Ronny Fritz

With formal training only in dance, and performance experience only in music, I was nevertheless invited to join YPT under Jan & Susan Rubes as male apprentice for the 1975-76 season after auditioning for Greg Rogers. The female apprentice was Sonja Smits.

As apprentice, my task was to participate as fully as inhumanly possible in every production, understudy male roles, build sets, source/make props, provide musical accompaniment when needed, and essentially be forever available. And I was paid for the privilege, $70/wk! I was ecstatic.

Memorable moments abound: for the schools program, highlights include playing the King (for a day) of Beige in “A Knight in Kilometre Country”, a crutched character in “Billy Bishop & the Red Baron”, and Tom Longboat in “Cyclone Jack”. Entertaining the young people was reciprocally entertaining, and every cast member was terrifically encouraging and supportiveā€“a real blast.

At Tarragon, it was night shift, turning a page or two for the pianist accompanying
“Fresh Disasters”. During a brutally cold winter stretch at OSC, flutist Dita Paabo and I (on guitar) formed the orchestra accompanying “Androcles and the Lion”. And I hung out with St Lawrence Centre stage crew for the run of “Popcorn Man”. The season ended all too soon.

-Ronny Fritz

Gretel Meyer Odell

Gretel Meyer Odell


February 1997. Maya Ardal was Artistic Director. I drove my little blue pick-up truck to YPT from Montreal for the first time, transporting the set of ‘A Promise is a Promise’ from Geordie Productions for a run on the mainstage. I was a young stage manager, with my first gig in the big city of Toronto. After a flat tire on the dreaded 401 and no shortage of bad driving weather, I arrived at the stage door of YPT. I rang the bell and the most dapper & dashing FOH manager I had ever seen, welcomed me to the city and the theatre. His name was Isaac Odell, and 3.5 weeks later we were engaged to be married! This year we celebrate 19 incredible years of marriage and our two beautiful creative sons are 9 and 14. I will always feel the thrill of true love in the walls of this building. Love of theatre, love of imagination, love of children and lifelong love. Thank you YPT for being ‘where it all began’!

– Gretel Meyer Odell