Mandel, Black, Plaskett headline powerful season at the Guelph River Run Centre

21-May-2015 | SHARE:

Be prepared for fun. Be prepared for quality entertainment. Be prepared for performances that pop.

And be prepared to save money and have a few more perks if you 'pack it up' and buy four or more tickets in the 2015/16 season at the River Run Centre.

"I love to hear gasps from the audience when the performers are announced," said Dana Evans, manager of the River Run Centre at the launch event. "It's immediate feedback. And I heard lots of breaths of excitement today."

The season holds a variety of performers and genres that are sure to please, with a children's and family series, small intimate concerts in Co-operators Hall, a comedy series, and big, blockbuster performers like Jully Black and Jarvis Church, Jimmy Rankin, Colm Wilkinson, Bruce Cockburn and Joel Plaskett.

James Keelaghan, who will perform Jan. 15, 2016 as part of the Borealis series in the smaller hall, gave a taste of what's in store for ticket-holders with a three-song set on Wednesday.

He's been called the poet laureate of the folk and roots music world and he delivered some musical story-telling in toe-tapping style.

The Kramdens, Amy Sky, Laila Biali and the Devin Cuddy Band are also part of the Borealis series.

Howie Mandel, Ron James, Andre-Philippe Gagnon and the Just for Laughs Road Show make up the Comedy series.

"I'm excited for Howie Mandel," Evans said. "That's true standup comedy."

The kids were not forgotten. The popular Wooly Kinderconcerts will continue with three shows: Goldilocks, Little Red Riding Hood and Three Fabulous Little Pigs. These performances are geared to children aged five and under. Members of the Guelph Symphony Orchestra allow the children to see the instruments, hear their sounds, and recognize how the music advances the story line.

The Mercury Family Series includes Splash 'N Boots, Al Simmons, Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat, and Alexander Who's Not Not Not Not Not Not Going to Move.

"I think I like the family series the best," Evans said. "It's such a great way to introduce children to live theatre. I love seeing the light bulb come on for these kids."

The RBC Showcase Series is not just musical performers. There's a play, Through the Eyes of A Friend: The World of Anne Frank; Ballet Jorgen's version of Sleeping Beauty, Circus Incognitus, Men of the Deeps and the ever-popular Sing-a-long Sound of Music.

"This is a real special treat," Evans said. "Wear a costume, sing along. People can't get enough of the Sound of Music."

Ella Pauls, manager of cultural affairs and tourism for the city, praised sponsors who help keep ticket prices reasonable, and the army of volunteers, who are so passionate and dedicated to their posts.

"When I talk to other theatres, they can't believe how strong our volunteer program is," Pauls said. "We're grateful to everyone who supports the centre."

'Pack it up' bundles of tickets go on sale May 20; single tickets go on sale May 28 to In the Spotlight newsletter subscribers; single tickets go on sale June 8 for everyone else.

The full program and ticket information can be found at

Credit: Joanne Shuttleworth, ;Mercury staff


Caption: Singer-songwriter James Keelaghan, left, performs with David Woodhead at the River Run Centre Wednesday. Chris Seto, Mercury staff

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