digital Producer (among other things) at Nickelodeon/MTV. After being laid off 2.5 years ago for my second time since moving to TO and my fourth time overall, I decided to return once again to my first love of acting and never leave again. Since then, performances have included August: Osage County (Alumnae), Four Hours (Alumnae New Ideas Festival), Sorry, Wrong Number/The Hitchhiker (Plain Stage), and Alone Together (Scarborough Players).  Starting Thursday after HGF closes, I will also be part of David Auburn’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Proof at the Red Sandcastle Theatre. In addition to theatre/film/tv projects, I’m also a puppeteer with The Concerned Kids charity (so if you’ve got kids, book us to perform at their school!). More at chrispeterson.me and facebook/chrispetersonactor.

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

Much of the last couple of years has been spent immersing myself in the TO performing scene and I am always learning about new (to me) theatre companies, etc. Last year I learned about Bygone from the audition listing for their production of Wait Until Dark, but I was involved with the amazing August: Osage County at Alumnae so wasn’t able to submit. This time I happily was.

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

I hadn’t seen the original film, but I’m a definite fan of films from that era and the fast-paced action and humour. I also love the sound and rhythms of the dialogue and transatlantic accent. Even the characters who seem maybe not-so-great in this story are completely lovable, plus any reason to think about Cary Grant is a good reason.

What’s your favourite old movie?

There are still plenty I need to see, but off the top of my head – Singing in the Rain, Funny Face, and Casablanca.

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

Last May I was in a double bill of The Hitchhiker and Sorry, Wrong Number with Plain Stage Theatre, both originally part of Orson Welles’ radio program. Most recently, I was part of Unit 102’s Operation 24 this past December – 6 plays cast, written, directed, learned, and performed in 24 hours – which was crazy and amazing.s

Why should people come and see the show?

It’s funny and maybe even more important lots of fun, it’s got a great (and huge) cast and production team, and these older stories/films are called classics for a reason. Bring your parents/grandparents.

Anything else you want us to know?

Come see the show, and then go see Proof (it won a Pulitzer for a reason, and I get the feels at every rehearsal) either of the following two weekends, and then please keep on supporting local theatre and comedy and dance and art! Also, keep an eye/ear out for the new serial podcast Frequency which should be launching this month.

See Chris onstage March 2-5, and help support him and the show by making a donation through FWYC.

Cast Spotlight: Matthew Hallworth

matthew-hallworth2

Matthew Hallworth plays reporter Roy Bensinger in our upcoming production of His Girl Friday.

Bio: Matthew is a Toronto-based Producer, Writer, Actor, Improviser and Singer. He is a largely supportive member of the Toronto Improv Community both on stage and as a Stage Manager at The Second City. His most notable work is “Fumbled” a short film created as part of the 48 Hour Film Project which he was Producer, Writer and Actor on and won “2nd Runner Up” and “Best Ensemble”.

1. How did you hear about Bygone Theatre and this production of His Girl Friday?
I have been familiar with Bygone Theatre for some time because of their Retro Radio Hour shows, I just had to jump on the opportunity to do a fast-talking 1940’s piece!

2. What made you want to be involved?/ what do you love about the story?
I’ve always had a fascination with classic comedies and as a modern comedic performer; I feel its important to be in touch with these classic styles as so many elements are still very much crucial today. I love all the layers to this work; the love triangle, the sleazy reporters, the big plot changes and the fun of all of it!

3. What’s your favourite old movie?
The Great Dictator (1940) I’m a huge admirer of Chaplin’s work and this one really speaks to me as a brave political satire which mocked Hitler before the world knew him to be a monster. Everyone knows the famous speech at the end, but the film all around is a beautiful work of slapstick and screwball comedy, all the bits with Chaplin and Jack Oakie still make me laugh hysterically. 

4. Have you been in a show like this before? What else might people have seen you in recently?
I was once cast in a slapstick production which unfortunately never came to be! I’m mainly an Improviser and perform throughout the city, I recently Produced and Directed Miracle on the Danforth, an Improvised Holiday Special at the Social Capital. In March you can see me in Round 2 of the World’s Biggest Improv Tournament with my esteemed partner, Sean Browning. 

5. Why should people come and see the show?
The comedy, drama and relationships in this piece are timeless; add to that the presence of a strong female character (Hildy) and, well, this is going to be a great time! 

See Matthew onstage this March in His Girl Friday. Buy tickets now.

Cast Spotlight: Ashlie White

529520_10153462184710023_1936804906_nAshlie White is playing down-on-her-luck Mollie Malloy in our upcoming production of His Girl Friday; this will be her first Bygone Theatre production.

Bio: Ashlie originally hails from Alberta, where she received her diploma in Theatre Arts from Grant MacEwan University in Edmonton. Some of her favorite credits include: Martha (The Secret Garden), Clairee (Steel Magnolias) Penelope Pennywise (Urinetown), Lucy (You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown), as well as spending 4 seasons with the Edmonton Opera Chorus. Ashlie has been active with The Confidential Musical Theatre Project appearing in their productions of Nine (Toronto), and Kiss Me Kate (Port Perry). Ashlie is thrilled to be making her ByGone Theatre debut in His Girl Friday.

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

I had seen several postings on Facebook about Bygone Theatre and had been intrigued by their Retro Radio Hour radio plays. It immediately looked like something I wanted to be involved with.

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

I have always loved classic films. When I first saw the posting I had heard of His Girl Friday but never actually seen it. Once I read the script I fell in love with the fast paced writing farce like plot.

What’s your favourite old movie?

I’d have to say Singing’ In the Rain. I love old MGM musicals

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

I co-produced and acted in a production of The Attic The Pearls and 3 Fine Girls this November. In February I am playing Blanche in Plain Stage Theatre’s production of A Streetcar Named Desire.

Why should people come and see the show?

This show has everything! Drama, comedy, crime, romance and classic 1940’s style.

You can see Ashlie onstage March 2-5, 2017, at the Aki Studio, Daniel’s Spectrum. Tickets on sale now at www.nativeearth.ca/hisgirlfriday.