Live Theatre, Concerts & Events

Intoxicating play “Moon Over The Brewery” shines with a bright new face.

At 13 years of age, most kids are playing video games, babysitting, maybe delivering papers. But this young area teenager is reaching for the stars as the lead actress in a major local stage production.

Grade 7 student Samantha Salter started earning her acting chops early. She has appeared in productions of Pollyanna, Railway Children, and Bridge to Terabithia at the Station Theatre in her hometown of Smiths Falls, and at Classic Theatre’s production of Wait Until Dark. This summer, the Studio Theatre in Perth is thrilled to welcome Samantha to their stage for the first time, taking a lead role in Bruce Graham’s humorous, heart warming coming-of-age story “Moon Over the Brewery”, opening July 20th.

In Moon Over The Brewery, Samantha plays Amanda Waslyk, the precocious daughter (with an IQ of 160!) of an unmarried Pennsylvania waitress. Amanda’s mom waits tables by day, but fulfills her creative passions by painting at night, when moonlight softens and transforms the stark mining landscape of the Keystone State. Amanda is bent on driving away her mother’s prospective suitors, and does so with the help of a mischievous imaginary friend named Randolph. But Amanda finally meets her match when her mom introduces mailman Warren Zimmerman, who brings Amanda back to reality, and may even be the father and husband both women are longing for.

The character of Amanda is a big role for a little girl, but as the director of Moon Over The Brewery, I could tell that young Samantha Salter really has her act together. She learns her roles by running lines with her grandmother, who supports everything she does. In fact, her nanny went to every performance of Samantha’s first play, and knew all the lines herself. “She’s my number one fan!” says Samantha.

And the theatre is clearly a family affair with the Salters: mother Julie Salter drives her daughter to rehearsal three times a week, and will act as prompter for the show once the actors are “off book”. Julie has even agreed to be part of our back stage crew — the folk she cleverly calls “ninjas” because they’re clad in black from head to toe.

“Being involved in theatre is a great experience for a young person”, says Julie. “It builds confidence, and teaches creativity, responsibility, and strong study habits. Samantha absolutely loves it — when she’s on stage I see the pure joy on her face, and it makes everything worthwhile”.

Julie tells me that 5 years ago she took Samantha and her sister Emily to see a play in which their cousin had the lead role. Sammy loved every bit of it, and asked, “Mommy, can I do this someday?” Julie said sure, and the rest is history. For Julie Salter, juggling full time work, Sammy’s rehearsal schedule, and Emily’s karate practices can be a challenge, but it’s a challenge they all enjoy.

Of course, Samantha doesn’t have the stage all to herself in Moon Over The Brewery. She works with three adult actors, and says “It’s a lot of fun because I get to make good friends. It can be a little awkward at first, but now we’re best buds!” For the older actors, Samantha’s youth and enthusiasm are a tonic that brings freshness and energy to the show. Tracy Noonan portrays Miriam Waslyk, Amanda’s mom, who is described as a “flake” by Randolph (Amanda’s charismatic imaginary friend and scheming cohort, played by Lucas Tennant), but as an “eccentric free spirit” by her daughter.  Carleton Place actor Grey Masson plays Warren Zimmerman, the mailman, who is attracted to Miriam because she is “colourful” and “different”.

Audiences are bound to find the entire play that way — colourful, different, funny, and charming.


Moon Over The Brewery opens at the Studio Theatre on Thursday, July 20th for seven performances, July 20, 21, 22, 28 and 29 at 7:30 pm., and July 23 and 30 at 2 pm.

Tickets are $22 (cash only) at the Book Nook, 60 Gore St. E, (613-267- 2350), and $22 plus convenience fee at Shadowfax, 67 Foster St., (613-267- 6817; and Tickets Please, in the Matheson House Museum Visitor Centre, 11 Gore St. E. (613 485-6434; both of which accept in-store, phone, online and credit card purchases. Tickets are $24 at the door, and $10 at the door for students with ID.

Attend opening night and save $5! And this summer the Studio Theatre is part of our town’s Perth Passport program: As a Passport holder you can receive $5 off one ticket to each of our summer plays, Moon Over the Brewery and Romantic Comedy, at the door only. (One ticket per Passport per play. Offer cannot be combined with other discounts.) For further details about all the benefits of the Perth Passport please click on

Tracy Noonan (top) and 13 year-old Samantha Salter star in the humorous, heartwarming coming-of-age story Moon Over The Brewery, premiering July 20th at the Studio Theatre.

Don’t miss Moon Over The Brewery at the Studio Theatre, featuring our newest star, 13 year-old Samantha Salter. It’s a great way to see a young actress on her way up, like the moon on a summer night…

Article by Jane Stott (with Paul Joyce) / Photo by Bruce Raby