But our story today, in this article, looks through a different lens – at the STC cast. The seasoned actor meeting the relative newcomer; the sage and the novice sharing the rehearsal hall and stage at the Sudbury Theatre Centre.
When stage veteran William Vickers, last seen at the Sudbury Theatre Centre in “Waiting for Godot,” and Jake McNeil, a local actor in his first professional play, sit down to talk about Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town,” it’s a conversation of superlatives about the show and the cast.
Vickers, who in his rich career spent 23 years on the Shaw Festival stage, has been cast as the omniscient Stage Manager in the production.
McNeil is not exactly wet behind the ears. He has an impressive list of theatre credits, including his appearance as Jesus in YES Theatre’s “Jesus Christ Superstar” this past August.
In “Our Town,” Jake plays George, who falls in love with the girl next door, Emily, and decides to spend the rest of his life with her. But life does not always go as planned.
Vickers has a long list of adjectives to describe his genuine love for Wilder's classic.
“It’s delightful and light and comic and so very human and recognizable for all of us,” he said. “Last spring, when the word spread through the theatre community that STC was doing 'Our Town' this season, David Savoy (STC artistic director) was approached by many of us who passionately wanted to do this show.”
Savoy, who looks for opportunities to cast locals is thrilled to have included not only Jake McNeil as George, but Clare Andrews as his love interest, Emily, and Thorneloe’s Patricia Tedford as Emily’s mother.
Despite being surrounded by seasoned professionals, McNeil said not one has made him feel like the newbie he is.
“When I go to rehearsal, everyone in the room is on the same page — there’s no wasted time,” he said. “I’m treated like an equal, not like a kid doing his first professional play. It’s all about the work and all of us making this show the best it can be.”
Sudbury audiences are guaranteed an extraordinary production from the sounds of it. "Our Town" plays at the Sudbury Theatre Centre from Sept. 26 to Oct. 12.
Judi Straughan is the education co-ordinator at Sudbury Theatre Centre.