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!

Who Will Win the Raffle Prizes at So You Think You Can Act? It Could Be You!

Learn about the So You Think You Can Act Raffle from Sarasvàti Productions’ Administrator Robyn Pooley!

A big part of So You Think You Can Act on February 16th, aside from watching our celebrities rock the stage, is the raffle!

The prizes we have are amazing – the generosity of theatres, companies, and individuals has been astounding! The outpouring of support from the places approached for So You Think You Can Act donations will go a long way to help fund Sarasvàti Productions’ upcoming projects! With March’s International Women’s Week Cabaret of Monologues, the world premiere of EDEN coming up fast, FemFest’s 10th anniversary in the fall and plans for another school tour tackling the issue of gang recruitment, there is certainly a lot of important work that the event will be supporting.

All of the prizes really are amazing, but there are a couple that I think everyone is going to want! One of the big prizes is a voucher for a Fall 2012 Acting Class at Prairie Theatre Exchange valued at $400! If any aspiring actors are out there, this is the prize they’ll want to win!

All of the arts organizations in the city were incredibly generous, and it just goes to show how tight the community really is. We all support each other, and want to see one another thrive! The prizes up for grabs from the arts community include:

  • Two tickets to Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre’s Next To Normal
  • Two tickets to Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s Giselle
  • Two tickets to Manitoba Opera’s The Daughter of the Regiment
  • Two tickets to Prarie Theatre Exchange’s Till It Hurts
  • Two tickets to the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra’s Parker Plays Brahms
  • Four tickets to Winnipeg Contemporary Dancers’ 97 Positions of the Heart
  • Two tickets to Winnipeg Studio Theatre’s My Mother’s Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding
  • Two tickets to Manitoba Theatre for Young People’s MacHomer
  • And much much more!

There is also some lovely schwag, that we’ve been looking at longingly in the office. Many of these donations are likely to ignite ticket buying. For the ladies, we’ve got a giant gift basket from Love Nest valued at $200 that will be the perfect post Valentine’s Day pick me up. We have a beautiful Italian ring with a tiny diamond from Vandenberg’s Fine Jewlery, we have chocolates from the best place in the city, Chocolatier Constance Popp Shop,  a beautiful package from Sonya’s Flowers that includes a purse, and MUCH more!

For the men, we’ve got an Italian sterling silver and wood bracelet from Vandenberg’s Fine Jewelry, comic books from Cover to Cover, tickets to Rumours Comedy Club, and a GORGEOUS Sun Ice TSN winter coat donated by John Lu! There’s so much more that has been so graciously donated to us for So You Think You Can Act, but you’ll have to come to the event to see it!

To view the full list of So You Think You Can Act Raffle Prizes, click here!

Tickets for the Raffle will be priced at 1 for $2, 3 for $5, and 15 for $20!  You can buy them in the lobby before the event, and at intermission. At the end of the night, we draw for the winners!

All these donations are going to make up twelve fantastic packages -the winners will be beyond happy!

So, will you be one of the lucky winners at So You Think You Can Act? We hope so! We hope to see you on February 16th at 8pm, Gas Station Arts Centre! Tickets are limited so purchase yours in advance on our website or call us at 586-2236.

Raffle License # MGCC-5542-RF

Image of Winner by Salvatore Vuono/ Salvatore’s portfolio can be found here

Will The Sun Shine On Laurie Mustard’s Performance?

It’s time to meet yet another celebrity! A Winnipeg staple, our next celeb is….Laurie Mustard! Laurie is very experienced in print (Winnipeg Sun columnist), radio (co-host of Wake Up Winnipeg on CJOB for 11 years) , and TV (Hosted Switchback on CBC-TV), so we can’t wait to see what he has in store for us as an actor.

Laurie Mustard – born July 31, 1948 BE (Before Elvis) in Killarney, Manitoba. Family moved to Winnipeg in Fall of 1957, Laurie tracked them down and followed shortly after. He attended Linwood School, St. James Collegiate and U of W (Arts with a Theatre Major). Post university, he slaved in the media for 35 years, has recently retired momentarily, and is enjoying his freedom, his family (wife Marly, kids and pets), and five grandchildren.

Mustard once had a big argument with Milton Berle; proposed to Sophia Loren; crashed in a hot air balloon; loves classic cars, and is thrilled to be part of So You Think You Can Act.

Will Laurie “soar” to new heights on stage? With so much experience in all forms of media and a theatre degree to boot, we’re sure Laurie is going to be fantastic! Will Laurie take home the big prize? Will he win the audience’s votes? Will Winnipeg “wake-up” when he’s onstage? You’ve got to attend the event to find out!

Please join us February 16th at 8pm, Gas Station Arts Centre! Tickets are limited so purchase yours in advance on our website or by calling 586-2236.

