Ross Petty talks new Cinderella production, playing villains
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Follow along as Andrew takes an intriguing person out for a night on the town, visiting some of Toronto’s newest hot spots and offering tips on how you can create your own date night.
I was looking forward to my date with Ross Petty, one of Toronto’s most celebrated actors, producers and directors who each holiday season wow’s audiences with his hilarious fractured fairy tales.
I met Ross at Queen and Bay Street one frigid afternoon for a Canadiana-inspired lunch at Oliver & Bonacini’s Bannock. We warmed up our cold fingers while diving into a candid conversation that unfolded over sweet Ginger Pear Margarita, spicy Tortilla Soup and lime-squeezed Chili Chicken Pad Thai.
Just a stone’s throw up the road at the Elgin Theatre, Petty and his team will inspire young and old with his 19th family musical extravaganza, Cinderella.
How did this festive tradition come to be? Petty offers up the details: “I was married in 1983 and there was certainly a brouhaha about my wedding to ballet dancer Karen Kain. An English producer in London wanted to present the British pantomime concept to Canadian audiences. The show was a fully British production and Karen and I acted as the Canadian PR hook. We were delighted! When do a ballerina and a musical theatre guy get the opportunity to work together?”
Petty’s shows are known for celebrating Canadian talent. “It would be just as easy to use an actor from a U.S. television show but it’s imperative for me to have Canadian talent celebrated in each performance” he says.
Petty is also known for playing the bad guy. “It’s what I do. I’m evil,” he says with a coy grin. “My persona, presence and voice lends itself to evilness.”
This year, he plays Cinderella’s evil stepmother. I was saddened that he hadn’t dressed in character for our date, but Petty cautions me, “She’d be a horrible date, a man-hungry cougar! She’s impossibly overwhelming, a lethal viper.”
Where to go before, after
Pre: Head down to City Hall with the family and lace up your skates for a spin.
Post: Enjoy a classic diner feast at the city’s oldest restaurant, The Senator.
Show dates: Nov. 21 - Jan. 4
In Focus: Richard Crouse