Tickets are still available for The Christmas Block Party on November 30th!
Here’s a preview of the long list of talented performers:
Joe Adamick, Jennifer Berney, Rene Cingolani, Ryan Laplante, Darryn Stephens,
Amariah Faulkner, Trudee Romanek, Mike McVittie, Pam Sparrow and so many more!!!
Wayne Desormeaux had a calling, maybe as far back as Grade 3, to be a performer. Today, as a devoted father and family man, finding time on stage is a matter of negotiation at home and picking the right opportunities. “Sometimes it’s like ‘Oh! By the way…I auditioned for this….! But going forward, now that Jayden is here, it will be maybe one show a year. I like to stay close to home of course because travel can take time away from the family.”
Wayne and his wife Cheryl moved to Barrie about 7 years ago, following Cheryl’s career path with the government. However, it wasn’t long before he found the stage in the Barrie area, at the urging of his wife. “It had been about a 10 year gap for me.”
Born to Perform
“I was the class clown. I went to a theatre high school in Scarborough, Wexford Collegiate. They have a full curriculum of visual arts, movie arts, theatre arts and so on. That’s where my interest in theatre really started to take off.” Since arriving here, there have been many show appearances in the Barrie area, from the first,Anything Goes, to the most recent, The Rocky Horror Show, for the third year running. “You start off in the chorus and work your way up.”
Singing for a Cause
However, it’s Wayne’s upcoming project, Christmas Block Party on November 30th, that unites both Wayne and Cheryl. “It’s a musical fund raiser, a variety show with singing, dancing, acting with a whole bunch of people from shows I’ve been in; Rene Cingolani, Darryn Stephens, Mike Holland, Trudee Romanek, Mike McVittie, a lot of recognisable individuals from the area, basically anyone I’ve worked with has been approached.”
It’s an emotionally charged event with a cause that matters very much to Wayne and Cheryl. Cheryl explains: “A dear friend of ours, a single mom with two young boys, was diagnosed back in March with cervical cancer. She had a full hysterectomy in April and got a clean bill of health. Everything was ‘good’. By August when they tested her again, she had an 8cm tumour in her pelvis. The doctors told her it was incurable and gave her 12 months to live. Of course, she hasn’t been able to work. Wayne is putting this show together to raise money so they can focus on her therapy.
“The good news is that since that time, she’s been on the most potent chemotherapy the body can tolerate and the tumour seems to be gone, just a few spots. At this point we don’t know where we stand and we’re excited that she will be well enough to attend the show with her family.
“The goal is to raise $10,000 for the family, the children, for her care, whatever. We just want them to enjoy the time they have left together.”
The performing arts community gets on board
Wayne explains how Moving Art has offered their Loft Space for the show at minimal cost, along with all the lights and sound equipment that goes with it. “They’re going to help us as much as they can. There will be some of their students dancing and performing; Mike Holland is hosting; the sound guys from Rocky Horror are on board to help with the production touches; the whole Rocky Horror band will be playing; drummer Joe Adamick is even doing a drumming circle. There’s karaoke carols for the kids during the intermission. Everyone is playing for free. One of our friends is an artist and has donated one of her works for the silent auction. People want to help.”
The Christmas Block Party is certain to make an impact on the family of their friend just as it will on the performing community by coming together for an important cause. That’s very much part of Wayne’s shtick; Impact. Every moment on stage is an opportunity to make an impression with his character. His recent, albeit very brief, appearance in KCP’s spring 2013 production of Spamalot is a great example. Wayne’s entire role was to simply appear on stage as an errant knight for only 20 seconds; no lines. Yet he would take at several minutes to go over exactly how he would enter, react to the lines directed at him and his consequent exit, every night!
“I want to give everyone a bang for their buck, give the best I can for the show. If it’s going to be funny, let’s make it really funny. A lot of the direction I get is pretty straight-forward; ‘Be Wayne.’”
No clothes? No fear!
He is also fearless. An appearance in Tarzan suits, boxers or briefs is no issue for Wayne. KCP’s 2012 sell-out, The Full Monty, found Wayne and several of his male co-stars bearing it all (almost). “We really bonded, had a lot of fun. You can’t not bond in that situation!” It was a daunting experience for some of the guys, but Wayne’s lack of shyness on stage found him leading the charge. “I would do something and they’d say ‘If Wayne did it, it can’t be that bad!’”
And that’s pretty typical. Wayne’s natural gift for comedy can set a pace for the rest of the cast. “People start to wonder when the next Wayne Moment will happen. That’s OK. It’s what I do.”
The Christmas Block Party is not Wayne’s first venture into the realm of musical variety. “I’ve been putting friends together for a while; not in a formal band, just getting together and doing some things here and there for people. My friend Steve Major had a benefit to raise money to make a CD, so I grabbed a bunch of friends that I had appeared with in some shows. I do classic rock to country, reggae even!”
Cheryl points to Wayne’s recent experience with Building a Dream as the impetus for the Christmas Block Party. Tory Hathaway put together Building a Dream for Habitat for Humanity in April 2012. “Steve Major had put together a sort of Barrie Idol show and I was runner up to Tory. She asked me to join her in a fund raiser, would you like to sing in it, and I said ‘Sure! I’m up!’”
Wayne and Cheryl both hope that if it goes well, The Christmas Block Party will be a part of Barrie’s event calendar every year.
November 30th at 7”00pm
$20 general admission
$40 VIP seating in first 2 rows (plus free T Shirt!)
Tickets are available through Moving Arts