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Friday, 27 May 2011 10:43

Rosebud’s Jake and the Kid should be a summer smash hit

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By Neil Bousquet
For most winter weary Albertans, summer can’t arrive fast enough. 

Rosebud Theatre has the answer to kick away those dreary winter blues. Make plans to see the comedy of W.O. Mitchell’s Jake and the Kid: Prairie Seasons playing this summer at the Rosebud Opera House.

Opening Friday May 27, this humourous “growing up” story will transport audiences back to fictional Crocus, Saskatchewan where a young boy and the family’s hired hand Jake forge a friendship through the changing seasons.

“It’s been several years since we’ve put a W.O. Mitchell story on our stage. The last was The Kite and it absolutely captured audiences with its small-town characters and antics. Rosebud is not unlike Crocus, Sask. — the setting for Jake and the Kid,” Artistic Director Morris Ertman said. “So, coming to see a W.O. Mitchell story here in this valley is akin to walking through a village right out of a W.O. Mitchell prairie novel and then entering the theatre to be entertained by his stories. Having a W. O. Mitchell story on our summer stage is a huge treat. W.O. Mitchell and Rosebud were meant for each other.”

In 2005, Rosebud Theatre presented Mitchell’s The Kite that played to sold-out houses and almost 12,000 patrons. Audiences were enthralled by the connection of W.O. Mitchell’s characters to their own communities.

Of particular note in that production was the character Daddy Sherry.

“Nathan Schmidt pulled off a performance as Daddy Sherry that is still talked about as one of Rosebud’s funniest accomplishments,” says Ertman. “For this production he’s changing clothes to play the title role of Jake and will tickle audience funny bones with the same wit, humour and prairie town ‘cantankouressness’ that only W.O. Mitchell can create.”

Of special note, two of the production’s key performers are from southwest Alberta.

Mike Thiessen has been working in Rosebud for nearly a dozen years. Recent Rosebud productions include: Fiddler on the Roof, A Christmas in Wales, Oliver! and A Bright Particular Star. He will also star in Rosebud’s Christmas show Gifts of the Magi. In Jake & the Kid, Mike plays the feisty Old Man Gatenby and the town’s Mayor.

Glenda Warkentin is back at Rosebud after a year-and-a-half of working in other theatre venues across Alberta. Recent credits include Marta in She Has A Name (Burnt Thicket Theatre), Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing (Primestock Theatre) and Titania in

A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Theatre Prospero).

When visiting Rosebud, plan to make a stop at the new Wild Horse Jack’s Bistro & Grill. Ertman encourages people to check it out.

“I am certain that if W.O. Mitchell was wandering the Alberta highways and came upon this restaurant, he’d find himself at a table in the centre of the room, soaking up the atmosphere and identifying with the wild, wonderful energy of a village in rural Alberta that reflects the size, quirkiness and life in his imagination.”

Phone the Rosebud Theatre Box Office for reservations at 1-800-267-7553. More information can be found at

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