Comedic writer/director/actress Tamara Bick recently relocated to Peterborough along with her husband/co-comedic partner in crime, Drew Antzis, and two children, Jaffe and Bailey, after spending a decade in Toronto and then more than a decade in Los Angeles where they developed a diverse résumé working with the Who's Who of Hollywood.
Tamara (born and raised in Peterborough, where she attended Adam Scott) and Drew (born in Queen's, New York but raised in Tucson, Arizona) worked in the entertainment scene there—primarily specializing under the BICK/ANTZIS handle as writers and directors for both branded and original comedy for the web. They've worked with the likes of HBO, Comedy Central and Second City.
They co-wrote a bunch of celebrity comedy shorts for Funny or Die, working with comedic actors such as Jim Parsons and Sean Hayes, and actress Natalie Portman. And Drew did this hilarious video, "The Landlord", with Will Ferrell that was a viral hit on Funny or Die. They also did a MoveOn.org PSA with Jon Hamm and Olivia Wilde. The list goes on and on.
The couple also acted a bit in Hollywood—in commercials and some guest starring roles. Tamara guest starred on Seinfeld, and worked with Kelsey Grammer from Frasier. They also did a bunch of Improv there, including Second City and Improv Olympic (Drew is a special guest in an upcoming Citiots Improv show at the Gordon Best Theatre).
So what made the couple leave LA, where, as Tamara says, "most people we met were super talented and super awesome." Her answer is both simple and complicated, and at times conflicted, all at once:
"Hollywood is great parties, meeting lots of famous people, working in television—it's really, really fun," she tells PTBOCanada. "The weather is the best, just gorgeous every day. California is a wonderful place. Living in Los Angeles, our family loved heading out to the beach every Sunday to surf and play in the sand. So we miss the beach and we miss our friends.
But LA is so huge—it's over 500 square miles, it's massive. It's about 4 million people living in that city... that's a lot of smell. But it's very diverse and exciting. At first, you're in awe of everything around you: the huge studios—Warner Brothers and Paramount—from the famous palm tree lined streets, Rodeo Drive and Sunset Blvd, and famous bars, the Chateau Marmont or the Brown Derby, to the clubs The Comedy Store or the Improv. It's the big league.
But then you do a set on the Improv stage and it's just another tiny stage in front of another brick wall except Jerry Seinfeld and Amy Poehler are in the audience that night and you suck. But after awhile, you realize all these famous people are just regular people who happen to be really talented, well dressed, beautiful and rich. Other than that, they're super ordinary people. And if you're willing to be in your car three to four hours day and pay 25 grand a year for pre-school, then it's the best city to live in!"
But they weren't. And so, they now find themselves happily in Peterborough, where as Tamara says, there is "free health care, no guns, less traffic." They live in the north end near Trent University—"it's so beautiful up here, especially in the fall," says Bick.
And the couple continue to create as much as they ever have. They're just been selected for the Montreal Fringe Festival and have applied to many others including Toronto, New York, Chicago and Winnipeg.
They're workshopping a show in Peterborough called Settle This Thing that actually had its origins on YouTube way back in 2012. Their premise was simple: to have the internet provide a solution to an ongoing argument they couldn’t resolve on their own.
Tamara and Drew each laid out their argument and told viewers to vote for who they agreed with and that they would live with the results of the vote. After a week, the married couple tallied the votes and had a winner. Argument solved! "It’s crowdsourcing to solve our fights," says Antzis, "and it worked!"
The couple have decided to take their web show to the stage and do it live. They’ve written five different Settle This Thing shows and are performing them live at The Theatre On King (TTOK) in Peterborough every last Friday of the month at 8 p.m. from November 2017 to May 2018. They are excited to test the shows in front of Peterborough crowds.
Each show tackles a different topic (Marriage, Sex, In-Laws, Money and Parenting) and includes at least two videos that the audience gets to vote on. The content and videos always rotate so you can could see the show multiple times and never see the same show twice.
Don't miss this dynamic duo, who have chosen Peterborough as their testing grounds for this material that could eventually scale to theatres across Canada and beyond—perhaps taking them right back to LA (only as special guests this time).
The 24 Hr Project is back Saturday, October 21st at 8 p.m., at the Gordon Best Theatre. This is when five plays are written, rehearsed and then performed at the end of 24 hours.
