A few local Kitchissippi residents will be taking to the stage as part of the annual Don’t Quit Your Day Job cabaret fundraiser at the NAC on Feb. 11. The show puts some familiar faces in unfamiliar territory as they sing, dance, or show off whatever talent they have in front of a captive audience. The night’s proceeds go towards funding the Magnetic North Theatre Festival.
Last year, Randy Fitzpatrick of Petit Bill’s Bistro performed an Elton John number for the audience. The restaurateur received critical acclaim. “I got told by a few that I stole the show,” he recalls.
It will be a tough act to follow for his brother and bistro co-owner Terry, who steps into the spotlight this year. Though he has performed in the past at Yuk Yuk’s, Terry Fitzpatrick admits having some pre-performance jitters.
“I honestly just hope I entertain the people for the three minutes I’m up there,” he says.
Eric Coates of the Great Canadian Theatre Company will return as the lead judge, his third time at the panel. He says he’ll be playing up the “sibling rivalry” between the Fitzpatricks, not that they would acknowledge any such friction.
“We’re brothers. We always get along ’til we don’t,” says Randy.
Any competition between performers isn’t necessarily the focus for Coates. He guarantees a fun night for anyone who attends, where “something outrageous” will always happen. More often, though, Coates says it’s the quality of many of the pieces that astounds him.
“It’s truly refreshing when people do something unexpected and you find yourself having a big emotional reaction,” he says, reflecting on some of the stories past Ottawa performers have told about their lives.
Other local entertainers will include the Cube Gallery’s Don Monet laying down the title number from the musical “Oklahoma,” and visual artist Andrew King. Though King isn’t certain what his performance will be yet, he’s happy to perform. His usual charitable contributions consist of his artwork. It’s not always easy to give away his livelihood.
“When you do this for a living, have to pay the bills with the artwork, you can’t really give to every single charity that asks,” King notes.
“This is a charity that’s not asking for artwork, they’re just asking for time. And I’m more than happy to donate that.”
And it’s time well spent, according to Coates. He says the Magnetic North Theatre Festival, which travels from city to city each year to give a variety of theatre companies a stage, is an invaluable chance to be seen.
“It creates a really fantastic opportunity for a lot of companies from across the country to be seen by a wider audience. There’s no way for me to stress strongly enough how important it is for those involved. It can change the trajectory of a production.”
For Terry Fitzpatrick, helping support local arts is reason enough to participate.
“One of my issues about Ottawa is that we don’t give a lot to the arts community in this city compared to other cities across Canada. This is one of the ways [Magnetic North] can generate a little bit of money for themselves. And if we can help in any way, that’s even better.”
If next year’s show is in need of any extra talent, the Fitzpatrick brothers know who they would recommend: their younger brother Sean Fitzpatrick, a media director with the National Arts Centre.
“We may try to get him to bust a move next year,” Terry says.
Don’t Quit Your Day Job will be sure to provide a memorable evening of laughter and performance. It’s worth noting Terry Fitzpatrick is currently looking for a jumpsuit worthy of the King of Rock n’ Roll himself, Elvis Presley.
Tickets for the show are $75, and include food and beverages from Thyme and Again and The Clocktower Brew Pub. For more information, or to purchase a ticket, go to magneticnorthfestival.ca/dqydj.