“Quite simply...Puttin’ on the Ritz is nothing less than a first rate smash.” Times Colonist

Victoria, BC...From April 12 to May 8, 2016 the Belfry Theatre will reprise the musical revue that opened the theatre forty years ago, Puttin’ on the Ritz, featuring the words and music of Irving Berlin.

Conceived by Don Shipley (the Belfry’s first Artistic Director), and directed by Glynis Leyshon, Puttin’ on the Ritz stars Lauren Bowler (from this season’s musical Chelsea Hotel), Andrew MacDonald-Smith (Belfry debut), Katrina Reynolds (Belfry debut), and John Ullyatt (from last season’s comedy, The Best Brothers).

The first production of Puttin’ on the Ritz was underwritten by four “angels”: Kelly Covin, Brian Winsby, Camille LaBossiere and Paddy Stewart, known vernacularly as “the drunk, the quack, the dwarf and the bum.”

“And undoubtedly as the years go on The Belfry’s first self-produced show will become a bit of a legend in Victoria musical theatre.” Times Colonist

The show proved immensely popular, toured to Vancouver and made the four angels a bit of money (to read Paddy Stewart’s piece about the first production, The Unbearable Tedium of Remembering, please visit our website).

The original production starred Bill Hosie, Danny Costain, Mary Swinton and Sheila McCarthy.

Ritz was reprised twenty years later and that production, directed by Glynis Leyshon, starred Bill Hosie, Danny Costain, Marlane O’Brien and Marina Stephenson-Kerr.

“First rate...romance and humour...sometimes you can please everyone.” Monday Magazine


With no formal training and playing only the black keys on the piano, Irving Berlin wrote many of the greatest songs in history. Puttin’ on the Ritz features 40 of his best songs including “Always”, ”Count Your Blessings”, ”Blue Skies”, “Cheek To Cheek”, and, naturally, “Puttin’ on the Ritz.”

How big is Irving Berlin?

Well, he wrote 18 musicals (Annie Get Your Gun), 19 film scores (There’s No Business Like Show Business) and about 1500 songs, including the top selling single of all time, “White Christmas.”

“White Christmas” has sold over 50 million copies, 17 million more than the next top selling single (Elton John’s “Candle in the Wind”) and 32 million more than the top selling digital single (Carly Rae Jepson’s “Call Me Maybe”).

Berlin’s songs have been covered by everyone from Al Jolson, Ethel Merman, Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Barbra Streisand, Linda Ronstadt, Cher, Diana Ross, Bing Crosby, Billie Holiday, Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan, Ella Fitzgerald, Doris Day, to Jerry Garcia (yes, he of the Grateful Dead).

At the age of 95, Berlin became the oldest person to have a single in the Billboard Hot 100 when German pop singer Taco charted (to Number 4) a synth-pop version of “Puttin’ on the Ritz” in 1983.

*All of the quotes used in this release are from the original production.


Creative Team
Director Glynis Leyshon
Musical Director, Orchestrator and Keyboard Programming Nico Rhodes
Set and Costume Designer Cory Sincennes
Lighting Designer Guy Simard
Sound Designer Paul Tedeschini
Choreographer Jessica Hickman
Second Keys Brad L’Écuyer
Stage Manager Erin Voaklander
Assistant Stage Manager Christopher Sibbald


Audience Events during Puttin’ on the Ritz

Saturday, April 9 at 11 am

Join us in Studio A for a live talk show hosted by CBC Radio’s Gregor Craigie, featuring Glynis Leyshon (Director) and Lauren Bowler (Actor) from Puttin’ on the Ritz, and community guests John Lucas and Christopher Donison. Free Event.

Free Childcare Performance
Sunday, April 24

The Belfry offers free, professional childcare (ages 3–10) at the Springridge Early Childhood Centre at 1222 Gladstone Avenue.                                                           

There are a limited number of spots available. To book tickets and a spot for your kids,please call our box office at 250-385-6815.


Following every evening performance of Puttin’ on the Ritz (except Opening Night and Talkback Thursday), we’ll host Afterplay. This facilitated discussion series offers patrons the opportunity to share their thoughts with fellow audience members after the show.

Talkback Thursday
Thursday, April 21

On the second Thursday performance of each show, we bring the backstage experience onstage. After the curtain call, some of the actors return to the stage to answer your questions and offer insight into the play you have just experienced. These Q & A sessions last 15 – 20 minutes.

Monday, April 25 at 7:30 pm

The librarians are back! Fast, furious and fun, Greater Victoria Public librarians return to the Belfry for Booksmack. They will let their hair down, take off their glasses and speed review their favourite books.

Show Sponsors
Puttin’ on the Ritz is generously supported by TD Canada Trust, Allison Piano and Boulevard Magazine.

40th Anniversary Season Sponsors
The Belfry is generously supported by The Times Colonist, Thrifty Foods, Cook’s Day Off and Helijet.

Public Funders
The Belfry is funded by the Canada Council for the Arts, the Province of BC, BC Arts Council, CRD Arts Development and the City of Victoria.

Ticket Information

Tickets for Puttin’ on the Ritz range from $23 to $52 (plus GST). Tickets are available at 250-385-6815 or online at tickets.belfry.bc.ca. Prices are subject to change.

Rush Tickets
For our weekday evening performances we offer a limited number of last minute rush tickets at a discount. Rush tickets are:

> available at the Box Office 30 minutes before each evening performance (Tuesday to Friday),

> in person only,

> subject to availability, and

> 40% off our regular Zone 2 (Yellow Section) ticket prices.

Ticket Discounts
High School Students – 50%
University / College / Post Secondary Students – 25%
Seniors – 10%
Members of the Military – 25%
Groups (10 or more) – 10%

Performance Schedule (April 12 - May 8, 2016)
Tuesdays - Thursdays at 7:30 pm
Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm
Wednesday Matinees at 1 pm (April 20, 27 and May 4)
Saturday Matinees at 4 pm
Sunday Matinees at 2 pm



Media Contact
Mark Dusseault / Director of Marketing & Communications / Belfry Theatre / 250-385-6835 / pr@belfry.bc.ca

About Belfry Theatre

The Belfry is a professional not-for-profit theatre company in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. 

We produce contemporary theatre from the international repertoire with an emphasis on new Canadian plays. 

With love, from scratch, and with some of the country's best theatre artists, we build, rehearse and create our plays in our own home, a renovated 19th century church in Fernwood - the city's most interesting neighbourhood. 

Belfry Theatre
1291 Gladstone Avenue
Victoria, BC
V8T 1G5