(2017) Gravenhurst Opera House – A Tradition worth Coming Back For


Sexy Laundry Directed by Sheila McCarthy Starring Debbie Collins and Brian Paul Photo Credit: Max Durnford.

Thanks to actor John Holden and his players, in 1934 summer theatre in Canada was born and the birthplace…Muskoka. First it was the John Holden Players then the Straw Hat Players and eventually the Muskoka Festival where many a thespian paid their dues and built a legacy that we are incredibly proud of today.

Costume Designer Chris Cristobal in full ‘swing’ preparing costumes for Swing! by Alan Lund and Howard Cable Photo Credit: Bryan White

The 83rd season of Summer Theatre in Muskoka will kick off with a red carpet event on Friday, May 26, right here at the Gravenhurst Opera House.  Starting at 6pm, the annual Summer Season Gala features a red carpet welcome, a taste of Gravenhurst with offerings from local restaurants and a star-studded show with celebrity hosts Deb McGrath and Sheila McCarthy. The 8pm show is busting at the seams with talent such as Harrow Fair, Angie Nussey, Grant Tingey, Debbie Collins, Jim Cronk, Bet Smith & The Currie Brothers and more!

Not only are we celebrating the birthplace of summer theatre in this country but this year we have a very special all Canadian line-up planned in celebration of Canada’s 150th. Under the artistic direction of Dave Campbell, the Opera House’s upcoming season pays tribute to a new generation of Canadian contemporary playwrights and honours our history by celebrating two brilliant musical pioneers and promises something for everyone!

We open our season with Old Wives’ Tales by Kevin Riordan, a sharply funny play featuring local favourite Robin Clipsham who brought the house down two summers ago with her performance of Shirley Valentine. Our big musical this year, Swing!, pays tribute to the days of big band music when Dunn’s Pavilion (now the Kee to Bala) was jumpin’ with the likes of Tommy Dorsey, Count Basie, Guy Lombardo and many more. This show was conceived by the legendary Alan Lund with musical arrangements by Howard Cable, two great Canadians with deep roots in Muskoka. This show features 6 singer/dancers and a live big band that will be sure to have you dancing in the aisles. We close the season with Sexy Laundry by Michel Riml, featuring return favourites Debbie Collins and Brian Paul.  If you’ve ever been in a relationship, you’ll love this funny and very touching play about Henry and Alice and their desire to rekindle the flame.


Great concerts all year long! Grant Tingey Photo Credit: Krista Storey

We have concerts too!  With 100 shows from mid-June to the end of September including daytime and evening performances, there is a lot to choose from. Enjoy a unique getaway package with attractions, restaurants, accommodations and great shopping too.


We look forward to welcoming you this summer to the Gravenhurst Opera House after all, Summer Theatre in Muskoka is a tradition worth coming back for!


Krista Storey, Manager of Arts & Culture
Town of Gravenhurst/Gravenhurst Opera House

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