Oh Canada Eh! Dinner Theatre press release – Clad in swift-kicking cowboy boots, Sam Marchionda line-danced and sang her way to becoming a country superstar.
With a passion for country and rock music, and a talent that’s as big as all outdoors, the Welland resident blazed a trail in the popular Country Superstars show at Oh Canada, Eh? before being asked to join the cast of the summer show.
Canada’s longest running dinner theatre, OCE is now in its 25th year, and Marchionda is starting her second, easily winning the hearts of audiences on a regular basis at the oversized Lundy’s Lane log cabin.
And she couldn’t be happier.
Having started later in life than many to pursue a career onstage, she describes her winding journey.
“I got my degree first in French. I used to work in finance and it was not for me. My heart was always in music, especially singing. I came to musical theatre in my 20s. I did a lot of community theatre: Godspell and White Christmas and Rent. It’s nice to be able to do what I love. I’m making money in a field I love.”
A large rotating cast means Marchionda appears at Oh Canada, Eh? from two to five shifts a week.
While the summer show has minor annual makeovers, “At the core, it’s still about the same things: being proud of being Canadian and our songwriters,” whose music is showcased with pride, she says.
“A lot of locals may think it’s geared to tourists and don’t realize we have a lot of talent in this house.”
She’ll recognize a song and have an instant happy flashback: “My dad played this when I was younger, in the car. The rock medley (in the show) is my favourite. I think we’re all here because we love it.”
She also enjoys the theatre’s unique interactive component, which has performers serving tables.
“I love the audience. I love meeting people from all over every night and who are just coming for a good time, so I love to get to know them and show them some stuff they may not have known. People come to be entertained and learn something they didn’t know, just to have a good night out. It’s just a lot of fun.”