Famous People Players

Famous People Players is a delightful dinner theatre for the whole family. Learn about the history of their unique and heart-warming show!

The lights in the theatre go down. A hush falls over the audience. The last few whisperers are shushed by their companions.

Photo credit: Famous People Players

Suddenly, on stage, a neon disembodied dancer appears. His top hat, gloves, shoes and walking stick are the only things showing. He tap-dances across the stage, singing a cheerful tune. Then a puppet in the shape of a horse jumps into the scene, and leaps over the head of the dancer.

A few minutes later, a wooden-headed, hinged-jaw Elvis is crooning about his Blue Christmas and swinging his skinny foam hips. Next, three fat lady puppets with hilariously LARGE mouths belt out Silent Night to loud applause.

If you’ve never seen the Famous People Players and their “black light theatre” before, then get ready to be impressed.

First, though, you might be wondering: What is blacklight theatre? It’s an ancient art, developed by the Chinese, used by magicians for years, and is done with a special type of black light, performers in black costumes, and puppets. People and objects seem to float magically in mid-air and humans and puppets dance and sing to popular tunes. The technique, in the right hands, can be used to dazzle viewers, touch them emotionally, and most of all, amuse them! In the hands of the Famous People Players (FPP), a talented troupe of actors, blacklight theatre does all three.

The FPP have been around for more than 30 years. They’re rather unique in that they have one troupe who perform here in Toronto, and a second troupe that has travelled the world for years, performing on Broadway, in LA, Japan, Malaysia and pretty much anywhere else you can imagine.

The FPP is a non-profit organization dedicated to working with developmentally-challenged adults. All of the performers you’ll see on stage have learning-ability challenges. Part of FPP’s mandate is teaching people that we’re all individuals and that we all have different talents to share, and that our abilities shouldn’t be dismissed because of our challenges. The talents of these performers are top-notch and have been recognized by their peers in the Hollywood, on Broadway, and all around the world.

And the reason for their popularity is obvious: Famous People Players is a world-class professional theatrical organization. They believe in providing a complete and polished entertainment experience. We went for a recent lunch-theatre show, and let me tell you what we found.

The theatre is located 343 Evans Avenue. You arrive at the door and are greeted by a friendly maitre d’ who asks for your name (you’ve booked beforehand) and seats you at your table. You’re seated and offered drinks, then the servers start handing out delicious food: buns, plates of salad, followed by chicken supreme and vegetables (in the evening this might be roast beef). The service is friendly and flawless.

After your meal, a woman announces that the show is about to begin and you’re escorted to a theatre. The show lasts about an hour but it feels much shorter as the time flies by as you’re laughing at the antics of the actors on stage.

Even the kids in the audience stay mesmerized and quiet.

At the end of the show, the emcee introduces the performers one by one, and you recognize some of them because a few were serving in the dining room downstairs a short time ago. She gives you a little information about the troupe, tells you how they started and what they’re all about.

After that it’s back to the dining room where you can pick up a slice of decadent cake and have coffee at your table. The servers ask you if you’ve enjoyed your time here and seem genuinely delighted and proud to find that you have. All in all, it’s a memorable, moving and high-calibre entertainment experience.

The shows run twice a day, lunch and dinner, and they offer four or five different shows each year. We will definitely return for another show in the future.

For information about times and prices, go to their web site at: http://www.famouspeopleplayers.com/

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