Hollywood Star George Wendt to Headline DEATH OF A SALESMAN in St. Jacobs
The tranquil village of St. Jacobs will become Hollywood North this fall with the arrival of an iconic television actor.
Actor George Wendt, best known for his role as Norm Peterson on the classic sitcom Cheers!, will play the lead role of Willy Loman in Drayton Entertainment's productions of the classic drama Death of a Salesman. The production runs at the St. Jacobs Country Playhouse in Waterloo, Ontario from October 18 to November 4.
"George Wendt is revered for his comedic prowess but over the years has quietly built an equally impressive set of credentials with dramatic roles," says Alex Mustakas, Artistic Director of Drayton Entertainment. "He is beloved by many generations, and his enduring appeal will undoubtedly attract many tourists to visit the tourism mecca of St. Jacobs County this fall."
Cheers! (1982-1993) was a defining sitcom of the '80s, spending a season as the top-rated show on television. Wendt appeared in all 275 episodes, earning six Primetime Emmy Award nominations for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series along the way. The show earned 28 Primetime Emmy Awards from a record 117 nominations.
Wendt's acclaimed career on the small screen includes more than 100 TV shows (among them Taxi, Soap, M*A*S*H, Wings, Frasier, and The Simpsons, along with nine appearances on Saturday Night Live).
On Broadway, Wendt appeared in the play ART, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and Hairspray as Edna Turnblad. He notably originated the role of Santa Claus in the Broadway smash hit ELF, a new musical adaptation of the Will Ferrell movie from Warner Bros. Other theatre credits include productions off-Broadway, in London, and the U.S. Tour of Roundabout Theatre's production of the searing drama Twelve Angry Men.
Tackling the role of Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman is a natural progression for Wendt at this stage of his acclaimed career, as the dramatic masterpiece is considered one of the greatest plays of the 20th century. Written by revered playwright Arthur Miller, the celebrated drama tells the story of a traveling salesman caught up in a corrosive quest for the American Dream. Death of a Salesman premiered on Broadway in February 1949, running for 742 performances, and winning the coveted Pulitzer Prize for Drama as well as the Tony Award for Best Play. The masterwork continues to be produced all over the world and has been revived on Broadway four times, winning three Tony Awards for Best Revival.
"We strive to offer the same calibre of theatre experience found in larger urban centres, but at a price point that is more affordable and accessible," says Mustakas. "This is a rare opportunity to see a world-class artist in one of the most coveted roles in dramatic theatre in a charming, intimate venue," says Mustakas.
The production is directed by Marti Maraden, whose renowned career includes eighteen seasons at the Stratford Festival, eight years as the Artistic Director of English Theatre for the National Arts Centre, and numerous Drayton Entertainment productions including Harvest, Brighton Beach Memoirs, Tuesdays with Morrie, and more. Maraden is joined by Set Designer Allan Wilbee, Costume Designer Kimberly Catton and Lighting Designer Kevin Fraser.
The esteemed cast will also include Skye Brandon as Biff Loman, Thomas Duplessie as Stanley, Ryan Field as Bernard, Martha Irving as Linda Loman, Kevin Kruchkywich as Howard, Roy Lewis as Charley, Thom Marriott as Ben Loman, Jackie Mustakas as The Woman, Jane Spence as Miss Forsythe, Robin Warwick as Letta/Jenny and Jeffrey Wetsch as Happy Loman.
Regular performance tickets are $46 for adults and $27 for youth under 20 years of age. Tickets may be purchased 24/7 at www.draytonentertainment.com, in person at the St. Jacobs Country Playhouse or by calling the Box Office at (519) 747-7788 or toll free at 1-855-drayton (372-9866).
Death of a Salesman is produced by Drayton Entertainment, a registered not-for-profit charitable arts organization operating seven live theatres throughout the province of Ontario and entertaining an audience exceeding 250,000 annually. The season playbill consists of an eclectic mix of Broadway musicals, comedies, family programming, and original works produced by Canadians and/or featuring Canadian content. The theatre company is regarded by the Canadian Actors' Equity Association as one of the largest employers of professional artists in the country. For more information about Drayton Entertainment, visit www.draytonentertainment.com.
The drama will play at the St. Jacobs Country Playhouse, which is located west of Toronto and within an hour and a half of Niagara Falls in beautiful Waterloo Region. The 400 seat theatre is situated in the heart of St. Jacobs Country, a popular tourism mecca with 1.5 million visitors annually. Canada's largest year-round Farmers Market and the charming village of St. Jacobs are located close by. Visit stjacobs.com to plan your daytrip or overnight stay.