Friday, 8 p.m. -> 5 writers begin scripts
Saturday, 6 a.m. > 5 directors read scripts and each choose one
Saturday, 7:30 a.m. > 30 actors arrive and audition
Saturday 9 a.m. > rehearsals begin
Saturday 7:30 p.m. > Doors open at the Gordon Best Theatre
Saturday 8 p.m. > 5 new plays are performed
UNIQUE PROJECT MIXING THEATRE VETERANS & ROOKIES
What makes the 24 Hr Project special, aside from its format, is the inclusion of theatre veterans with those who have never performed before. A "crash course" if you will for newcomers who have been given the opportunity to get on stage for what may be the first time in their life. It consistently provides great results and a thrill for those on and off stage.
Many audience members at the Gordon Best Theatre can't believe what they are seeing wasn't even on paper the night before.
*Featuring: Linda Kash, Daniel Smith, Klint Davies, Lindy Powell, Tamara Bick, Brian Macdonald, Tim Etherington, Lydia Etherington, Ray Henderson, Drew Antzis, Dane Shümak, Amy M. Cummings, Adam Martignetti, Allison Wallis, Riley Tutert, Sean Quinlan, Karen Jordan, Sarah Jayne Riley, Kayla Fraser, Chelsea Munro, Meg O’Sullivan, August MacDonald, Tilly O’Sullivan, Tom Keat, Tonya Kimberly, Vanessa Erin Ferreri, Justin Boyd, Grace Horseman, Luke Foster, Andrew Root, Aiden Wilson, Angie Sorensen, Carol Lawless, Collin Chepeka, Katrina Hynes, Conner Clarkin, Mélanie Dubois, Karen Jordan, Lucas DeLuca, Mallory MacDonald, Noah Henderson, Jacqueline Kerslake, Chase Kilbourne, and many, many more...
*List subject to change
Tickets are $15 for Adults and $10 for Students at the door. Doors open at 7:30 p.m., and Showtime is at 8 p.m. on October 21st.
The Gordon Best is located at 216 Hunter Street West. Call 705.741.8763 for information.
Peterborough Theatre Guild invites you to visit the Canadian Blood Services at 55 George St N., in Peterborough on Saturday, September 9th, from 8 a.m. - noon.
That day at Blood Services, you will receive one complimentary ticket for PTG's production of Dracula. Also, the members of the cast and crew, including Dracula himself, will be there that day in costume.
The complimentary ticket is valid for the Preview Show of Dracula on Thursday, September 21st at 8 p.m.
Written by Stephen Dietz and directed by John Lunman, the play runs September 22nd through October 8th at Peterborough Theatre Guild's theatre.
Since 1965, PTG has been the home of award winning live theatre in Peterborough and the Kawarthas. For more info, visit their website.
Crime City!, a monthly stage show at the Theatre on King in the style of old time radio, is soon beginning its second season.
The show is full of thrills, chills, action and adventure as its heroes—hard-boiled detective Victor Marshall (Mike Judson), former spy turned do-gooder Lillian Steel (Marsala Lukianchuk) and 10-year old Adventure Scout Brad Bramble (Kenn Gibb)—aim to clean up crime in Crime City!
Written by Andrew Root, a new episode of Crime City! is performed monthly at The Theatre on King (159 King St., around the back).
Crime City! features performances by some of Peterborough’s top comedic talent (including series regulars Dan Smith, Adam Martignetti and Melanie Dubois and guest stars Ray Henderson, Megan Murphy, Kate Ethier, Aaron Cavon, Kate Story, Matt Gilbert, Sarah McNeilly, Meg O’Sullivan and Jessica Latone).
With sound effects performed live by Melissa Post and original music by Adam Martignetti, each episode is chock full of fun and adventure for the entire family!
Season Two begins on Saturday, September 24th with two performances at 8 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. at the Theatre on King.
Each episode runs between 45 minutes to an hour in length. Make sure to catch Crime City! for a thrill you won’t find anywhere else! Tickets are $10, and available at the door at Theatre on King.
To learn more about the show, check out this video below of the entire first season of Crime City! condensed into only ten minutes...
Millbrook renowned outdoor theatre 4th Line Theatre is showing the world premiere of Maja Ardal’s The Hero of Hunter Street this summer for its first production of the season.
This will be one of the most ambitious, epic productions that 4th Line Theatre—celebrating its 25th anniversary season—has ever produced.
