Glory Days! with Chris McHarge at the Upper Canada Playhouse

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MORRISBURG – “This music is powerful, and its appeal is powerful too. Classic rock just resonates with audiences of all ages.”

Chris McHarge, creator and director of the hit musical Glory Days! which is returning to Upper Canada Playhouse for four performances only, February 17-19, took some time from his very busy schedule to talk about the show that he first created and debuted in 2019. He is bringing his production back to Morrisburg in a new “improved version. As good as the original was, this show is fantastic.”

Musician/author/arranger/director Chris McHarge has been involved in creating and mounting musicals and plays for more than 20 years. He is artistic director at the Lighthouse Festival Theatre in Port Dover, as well as artistic and executive director of Theatre on the Grand in Fergus, Ontario. He is also a former artistic director at Theatre Aquarius in Hamilton, and founder of the play-reading series, Brave New Works. He has worked in Canada, the US and Europe, and has directed over 100 shows, including 31 world premieres.

Playhouse audiences will particularly remember those amazing musical tributes he created and staged right here in Morrisburg: Blue Suede Shoes, Memories of the Summer of Love, Midnight Hour, Glory Days!, Vegas Knights and Rockin’ All Night.

As Chris pointed out, “Even when I’m directing regular theatre, music has to play a role. Music is a huge part of my life, and I want to share that music with audiences.”

When he first put Glory Days! together in 2019, he was determined to “recreate a wonderful time and place in musical history, to transport people back, and to revive those great memories.”

The show is built around the performers who often made their debuts on open mic nights (a ‘Hootenanny’) at the old Troubadour Club in Hollywood. Many of these musical hopefuls went on to form the musical heart and soul of the 60s, 70s and 80s. Glory Days! celebrates that wonderful music, and outstanding artists from the Eagles to Elton John, Billy Joel to Carole King, Bob Dylan to Gordon Lightfoot, Neil Diamond to Linda Ronstadt and so many more.

“I wanted to include some of the best known pieces and artists from those times,” Chris explained. “And we also tell the background stories and share the lives of the singers. I re-vamped the show for this 2023 production and changed the order of some of the songs, but Glory Days! is made up of the best of those powerful songwriters. This is a multi-media approach, with great images to go with the songs. I actually had to cut down my original song list,” Chris added, laughing, “because there was just so much terrific music to choose from. And this music has endured. People will recognize and love the songs: our show is immediate and the performers share the passion they feel from the audiences.”

He has assembled a very talented cast of noted artists to perform in Glory Days!

“Imogen Wasse is our female lead, an instrumentalist and a singer of brilliant harmonies. Willem Cowan is returning to the cast, a powerful singer and guitarist who will be featured in Sweet Caroline and Springsteen’s Thunder Road. Stephen Ingram is a multi-instrumentalist and talented singer. He’s a Cat Stevens on the guitar – which he says he perfected during the pandemic.” Supporting the leads is a roster of outstanding and experienced musicians, a five piece band with Chris Dahmer on piano, Matthew Lima on bass, David Peters on drums, Peter Mueller and John Kenny on guitars.

Chris is delighted to bring his show back to Upper Canada Playhouse, one of his favourite performance venues, with its warm, receptive audiences. “Donnie Bowes and I go back a long way,” he said. “If I have a new show, he just calls and says ‘When do you want it here?’”

Chris McHarge’s Glory Days! is only at the Playhouse for four shows, February 17-19. Don’t miss your chance to relive, and revel in some of the most memorable music in history. As Chris puts it “Glory Days! is the full experience, visually and musically. The stories tie the songs together, and the production is blessed with brilliant performers.”

Contact the Playhouse for ticket information. Note that all evening performances now begin at 7:30 p.m.

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