The Barbeque King

Music by Steve Thomas
Lyrics/Book by Mark Brownell
Directed by Sue Miner
Featuring: Hannah Miller, Dave Fraser, Stephen Reich, Mark Brownell,
and Deann DeGruijter
Costumes by Nina Okens
Stage Management by Sandy "Smee" Plunkett
Honorary Patron: "License To Grill" Celebrity Chef Robert Rainford!

In this new musical thrilla-by-the-grilla a stressed out cottager battles his nemesis in a winner-take-all cooking competition. The victor will be crowned Barbecue King. The loser will fry up a bitter harvest of despair and regret.

Listen to the BBQ Dance!


The Barbeque King

Chosen NOW Magazine’s Best of the Fringe:

The Barbecue King

The Barbecue King

The Barbecue King

Sue Miner (The Barbecue King)

Musical hits a high note with grilling tradition
By Catherine Whitnall

Move over anyone who thinks they're the King of the Grill - the real Barbecue King is coming to Bobcaygeon.

And he's in tune to boot!

Globus Theatre hits the half-way mark of its 2009 summer season with The Barbecue King: A Musical, written by Steve Thomas and Mark Brownell. The show opened July 28 and runs until Aug. 8 at the Lakeview Arts Barn.

In this hilarious new musical a stressed out cottager battles his nemesis in a winner-takes-all 'thriller-by-the-griller' cooking competition.

Mr. Brownell, a Dora Mavor Moore award winner and Governor General Award nominee for writing, explained the idea for the show originally came from watching a Japanese cooking show called Iron Chef.

"[Composer] Steve Thomas and I were also kicking around the idea of a cottage country musical. So we came up with the idea of a really competitive barbecue competition between two cottage rivals," continued Mr. Brownell.

The result is an entertaining mix of The Fantasticks and The Food Network.

But while some people may hum a tune while they grill up dinner, turning this great Canadian summer tradition into a musical may raise a few eyebrows.

Mr. Brownell enjoys working with Mr. Thomas - who also wrote music for Jasper Station and Race Day with Norm Foster - and has collaborated successfully with him on a few smaller musical projects over the years.

"Any opportunity to work with Steve is a blessing to me. And in general, a musical brings so much more to the theatre-going experience," Mr. Brownell told This Week. "Why say a line when you can sing it instead? It is much more creatively satisfying."

However, each project has its own hurdles. With the Barbecue King it was trying to find the time to finish a complete two-act version with everyone's busy schedule.

"I'm glad we did," said Mr. Brownell, adding, for him personally, it was fun writing some new gags specific to the Kawarthas. "Thankfully, James [Barrett] and Sarah [Quick] at Globus Theatre have given us the opportunity to do this. Bobcaygeon is very lucky to have these two fabulous and hard working artists programming a full and professional season of plays for the community."

When it comes to the audience, Mr. Brownell hopes they have a really entertaining night out at the theatre.

"That's it. No deep dark secrets or messages in this show. Just pure fun, love, and appreciation for the cottage going experience," he quipped.

For tickets and show times, contact the Lakeview Arts Barn box office at 738-2037. The Lakeview Arts Barn is located at 2300 Pigeon Lake Rd, just a few minutes south of Bobcaygeon.


NOW Magazine Stage Scenes
By Jon Kaplan and Glenn Sumi

Fire it up!

Heading out of town to the Bobcaygeon area for the long weekend? If you want some entertainment while you’re cottaging, head over to Globus Theatre’s production of The BBQ King: A Musical, a hit at last year’s Fringe Festival.

Several of the original team are back for the show. Director Sue Miner’s again helming the production in what must be her busiest summer yet: she also directed The Tempest, this year’s Dream In High Park, as well as The Fantasticks for the Red Barn Theatre (opening tonight (July 30) in its temporary home at the Stephen Leacock Theatre in Keswick).

Cottage country is the perfect place to restage The BBQ King. Set in a similar location, the Steve Thomas and Mark Brownell musical focuses on Bo, a stressed-out guy who stakes his reputation at the barbee against that of a slick competitor who’s not only mixing new sauces but also making moves on Bo’s wife.

The performers include three from the original cast: David Fraser as Bo, Hannah Miller as his daughter, and Brownell as his best friend. They join newcomers Michelle Piller and Sam Owen Rosenthal.

And now that The BBQ King has more life, how about a remount in Toronto? It did really well during its brief Fringe run.


Robert Crew - TORONTO STAR

The Barbecue King
By Steve Thomas & Mark Brownell. At Miles Nadal JCC, 750 Spadina Avenue 

Heck, even playwrights and directors deserve a summer break, and the Pea Green Theatre (and life) team of playwright Mark Brownell and director Sue Miner is no exception.

Pea Green typically offers rather substantial fare. But in The Barbecue King, Brownell teams up with Steve Thomas to dish up a lighthearted, enjoyably frivolous, musical take on that great Canadian tradition: the cottage holiday.

We're on Lake Muskagogue and Bo (David Fraser), wife Barb (Deann deGruijter) and teenage daughter Macey (Hannah Miller) have arrived for their annual two-week break. Bo is set to defend his crown as reigning barbecue king when a slick new neighbour, Roger (Stephen Reich), arrives to stake his claim to the title and to Bo's wife.

Tensions erupt. Not only does Barb find Roger's saucy advances much to her liking, even Bo's best friend Jerry (Brownell) is flipping sides. Outgrilled, Bo turns to his rebellious daughter for her support.

Nothing remotely serious here, just some pleasantly silly songs to keep things rolling merilly along. "Potato Mabel," is a fun shopping list to music while in "Coming Out Mambo," Macey reveals her deep, dark secret: she is a [HE GIVES IT AWAY!].

The actors are also in holiday mood with Fraser's enthusiastic Bo and Reich's villianous Roger among the highlights. Miner's direction is delightfully witty and Miller is a terrific discovery, a recent George Brown graduate with a lovely voice and arresting stage presence.

Both she and The Barbecue King, it turns out, are worth watching.


NOW Magazine

The Barbecue King
Play by: Mark Brownell and Steve Thomas
Presented by: Pea Green Theatre
Rating: NNNN

Reviewed by: Jon Kaplan

Steve Thomas and Mark Brownell's summer-cottage musical about a duel to the death for the BBQ crown features a fine cast, smart direction by Sue Miner, varied musical styles and some of the cleverest lyrics at the Fringe. A sure bet.


NOW Preview - 20 Reasons to Fringe

To catch Fringe history in action, look no further than Pea Green Theatre. Director Sue Miner and playwright Mark Brownell have been part of the fest since it began in 1989, when they staged Brownell’s High Sticking, about religion, art, sexuality and, of course, hockey.

There’s always a note of seriousness beneath the company’s playful scripts, which have covered everything from what it’s like to be in the police force to the last days of a small Toronto theatre company. Pea Green’s last production, Dave Carley’s Conservatives In Love, skewered political positions both left and the right, and there’s sure to be more fun in this year’s offering, The Barbecue King, a musical (with tunes by Steve Thomas) in which two cottagers battle it out in a winner-take-all cooking competition. Hamburgers, anyone?