Fraser Valley Stage members (from left) Hayden Oberhoffner, Angie Payne, Kelly Shackleford, Fiona Brett and David Dalton are just part of the cast for the Speakeasy fundraiser in downtown Abbotsford on Saturday, Sept. 28. (Photo by Jean Konda-Witte)

Fraser Valley Stage members (from left) Hayden Oberhoffner, Angie Payne, Kelly Shackleford, Fiona Brett and David Dalton are just part of the cast for the Speakeasy fundraiser in downtown Abbotsford on Saturday, Sept. 28. (Photo by Jean Konda-Witte)

Fraser Valley Stage is Puttin’ on the Ritz

Production on Sept. 28 in Abbotsford recreates speakeasies of the 1920s

Dreamboats and dames, get your glad rags on for a night of whoopee at the local gin joint downtown.

A secret password will get you past the big door and into the heady world of a 1919 speakeasy.

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of Trethewey House and its own 50th year, Heritage Abbotsford Society (formerly MSA Museum Society) hosts a speakeasy fundraiser on Saturday, Sept. 28.

It includes the celebrated musical and theatrical talents of Fraser Valley Stage, also celebrating 50 years.

The year 1919 was a time of change and hope: the Great War was over, women had the vote, the Canadian National Railway was born – so was Pierre Elliott Trudeau – and films and the stars Mary Pickford, Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd were silent.

In Abbotsford, lumber baron JO Trethewey built what is now known as the Trethewey House heritage site on Ware Road.

It was also smack dab in the middle of Prohibition in B.C., which lasted from 1917 to 1921.

While the sale and purchase of alcohol was illegal, the law had gaping loopholes: making and drinking it in private was allowed, and a doctor’s prescription for 50 cents could get you all the booze you wanted – for medicinal needs, of course.

To let off steam, young adults gathered at private clubs or speakeasies for a night of dance, cocktails and jazz.

The acclaimed Fraser Valley Stage performers will be time-travel guides into the secret world of the speakeasy.

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As patrons enter the secret location (in historic downtown Abbotsford), they’ll be greeted by 1920s piano bar music, clicking teacups and laughter.

Performers in vintage costume will mingle with patrons, crooning popular tunes of the decade such as: All That Jazz, Puttin’ on the Ritz, Ain’t She Sweet, My Heart Belongs to Daddy and much more.

The music culminates in an original skit and a tiff in the nightclub.

For hoofers, the Suburban Swing Dancers will provide toe-tapping demonstrations of popular 1920s dance moves, and offer patrons quick lessons on the Charleston and Lindy Hop before the dance floor opens.

The dance band, on from 9:30 p.m. to closing, will feature some musicians from The Moonliters Big Band.

The event also includes gourmet foods, local craft beers and wine, games of chance and a silent auction.

Proceeds go to Heritage Abbotsford’s cultural heritage programs, and to establish a new bursary for students studying history.

Guests are encouraged to dress for 1919 and the 1920s. Doors open at 6 p.m.

Tickets are available at eventbrite.ca (search for Heritage Abbotsford), at bit.ly/2mhvuq9, or during regular business hours at the Heritage Gallery (next to Trethewey House at 2313 Ware St.) or call 604-853-0313.