Musical Memories: SSP Celebrates 60 Years of Community

*video courtesy Saskatoon Summer Players

It was a warm welcome in 1977 that Lila Henderson will never forget. She was new to Saskatoon and some friends took her to her very first Saskatoon Summer Players (SSP) performance.

“I’ve been in nearly 20 productions since then. It’s brought so much joy into my life.”

The Saskatoon Summer Players has been a part of Lila Henderson’s life for more than 40 years. (Photo Provided)

“We saw Annie Get Your Gun that spring. It was fabulous and I thought, ‘Maybe I could do that?’” Henderson didn’t waste any time. “I auditioned for Bob Hinitt the next year and the rest was history. Anne of Green Gables in 1979 to The Producers in 2012, I’ve been in nearly 20 productions since then. It’s brought so much joy into my life.”

It seems anyone you talk to that has been involved with the theatre company has a similar story. The SSP prides itself on producing professional shows with a cast and crew of volunteers. People with “day jobs” that devote months of their time simply for the love of musical theatre. Now, that community is celebrating a big anniversary with 60 Years of Summer… Players, February 17th and 18th at The Bassment.

“It’s amazing to see how many people, from different walks of life, have been touched by this company,” says the show’s director Matthew Olson. “We want the show to be the SSP celebrating the history and looking forward to what’s next.”

A big part of that future is the young up and coming performers like Esmee Pisio. Her father, Blair Pisio has been involved with the SSP for more than a decade and Esmee has grown up watching her dad onstage and behind the scenes. The father daughter duo will perform a song from Annie in the show.

“It’s going to be really special to experience it with my dad.”

Esmee and Blair Pisio say they’ve bonded over a shared love of musical theatre. (Photo Provided)

“I’ve always wanted to do an SSP show. You see how much everyone puts into each performance,” says Pisio. “It’s going to be really special to experience it with my dad.”

Blair says he’s proud to introduce his daughter to all the friends he’s made with the SSP.

“We’re more like family, it’s something that’s really fulfilling for me,” He says. “We all get to do these shows and see how much joy community theatre brings to Saskatoon. It’s just wonderful.”

Henderson says she’s proud to open the 60th Anniversary celebrations with her rendition of There’s No Business Like Show Business and kick off the evening’s performances.

“I’m the most senior person in this performance but that’s ok. It means I’m still walking around this earth,” she jokes. “The Saskatoon Summer Players has been a huge part of my life.”

60 Years of Summer… Players

February 17th & 18th

The Bassment

Tickets $25 – $35

For more information and tickets, follow this link.

Saskatoon Summer Players

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