Toronto’s Famous People Players Inspire And Delight!

FPP’s Mission Statement: “OUR MISSION is to inspire people to achieve more. To instill in the hearts and minds of everyone that dreams can come true when you believe in yourself.”

 

On Saturday three generations of our family laughed and applauded our way through the afternoon performance of the Famous People Players holiday presentation. Never heard of them? Prepare to be inspired.

In 1974, Diane Dupuy had a dream and a vision. Today Diane and her Famous People Players continue to live the dream loud and strong bringing joyful entertainment to audiences in Toronto and around the world. Click here to visit their website.

FPP proudly states it is a non-profit organization which employs people with physical and intellectual disabilities. Those individuals share duties in dining room management, arts administration, and theatrical and visual arts performances. With requests being received from around the world, one troupe remains in Toronto and another tours. Do yourself, your family and friends a favour and get on over to catch a meal and a show.

HISTORICAL MILESTONES:

1980 – Famous PEOPLE Players were chosen by New York’s Radio City Music Hall to choreograph, the first stage production of the “Sorcerers Apprentice”. This was a very important event, as the Famous PEOPLE Players would be officially reopening this famous Hall.

1982 – Famous PEOPLE Players was the first western group to be invited to perform in the People’s Republic of China.

1984 – Joe Cates, a highly regarded producer for television, saw Famous PEOPLE Players at Radio City Music Hall and signed them on the spot for a CBS two-hour movie of the week, “Special People”.

1985 – FPP appeared for a one-hour special on the Phil Donahue Show which was the highest rated Donahue show.

1986 – Famous PEOPLE Players opened on Broadway at the historical Lyceum Theatre. “A Little Like Magic” earned rave reviews.

1994 – New York beckoned the company once again and Famous PEOPLE Players returned with “A Little More Magic” at the Belasco Theatre. After lengthy tours, the Famous PEOPLE Players needed to settle to a place called home.

February 18th, 1994 – Famous PEOPLE Players opened the first dinner theatre dedicated to people with special needs where the veteran performers who no longer perform could further enhance their life skills. Actor Paul Newman who had become a big supporter and fan of Famous PEOPLE Players, generously underwrote the restaurant through the sales of Newman’s Own products.

Phil Collins, saw the company perform in Toronto and was ‘wowed’ by their artistic ability and interpretation of his music on stage. Meeting Phil Collins became such a major force of inspiration to the Famous PEOPLE Players that they now call him “Uncle Phil” and their theatre is called the Phil Collins performance workshop.

In 2009, FPP moved to its current spacious location (bonus – tons of free parking!) in Toronto’s west end. The walls of the new dinner theatre are covered with photos of famous celebrities who have visited and supported this exceptional group.

The black light theatre performances provided by this troupe never cease to amaze. With a variety of shows throughout the year, if you are lucky you  might still be able to snag a ticket to the current holiday production. All the details are included in the following video. Hurry – make your plans now! You will be so pleased you did.

Comments

  1. This is an awesome video and an awesome group! I applaud all of you! My daughter is an adult with Down syndrome, and she LOVED this video!
    Joe

    • Thanks for stopping by, Joe! I’m so thrilled your daughter enjoyed the video. Everyone involved in this group performs with such pride and talent, it’s a pleasure to see and support. I’m hoping they will soon put some new video on YouTube so keep checking.

  2. Thanks for sharing this, Patricia. I forwarded the URL to a dear friend who has found a new career, working in a day care for Adults who are challenged by developmental disabilities. She loves the work, and is able to reach through many barriers, because her heart holds so much love. Known to sit on the floor with one person and sing songs with her. She understands that no matter what, the behaviors all express a need that they cannot communicate, and she makes it her priority to find out what that need is. Thanks again, Patricia.

  3. Absolutely wonderful. Living in a world of computer generated images and sophisticated special effects, we tend to forget the beauty of live performance. I’ve never heard of the Famous Players. I’m inspired by Diane’s efforts and those who’ve taken up her cause.

  4. You and your family must have had a wonderful time. Thanks so much for sharing this with us. I’m so impressed! One of these days when I’m visiting Ontario, I’ll have to make it a point to snag some tickets.

    • Good idea, Kate! I took my children to see them thirty years ago and have followed along with all the grandchildren. It’s been a lovely tradition and a great cause to support.

  5. What an inspirational piece, Patrica! I love this type of story-people rising above their difficulties to succeed–and the bonus is that it was started by a strong young woman who persevered and brought to light the abilities, strength and talent of such special people.
    One more great reason to get back to Toronto one day soon. Thanks for sharing this. I’m linking to you post on Facebook right now!

    • Thanks Marcia. It is really a feel-good story. They do have a touring company so I’ll be sure to post when I know where they are performing. In the meantime a trip to TO sounds good! Let me know!

  6. What an amazing group of people! I only wish they could go on the road so I might see them perform. Well, I suppose I should head on up to Toronto.

  7. Can you believe, I’ve never heard of this group before?!?! OMG, AMAZING!! I will definitely make sure I check them out the next time I am in TO – simply uberlicious!
    Thanks for sharing such a worthy group Patricia!

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