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Aug. 5, 2020 | Wednesday
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Yellow Door Theatre offers two new musical productions in December
Artistic director Andorlie Hillstorm urges everyone to attend theatre's two new musical productions performed at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre in St. Catharines. (Dariya Baiguzhiyeva/Niagara Now)

Virgil’s Yellow Door Theatre Project is presenting two new Canadian musicals in December and artistic director Andorlie Hillstrom is urging everyone to come out and show their support for young local talents.

“These kids deserve to have full houses,” she said. “I believe we’re doing something important for youth in the Niagara region.”

For its annual fall productions, the theatre usually presents an original commissioned piece. This year, due to lack of funding for a commissioned play, the organization decided to present two shows instead, both at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre in St. Catharines.

“It was a risky decision but we wanted to move forward with this programming for the kids,” Hillstrom told The Lake Report. “This is different, this isn’t our usual path. This is like an icing on the cake.”

The first show, “Bremen Rock City,” is loosely based on a Brothers Grimm fairy tale. Eighteen performers with Yellow Door’s Junior Company, aged from 10 to 13 years old, will tell a story of a donkey named Jack who runs away from his boring life on a farm in pursuit of his dream of becoming a rock star.

“It’s a funny, very humorous little piece, very cute. The kids are cute, too,” Hillstrom said.

The performance features a libretto by Stratford Festival star Sara Farb, who made her Broadway debut in “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.” Songs and lyrics are by Akiva Romer-Sigal and Colleen Dauncey, and the show is directed by Lindsay Bell.

The second show, “Going Under,” formerly “The Subway Songs,” has a more mature theme.

Performed by Yellow Door’s Teen Company, the musical follows the story of a group of high schoolers who, after getting trapped on a subway, have to face their demons.

There is also mystery surrounding an incident which occurred four years prior to the incident and has affected all students. Hillstrom said the audience doesn’t find out what happened until the end of the show.

The musical, featuring 13 teen performers, will explore not only more serious themes such as teen pregnancy, peer pressure and teen suicide, but also positive themes such as friendship, loyalty, acceptance and inclusion.

Hillstrom said she’s been in touch with the “Going Under’s” book author Matt Murray as the team continues to make changes and additions to the script. Songwriters Dauncey and Romer-Sigal also added two new songs to the show.

“We’ve really been enjoying doing both pieces,” Hillstrom said. “It’s been a lot of work in a very minimal amount of time.”

This is the nonprofit company’s fifth year and the organization always works hard to find sponsors and generate donations to cover production expenses, Hillstorm said.

The NOTL Rotary Club and Rotary Club of St. Catharines have sponsored tickets for children who attend school matinees, she said, and TD Canada Trust has also sponsored 300 tickets for children from less privileged schools to attend the two productions.

“Yes, it’s important to come see the children but that ticket that you buy goes right back into the shows, goes right back into what the kids are receiving and I cannot stress the importance of that kind of support,” Hillstrom said.

“I can talk until I’m blue in the face about sponsorships and donors, which is fantastic and we love them to death, but it’s important that we have those bums in the seats.”

Adult tickets cost $30, seniors and students are $25, with children 12 and under $12. A family package for two adults and two children costs $85. Taxes and fees are extra.

“Going Under” will be performed from Thursday, Dec. 5 to Saturday, Dec. 7. The musical will have two shows at 10:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, and one show at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.

“Bremen Rock City” will hit the stage on Wednesday, Dec. 11 to Friday, Dec. 13. On Wednesday, there’s one show at 10:30 a.m., and two daily shows on Thursday and Friday, starting at 10:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.

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