Who’s Who: Ian Gilmore & Amy Reitsma, The I Do, I Do Duo
By Mike Butler
What an exciting Who’s Who! I rarely get to write about duos, but this one is so special that I couldn’t resist. Ian Gilmore and Amy Reitsma are coming to Wolfville this month to perform in Valley Summer Theatre’s ninth season opener I Do! I Do! and I want to tell you all about them and this fantastic show.
Let’s start with Amy! Amy Reitsma is originally from Seabright. She attended Queen’s University for music (singing), and after graduating she worked in theatre and musical theatre in the Maritimes for five years. She decided that she wanted more acting training, and thanks to her fundraising efforts and the help of the beautiful Halifax theatre community, she made the move to the ‘big smoke’ of London, UK in 2013 for the Masters of Acting program at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.
Ian Gilmore, on the other hand, was born and raised in Dartmouth. He started studying voice, dance, and music at a very early age. Apparently everyone knew what he was going to do with his life before even he did! Ian went on to study opera at Dalhousie University along with French horn, but quickly switched to theatre and a general music degree. He started working professionally before he had even graduated and left university to continue working. Eventually Ian went on to the Canadian College of Performing Arts in Victoria, BC where he graduated in 1999.
Amy is a professional actress which means, as she says, “I do lots of things that have very little to do with actually being onstage. I teach drama and singing to little British kids, I run an online business, and I do a lot of American voiceover work for video games and TV commercials in the States. Neptune Theatre hired me to be Argentinian number 10 in their production of Evita in 2007, and once I realized you could get paid to perform I was hooked. There is nothing like being an actor: the people are interesting, each job presents different challenges and victories, and performing itself is so rewarding.”
As for Ian, since graduating, he has spent most of his time not only as a musical theatre performer but also as a director, choreographer, designer, and educator. He loves working with high school kids who have been bitten by “the bug”. The chance to help influence and inspire is never one to be passed by, in his mind. Ian and Amy both agree that the arts are essential in society. Amy states, “Especially in politically turbulent times, we humans are just trying to work out where we stand. In this electronic ‘social media’ age we are ironically becoming more and more disconnected from each other, and I passionately believe in the connection that people make to each other when inside a theatre.”
Now, let’s chat a bit about this beautiful show that Ian and Amy are performing in together. I Do! I Do!, is a musical about marriage, telling the story of Agnes and Michael. They are about to embark on an incredible journey together – marriage! This charming and poignant musical follows the lovely couple through the ups and downs of 50 years of wedded bliss (or sometimes not so blissful!) – from the naïve hopefulness of the wedding day straight through to the joys and challenges of “till death do us part”. This is the first musical presentation by Valley Summer Theatre (playing at Acadia Cinema’s Al Whittle Theatre in Wolfville) and it’s not to be missed! Come see Ian and Amy shine with performances from July 13 to August 6.
For Amy and Ian, there’s no denying this show is from a different era, and they don’t agree with all of the lyrics pertaining to women, but they both love how it explores a marriage from bygone years in an open, honest way. Hearing the two sides of the story makes it so much more interesting for the performers and they both fell head over heels for the timeline of the play. There is a great challenge ahead for the both of them as they play a young bride and groom from the late 1800’s to a middle-aged mother and father in the 1950’s. Seriously folks, you don’t want to let this show slip by you.
When they’re not on stage dazzling audiences, Ian and Amy both love to read. Amy also enjoys the beach, hiking, yoga, and dreams of the day she can have her own dog. Ian is an avid reader of classic mystery novels and a lover of sudoku, crosswords, and all manner of puzzles. Following I Do! I Do!, Amy will be back in London working on a reversed-gender Shakespeare project as well as many voiceover projects. Ian will be heading back to Halifax to choreograph a new production of My Side of the Country for the Neptune Theatre School’s Young Actor’s Company, and then choreographing Dartmouth Player’s production of Gypsy!
Coming back to the Valley to perform is something both Ian and Amy are really looking forward to. Amy loves the beautiful countryside, friendly people, and small-town feel. Ian says, “I have spent a great deal of my life in this area, it is a second home for me. Some of my oldest friends are here. My mother’s family was based in Kentville (she was even crowned Queen Annapolisa ’67!). It doesn’t take much convincing for me to come to the Valley for even an afternoon, so doing what I love in a place that I love was a no-brainer!”