Toronto, Mississippi

By Joan MacLeod

Directed by Ian MacPherson
Produced by Trevor Bonanno

Jhana, a mentally-handicapped teenager, lives with her mother and a cheerfully morose poet. Jhana’s estranged father – a professional Elvis impersonator – arrives unexpectedly.  What follows is an exploration of fragmented identities and fractured understandings.

Production Dates: February 5, 6, 11, 12, 13, 14*, 18, 19, 20 1999
* matinee @ 2:00 pm

Jhana … Charlene Taylor
Bill … Peter Churey
Maddie … Laurie Kortschak
King … Vince Guerriero

Producer … Trevor Bonanno
Stage Manager  … Lara Jiménez
Asst. Stage Manager … Louise Reed
Set Design … Dani Podetz
Construction Crew … Trevor Bonanno & Clair Bonanno
Set Painting … Dani Podetz, Michelle Spanik, Doreen Brown, Inez Hayes, Sondra Learn, Shaun Vaughan, Enid Arron, Alana & John Newstead
Lighting Design … Paul Rossetti
Lighting Crew … Paul Rossetti, Trevor & Clair Bonanno
Lighting Operator … Chuck Learn
Costumes … Roxanne Hendrie
Properties … Marcel & Joelle Potvin
Sound … Ian MacPherson, Lawrie Bonanno
Sound Operator … Michelle Spanik
Make-up … Gail Edwards
Hair Styling … Kathy Stilliker
Programme Cover … Dani Podetz
Programme … Lawrie, Fay & Trevor Bonanno
Box Office … Fay Bonanno
Publicity … Peter & Peggy Churey
Front of House … Doreen Brown
Lobby Photography … George Newton

Toronto, Mississippi advances to W.O.D.L. festival, hosted by Woodstock Little Theatre, March 15-20, 1999

Awarding winning actor (COSI) and director (Good Night Desdemona, Good Morning Juliet) Ian MacPherson will be directing this presentation of human drama intending to follow the success of BLT’s 1998 entry into WODL – The Heiress.

Director’s Notes – Toronto, Mississippi
Toronto, Mississippi has certainly been an interesting journey, both for the cast and for myself. It has been a journey full of discovery and of revelation. Joan MacLeod has crafted a beautiful play, one that moved me from the first time I read it.

It is a play that speaks of family, of values, of feelings and of bonds. It is the story of Jhana, the beautiful mentally handicapped teenager, whom we cannot help but love. It is, however, no less the story of her mother, Maddie, their boarder, Bill, or Jhana’s estranged father, the Elvis impersonator, King. Each of these is a real person, explored to real depths of emotion and character.

When a director reads a play, he comes up with a vision, an image or a concept somewhere in the back of his mind as to what this play should do, where it should take you, how it should move you. As the production develops, so too does the vision. Eventually, if all is well, the director’s vision, melds with the playwright’s vision and the audience will be moved.

We sincerely hope that we have stayed true to the playwright’s vision and that we have entertained and moved you, our audience. Without your participation, we might just be a group of people, sitting around talking.

Ian MacPherson – Director
Ian has been an active member of BLT for almost two decades now, earning praise and awards, both as a director and as an actor. This year, Ian is even busier than usual. You may have seen him as the laughable Scarecrow in our recent production of Wizard of Oz. As well as directing Toronto, Mississippi, Ian will be starring in our upcoming production of Loot, while continuing his duties as Vice-President of the group.

President’s Message
Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to this year’s The Western Ontario Drama League’s Festival entry to be held in Woodstock March 15th to 19th, 1999. Adjudication for this production will take place Saturday February 6th. One of twelve groups vying for one of five festival spots.
The play is a very sensitive vehicle that deals with a dysfunctional family. It needs skills of a high order as far as the acting and directing is concerned in order to make it come to life.  The actors and director Ian MacPherson have  been working very hard to breathe truth and reality into this interesting document.

It is our hope that you will find this story to be interesting, absorbing and an example of good theatre. It has been said, in terms of theatrical experience, that if you can make them laugh and make them cry, then you have succeeded in achieving your objective.

Rosemary Rhodes

Trevor Bonanno – The Producer
Welcome tonight!
As you all know this play is our entry into the Western Ontario Drama League festival in March. Last year the play “The Heiress” went all the way to Theatre Ontario’s Festival and the cast and crew hope nothing less for this play.

Our “Festival” play is always a very special play for us as we try to pull out all the stops.

I would also like to take this time to welcome all the new people who have worked on this show. It is great to see their enthusiasm. Special thanks to Lara and Roxanne who were just great to work with and are a real find for the group.

Thanks as well to those who showed up to help…..

The Post, View Magazine, The Spectator, Forever Young, CHWO 1250, CHML 900, CKPC FM Brantford, CKDS FM, CHFI FM, CABLENET TV23
Special thank you to all the members and friends of Burlington Little Theatre, who may not be mentioned in this programme but help to make this production possible.