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We're adding a twist to our summer campaign with street theatre!

Chill with WillTORONTO – As the weather heats up, CUPE Local 79 (representing approximately 20,000 Toronto workers) is launching its third annual summer campaign. Only this year, they’re doing it with a light-hearted nod to Toronto’s beginnings, starring its first mayor, William Lyon Mackenzie.

The union will launch its “Chill With Will” summer campaign today with a presentation starring Toronto’s first mayor at the Winter Garden Theatre at 12 noon. Period-dressed actors will give impromptu street performances throughout the afternoon in and around Nathan Phillips Square.

Local 79 President Tim Maguire noted that this year, in addition to participating again in some of Toronto’s biggest summer events, the Local will use characters from the city’s past to help highlight how far public services have come since the city’s beginnings.

“In the spirit of fun, we’re using street theatre to help entertain audiences, while we talk to them about the great public services that Local 79 members provide each and every day,” said Maguire. “Our summer program is an opportunity to support Toronto’s world-class summer events. Getting involved in Pride and the Dragon Boat races is a perfect fit for our diverse members, who spend their days taking care of Toronto.”

“Chill With Will”, with a professional cast of actors, was written by accomplished Canadian playwright Steven Shehori, former lead comedy writer for This Hour Has 22 Minutes, Huffington Post, and The Hour with George Stroumboulopoulos.  The street theatre performances will be staged at events throughout the summer, with Mackenzie’s character providing a comedic contrast between the realities of Toronto in 1834 and the range of municipal services residents depend on today.

Public Health Summer 2013 Campaign Lifeguard Summer 2013 Campaign Social Services Summer 2013 CampaignLocal 79 and its theatrical shows will be a presence at many of Toronto’s favourite summer events, beginning with the Dragon Boat Races on the Toronto Islands this weekend.

The summer program is supported by an advertising campaign (see right) on streetcars, buses and subway stations, featuring several current Local 79 members in their work and their counterparts from Toronto’s history.

CUPE Local 79 represents approximately 20,000 Toronto public service workers at the City of Toronto, Toronto Community Housing, and Bridgepoint Hospital. Local 79 members deliver a wide range of services, including: public health, planning, City Hall operations, social services, cleaning, court services, ambulance dispatch, child care, 311, recreation programming, supportive housing, shelters, water & food inspection, and long-term care.

A brief bio of the cast members and full schedule of Local 79 Summer Events is below.

For more information, contact Katrina Miller at 647-272-5024

Backgrounder – Chill With Will Cast and Performance Information

Chill With Will – a Letterman-style talk show starring William Lyon Mackenzie, Toronto’s first mayor –provides a light-hearted take on the services CUPE Local 79 delivers to Toronto residents today – and how far we’ve come since 1834.

The Author

Steven Shehori is a comedy writer, garnering 3 Canadian Comedy Award wins (plus 11 nominations) and 3 Gemini Award nominations. He’s served as a senior comedy writer for This Hour Has 22 Minutes, The Huffington Post, The Hour with George Strombolopoulos, and 10 national award shows. He is also an accomplished playwright, having written and directed 5 award-nominated theatrical productions. Recent TV appearances as an actor, stand-up comic, and pundit include MuchMusic’s Video on Trial and Stars Gone Wild, MuchMoreMusic’s Listed, and the Comedy Network’s Punched Up.

The Producer

Elena Rakatskaya is an award-winning costume designer, with considerable experience in theatre and film. She has been involved with Mirvish Productions and Dancap Productions, on such Broadway hits as Sister Act, Jekyll & Hyde, Billy Elliot, Lion King, Priscilla, American Idiot, Memphis, and Jersey Boys. She was an instructor at the Ryerson University Faculty of Communication and Design from 2010 to 2011. During its 2008 season, she worked on the National Ballet of Canada productions of The Seagull, Symphony, Giselle, Cinderella, and The Nutcracker. Her credits also include TV series Really Me, Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town, and Anne of Green Gables, and the 2007 film Gangster Exchange.

The Cast

John Huston – “William Lyon Mackenzie” – has been a part of a number of successful ensemble shows, including After Magritte, Kind Hearts and Coronets, and Cinderella. He has adapted and/or starred in such one-man shows as A Christmas Carol, Under the Lintel, Shylock, St. Nicholas, Creeping Murmur; Poring Dark, and Wooster Sauce. His directing credits include Soul Mate and Hard Times.

Rosemary Doyle – “Isabel Mackenzie”  has extensive experience performing in theatre and film. Selected credits include: “Jane” in My Mother’s Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding; “Martha” in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf; “Alp” in Finnegan’s Wake; “Lorelei” in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes; “Janet” in The Rocky Horror Show; “Polly Peachum” in Threepenny Opera; and “Ophelia” in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.

David Johanns – “Russell Ossington” – has studied both classical & jazz performance at McGill University, and performed in every conceivable venue, from cruise ships, hotel lounges and concert halls.  Johanns has composed music for over 100 television shows.  His voice can be heard on commercials in both the US and Canada, or singing jazz standards.

Ashley O’Connell – “Lifeguard” – has numerous film and television credits. Among his many theatrical credits are: “Lieutenant Kendrick” in the James MacDonald/Citadel Edmonton & RMTC Winnipeg production of A Few Good Men; “Curly” in Of Mice And Men at the Blue Bridge Theatre festival; “Sammy” in the Bob Frazer/Sarah-Jeanne Hosie/Arts Club Theatre Company production of Blood Brothers; and performed in Richard II and All’s Well That Ends Well at the Bard on the Beach Festival.

Natalie Sebastian – “Public Health Nurse” – has an impressive resume as a dancer and choreographer, performing or choreographing in productions with the Canadian Opera Company; the Shakespeare Festival; the Charlottetown Festival; the Edinburgh Festival; the Drayton Festival; the Lyon Opera Company; and Toronto’s Young People’s Theatre.

“Chill with Will” performances will occur at Local 79’s Summer Campaign events

“Chill With Will” LaunchWinter Garden TheatreJune 17th
Dragon Boat FestivalToronto IslandJune 22nd and 23rd
Pride ParadeBloor and YongeJune 30th
Festival of South AsiaGerrard St. E., from Greenwood Ave. to Coxwell Ave.July 6th and 7th
Youth DayDundas and YongeJuly 21st
Caribana Parade DayExhibition PlaceAugust 3rd
Taste of the DanforthDanforth Ave., from Broadview to Jones Ave.August 9th to 11th

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