Musical fundraiser takes to the stage tomorrow night at Rainy Lake Square

By Ken Kellar
Staff writer

A special fundraising event is set to run at the Rainy Lake Square tomorrow night to help a new theatre company put on its first show.

Trevor Barker is the musical director and founder of Row I Theatre, a brand-new theatre company in Fort Frances that is working towards putting on its first set of shows in the near future. To that end, Barker said he decided to emulate a very successful show from the states to try and raise some money to help the production process.

“I’m a fan of 54 Below in New York City, which is a recurring cabaret style show,” Barker explained.

“I often watch their performances online. I also have a close group of musical-theatre-loving friends in Fort Frances, and we were tossing around ideas for fundraisers one evening around pizza.”

Barker’s musical revue, cabaret styled show is called “Summer Lovin’: Our Broadway Favourites” and will feature many local performers who will showcase their singing skills and some of their favourite musical numbers. The show is set to begin at 7:00 p.m. at the Square on Friday, August 11.

“Our Summer Lovin’ Cabaret is an evening filled with musical theatre tunes sung by local talent!” Barker said.

“Each performer was asked to prepare a solo, duet, or trio. And it is a free event, however there will be a donation bin at the entrance if you want to support future Row I Theatre shows. It’s really an evening to help get Row I’s feet up off the ground.”

As Barker mentioned, the show is free to attend, and along with the donation box, the theatre company will also be accepting cheques and e-transfers for those who might not have cash on them. However, Barker hinted that there are plenty more reasons in addition to donating to help put on a show to bring some cash with you to the Square.

“There will be a donation bin at the door,” Barkers explained.

“People may bring cash, make cheques out to Row I Theatre, or e-transfer to Also bring cash for local snack vendors! The Coffee Camper, Batter & Cream, and Sweet Treat Productions will be there selling their goodies!”

The list of performers for the evening include plenty of faces that will be well-known to those who have taken in musicals at Fort Frances High School over the years, along with other local performances, and the assorted musicals that will be included range from classic 60s shows all the way up to modern award-winners, with songs from hits like Wicked, Hamilton, Funny Girl and more.

Barker said that when it came time to create the show’s list of performers, he didn’t have to go too far out of his way to collect more than a dozen names, and the rest of the set-up came together almost as easily.

“Organizing performers was the fun part,” he said.

“Everyone involved is someone I’ve either acted alongside, or I’ve directed, or choreographed a production with them in it. I try to pick an evening well in advance, and ask them as soon as possible so people can pick a song and work around the event. I usually reach out to people over messenger, or email. I was lucky to get almost everyone I reached out to say yes.”

Funds raised from the Cabaret will help go towards Barker’s planned shows with his theatre company, including a production of 1998’s comedic “The Drowsy Chaperone,” a parody of 1920s era musicals and styles. Barker has also announced plans to stage a children’s musical in early 2023 as well.

“Summer Lovin’: Our Broadway Favourites” promises to be a great evening featuring local talent and helping to support arts in the community, and Barker said everyone is invited to come down to the Rainy Lake Square tomorrow night to enjoy the performance.

“The evening will be pure fun, and filled with talent,” he said.

“Speaking for myself, I have to tell myself to leave the house and get active in the community. It would mean the world to us if the community came out to support us. So come out to hear some tunes from Legally Blonde, Godspell, Wicked, Les Miserables, Funny Girl, Shrek, Waitress, and so many more!”

See yesterday’s issue of the Fort Frances Times to read more about Row I Theatre and Barker’s musical plans. For more information about Row I Theatre, or any of their planned and upcoming shows, visit their Facebook page.