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TFS Production of ‘Zoom Town’ Offers Modern Twist to Thornton Wilder Classic

 

Thornton Wilder’s Pulitzer Prize-winning classic, Our Town, will get a modern twist when Toronto Film School’s upcoming production of Zoom Town takes to the virtual stage.

 

Directed by Jonathan Whittaker, the 90-minute Zoom play was conceived, adapted and will be performed by his fifth-term Acting for Film, TV & the Theatre students.

 

“We have mashed up two worlds to bring you a real-time Zoom experience of the play Our Town,” Whittaker said of the play.

 

“Set in 1901, the actors portraying these characters provide modern 2022 insights and comments, revealing how the play is relevant to them today.”

 

Design by Angèlie Gilchrist Blanchard

 

Zoom Town, which is assistant directed and stage-managed by Frank Behar, will take to the virtual stage for a three-performance run on Sept. 14, 15 and 16 as follows:

 

Wednesday, Sept. 14 at 5:30 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 15 at 5:30 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 16 at 8 p.m.

 

***Click here to Livestream any of the above performances***

 

 

The Creative Team Behind Zoom Town (in order of appearance):

 

Kat Anderson as Stage Manager

Kat Anderson was born and raised in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, but currently resides in Goulais River, Ontario. Kat is currently in her fifth term of the Acting for Film, TV & the Theatre program at Toronto Film School. She has been cast in numerous short students films during her time at TFS, including You Don’t Deny It, The Consult, and Ain’t Nothing Changed, among others. Kat is a “Jill of All Trades”. She’s able to drive stick shift, ride both Western and English style horseback, and has been expanding her artistic abilities in body painting. Her biggest accomplishment thus far has been creating video content on her social media platform, earning her more than 100,000 followers. Kat can dance, act and sing – a triple threat within the acting industry.

 

 

Jadu Grossett as Mrs. Gibbs/Woman in Audience

Jadu Grossett was born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She first started acting in musicals during her high school years at Dakota Collegiate Institute. At the age of 19, she began studying acting at Toronto Film School. During her time at TFS, she played the roles of ‘Mama Nadi’ and ‘Christine’ in both a scene study version and full-length version of the play Ruined. Jadu has also written, directed, and produced a short silent film called Loner. In addition to acting, she is also a self-taught Acro dancer and is trained in several other dance styles such as Ballet, Jazz, Hip-Hop, Lyrical, Contemporary and more. Jadu has always had a strong passion for the arts. In her free time, she loves to draw and paint.

 

 

Cristophe Solomon as Dr. Gibbs

Christophe Solomon was born in Port-Au-Prince Haiti. When he was 9, he migrated to the twin island of St. Kitts and Nevis, where he graduated high school, then moved to Antigua with his father. During that time, Christophe travelled to Europe, visited Buckingham Palace, North America and most of the Caribbean Islands. He enjoys hiking and traveling, and also drives standard. He now resides in Ontario with his family. He is currently in the fifth term of his acting studies at Toronto Film School, where he wrote, produced, and directed a silent short called Neighbors. Christophe aims to be a successful actor in the near future.

 

 

Nim Badhan as Mrs. Gibbs

Nimrat Badhan, better known as Nim, was born in Mississauga, Ontario. While studying Fashion Arts & Business at Humber College, she took on the role of Art Director at a Toronto magazine called Infuse Magazine. During her time as an Art Director, she created fashionable sketches and artwork that displayed her creative talents. She also began working for the Canadian International Fashion Film Festival (CANIFFF), a local festival that showcases fashion/film talent from around the world. Nim is currently studying Acting for Film TV & the Theatre at Toronto Film School, where she has had the opportunity to perform many memorable roles in film and acting projects. She also directed and starred in her own short film, Lessons, which focuses on an out-of-control addict who turns her life around. Nim admires creating art of any form, whether it be drawing, painting, singing, or acting, and plans to continue to grow her career as a successful fashion designer and actress.

 

 

Michael Luby Lavalley as Howie Newsome/Mr. Webb

Michael Luby Lavalley is a jack of all trades and father to three amazing children – all while still having the skillset to write, play basketball, rap, act, and play video games. He is currently an actor studying in the Acting for Film, TV & the Theatre program at Toronto Film School. While attending TFS, Michael has had the opportunity to act in two silent films; one about a time loop, and the other about a serial killer neighbour. He also performed in 12 Scenes Ruined – a third-term stage play – as well as 15 voiceovers, including one for Tim Horton’s and another reading Robert Munsch’s Paper Bag Princess. Michael currently resides in Niagara Falls, where he’s focused on becoming the rising star he is.

