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Motown meets the Ottawa Valley in new Christmas Musical Comedy

Hot on the heels of their smash hit Here Comes the Train!, which played to packed audiences throughout the Valley all summer, Stone Fence Theatre is getting ready to bring us a new Christmas musical, Valley Vic and the Christmas Temptations.

A Motown-style girl group is dispatched from Hell to ruin Christmas in the Ottawa Valley, as they've done elsewhere. What happens when the first person they encounter in their mission is Valley Vic, Stone Fence Theatre's iconic symbol of all things good about old-time Valley life? What happens when Vic's daughter, Alice, gets wind of what's going on?

Find out by seeing Valley Vic and the Christmas Temptations, the new musical comedy from Stone Fence Theatre and its producer/playwright Ish Theilheimer. The show, directed by Chantal Elie-Sernoskie, will be performed over two weekends in Killaloe, Pembroke and Renfrew, opening November 28. In future years, the company hopes to perform it in various locations every year at holiday time.

"A number of people helped me come up with the concept for the show," says Mr. Theilheimer. "One of the things that brings this company together is how fond we are of the Valley and its community-minded values. So the idea of a 60s-style girl group dispatched by the Devil to ruin things here struck us all as a hoot. It went from there."

Director Chantal Elie-Sernoskie is excited about the show and its cast. "If you want to laugh, listen to some Motown music sprinkled with Christmas cheer and be touched by the true values of the season, come out and see the show! This is a fantastic cast of actors and musicians and we are excited to introduce some wonderful new Stone Fencers like Schroeder, Bryan, Derek and Rita Tolhurst, Lawrie Barton, Shirley Hill and Kaylee Garcia. I am happy also to involve some very talented local youth in this production!"

Two veteran Stone Fence Theatre stars return with the show: "Valley Vic," otherwise known as Killaloe's Ambrose Mullin and Fran Pinkerton, one of the Ottawa Valley's most popular vocalists.

The play features young Kaylee Garcia of Pembroke as Vic's daughter, Alice. Kaylee has appeared in Streetlight Theatre productions and in concert. It also introduces Shirley Hill of Cobden as Vic's neighbour lady Wanda, who has her cap set for him.

The band features Schroeder Nordholt (Killaloe) on keys, Bryan Walsh (Killaloe) on guitar, Derek Tolhurst (Cobden) on bass, and Robin Pinkerton (Eganville) on drums, along with Musical Director Ish Theilheimer (Deacon) playing rhythm guitar and fiddle.

"Although I'm known for playing fiddle music, I grew up listening to the The Drifters, Sam and Dave, Aretha, The Temptations, Stevie Wonder, The Supremes and all the other R&B and soul music greats of the late '60s," says Theilheimer. "The music is inspired by these geniuses and the unsung heroes who wrote the songs and accompanied them."

Ms. Elie-Sernoskie is also enthusiastic about the show's message. "Ish has a great gift for reinventing an age-old theme and making it pertinent to our area, our era and finding a different angle. This show is exactly that. It’s relaying a message that the holiday season has been morphed into a giant artificial monster, and it’s so important for us to always be reminded of the true meaning of Christmas."

Valley Vic and the Christmas Temptations opens at Killaloe Public School on Saturday evening, November 28. It will be performed at Miramichi Lodge in Pembroke on Sunday afternoon, November 29 and the next weekend at the Renfrew Recreation Centre on Saturday December 5 evening and Sunday afternoon, December 6. The show in Pembroke at Miramichi Lodge is being done as a benefit for the Lodge, following up on a sold-out performance there in 2014 of the company's musical revue, G'day, We're from the Valley, EH!.

Tickets for all performances are $25, including tax and available by calling 613-628-6600 or toll free 1-866-310-1004, or online at www.stonefence.ca/tickets