Melanie Janzen joins cast of Norm Foster’s Lunenberg

October 12, 2018   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

“The show must go on,” quoth David Nairn, Artistic Directer at Theatre Orangeville. And when the show needs an actor to come in part-way through rehearsals, it is great thing if that actor is Melanie Janzen.

Theatre goers will remember Ms. Janzen in multiple roles for Screwball Comedy, that was such a hit last year. She will be playing the part of Natalie in Lunenberg, which opens with the preview today and opening night tomorrow, October 12, and will run until October 28.

To recap briefly, Iris Oulette’s husband has died where they both lived in the City, USA. Very sudden, very sad. He left her a house in Lunenberg, Nova Scotia, which might have seemed a great thing, a house in quiet place, far from the rush and noise of the big city. However, prior to her inheriting it, Iris knew nothing about it nor anything about a life her husband apparently had in the fishing village, Maritimes, Canada.

Flanked by her best pal, Natalie, Iris comes to Lunenberg, with her fears and bewilderment, to see what it is all about. Their new neighbour, Charley, is quick to make their acquaintance and complicates matters further with his charm and, frankly, tall tales.

Charm is all and when Natalie wonders if she has feelings for Charley, who is counselling whom between the two ladies becomes mixed…

Norm Foster, author of the play, which premiered at the Foster Festival in 2016, when Ms. Janzen performed in it, loves to yank his characters out of their normal lives and present them with big surprises. Then he has fun writing how they deal with it and we have fun watching the very funny play, with its delightfully witty dialogue but watch your heart strings.

Mr. Nairn explained a little bit about what has been involved by way of changes to the way the play is performed with Ms. Janzen’s mid-stream arrival (for undisclosed “personal reasons”), as she has already done the show and brings her own understanding to it.

“We’re having to accommodate somewhat how she’s used to it – but it’s fine. We’re thrilled that Mel’s around. She did the Ladies Foursome and Screwball. Her affection for the community and the town, there’s a comfort factor there. She’s not coming into a strange environment. She knows that she’s coming to a welcoming  community and theatre.”

As for Ms. Janzen, she “loved playing Natalie at the premier production of Lunenberg (Foster Festival) and is over the moon about revising the character here at Theatre Orangeville.”

Actors love coming to this theatre for the first time, as they have all heard about it wherever they were in Canada. Then, they love returning here.

Lunenberg runs from today to October 28 at Theatre Orangeville. For tickets, go to the Box Office, 87 Broadway or the Information Centre on Buena Vista and Hwy 10; by telephone at 519-942-3423 or online at Now is a good time to purchase a subscription of either three plays or all five. You might also like to consider joining the happy throng for Theatre Orangeville’s Victorian Christmas Gala.

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