If you haven’t yet predicted the evening’s winner, take our blog poll.

Who Do You Think Will Win So You Think You Can Act? Vote Here!

Who do you think will win Feb. 16th???

Elections have polls to help predict the results so we thought it would be fun to see who the frontrunners are for our first annual So You Think You Can Act. Although the audience at the event will have the final say after watching our celebrities’ performances, let’s see if you can predict the strongest performer in our advance poll.

Vote here to predict the winner of So You Think You Can Act and you could win a Sarasvati Prize Package! Prize Package includes tickets to the World Premiere of EDEN!

All voters will be put into a draw and the winner will be chosen randomly.  VOTE NOW!

(if you would like to be eligible for the prize draw you must submit your name and e-mail address to after voting, the winner will then be contacted to pick-up the prize)

So You Think You Can Act runs Feb. 16th 8:00 pm at the Gas Station Arts Centre. Tickets are $25 and include a wine reception. There is limited seating so don’t forget to buy tickets online at or reserve by calling 586-2236.

Sylvia Kuzyk – Actor in So You Think You Can Act!

We all know and love Sylvia Kuzyk from her nearly thirty-eight year career with CTV, but in February we will be able to see her in a new role – actor! Sylvia is taking part in our inaugural fundraiser So You Think You Can Act, taking place on Febrary 16th 8pm at the Gas Station Arts Centre.

Sylvia will take part in So You Think You Can Act Feb. 16th!

So You Think You Can Act is a fun fundraiser that features local celebrities testing out their acting chops in front of a panel of judges and an audience. The line up includes Ace Burpee, Randall King, Tracy Koga, John Lu, Howard Mandshein, Laurie Mustard, Al Simmons, Judy Wasylycia-Leis, and….Sylvia Kuzyk!

The theme of this year’s So You Think You Can Act is “Love Gone Wrong”, and we are excited to see our celebrites take on scenes with local actors about unrequited love, bad break-ups and failed wooing. As the holidays approach, we think it’s a perfect time to get to know one of our celebrities better. Sit back and relax as we take a look at Sylvia’s amazing life!

Sylvia Kuzyk is a veteran television news broadcaster who spent most of her nearly 38 year career at CTV Winnipeg, formerly CKY Television.

For years Sylvia was CTV’s weather specialist, endorsed by the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society. She was committed to bringing Manitobans forecasts they could trust. She was also a news interviewer and host/producer of CTV Winnipeg’s arts and entertainment segment “Spotlight”. One of western Canada’s first women in news broadcasting, Kuzyk started her career at CTV as a weather anchor. Over the years she performed many roles including late night and 6:00 p.m. news anchor/editor/producer and host/producer of several daily and weekly interview shows.

Over the years, Sylvia Kuzyk has won numerous public service awards from such organizations as the Kidney Foundation of Canada (1988), the John Alexander Media Award for her interview series “Multiple Sclerosis: The Baffling Disease” (1994)… and the Manitoba Volunteerism Award for Media (1996). She was awarded the Toastmasters International Communication and Leadership Award in 1999.

Sylvia has also won numerous awards and honours for her work. In 2004, Kuzyk won the YM/YWCA Women of Distinction Award in Media and Communications. In 2005 the Broadcasters Association of Manitoba honoured Kuzyk with the Broadcast Excellence Award for her work in the Manitoba broadcast industry… and in 2010 she was presented with the RTNDA Canada (Canadian Radio and Television News Directors Association) Lifetime Achievement Award, Prairie Region.

This year in September 2011, Sylvia was again honoured by the Broadcasters Association of Manitoba with the Hall of Fame Award for significant contribution to the broadcast industry in Manitoba. Most recently, in October 2011, she was awarded the Inspiring Life Award by the Rotary Club of Winnipeg, Fort Garry and was named a Paul Harris Fellow by the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International “for the furtherance of better understanding and friendly relations among peoples of the world.”

One of Sylvia’s great honours came in 2009 when she was invested into the Order of Manitoba.

She was born in Berlin, Germany and immigrated to Manitoba as a young child.  She is still fluent in German. Sylvia loves to call Winnipeg home and is an ardent promoter of this city and province.

Sylvia on CTV

We think Sylvia Kuzyk is a Winnipeg gem. She is well deserving of all her accolades and she was a comfort to so many people every night on CTV. We are so excited to have Sylvia on board for So You Think You Can Act, and we can’t wait to see her on stage!

To buy tickets to see Sylvia in So You Think You Can Act go to our website or call 586-2236. So You Think You Can Act runs February 16th 8:00 pm at the Gas Station Arts Centre.  Tickets are $25 and include a wine reception.

  • Calendar

    • March 2023
      M T W T F S S
  • Search