Entertainment

Ross Petty talks new Cinderella production, playing villains

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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=91AhYxkOnzU

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

Tickets: Rosspetty.com

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