Sunday, December 21, 2008

Article to check out....

Hey bloggers! I was reading Richard Ouzounian today in The Star and have to give it to him again. A great piece. Check it out below.


www.thestar.com/Entertainment/article/556927

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Opening this week in the city



Bed & Breakfast
by Ann Powell and David Powell (Puppetmongers Theatre). The Princess And The Pea gets a retelling in this family-friendly puppet play. Opens Dec 20 and runs to Jan 1, Sat 7 pm, mats daily (except Dec 24, 25 and 31) at 2:30 pm. $16, seniors/students $13; New Year's Day show + gala $30. Tarragon Theatre Extra Space, 30 Bridgman. 416-531-1827, puppetmongers.com.


Chicken Licken (Cow Over Moon Children's Theatre). A celebrity tries to become a serious journalist in this all-ages show. Opens Dec 19 and runs to Dec 28, Sat-Sun 2 pm, early show Sat (and Dec 19) 11 am. $12, student/seniors $8. Burnhamthorpe Library, 1350 Burnhamthorpe E, Mississauga. 905-510-8210, cowovermoon.ca.


Chitty Chitty Bang Bang by Jeremy Sams, Robert Sherman and Richard Sherman (Mirvish). The children's musical about a magical flying car gets a staging. Opens Dec 24 and runs to Jan 4, Dec 24 at 1:30 and 7 pm, Fri-Sat and Mon-Tue (and Dec 28) 7:30 pm, mats daily (except Mon and Thu) 2 pm. $26-$99. Canon Theatre, 244 Victoria. 416-872-1212, mirvish.com.

Disney On Ice presents A Disneyland Adventure (Feld Entertainment). The Incredibles meet Mickey Mouse and others in this family show. Opens Dec 19 and runs to Dec 28, Fri-Sat 7 pm, Sun 1 and 5 pm, mats Sat 11 am and 3 pm, Thu and Mon-Tue (and Dec 26) 2 pm. $15-$90. Rogers Centre, 1 Blue Jays Way. 416-870-8000, disneyonice.com.

The Frog Prince (Frog Prince Productions). This family friendly retelling of the Grimm classic features a live parrot. Dec 20-21 at 10 am, noon and 2 pm. $10, kids under 10 $7. Bad Dog Theatre, 138 Danforth. 416-491-3115.

Little Women: The Broadway Musical (Steppin' Out Theatrical Productions). The March sisters grow up in Civil War-era America in this adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's novel. Opens Dec 18 and runs to Dec 20, Thu-Sat 8 pm, mats Thu 1 pm, Sat 2 pm. $25, student/seniors $20. Leah Posluns Theatre, 4588 Bathurst. 905-731-9593, steppinout.ca.

Plaid Tidings by Stuart Ross (A.C.T. Productions). The Plaids return for a seasonal concert in this sequel to Forever Plaid. Dec 21-23, Sun-Tue 8 pm, mats Mon-Tue 2 pm. $25-$40. Rose Theatre, 1 Theatre Lane, Brampton. 905-874-2800,

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Briefs

First up, Pal Joey, the 1940 musical about a Chicago hoofer who keeps reaching for the big time - while breaking many female hearts along the way - opens Dec. 18 in a new version put together by Roundabout Theatre Company at Studio 54.

Pal Joey is a limited engagement through Feb. 15, 2009. The musical is produced in association with Marc Platt.

----

Emmy Award winner Jeremy Piven has abruptly (and... for some reason I saw this one coming) departed the acclaimed revival of David Mamet's Speed-the-Plow, citing high levels of mercury, according to Variety.

Piven, who has already missed a few performances of the revival, informed the show's producers that his ill health is due to a high mercury count.

Playwright Mamet told Daily Variety, "I talked to Jeremy on the phone and he told me that he discovered that he had a very high level of mercury. So my understanding is that he is leaving show business to pursue a career as a thermometer."

Monday, December 15, 2008

Susan Blackwell workshop



Playbill.com is reporting that one of my favorite [tos]ers Susan Blackwell is giving a one day creativity workshop in New York in January. How I hope that fits into my schedule. I would die to meet her, especially since Justin already did. Check out the article here.

Patti's show closes early in NYC

Sad news arrived this morning from New York as yet another musical will be closing early. Gypsy, starring Patti LuPone is now scheduled to close well over a month prior to the original announced day, Andrew Gans of playbill.com explains:

"The current revival of Gypsy — starring Tony Award winners Patti LuPone, Boyd Gaines and Laura Benanti and directed by its librettist, Arthur Laurents — will now end its run at the St. James Theatre Jan. 11, 2009, rather than the previously announced March 1, 2009.

