Hank's Holiday Showcase returning to Orillia for third annual show
Hank’s Holiday Showcase hits the Orillia Opera House Dec. 7 and 8. Cast members include, clockwise from left, Sue Dosso as Mrs. Steeper, Jim Dwyer as Father McFlannery, Andrea Lee-Burnet as Lady Howdoyoudo and Lynda Lewis as Millicent Hardgrove. KRISTEN SMITH - THE PACKET & TIMES
Hank’s back for another Christmas laugh.
The popular master of ceremonies — and alter ego of writer and director Rob Reid — will lead the third annual show, Hank’s Holiday Showcase, at the Orillia Opera House next month.
The character, known for “long story jokes,” will start the show with a Christmas monologue, but not without interruption from cast members.
Act 2 will take the shape of a news show. The performance will also feature a take on Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, in which Hank will play “the ghost of all those rich and powerful.”
Reid said the Orillia community appreciates the show because it’s chock full of local jokes, stories, innuendo and occasional politician ribbing.
“There’s a lot of local content this year,” said Reid, who noted the audience should watch for some familiar, surprise guests.
Reid’s character, a middle-aged man who lives with his mother, is the only character of the seven-person play who breaks the fourth wall and interacts with the audience.
“It’s a very laid-back evening,” Reid said, adding there will be a few song-and-dance numbers.
Jeff Holec, who plays Mother Reverend, will perform a rendition of I Feel Pretty.
“I’m not a lady. I’m a nun,” said Holec, in character before recent rehearsals.
Jo Anne Debreczeni will play a woebegone nun.
“I’m looking forward to being back in the Opera House again,” said Debreczeni, who also designed the set.
This year, the show will support The Sharing Place Food Bank. Those who attend will be able to purchase a turkey for the organization’s Christmas dinner hamper program.
“We’re going to help put some turkeys in some hampers,” Reid said, noting turkey makes an appearance in the play.
Sharing Place executive director Christine Hager said the organization is thrilled to be involved.
“Something like this is really important,” said Hager, who noted the food bank is estimating it will need to fill about 500 hampers this year.
While the food bank gets large corporate donations, the play will provide a venue for the community to purchase turkey vouchers. People can also buy portions of the bird, said Hager.
“It helps make sure there is a turkey in every pot,” she said.
Tickets for the Dec. 7 show at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 8 at 2 p.m. cost $20 and can be purchased through the Orillia Opera House box office. Group rates are also available.