Victoria Playhouse Petrolia has been enjoying successful seasons by nurturing young talent and bringing in celebrities to star in its shows. That combination has been drawing well.

Michael Learned and Ralph Waite from the successful TV show, The Waltons, drew full houses last season and Learned was earlier in Driving Miss Daisy.

Two years ago, Linda Kash, recognized as the Philadelphia Cream Cheese Angel, was in the one-woman show, The Blonde, The Brunette and The Vengeful Redhead.

Kash is back this year, directing The Odd Couple, which runs from June 12 to June 30.

Another big name coming to VPP this season is Florence Henderson, who starred in the hit TV show, The Brady Bunch, and was a contestant on Dancing With the Stars in 2010. Henderson will perform in the Canadian premiere of All the Lives of Me…a Musical Journey in October.

London actor Rebecca McCauley, who is performing in The Fantasticks in July, said the unique atmosphere created by artistic directors David Hogan and David Rogers make the theatre company successful.

“They have done a nice job creating a warm and friendly environment. There’s a feeling of community,” she says, adding that they also provide a playbill of eclectic shows to suit all tastes.

Hogan says they listen to their audiences.

“It is our goal to satisfy our own artistic souls while presenting highly entertaining productions patrons will love.”

As a student at Beal secondary school, McCauley starred in The Phantom of the Opera at the school two years ago. Rogers, an original star of The Phantom in Canada, came to the school to do a workshop with the students. McCauley remembers the excitement among students in anticipation of his coaching. Now, she has the chance to perform with Rogers in The Fantasticks.

 “We were all just kind of in awe of him. It’s very exciting to be able to work with him this year.”

Rogers discovered McCauley and Fantasticks co-star Jonathan Gysbers while at Beal.

Rogers will be reprising his role of El Gallo in The Fantasticks, the world’s longest-running musical.

McCauley was part of the cast in last year’s successful run of Godspell. That production is being remounted at St. Jacob’s Country Playhouse in October.

McCauley said the 10 performers in Godspell all lived in Petrolia last season and became close friends.