In a statement producer Roger Berlind said, "Though we originally announced that Gypsy would play its final performance on March 1, 2009, due to these uncertain financial times my partners and I have made the difficult decision to close instead on January 11, 2009."

When it closes, the production will have played a total of 27 previews and 332 regular performances.

The Broadway production of Gypsy won three 2008 Tony Awards: for stars LuPone, Benanti and Gaines."

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Opening this week in the city

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (Bloor Street United Church). This dramatic reading features the CBC's Bill Richardson and others. Dec 15 at 7 pm. $15, student/seniors $10. 300 Bloor W. 416-924-7439.

The Cinnamon Hearts Through Time (Goodhandy's). The burlesque troupe travels through time. Dec 12, doors 9 pm. $12, student/advanced $10. 120 Church. cinnamonhearts.ca.

Feliz Navidad! (Skin Tight Outta Sight Rebel Burlesque). The troupe and their guests present a Mexican bible Christmas pageant. Dec 11 at 8 pm. $15-$20. Gladstone, 1214 Queen W. skintightouttasight.com.

Oleana by David Mamet (Centre for the Arts). Tom McCamus and Severn Thompson perform as part of the Rehearsed Readings series. Dec 11 at 8 pm. $10 (reservation required). 263 Adelaide W, ste 513. 647-436-2787, centreforthearts.com.

One Small Voice (Da Capo Productions). Actors and musicians perform pop and jazz classics to benefit Free the Children. Dec 15 at 8 pm. $20, srs $15, student $10. Factory Theatre, 125 Bathurst. 647-298-9338, da-capo.ca.

Red Snow by Diana Tso (AnitAFRIKA! Dub Theatre). Tso's new play about the Nanking holocaust gets a reading. Dec 14 at 4 pm. Pwyc. 62 Fraser. 416-434-1823.

RYC Carols (Randolph Young Company). Members of the youth program perform with the one and only Jenni Burke, Andrew Kushnir and other theatre scenesters. Dec 14 at 7 pm. $25. Bathurst Street Theatre, 736 Bathurst. 416-872-1111, randolphacademy.com.

That Choir Carols (Trinity College Chapel). This evening features carols sung by actors and a reading of Dylan Thomas's A Child's Christmas In Wales. Dec 14 at 8 pm. $15, student/seniors $10. 6 Hoskin. trinity.utoronto.ca.

A Winter's Tail (Les Coquettes Nouveau Burlesque). This seasonal cabaret features Les Coquettes, the Rumoli Brothers, Boylesque T.O. and others. Dec 14 at 8 pm. $20-$25. Revival, 783 College. lescoquettes.com.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Liza extended again!

The limited engagement of the critically acclaimed Liza's at the Palace . . .! has been extended for a second time.

Produced by John Scher/Metropolitan Talent Presents & Jubilee Time Productions, the production was originally scheduled to run to Dec. 14 but was originally extended through Dec. 28. Due to ticket demand, the show will now play through Jan. 4, 2009.

New show dates are Dec. 30, 2008; Jan. 2, 2009; and Jan. 3, 2009 at 8 PM and Jan. 4, 2009 at 3 PM.

(info courtesy of playbill.com)

Emerging Art Productions update

Although we like to use this blog as a broad theatre news and discussion forum, we also try to update the readers on Emerging Art Production news when it comes up. As most of our readers know Justin and I have been working for almost six months now to generate grant money in support of our 2009 production of Wood, by Julianne Wick Davis and Dan Collins, to learn more check here. We applied back in September for a grant with the Canada Council, and we are eagerly anticipating word from them in April. Next up we have two grant deadlines with the Toronto and Ontario Arts Councils. We met with Margo Charlton at the TAC last week. She gave us some great advice for grant writing and invited us to a grant writting workshop in January. So now it is crunch time. Two grants in less than two months. We are both learning a lot about what it takes to get these things done, and hopefully we will be learning even more if we actually get any money. Below I have posted the video of Nick Blaemire, composer of the Broadway musical Glory Days - don't worry you weren't the only one that missed it. Anyway, Nick sings Wood's, stand-out ballad "I'm Out" in the clip below.

Chekhov's Uncle Vanya


The new Austin Pendleton-directed production of Anton Chekhov's Uncle Vanya, for Off-Broadway's Classic Stage Company in early 2009, will feature Maggie Gyllenhaal as Yelena and Peter Sarsgaard as Astrov, the troupe announced yesterday.

