The true story of one family's secrets of love and of loss, and how a photo from the past changed everything.
"It's what you'd want in a cabaret: it's personal, it has both humour and heart, and both Brad and Patti are compelling performers." Liz Nicholls, Edmonton Journal
The Picture of Happiness tells the true story of an old photograph that Brad Hampton discovers in his grandmother's basement when he is just twenty-three years old.
Hidden away for decades, the photo, taken just before WWII, is of two soldiers sitting together on a picnic blanket. Smiling, with their arms around each other, the two young men are the picture of happiness.
Brad knows that one of the men in the photograph is his grandfather, Bill. When he asks his mother who the other man is, she says, “We don’t talk about it. We never talk about it.”
Silenced, Brad realizes that he’s uncovered not just an old photograph, but a family secret. His mother’s refusal to tell him the story of his grandfather Bill and this mystery man leaves Brad burning to know who his grandfather really was.
For fifteen years, Brad holds his curiosity in check until one day, while chatting on the phone with his mother, Brad asks her about the photograph. This initial conversation and the ones that follow reveal the story of the photograph and form the basis of this new show.
Over the course of a funny, moving and intimate hour, Brad makes the connection between his life today and the life his grandfather lived in 1943.
Directed by Rae Ellen Bodie, Brad and pianist Patti Loach lovingly and hilariously depict a colourful cast of characters through storytelling and songs from the worlds of contemporary cabaret and musical theatre.
Together they reveal how, by bringing a secret into the light, it’s possible to become free – free to laugh loudly, sing freely, and love deeply.
*songs by David Friedman, Maury Yeston, Rodgers & Hammerstein, Mercer & Mancini, John Bucchino, Jason Robert Brown, Michel Legrand, Amanda McBroom, Gerald Sternbach, Christine Lavin, and Alan & Marilyn Bergman.
Listen to an interview with Patti, singer-songwriter Fred Penner, and Bill Richardson of Winnipeg's Classic 106. They talk about the Picture of Happiness shows in Winnipeg in June 2014 at Fred Penner's home, and the increasing popularity of 'house concerts'.