 

 

Kavin Ketheeswaran as George Gibbs

Kavin Ketheeswaran was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, with a South Asian/mixed background. At 6’1” in height, he has a background in martial arts such as Wushu (Kung Fu), and is also proficient in lion dancing and Chinese Kickboxing. His special skills include use of force, weapon and police training. He is also fluent in speaking Tamil; one of the oldest classical languages in the world. Kavin is currently enrolled in the fifth term of Toronto Film School’s Acting for Film, TV & the Theatre program. During his time at TFS, he has had the opportunity to play both lead and supporting roles in a few student short films, including Sugar Baby, Wingman, and The Letter, to name a few. He modelled for Columbia Sportswear, Roku TV and was a runway model for the Fashion Art Toronto Show in 2022. In addition, he has played roles in TV series including Titans, Accused, and Handmaid’s Tale, and was featured in commercials for Visa, Kawartha Credit Union, and Simply Spiked. He is looking forward to more opportunities and workshops to enhance his career as an actor and is excited about meeting motivated, like-minded individuals in the field.

 

 

Rose Kabbouchi as Emily Webb

Rose Kabbouchi has been studying dramatic arts for the past three years. She lives in Ottawa, Ontario with her daughter and she is currently enrolled in Acting for Film, TV & the Theatre at Toronto Film School. The most enjoyable roles that she’s played while in school have been ‘Sophie’ in Ruined, ‘Catherine’ in Proof and ‘Mary Warren’ in The Crucible. She is currently known for her role as ‘Melissa’ in The Secrets of Primrose Square, which premiered at The Gladstone Theatre. She enjoys playing instruments such as the flute and piano, and loves to read quite a bit. She looks forward to continuing to take acting classes to further her career and seek out more experiences.

 

 

Madison Gianna as Rebecca Gibbs/Mrs. Soames

Madison Gianna was born in Paris, France and raised in Athens, Greece. She is fluent in Greek, English and French. She has been part of multiple student films throughout her time at Toronto Film School. She was the lead actress for a sixth-term film in 2020, titled Hush. Later in 2021, she wrote and directed her own film, Again, which she also starred in. Madison discovered her passion for the arts at a very young age. She majored in performing at Cardinal Carter Academy for the Arts high school and took multiple private courses for television and acting at LB Studios. Aside from acting, she has an extensive dance and musical background. She has been performing ballet and piano since she was five years old and had been a competitive cheerleader for seven years, competing both here in Ontario and in the United States. After a career-ending injury, she had to stop competing and decided to start coaching. She has been coaching gymnastics for three years now, teaching young athletes the fundamentals of movement. Above all else, she is passionate about spreading a message of love throughout the world and she knows she can be successful at this through acting.

 

 

Perry Chu as Professor Willard/Simon Stimson/Mr. Morgan

Perry Chu was born and raised in Taiwan, before moving to Toronto, where he finished high school. He is fluent in Mandarin, Taiwanese, and English, and is currently a fourth term student at Toronto Film School studying Acting for Film, TV & the Theatre. While at school, he had the opportunity to create and direct a short silent film titled Encounter and also acted in several other student short films. Before coming to Toronto Film School, Perry earned a summer program certificate from Vancouver Film School and studied Film at York University for one year. Perry is a musician who composes his own music on keyboards, and is also a professional performer for Chinese dulcimer. Above all else, he is eager to share his life experience and thoughts through his works as an artist.

 

 

Jonathan Whittaker – Director

Jonathan Whittaker is a graduate of Ryerson University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts with distinction degree in Performance/Acting (1978-80) and a 2015 participant of the Banff/Citadel Professional Development Program. His notable theatre credits include: Beside Myself, Prom Queen, Nigredo Hotel (Dora Award nomination), The Big Sleep, Colours in the Storm, The Team on the Hill, Jake and the Kid, Les Misérables and Dirty Dancing (Mirvish Productions), Man of La Mancha, Closer than Ever, 12 Angry Men and The Dining Room. He’s also appeared on many television series and feature films, including: Murdoch Mysteries, Ransom, The Expanse, Open Heart (series lead), Alienated (series lead), The Kennedys, Flashpoint, Suits, The Kid Detective, Chicago, Land of the Dead, Three Men and a Baby, and Virgin Suicides. For Toronto Film School, he’s director the plays Lord of the Flies, Journeys, 12 Angry Jurors, and Spirited.

 

 

Frank Behar – Assistant Director & Stage Manager

Frank Behar is a recent graduate from Toronto Film School’s Acting program, which he graduated from with top honours. Born in Toronto, Frank was raised in New Brunswick, where he attended Tantramar Regional High School and was an active member of the drama department, playing the role of “Kenickie” in the high school’s 2015 rendition of the musical Grease. After high school, Frank attended the Foundation Year Programme of King’s College University’s in Halifax, Nova Scotia. From 2016 to 2017, he worked abroad in London, England as a server and bartender in various prestigious hotels. From 2017 to 2018, Frank moved to Montreal, where he lived in the Mile End with friends. In 2018, Frank returned to New Brunswick and did various readings for Live Bait, Sackville’s local theatre company. In 2019, Frank played the lead role in Cole, a play produced by and directed by Charlie Rhindress. In the Spring of April 2022, Frank performed the roles of Satan, Jesus and Butch Honeywell in Toronto Film School’s online live production of Judge, Jury, Judas, directed by Rosanna Saracino. Frank is a second-degree black belt in Taekwondo and an avid skateboarder and currently resides in Toronto, Ontario.