The real-life couple join Tony Award winner Denis O'Hare as Vanya, Mamie Gummer as Sonya, Louis Zorich as Waffles, George Morfogen as Srebryakov, Delphi Harrington as Maria and Cyrilla Baer as Marina.

Previews begin Jan. 17, 2009. An official opening date will be announced. The limited run plays to March 1.

Richard Ouzounian in The Star today

Richard Ouzounian is a quality theatre journalist with The Toronto Star. His opinions I tend to agree with, and his commitment to making the Toronto theatre scene more progressive is something to admire. Check out the article below from today's paper for a perfect example of why we have come to enjoy Ouzounian so much.

http://www.thestar.com/entertainment/article/551791

One more thing, amen to his forth point regarding Mirvish and Dancap. Liza and I have been crusading and yearning for more development with Canadian high-quality musicals, which is one of the reasons EAP was conceived and developed.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Priscilla Queen of the Desert to premiere in Toronto


Priscilla Queen of the Desert, the new musical based on the 1994 Australian film about three drag queens who take their fierce singing and dancing show to the middle of the outback aboard a fabulous old bus nicknamed Priscilla, will make its North American premiere in the fall of 2009 here in Toronto.

Produced by David Mirvish, the location of the staging has not been announced, however speculation of a Canon Theatre run is circulating.

In a statement Mirvish said; "To our delight, the stage production was as special as the film. And seeing the story fleshed out live on stage, with more songs, more costumes, more dancing and more infectious, feel-good cheer, we knew this would be a worldwide phenomenon. We are excited to be launching this extraordinary show in Toronto. We will be the show's entry to North America. Our audiences will be able to see it first, as Priscilla will be the cornerstone of the 2009-10 Mirvish subscription season."

Priscilla Queen of the Desert the Musical first opened in Sydney in October 2006 and has played to more than one million theatregoers, grossing more than $90 million in Australian dollars, making it the most successful Australian stage show of all time.

Performance dates and casting will be announced at a later time for the Toronto production.

Priscilla Queen of the Desert the Musical was written by Stephan Elliott and Allan Scott. Simon Phillips directs.

The musical will begin performances at London's Palace Theatre March 10, 2009, prior to a press night on March 23 and a gala night on March 24.
Photo by Jeff Busby

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Bitch Salad tonight!


A fantastically fun monthly event is happening tonight in the city as Andrew Johnston hosts the ever-popular Bitch Salad at Buddies in Bad Times. Titled appropriately as "T'was the Bitch Salad before Christmas", the holiday themed version marks the 10th Anniversary of the monthly comedy show. Andrew Johnston is hysterical, his timing is right on the mark and his theatrical presence is refreshingly good. Tonight's Salad will feature the one and only Sara Hennessey, who EAP wrote about in the summer (she had a hit show at the Fringe Festival this year).


Check it out tonight! We will be there!


Buddies in Bad Times Theatre
12 Alexander Street
8$
Doors at 8pm, show at 8:30pm

Monday, December 8, 2008

Curtain's Down tonight at Statlers

Just a friendly reminder to all those in the downtown core that tonight is the weekly cabaret/variety show at Statlers Piano Lounge. Tonight, host Jenni Burke and her wonderful piano man Michael Barber will be performing selections from the second act of Fiddler on the Roof.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Opening this week in the city

Here are the theatre listings for the week. Some good stuff to check out!

Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol (John D Huston). Huston re-enacts Dickens's solo theatrical performance. Opens Dec 10 and runs to Dec 11, Wed-Thu 8 pm. $15, seniors $12, students $10. St. David's Anglican Church, 49 Donlands. 416-703-2773 ext 201, dickensperformer.ca.

Cinderella, The Sillylicious Family Musical (Ross Petty Productions). This all-ages musical is based on the classic fairy tale. Opens Dec 4 and runs to Jan 4, Thu-Sat 7 pm, mat Sat-Sun 2 pm (call or see website for other dates/times). $57-$77, children under 12 are $49. Elgin Theatre, 189 Yonge. 416-872-5555, rosspetty.com.

A Miracle Of Saint Antony by Maurice Maeterlinck (Atrium Theatre). A rich woman's heir faces a choice when a purported saint claims he can resurrect her. Previews to Dec 4. Opens Dec 5 and runs to Dec 13, Mon-Sat 8 pm, mat Dec 13 at 2 pm. $21.50, student/seniors $15, mat pwyc. Young Centre for the Performing Arts, 55 Mill. 416-866-8666, atriumtheatre.com.

