Windsor’s KordaZone Theatre Rolls
With The Punches And Pushes Forward
Story by Karen Tinsley
Photography by John Liviero
Theatre—that age-old, beloved art form—faces unprecedented challenges in today’s rapidly evolving entertainment landscape. The digital age has spawned an array of new media—from 3-D movies to crowd-sourced video to YouTube to streaming to smartphones. These now compete with the stage for audience attention.
Korda Artistic Productions—a home-grown theatre company dedicated to offering extraordinary live shows that are provocative, challenging and original—strives to promote local artists in a supporting and stimulating environment. Productions are mounted on stage at the 115-seat KordaZone Theatre, located at 2520 Seminole Street.
Founder and Executive Director Tracey B. Atin—a diminutive, flaming-haired dynamo with greasepaint flowing though her veins—grew up immersed in the arts; her mom, Dorothy Sherkey Atin, planned to be a movie star named Korda Walker (the theatre’s namesake). Her prolific late father’s vibrant oil paintings adorn the theatre walls. Tracey herself is also an accomplished film and stage director and performer.
When she invited us for a tour and a chat, we asked her about the state of live local theatre in a time of distracting technologies and COVID.
Tracey reflects, “I think it’s safe to say we’re in an entertainment flux. It’s not just about distracting technologies; it’s reality television, where happy amateurs force themselves into the limelight so all the world can watch them fail. For many people, being “voted off an island” or “not getting a rose” is where dramatic tension is being generated—not from the minds of playwrights, trained actors, and independent filmmakers.”
But according to Tracey, “Live theatre demands that we question life, culture and society. The live actors performing something like Spring Awakening or Sweeney Todd is extremely disruptive. I believe there will always be an audience for that!”
In the past, theatres were very proprietary, but now, there is a lot of sharing and co-producing.
“Like our brand-new partnership,” Tracey adds. “Cooperation and collaboration among theatres is the future.”
Korda Artistic Productions and Cardinal Music Productions have joined forces to share risks, resources and overcome the devastating impact the pandemic has had on the performing arts. The two companies now share the Seminole Street theatre.
Tracey says, “Today, partnership is the name of the game in live theatre. We are excited to welcome the Cardinal family back to share our home as we all continue navigating through these frustrating times. As we begin to emerge from this pandemic—fingers crossed—we’re so thrilled to be entertaining our loyal audiences again and offering them even more magic under one roof.”
Joe Cardinal, founder and owner of Cardinal Music Productions agrees. “The pandemic has certainly highlighted the need to build sustainable spaces. Partnerships are a way to do that. More than ever, we need to be there for one another, as people and as artists; we need to create welcoming, safe spaces for our artists and audiences to return to. That’s what it’s all about!”
Tracey adds, “Over the years the “Korda Boarda” (our hardworking board members), players and artists have been passionate about building a welcoming, quirky place to explore, play, and create together. Theatre is something that must be felt and experienced—not just read, watched or seen. After more than two years of isolation, physical distancing and restrictions, people are craving experience. Live theatre allows you to feel humanity. It’s palpable, it’s visceral, it’s collective.”
Cardinal describes the Seminole Street theatre a “magical” place.
“People want to come because the shows are unique, beautiful, challenging and surprising. Cardinal has produced some fantastic work on the KordaZone stage, and I’ve been able to help my Korda friends with tech and production needs for their shows. We have found new, inventive ways to create truly memorable productions.”
Both Tracey and Joe invite you to experience the wonderful, wacky world of KordaZone! Just a sampling of some of the incredible stories told through unforgettable performances and award-winning music:
Korda Artistic Productions presents:
MAY 26, 27, 28 and JUNE 2, 3, 4, 9, 10 & 11, 2022
A daring, angsty, rock musical adaptation that won eight Tony Awards (including Best Musical). Exploring the journey from adolescence to adulthood with illuminating, unforgettable poignancy and passion, this electrifying fusion of morality, sexuality and rock and roll has exhilarated audiences like no other musical in years.
Cardinal Music Productions presents:
9 TO 5 THE MUSICAL
July 8-10, 15-17 and 22-24, 2022.
Music and Lyrics by Dolly Parton. Based on the 1980s hit movie. Set in the late 1970s, this hilarious story of friendship and revenge in the Rolodex era is outrageous, thought-provoking, and even a little romantic. Pushed to the boiling point, three female coworkers concoct a plan to get even with their sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot boss.
SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET
November 11-13, 18-20 and 25-27, 2022.
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. The musical masterpiece and triple Tony Award®-winning musical about a vengeful mad barber and his ghoulish mistress, who slash throats and bake pies in the slums of 19th century London. Christopher Lawrence Menard and Tracey Atin reunite as Sweeney Todd and Mrs. Lovett; they performed in the Cardinal/Korda co-production of this musical in 2015.
For Korda Shows:
$25 General Admission for Plays; $30 General Admission for Musicals
Box Office: Call 519-562-3394
For Cardinal Shows:
$30 General Admission
Box Office: Call 519-944-5800
Tickets for both Korda and Cardinal Shows are also available (unless sold out in advance) at the theatre door, one half hour before shows, on show nights.
The KordaZone Theatre is located at 2520 Seminole Street, Windsor.