Ace Burpee Takes Home the Trophy!

What an amazing evening packed full of entertainment! The first annual So You Think You Can Act was a huge success. All the celebrities brought their A-game to the event and surpassed expectations with solid performances of the nine scenes in the evening. In addition, emcee Big Daddy Tazz kept the audience entertained every moment and played off the panel of judges. Lee White, Kayla Gordon and Bob Metcalfe were impressive in terms of their ability to come up with insightful, hilarious and bizarre commentary that had the audience booing, cheering, laughing and thoroughly engaged.

Although for some celebrities the event was their first foray on stage, they all took risks and really enjoyed themselves. They all deserve an award for having the guts to take on this challenge and for being such great sports no matter what the judges threw at them. Ultimately the audience did cast their ballots and select the first ever So You Think You Can Act winner. Although Al Simmons was the favourite to win in the advance polls, it was Ace Burpee who walked away with the trophy. His scene with mother, Jane, was certainly a big hit. Perhaps it was just his bad wig, bizarre character physicality and ridiculous southern accent but the performance won over the audience. This will likely be the only time the Hot 103 morning host wins an Oscar (the trophy had an Oscar figure perched on top).

Jane Burpee and Ace Burpee accepting the trophy. Photo by Janet Shum.

John Lu, who had flown in from Montreal that very day, and Sylvia Kuzyk, who was a convincing vixen, were the runners-up. John wowed the audience with his natural stage ability and great parody of bad Asian films opposite scene partner Alissa Watson. Sylvia had the grace and airs down pat for a famous actress, a lovely contrast to Toni Reimer’s mousy character who has come pleading for her husband back.

Every celebrity was memorable though. Al Simmons was first on stage and not only did he make an entrance but he also threw himself at the judges afterwards, to the shock of his scene partner Nan Fewchuk. Tracy Koga was charming and a joy to watch as she sped through a relationship with actor Tyhr Trubiak. Laurie Mustard was so natural on stage, everyone had to wonder if he’d missed his calling, plus he played beautifully off scene partner Lois Brothers. Howard Mandshein had a chance to rock out and was the perfect straight man to partner Danielle Savage’s neurotic character in How It Works. In yellow rain coat, boots and covered in mud Judy Wasylycia-Leis made quite the entrance for her scene with Kevin Anderson. Of course the judges were able to play off of the notion of a former politician playing a character involved in a cover-up! Randall King brought his brother’s words to life in David King’s Life Skills and managed to remain focused even when opposite him Cheryl Gensiorek was eating fettuccini with her bare hands.

If all of that wasn’t enough the audience also partook of the raffle featuring amazing prizes, enjoyed violinist John Racaru in the lobby before the event as well as wine and cheese post event.

In fact the audience was amazing and helped to make it a perfect night out!

The response overall has been overwhelming. It will be difficult to top it next year, but we will certainly try!

Will this Judge Get the Audience’s Love? Meet Kayla Gordon!

It is time to meet the judges for So You Think You Can Act!  Our panel of experts will be sure to give Paual Abdul and Simon Cowell a run for their money!  Our first judge is the lovely Kayla Gordon, a heavy hitter in the theatre community.  She is one busy woman, and has brought Winnipeg hits like Altar BoyzThe 25th Annual Putnum County Spelling Bee, Hersteria and Spring Awakening!

Kayla has directed, acted and taught in all aspects of theatre over the past 30 years. Born in Winnipeg, and trained at the University of Winnipeg and Banff Centre, she has performed and directed in theatres in Winnipeg as well as other Canadian and US theatres.

Presently working as the Artistic Director for the Winnipeg Studio Theatre, Kayla’s most recent directing includes  Spring
Awakening ,  The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and Altar Boyz which is currently on at Prairie Theatre Exchange. She also teaches Musical Theatre and Acting at the University of Winnipeg Theatre and Film Department. Kayla received the Young Leadership Award from the University of Jerusalem and she was nominated for the John Hirsch Young Directors Award.

Will Kayla’s expertise make her the audience’s favourite judge?  Will she a Paula or a Simon?  There’s only one way to find out!

Join us at So You Think You Can Act February 16th at 8pm, Gas Station Arts Centre! Tickets are limited so purchase yours in advance on our website or by calling 586-2236.

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