On The Fringe Festival (Theatre Erindale). This vaudevillian variety show features Ray-Alan Cameron's one-act play No Wrongs, No Rights, plus sketch, clown and music. Dec 4-6 at 8 pm. Pwyc ($5 sugg). Erindale Studio Theatre, 3359 Mississauga Rd N. 905-569-4369.

Once On This Island by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty (City Playhouse Theatre). A peasant girl rescues and falls in love with a rich man in this family musical. Dec 4-7, Thu-Sat 7:30 pm, mats Sat-Sun 1 pm. $24, seniors/children $20. 1000 New Westminster, Vaughan. 905-326-7469.

Pandora's Locker by Dean Burry (The Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory). This youth opera sets the myth of Pandora's Box in a modern-day inner-city school. Opens Dec 5 and runs to Dec 13, Dec 5 at 8 pm, Dec 11 at 11 am, Dec 13 at 2 pm. Free. Royal Conservatory of Music, 273 Bloor W. 416-408-2824 ext 321.

Raw! Raw! Raw! Festival Of New Works (Canadian Stage Company). This festival offers readings of new works by Judith Thompson, Hannah Moscovitch and Ed Roy, plus excerpts of works in progress by up and coming playwrights. Opens Dec 5 and runs to Dec 13, Wed-Sat 7 pm. Free. Berkeley Street Theatre, 26 Berkeley. 416-368-3110, canstage.com.

Someone Who'll Watch Over Me by Frank McGuinness (Adeona Productions). Three men held hostage in Lebanon form relationships and try to keep hope alive. Previews Dec 4. Opens Dec 6 and runs to Dec 13, Mon-Sat 8 pm, mat Sat 2 pm. $15-$30, Mon is pwyc. Berkeley Street Theatre, 26 Berkeley, Upstairs. 416-368-3110, watchovermeshow.com.

A Very Polite Genocide Or The Girl Who Fell To Earth by Melanie J Murray (Native Earth Performing Arts). An aboriginal woman's identity is buried by the residential school system. Opens Dec 6 and runs to Dec 21, Tue-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2:30 pm. $18-$25, student $15, and Sun is pwyc. Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, 12 Alexander. 416-975-8555, nativeearth.ca.

Wintergreen by Paul Aspland (Centre for the Arts). Aspland's play gets a staged reading as part of Rehearsed Readings. Dec 4-5 at 8 pm. $10 (reservation required). 263 Adelaide W, ste 513. 647-436-2787, centreforthearts.com.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Read this

The NY Times just published this incredible article about the relationship between theatre companies and commercial producers.

Liza opens tonight

Her Broadway return begins this evening! Her Playbill for tonight is so fierce.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Festen Review


I studied Thomas Vinterberg's Festen in my first year of film studies at U of T. We finished the year with the film and it proved to be the most affecting film I viewed that year. Its impact, I found, was produced from the conglomeration of a powerful narrative,fascinating character relations - produced from a stellar cast, and the films actual form (which is by far the most relevant factor).

In regards to form, Festen was a Dogme 95 film, which was a mode of filmmaking conceived by Danish filmmakers, Lars von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg. The movement was born in response to the gimmicky, overproduction of modern cinema. In their manifesto, Trier and Vinterberg have ten rules, some of which include; on location shooting with no props, the elimination of non-dietetic music and/or sound, only hand held camera usage, and no superficial action. In Festen it is the form that acts as a vessel, allowing the purity of the story and performances to be fully realized on screen.
As a result of the films background and the intricacies of the plot, I was concerned going into the Berkeley Street Theatre that a theatricalre-imagination of Festen (which in English means The Celebration), may come across overwrought and superficial. However, to my delight, my fears were diminished early on in this production as it neared perfection in many ways.

Directed by Jason Byrne, the show begins with family and friends gathering for a 60th Birthday celebration for Helge (played to absolute perfection by Eric Peterson). As the evening progresses we divulge into uncomfortable familial secrets and witness the cathartic power of truth. Peterson has been around for ages and although many may only know him from his television experience, the man has a grand theatre presence here. He is flawless at containing the emotional eruption of an evil man being dethroned. His eyes containing, yet capturing his fear and anxiety with a piercing stillness in glare.

