Korda Opens 20th Anniversary Season With Return of The Best Man

Korda Artistic Productions celebrates the theatre company’s milestone 20th Anniversary with the return of Christopher Lawrence Menard’s original comedy/drama hit The Best Man.

On the eve of her wedding, a young bride learns that her groom was once very much in love with his best man. Despite this, she goes through with the wedding. But the trip to the altar sees vows rewritten, beds revisited, and the bonds of matrimony turned upside down, as they all learn it is never as easy as saying, “I do.”

When The Best Man premiered at Korda in 2007, presented onstage at the University of Windsor’s Essex Hall theatre, the opening night show included a special ceremony to wed two same-sex American couples on stage to celebrate the two-year anniversary of the Civil Marriage Act legalizing same-sex marriage in Canada. The marriages took place nearly ten years before the US struck down all stage bans on same-sex marriage. These were legal and legitimate marriages, rather than symbolic unions. The couples were married under the authority of the Canadian Marriage Act, and through an official Ontario marriage licence. While their marriages were not initially recognized in many US jurisdictions, they were official recognized marriages in Canada and many other global jurisdictions. The Windsor Star called the 2007 production, “A creative treat,” adding, “the boy-has-girl-wants-boy story is compelling in a Three’s Company meets One Life To Live way.”

Menard is the writer of the stage plays The View From Here (2010), the DRAG Trilogy (2010-2012), co-writer of the short film Gary Blaze: The Devil Wears Product (2008), penned the feature film Whatever it Was (2009), wrote his first poetry collection at the end, beginnings: A Memoir in Poems (2022 from Black Moss Press), and is featured in the recent poetry collection In the Middle Space – Windsor’s Public Art (2023 from Black Moss Press).

“This new staging of The Best Man, created with this terrific cast and crew, is fresh and vivid, vulnerable and raw, and absolutely packed with heart and soul. The play is comical, treacherous and always moving. It is about the power of the past to impact the present, and what happens when we fight off the need to make amends in life. It’s about finding closure, and it’s also about identity and self-expression, and how much bravery is required to stand up and be who we are, to start important conversations, to find a voice and a tribe, and safety nets.”

Lawrence Menard, Playwright and Co-Director

The Best Man returned to Korda in 2009 with a staging at The KordaZone Theatre. Joey Wright, who co-directs this production, was inspired when he attended the show. In 2009, in response to bullying at his high school, Wright led a coalition that lobbied the Greater Essex County District School Board to create the area’s first ever Gay-Straight Alliance. Now, Menard and Wright are teaming up to bring The Best Man, updated slightly from its 2007 premiere, back to Korda’s stage and Windsor audiences for a return engagement as part of the theatre’s milestone anniversary.

This time around, the cast includes Lauren Stiers (the bride), Joey Wright (the groom), Nikolas Prša (the best man), Christopher Lawrence Menard (his boyfriend), Natalie Vriesen (the groom’s sister and the bride’s maid of honour), Dan MacDonald (the best man’s mother), Matthew Vriesen (the bride’s ex), and Roula Khayat in an assortment of comic supporting roles. Meaghen Quinn is the production’s Intimacy Director, while Eric Tulp serves as Technical Director, operates sound and lighting and helped design the intricate and intimate set.

The Best Man runs April 14, 15, 16, 20, 21, 22, 23, 27, 28 & 29, 2023 at The KordaZone Theatre, 2520 Seminole Street in Windsor, Ontario. Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening shows are at 8:00 p.m., and Sunday Matinees are at 2:00 p.m. Thursday, April 20th is a Pay-What-You-Can performance. All proceeds from the Sunday, April 23rd performance will be donated to the Windsor Essex PRIDE Festival. For Closing Night, Saturday, April 29th, the Malta Society partners with Korda for an all-you-can-eat pasta dinner ahead of the evening performance of the show. Tickets for the dinner and a show are $45.00, while show-only tickets will also be available for that night. Tickets are $25.00, and can be purchased in advance at Kordabestman.eventbrite.ca, reserved by emailing [email protected], or purchased at the door a half an hour in advance on show nights.