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Welcome to Happyview: Neigbourhood dad hosts one-man show

September 14th, 2010 · No Comments

Michael McMurtry's one-man show, Happyview P.S., plays this month at the Palmerston Library, beginning Sept. 20. Courtesy Michael Watier.

By Bethan Evans

Have you ever thought to yourself, Children’s theatre is entertaining for my kids, but I am bored to tears after the curtain opens? Michael McMurtry did and decided to do something about it.

“I wanted to create something that entertains kids, but is also sophisticated and will appeal to their parents as well,” says McMurtry about his one-man show, Happyview P.S., opening this month at the Palmerston Library (560 Palmerston Ave.).

Wanting to share his love for live theatre with his children, he began taking them to productions.

Inspiration struck after seeing Welcome to Vaudeville by Steve Morel and Jenny Parsons at the Fringe Festival. “I had never considered doing a show for kids before, but I couldn’t get over the feeling of being at a show with my kids and all of us having a ball. For a parent, it’s very satisfying to share that experience with your kids, but it’s rare in kid’s theatre today,” said McMurtry.

Born and raised in Toronto, McMurtry returned to Canada after a four year stint in New York, and has been involved in the Canadian entertainment scene ever since. He is well-known for his multi-character comedy featured in his one-man show, Enthusiasm of the Species. Both of his previous one-man shows have been produced for television.

Besides theatre, McMurtry has worked steadily in both television and films. He received a Gemini nomination for his role in the television show Godiva’s. Over his career, McMurtry has also had the opportunity to work with some of Hollywood’s legends, including Walter Mathau, Carol Burnett, Glenn Close and William H. Macy.

“I always felt that I was a comic doing dramatic roles. I have a lot of admiration (and some envy) for comedians. I always fantasized about being part of a sketch group. Creating this show has allowed me to indulge in silliness and comedy,” said McMurtry. “It’s given me permission to pull out all the stops and have as much fun as possible. It’s allowed my inner clown, my inner comic to come out.”

Courtesy Michael Watier

For Happyview P.S., McMurtry refined some long-time characters to bring them into a cohesive fun interactive show designed to entertain both kids and parents. “The premise of the show is a school assembly and the audience members play the roles of the students at the schooll,” said Derek Williams, director and co-writer of the play.

“Michael plays six different characters that he has developed over the years. The show is original and interactive and is as funny for adults as it is for kids.”

Performing the show, in his own community is also exciting for McMurtry. Like the Jersey Avenue street party that he helped create, he hopes the play will connect with his neighbourhood. “I hope that it will bring people out in the community and engage them in a new way. It’s an afternoon or an evening activity that both parents and kids can enjoy. It’s a very wild fun show!”

And how did his most important audience like the show? “My children love it, they are incredible audience members! Kids imaginations are so deep and open and they lose themselves in the characters.”

Happyview P.S. will be playing five shows at the Palmerston Library theatre  Sept. 20 (7 p.m.), Sept. 25 (2 p.m.), Sept. 26 (2 p.m.), Oct. 2 (2 p.m.) and Oct. 3 (2 p.m.).  Tickets are $10. For more information visit www.spicymike.ca or call 416 539 8437

Tags: Arts · People · General