The acting from the three surviving children of Helge, Christian (Philip Riccio), Michael (Allan Hawco) and Helene (Tara Rosling) is staggeringly good. Tara Rosling is really a stand out in the show, she's a truly captivating character actress

And watching Rosemary Dunsmore's performance (who plays Helge's wife Elsa) is like witnessing a workshop on the craft itself. She pounces around the stage truly committed to her delivery of every line and gesture, commanding absolute attention from her audience, similar to PattiLupone's magnetic force.

The most interesting aspect of the show was its use of staging. Bryne does a lovely job at using the Berkeley Street Theatre to its full potential. Actors exit and enter from almost every door in the theatre. Action and lines are delivered off stage and result in a haunting experience. Futhermore, near the beginning, Bryne has the actors participate in cross staging; where three story lines occur at one time over multiple plains of action. It is compelling and brave, and it works.

The only aspect of the show that took away from my experience was Bryne's decision to leave the house lights on for the entire show. Although only a small infraction and I do understand the intention of wanting us to feel like we are fully participating in the evening's festivities, however I found this decision to be distracting as it felt too revealing. Breaking the forth wall can work in certain circumstances, but here it comes across as intrusive.

Now to sum this review up, Festen is explosive. It bursts off the stage with gripping intensity. It is powerful and moving, exhibiting loads of qualities that we all yearn to experience while at the theatre. Go and see it!

By: JHaley

Friday, November 28, 2008

Patti's Turn and Look



I went to see Gypsy's Wednesday matinee performance last week. Gypsy is one of my favorite musicals of all times, although I had never seen a stage production of the show before. And let me tell you Patti Lupone did not disappoint. I think the NY Times revue said it best when they described her singing as "not always pretty, but always perfect." Lupone definitely rivals Rosalind Russsell as my favorite Mama Rose. Certainly Patti has a much stronger voice, and she manages to make the role totally her own. She is both evil and endearing. Boyd Gains is also wonderful. He balances his Herbie off Lupone's Rose to perfection. The staging and set were well executed, although there was nothing original happening there. Same goes for the choreography which was good, but taken directly from the films and original Broadway production. I thought much of the rest of the cast was strong but not outstanding. I mean it would be hard to outshine Ms. Lupone. Laura Benanti who plays Lousie was very sweet, with a beautiful voice that was showcased in "Little Lamb." Unfortunately "Little Lamb" might be the most irritating song of all times. Leigh Ann Larkin, who plays Danity June has a powerful set of pipes, and she stole the number, "If Momma was Married." Pearce Wegener, Tulsa's understudy, whom I saw, was unfortunately not very strong as a singer or dancer. His number, "All I Need is the Girl," which is one of my favorites was very lackluster. The biggest problem though, wasn't acting, staging, choreography or set. It was the sound. I can't believe that after so many months they have not worked out the sound kinks. Characters came on stage, and even in the fifth row I missed whole lines or parts of lines until the mics picked up. Not Patti's of course her voice carried despite the mic problems, but everyone else was at the mercy of uneven sound.

The only other problem for this show was not onstage, but in the audience. In the first act alone there were three separate cell phone calls, which was extremely irritating for me, and I assume for the actors as well. However, this problem lent itself to one of the most amazing ad-lib moments I have ever seen. During the second act, in one of the most climatic scenes, Mama Rose is finally coming around to the idea that act is dead. Silence falls just as she is about to admit, "they're all washed up," and someone's cell phone began to ring obnoxiously. Well Patti had had enough, she clearly lost her moment and so she turned and glared at the audience, who erupted in cheers and applause. And her following line, "Are we all finished" sent the audience into hysterics again. Even Ms. Benanti couldn't keep it together and she broke up laughing. Patti kept it totally together though. Her gaze was steely and intense. And while it was an amazing moment, and one I will never forget, it is a reminder of how crucial the audience is to the theatre experience. Audiences have a responsibility to the actors. They are so important to each and every performance, and they have a job to do. I can remember seeing Avenue Q in the West End. The audience gave 110%. And when I saw that show again in Toronto, although the production was good it did not have the same effect. So to theatre audiences out there I say be involved, be critical and alert, and be respectful. And for fuck's sake turn off your phone!

Opening this week in the city

Here is the weekly list of theatre openings in the city.

Bird Brain by Vern Thiessen (Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People). A man shelters baby birds while dealing with his community's strict rules in this play for ages 3 to 8. Previews Nov 30 at 2:30 pm. Opens Dec 2 and runs to Dec 30, Sun 11:30 am and 2:30 pm (call or see website for other times). $20, stu/srs $15. 165 Front E. 416-862-2222, lktyp.ca.

