Tag Archives: Toronto

Actor, improviser and writer: Sean Cullen

Episode 62 - Dec. 06


Seán Cullen was regular on the Tonight Show and he’s appeared on stages in New York, Chicago, Toronto and at the Stratford Festival. He writes books for young readers, his “Hamish X and The Cheese Pirates,” won the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Juvenile Crime Book.

Plus he has a podcast, the Seanpod, and with all that going on he still finds time to play hockey three times a week.


Seán Cullen and I talk about his improvisation and writing, as well as his path to success in comedy.

He also talks about his work on stage and why he describes his time performing 8 shows a week in “The Producers” as “just trying not to get sick.”

Seán mentions his time as a CBC Radio host and says “I was rambling completely and this drove the CBC Mad.” But as he explains, his rambling got the attention of a book publisher that led to the opportunity to his write books for young readers.

Seán’s Books
Hamish X and the Cheese Pirates
Hamish X and the Hollow Mountain
The Prince of Neither Here Nor There
The Prince of Two Tribes[Paperback]

Show Notes
The SeánPod with Seán Cullen.
Twist Your Dickens at the Toronto Centre for the Arts.

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
On Writing by Stephen King
The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan
Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr., E. B. White
Margaret Atwood’s Wandering Wenda to become Kids’ CBC series

Producer, actor: Ross Petty

Episode 61 - Nov. 10

Ross Petty

Ross Petty grew up in Winnipeg but was soon performing in London, Paris and New York.

His career includes performances at London’s West End and the legendary Lido Cabaret in Paris.

In the U.S. and Canada Ross played the title role in Stephen Sondheim’s “Sweeney Todd,” directed by Hal Prince.

Ross made his Broadway debut in Arthur Kopit’s “Wings,” co-starred with Ginger Rogers and Sid Caesar in a national tour of Cole Porter’s “Anything Goes” and created the role of Eddie Dorrance on TV”s “All My Children.”

He lives in Toronto with his wife Karen Kain, Artistic Director of the National Ballet of Canada.

For the past 20 years Ross has been producing family musicals in the tradition of the British pantomime.

Ross is one of Canada’s most successful and enduring theatrical impresarios.

If you’ve ever produced a show you’ll want to listen because Ross talks about how he went from being an actor in the show to taking over as producer, getting sponsors, hiring writers, actors, and being the driving force behind one of Canada’s most successful, ongoing theatrical events. He also mentions the steps he took to create financial stability after losing a lot of money on a production.

As well as doing all that for 20 years Ross stared in the shows, often wearing a dress.

Ross in Drag 2

Ross Petty

Ross Petty

Ross Petty
Bertha Von Botox (2008)

This year’s production of “Sleeping Beauty” marks the first time in 20 years Ross won’t be acting in the show.


Hilary Farr and Ross Petty

Hilary Farr, from HGTV’s “Love It or List” is playing the evil match to AJ Bridel’s Sleeping Beauty.

Sleeping Beauty is Perfect Family Fun.

Where else can the kids and you see top talent like A.J. Bridel, who just delivered a show-stopping performance in “Kinky Boots,” cutting loose in a theatre where the actors encourage the kids to yell at them with clever comebacks?

Even my 10 year old boy, who secretly watches “The Next Step,” on The Family Channel is enthralled by the opportunity to see “The Next Step’s” Alexandra Beaton and Taveeta Szymanowicz, who are part of the cast, dancing in the aisles.

Taveeta Szymanowicz, ross petty, elgin theatre

Taveeta Szymanowicz

Details Details
Sleeping Beauty
Starring A. J. Bridle, Eddie Glen and Hilary Farr.
Nov. 25 – Jan. 7
The Elgin Theatre 189 Yonge St. Toronto
Tickest start at $27

Nicky Guadagni: Actor, playwright

Episode 54 - May 13, 2016


Nicky Guadagni, podcast, interview, hookedNicky Guadagni has been nominated for five Gemini awards and won two for her roles in “Major Crime” and “Blue Murder.”

Her one woman show “Hooked” started as a private performance in people’s home and eventually made its way to the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh.

“Hooked” won the SpringWorks’ 2016 People’s Choice Award.

In the podcast we talk about acting, producing at festivals, her training at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, and of course our lives as parents.

I don’t know what part of our conversation I enjoyed most: Learning about her youth in Montreal, the creative process behind her hit show “Hooked,” or how she and her husband dealt with their teen aged son who spent way too much time playing video games, and online poker, but then turned that into a career.

Show Notes
Hooked The Play
Sweeney Todd at The Shaw Festival with Nicky’s daughter Tess Benger in the ensemble.
Griffin Benger, Nicky’s son & poker player/commentator on Twitter
“First Person Shooter” documentary film from Cogent Benger Productions
Improvisation instructor Kate Ashby
Donna Eden Energy Systems
“Hooked” at the SpringWorks Festival in Stratford.

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