Murder at the Howard Johnson set to open at Upper Canada Playhouse


Warning to Playhouse audience members. There’s tons of murders being planned at the Morrisburg theatre. But have no fear. They’ll likely result in tons of laughter. 

The Playhouse is celebrating its 30th season with some of its biggest crowds ever. The great upcoming comedy, Murder at the Howard Johnsons, promises to continue the trend as it runs from July 4-28 on the stage.

This popular classic by Sam Bobrick and Ron Clark is the second installment in the Playhouse’s summer series and offers up a comedy with some entertaining new twists. Is all fair in love? Even murder? That’s the question posed by this light and funny suspense-comedy filled with thrills, surprises, wacky characters and a whole lot of laughter. 

When Paul finds out that wife Arlene is having an affair at the Howard Johnsons with their dentist, Mitchell, it unleashes an hilarious set of events that spans three different nights at the same hotel as this love triangle plots three different murders.

 Only problem is, these three characters are no good at it. 

Their bungled attempts to carry out their crazy crimes just escalate the comedy even further. Who do they try to kill and how do they try to do it? It’s all part of the entertaining fun and suspense of this off-the-wall comedy audiences won’t want to miss. 

Directing the production is Emmy Award winning director, Jesse Collins, who has been at the helm of such previous Playhouse hits as Norm Foster’s Bedtime Stories and The Affections of May. Collins previously directed a hit production of Murder at the Howard Johnsons at Harbourside Playhouse in Mississauga. 

“I jumped at the chance to direct this wonderful, funny show again,” says Collins, “especially with this blue chip cast of some of my favourite actors.”

 Reprising the role of Mitchell the dentist from Collins’ former production is Timm Hughes, last seen in the 2012 season opener Hotbed Hotel and also in such Playhouse productions as Dear Santa and The Seaway Story

Playing cheated upon husband Paul is Jamie Williams who has appeared in several Playhouse hits like last season’s Here on the Flight Path, A Nice Family Gathering and farces like Run For Your Wife and It Runs in the Family to name a few. 

Arlene is played by another Playhouse veteran, Susan Greenfield, who has also racked up an impressive list of memorable performances since being introduced to audiences several seasons ago. She was last seen here in Hotbed Hotel and also starred in such past shows as A Christmas Carol, Bedtime Stories, Chapter Two and Perfect Wedding.

These three experienced actors continue to work all over the country with Williams and Greenfield  coincidentally arriving for rehearsal just hours after closing in the show Henry and Alice Into The Wild at Port Dover Lighthouse Festival Theatre and Port Colbourne.  

After Murder at the Howard Johnsons, Williams goes on to appear in Norm Foster’s Drinking Alone at Port Stanley Festival Theatre, along with Kate Gordon, one of the actors from this season’s Whose Wives Are They Anyway? 

Playhouse artistic director Donnie Bowes is always happy when talented and busy actors such as these are available to appear in Playhouse shows. 

“It’s nice when all the stars align to bring our audiences the best talent out there,” he remarks. “It sounds like a funny thing to say, so to speak, but producing a good comedy is a serious business. You have to have talented experienced actors, great production values and, of course, great scripts.” 

Sam Bobrick and Ron Clarke, authors of Murder at the Howard Johnsons are part of the same team that wrote past Playhouse hits Wally’s Café and Weekend Comedy

Bobrick has also written for such TV shows as The Andy Griffith Show, Get Smart and The Smothers Brothers. 

“For the most part, my plays are comedies,” writes Bobrick. “There is nothing more satisfying to me than to sit in an audience and listen to people laugh. Although I feel there are moments of insight and enlightenment in my plays, I’ve never really had a depressing message I felt necessary to share with the public. My main goal has always been to entertain, to have people leaving the theatre feeling good. Life is tough enough.”

Audiences are in for a comedy treat, complete with a great story, some hilarious characters and a lot of laughs.

Murder at the Howard Johnsons runs July 4-28 with both evening shows and matinees. For additional information or to order tickets, call 613-543-3713 or 1-877-550-3650 or contact

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