The British Invasion by Nevin Grant, Howard Pechet and Anne Allan (Stage West). This musical revue revisits hits from the 60s to the 80s. Opens Nov 27 and runs to Feb 8, Tue-Sat 6:30 pm, Sun 11 am and 5 pm. $55-$90. 5400 Dixie. 905-238-0042, stagewest.com.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (Soulpepper). The holiday classic gets a staging. Opens Nov 27 and runs to Dec 24, Mon-Sat 7:30 pm (except Dec 24), call or check website for matinees. $34-$65, student $28; rush $20 (student $5). Young Centre for the Performing Arts, 55 Mill. 416-866-8666, soulpepper.ca.

Dear Santa by Norm Foster (Theatre Scarborough). Santa tries to overcome a supply shortage to fulfill a special wish. Opens Nov 27 and runs to Dec 12, Thu-Sat 8 pm (except Dec 13, show at 2 pm), Sun 2 pm. $17, students/seniors $14 (Thu and Sun only), student rush $10. Scarborough Village Theatre, 3600 Kingston. 416-396-4049.

A Dickens Of A Christmas (Canadian Children's Opera Company). This fully staged production is based on Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol. Nov 28-30, Fri-Sun 7:30 pm, mats Sat-Sun 2 pm. $35, student/seniors $15. Enwave Theatre, 231 Queens Quay W. 416-973-4000, canadianchildrensopera.com.

Grimm (Humber Theatre). Based on Brothers Grimm fairy tales, this play explores violence in daily life. Opens Nov 28 and runs to Dec 6, Tue-Sat 8 pm, mats Nov 30 and Dec 6 at 2 pm. $15, student/seniors $10. Humber Studio Theatre, 3199 Lake Shore W. 416-675-6622 ext 3080.

I'm So Munsch based on stories by Robert Munsch (George Brown Theatre School). This children's show is based on five Munsch stories. Opens Nov 29 and runs to Dec 6, Sat 1 pm. $15, seniors $10, student $6. Young Centre for the Performing Arts, 55 Mill. 416-866-8666.

The Invisible by Marie Brassard (Harbourfront World Stage/Quebec Now!). Brassard weaves movement, sound and set design into a multidisciplinary solo performance. Opens Dec 3 and runs to Dec 6, Wed-Sat 8 pm. $15-$30. Enwave Theatre, 231 Queens Quay W. 416-973-4000, harbourfrontcentre.com.

It's A Wonderful Life based on the film by Frank Capra (Canadian Stage Company). An angel shows a suicidal man the value of his life in this holiday classic. Opens Nov 27 and runs to Dec 20, Mon-Sat 8 pm, mats Wed 1:30 pm, Sat 2 pm. $20-$95, limited Mon pwyc. Bluma Appel Theatre, 27 Front E. 416-368-3110, canstage.com.

Moliere by Sabina Berman (Tarragon Theatre). The Archbishop of France and a rival playwright scheme to destroy Molière's base comedies. Previews to Dec 2. Opens Dec 3 and runs to Dec 28, Tue-Sat 8 pm, mats Sat-Sun 2:30 pm. $32-$38, student/seniors $20-$27, previews $19, Fri rush $10. 30 Bridgman. 416-531-1827, tarragontheatre.com.

Movin' Out by Billy Joel and Twyla Tharp (Rose Theatre). Five friends watch the world change from the 60s to the 80s in this musical. Dec 2-3 at 8 pm. $75-$90. 1 Theatre Lane, Brampton. 905-874-2800, rosetheatre.ca.

Scrooge! The Musical (Civic Light Opera Company). This musical is based on A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Opens Dec 3 and runs to Dec 21, Thu-Sat 8 pm, Wed 7 pm, Sun (and Dec 20) 2 pm. $20-$27.50. Fairview Library Theatre, 35 Fairview Mall. 416-755-1717, civiclightoperacompany.com.

Sylvia Plath Must Not Die/Doing Leonard Cohen by Blake Booker (One Yellow Rabbit). These productions explore the lives and works of poets Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton and Leonard Cohen. Opens Dec 2 and runs in rep to Dec 13. $30, student/rush $20 (youth rush $5). Young Centre for the Performing Arts, 55 Mill. 416-866-8666, youngcentre.ca.

(Courtesy of nowotoronto.com)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Rosie live premieres tonight!