The Hero of Hunter Street tells the story of the December 1916 Quaker Oats factory explosion and fire—its 100 anniversary is this year—in Peterborough that killed 23 men and irrevocably changed the lives of local families.
This highly anticipated play—which has been in development for four years—examines the devastating destruction and profound community response to one of Canada’s worst industrial disasters.
Photo by Rebekah Littlejohn Photography
Examining the nature of heroism and the rebuilding of a community, this emotionally riveting production features a large cast of professional and community actors, unforgettable musical numbers and explores how lives are rebuilt in the face of tragedy.
This tale of one of the most significant events in the history of Peterborough is the perfect way for 4th Line to celebrate 25 years of regionally-focused, life-changing theatre.
The Hero of Hunter Street runs June 28th to July 23rd at 4th Line Theatre. Get your tickets here.
Three weeks into rehearsals and Kate Suhr is still pinching herself.
The Peterborough songstress who recently relocated to Toronto to concentrate on her singing and acting career has just landed her first Toronto musical role and it’s a BIG one—she’s playing Ariel in The Little Mermaid!
The PCVS grad is no stranger to our local stage, having starred in numerous St. James Players productions as well as taking on a roll in the Peterborough Theatre Guild’s The Sound of Music.
As a Humber College Bachelor of Applied music grad, Kate is a maestro with the mic. Her musical training—including being proficient in the piano, guitar and ukulele—lead her to release her debut CD entitled Something More, which she performed at last summer’s Boots and Hearts festival!
Having dreamt of being a Disney Princess since she can remember, this is Kate’s big break on the big stage in the Big Smoke! The Little Mermaid opens April 2nd at Randolph Academy and will be on a run of 16 matinee shows that’ll be fun for the whole family.
—By Aaron Elliott
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Local talent Naomi DuVall, Ray Henderson, Mike Judson, and Sarah McNeilly are starring in the new romantic comedy play Greeting Cards at Showplace in downtown Peterborough.
Written and Directed by Peterborough's Frank Flynn, here's a synopsis of the play:
Robbie O’Grady is a bon vivant and a lady’s man. At least he was until a stroke changed all that. Now he’s struggling to find his footing in a whole new world. Frustrated, flat broke, and unable to work, he’s beginning to test the patience of his best friend/roommate Max, who’s got troubles of his own. Max hasn’t quite come to terms with the feelings he has for his girlfriend Mandy. Falling in love isn’t Max’s style and he wants out. Behind on the rent, Robbie needs help, and fast. Things get complicated when Mandy suggests Max’s little sister Gertie as a therapist for Robbie. Max doesn’t want Robbie anywhere near Gertie. Things don’t go as planned when Max solicits Robbie’s help to break up with Mandy, and Gertie isn’t quite the little girl Robbie remembers from when they were kids.
Love, laughter, and friendship abound in this romantic romp. Sure to touch hearts and funny bones alike.
Greeting Cards is playing at Showplace on the following dates:
-> Thursday, February 25th at 8pm
-> Friday, February 26th at 8pm
-> Saturday, February 27th at 2pm
Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for students
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Peterborough's Art For Awareness presents RENT from February 20th to 28th at Showplace Performance Centre. Set in the East Village of New York City, RENT is about falling in love, finding your voice and living for today. Here are cast photos below by Sara Connelly (SC Photography) that were photographed in the alley behind St Veronus in downtown Peterborough...
RENT follows a year in the life of a group of impoverished young artists and musicians struggling to survive and create in New York's Lower East Side, under the shadow of HIV/AIDS. By donating partial proceeds from this local production to PARN-Your Community Aids Network & the Youth Emergency Shelter (YES), Art for Awareness aims to educate, entertain, and normalize the stories of those living with HIV/AIDS, addiction, and poverty and sexual identity.
RENT is produced with the generous support of Adam Scott Performing Arts, PTBOCanada (we're a media sponsor), Theatre Trent, the Anne Shirley Theatre Company and CMHA Haliburton Kawartha Pineridge.
RENT is Produced and Directed by Geoff Bemrose & Sarah Tye, Choreography by Rachel Bemrose, Musical Direction by Brian MacDonald and Vocal Direction by Pamela Birrell.
RENT runs February 20th to 28th at Showplace. Tickets are $21 for students and $26 for adults. For more info, go here and see the poster below.