Top actors turning Whistler into an off-Broadway epicentre 

What: Lips Together, Teeth Apart

Where: MY Millennium Place

When: Aug. 28, 30, 31 and Sept. 4, 6, 7

It’s not often four of Canada’s best actors from the stage and screen decide to get together in the mountains for the sheer love of their craft, but Whistler is not like other places.

"We wanted to give Whistler’s visitors a taste of professional theatre. A touch of Broadway if you will," said professional actor and co-director of Quantum Productions, Neil Schell.

The working actor and drama coach has been operating in Whistler part time for almost a year with his popular acting classes. He quickly realized there was hidden thespian talent in the local community, but saw a gaping hole in good quality theatre performances for the region.

Along with his partners Diana Pavlovská and Benson Simmonds, also professional actors, the three masterminds decided to commit to a series of professional, high end productions in Whistler, utilizing local talent and venues.

The first in their series is the prize-winning dramatic comedy Lips Together, Teeth Apart , written by the Tony award-winning playwright Terence McNally. The renowned legend wrote the scripts The Full Monty, Frankie and Johnny and the book Kiss of the Spiderwoman and much more.

The plot centres around a 4th of July weekend. A brother and sister, Sam and Chloe, and their respective spouses, Sally and John, celebrate at a beach house that Sally inherited from her brother who died of AIDS. In this unforgettable comedy, there is a gnawing uncertainty that makes their affluent habits and petty prejudices sizzle in the summer sun as they lounge around the pool.

"Never before has Whistler been given the treat of live theatre of this calibre," said MY Place marketing manager, Gillie Easdon. "The cast consists of four professional actors with extensive film, television and theatre credits attached to their names, and they are doing a play that is nothing short of brilliant."

June B. Wilde, also an accomplished actor, directs Lips Together Teeth Apart and past Whistlerite, but now Vancouver resident actor, Samantha Sewell, completes the cast.

Local amateur actor Don Stevenson, who moonlights as director of sales at Club Intrawest, has been recruited to understudy one of the main characters.

Stevenson snared the part after impressing the Quantum board of directors at local amateur auditions held last month.

While he’s the only local to have the understudy opportunity this time around, Schell said more recognizable faces will come out of the woodwork as the series progresses.

"I was very impressed by not only the quality of the auditions, but also the sheer quantity," says Schell. "We are very excited by both the imminent and long-term future of theatre in Whistler."

Lips Together, Teeth Apart promises a night of laughs for the belly and intellectual stimulus for the mind. It’s what plays and theatre are all about.

Tickets are $22 for adults and $17 concession. Dinner and theatre packages will be announced shortly. For more information or to volunteer for backstage production positions, contact Gillie Easdon at MY Place on 604-935-8410, or Neil Schell on 604-684-3590.

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