Check your local listings! Rosie has always been such a massive supporter of theatre and we love her for that.



So funny!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Troubles on Broadway

I woke up this morning and like almost every morning I visited the nytimes.com theatre section, where I found a great article on the economic woes of Broadway, and more specifically, the woes of Young Frankenstein.

There has been a legitimate amount of fear running through Broadway recently, as every week there seems to be a new announcement of a show closing. The overwhelming fear as of late comes from news of shocking closings, especially from shows that have just opened and days later announce their demise. Last week, American Buffalo with Haley Joel Osment, John Leguizamo and Cedric the Entertainer opened and unexpectedly closed in the matter of 7 days. 13 and Spamelot both announced their closing dates over the past few days.

Check out the article that explains how arrogance was the largest problem when it came to Young Frankenstein and its demise.

Click on the link below:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/25/theater/25fran.html?ref=theater

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Opening this week in Toronto...

Theatre listings are listed below (courtesy of nowtoronto.com). Again it is so nice to see so much theatre opening this week in the GTA. I will be posting a review of Festen in the coming days, I am happy to report that it translated well.

The Apple Tree by Sheldon Harnick and Jerry Bock (Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts). This trio of mini musicals looks at stories of love and temptation. Opens Nov 25 and runs to Nov 29, Tue-Sat 8 pm. $22. Bathurst Street Theatre, 736 Bathurst. 416-872-1111.

Bashir Lazhar by Evelyne de la Chenelière (Théàtre français de Toronto/Théàtre d'Aujourd'hui). A refugee teaches a Grade 6 class in Quebec and adapts to life in a new country. Opens Nov 26 and runs to Nov 30, Wed-Sat 8 pm, mats Sat 3:30 pm, Sun 2:30 pm. $29-$46, student/seniors $24-$32. Berkeley Street Theatre, 26 Berkeley. 416-534-6604, theatrefrancais.com.

Common Criminal by Wanda Fitzgerald (The Common Criminal Project). A blind woman is stalked by a killer in this play with described narration. Previews Nov 25. Opens Nov 26 and runs to Nov 30, Tue-Sat 8 pm, mats Sat-Sun 2 pm. $18, preview $9. Tranzac, 292 Brunswick. commoncriminal.bravehost.com.

Dangerous Corner by JB Priestly (Village Players). A seemingly innocent mystery leads to the revelation of painful truths at a party. Opens Nov 21 and runs to Dec 13, Thu-Sat (and Nov 26) 8 pm, mats Nov 30 and Dec 7 at 2 pm. $20, student/seniors $16. The Village Playhouse, 2190 Bloor W. 416-767-7702.

Festen by David Eldridge (The Company Theatre). A compelling piece of theatre born from the Dogme 95 film of the same name. Dark family secrets surface at a 60th birthday party. Opens Nov 20 and runs to Dec 13, Mon-Sat 8 pm, mat Sat 2 pm. $20-$40. Berkeley Street Theatre, 26 Berkeley. 416-368-3110, canstage.com.

Hamlet by William Shakespeare (Necessary Angel Theatre Company). This adaptation combines European theatre aesthetic with the original poetry. Nov 20-23, Thu-Sat 8 pm, Sun 5 pm. $15. Buddies in Bad Times, 12 Alexander. 416-975-8555, necessaryangel.com.

Kiss The Moon, Kiss The Sun by Norm Foster (Glenvale Players). Pregnant and alone, a woman bonds with a man with diminished mental capacity. Opens Nov 26 and runs to Nov 30, Wed-Sat 7:30 pm, mats Sat-Sun 3 pm. $15. Palmerston Library Theatre, 560 Palmerston. 416-944-1456, glenvaleplayers.org.

Legoland by Jacob Richmond (Atomic Vaudeville). Misfit siblings face consequences after attacking a pop star in this modern vaudeville show. Opens Nov 20 and runs to Dec 6, Tue-Sat 8:30 pm, mat Sat 4 pm. $20-$25, matinee is pwyc. Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace, 16 Ryerson. 416-504-7529, passemuraille.on.ca.

Masques Of War (Toronto Masques Theatre). Works by Claudio Monteverdi, Igor Stravinsky and Frantisek Kotzwara are performed. Nov 20-22 at 8 pm. $30, students $25. Winchester Street Theatre, 80 Winchester. 416-410-4561, torontomasquestheatre.ca.

