famous people

Famous People Players

Famous People Players Is an internationally renowned black light theatre company. It is based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and tours around the world. It is a non-profit organization which employs people with physical and mental disabilities. Those individuals share duties in dining room management, arts administration, and theatrical and visual arts performances.

Since inception, the company has paid homage to the works of famous people within its own theatrical context, hence the name Famous People Players.


The Famous People Players was founded on June 1, 1974 by Diane Dupuy of Hamilton, Ontario. At inception, the company consisted of Dupuy and an assistant, eleven performers, and Dupuy's mother Mary Thornton; Thornton designed and built the costumes and props. The company's original piece was Aruba Liberace, in which a life-size character of Liberace plays the piano; it is still the company's signature performance.

Liberace attended a showing of Aruba Liberace, and was so impressed he invited Famous People Players to perform with him in Las Vegas. The company debuted in Las Vegas in October 1975; over the subsequent ten years, the company performed with Liberace both in Las Vegas and internationally. A 1984 CBS television movie was made about Dupuy's early work and meeting Liberace called Special People.

The CBC produced and aired Carnival of the Animals as a result of the increasing popularity of Famous People Players. In 1982, Famous People Players was invited to perform in the People's Republic of China.

In 1994, the company opened the Dine and Dream Theatre; Paul Newman, from proceeds of Newman's Own products, funded the restaurant's development.

Dine and Dream Theatre

The Dine and Dream Theatre is located at the company's Toronto west-end headquarters. Guests first arrive to the restaurant for dinner, where they are served by individuals who also perform in Famous People Players productions. After dinner, they are led to the Phil Collins Theatre, where the main production is performed. The theatre is named after Phil Collins, who became a source of inspiration for the actors when he viewed a performance interpretation of his music.


The troupe has been subject of numerous talk shows, specials and documentaries. A Little Like Magic, which detailed the company's operation and success, was an Emmy Award-winning documentary. A 1985 CBS movie-of-the-week entitled Special People was based on the company's early history. The company was also featured in the plot of an episode of the popular U.S. television drama 7th Heaven in 2002.

In co-production with Treehouse's "Roll Play" Famous PEOPLE Players program for the juice box set is hugely popular. The theatre troupe first broke into this market with their Toronto Dinner Theatre as a guest spot location for Treehouse kingpin "This is Daniel Cook."

Founder Diane Dupuy has been inducted as a member of the Order of Canada in recognition for her contributions to Canadian society through the company. And mother Mary C. Thornton has won many accolades, most recently with The Toasmasters as woman of the year.


Famous People Players has created many productions over its 30-year history. (Note: The table below is currently incomplete.)

Leave the Porch Light On was the company's first original, full-length musical production and was especially created for the company's 25th-anniversary. The show marked the first time that the company had staged a completely original full-length musical and was also unique because it was the first time that the company incorporated a live actor in to one of their productions.

The initial performance of Leave the Porchlight On was attended by a number of celebrities and other well-known people, including the Governor General of Canada. The production was very successful and is still occasionally remounted at the company's theatre in Toronto and on tour. A sequel of sorts followed two years later, entitled Hide and Seek: A Game of Human Spirit.

{| style="padding: 0.5em; border: 1px solid #99cc99;" width="85%" align="center" |+Famous People Players Productions |- ! align="left" | Name ! align="center" | First Performance ! align="right" | Last Performance |- |Aruba Liberace |align="center" |1974 |align="right" |still performed |- |A Little Like Magic |align="center" |1985 |align="right" |still performed |- |A Little More Magic |align="center" |1993 |align="right" |2001 |- |The Oldies But Goodies Show |align="center" |1996 |align="right" |1998 |- |Rock Around The Clock |align="center" |1996 |align="right" |still performed |- |A Magical Christmas |align="center" |1997 |align="right" |2000 |- |Leave the Porch Light On |align="center" |1999 |align="right" |still performed |- |Hide and Seek: A Game of Human Spirit |align="center" |2001 |align="right" |2007 |- |Jumpin' and Jiven' |align="center" |2005 |align="right" |2005 |- |A Black Light Night at the Opera |align="center" |2001 |align="right" |still performed |- |Shake, Rattle & Roll |align="center" |2005 |align="right" |still performed |- |Hollywood Rocks |align="center" |2006 |align="right" |2006 |- |On Broadway |align="center" |2006 |align="right" |2006 |- |Alice in Funky Land |align="center" |2006 |align="right" |still performed |- |Good Rockin' |align="center" |2007 |align="right" |still performed |- |Going Bananas |align="center" |2008 |align="right" |still performed |-


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