Radio Play by Denise Clarke (Peggy Baker Dance Projects). This performance fuses dance and theatre to portray a romantic story. Opens Nov 25 and runs to Nov 29, Tue-Sat 8 pm. $30, student $20; rush $20, student $5. Young Centre for the Performing Arts, 55 Mill. 416-866-8666, youngcentre.ca.

Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street by Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler (Clarkson Music Theatre). A wrongfully convicted barber seeks revenge. Opens Nov 21 and runs to Nov 29, Wed-Sun 8 pm, mats Sat-Sun 2 pm. $18, student $15. Meadowvale Theatre, 6315 Montevideo. 905-615-4720.

Twist Of Fate by Angola Murdoch (Phenomenatrix). Murdoch recounts her battle with scoliosis through acrobatics, martial arts and aerial circus. Opens Nov 26 and runs to Nov 29, Wed-Sat 8 pm. $15. Gibsone Jessop Gallery, 55 Mill, Bldg 4. phenomenatrix.com.

Vinegar Tom by Caryl Churchill (Royal Porcupine Productions). This dark comedy looks at the witch hunts in England. Previews Nov 20. Opens Nov 21 and runs to Nov 29, Thu-Sat and Mon-Tue 8 pm. $10-$25. Young Centre for the Performing Arts, 55 Mill. 416-866-8666, youngcentre.ca.

Friday, November 21, 2008

South Pacific dazzles

As I mentioned while I am in New York there are a few shows that I felt I should not miss. South Pacific was at the top of that list, and I didn't think it was likely to happen. Especially since it is one of the only sold out shows this time of year. But I went by Lincoln Centre Tuesday morning, and they told me if I came back at five I might be able to get returns. So at quarter to five I returned to LC, thinking there was not much of a chance of getting tickets. But by some miracle I got the only two returns for the day. And I didn't even care that they were 125$ each. The show started at seven because it is over three hours long, but let me tell you three hours has never felt shorter. The Vivian Beaumont, is a beautiful theatre, although I perceived it as a small Broadway house it actually seats 1080. And all of the technical elements were perfect, not like Gypsy which was plagued by bad sound for the whole show at Wednesday's matinee. I love the feature at the Beaumont which allows the part of the stage covering the pit to be pulled back, enhancing the sound of the magnificent orchestra. That feature was perfectly utilized, and not over done, it really added to the swelling score everytime the orchestra was revealed. There were other elements of perfection as well, the set and the staging were really superb. Everything moved around the large stage seamlessly. The crowds of sailors who adorn the stage for much of the show really gave you that sense of wartime reality. A lot of hurry up and wait, as it were.

The leads were amazing. Kelli O'Hara, who I have known about since Light in the Piazza, was perfectly cast as Nelly Forbush. And Danny Bernstein stole the show as Luther Billis. There number together, "Honey Buns" was one of the best theatre moments I have ever experienced. Paulo Szot, who played Emille de Becque, had that rare quality of masculinity, which is so often lacking in the leading men of today. His opera background is probably partly responsible for that, and it was refreshing to see a leading man who actually has chemistry with his leading lady. As for Mathew Morrison, who plays Lt. Joseph Cable I think I'd go to the South Pacific with him, no problem. Beautiful voice as well. I was also really impressed by Loretta Ables Sayre, who's Bloody Mary went so far beyond the caricature that is written, to become a real entity in South Pacific. "Happy Talk," which I have always loved because frankly it is one of the funniest and most outlandish numbers in musical theatre, took on a new and much more human face in this production.
In fact overall, that is what makes this production of South Pacific so good. Because it is not the best show, it is not even the best of Rogers and Hammerstein. The storyline arch is awkward. For example, unlike in the film the show starts at the de Becque's plantation, and Nelly and de Becque are already well into their courtship when we are introduced to them, which to me felt very forced. It also makes the first act a little flat, or at least this performance it felt a bit flat. But the music is quintessentially Rogers and Hammerstein. I would defy anyone to leave that show not humming those tunes. And just like all the major reviews have said, South Pacific is so well contextualized in our modern world, and so many things are illuminated in this production. This show is given new meaning in our times, and also our times make it obvious what a classic this musical really is.
I will try to get a revue of Gypsy up tomorrow. Lots to talk about there. Patti Patti Patti.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

We Will Rock You extended

On November 19th our dear friend David Mirvish announced that the explosively popular, all-Canadian, Dora Award-winning, extremely eye-brow raising, We Will Rock You will extend its engagement to Feb. 1, 2009, at the Panasonic Theatre.

The new block of tickets will go on sale Nov. 22.

Additionally, starting Dec. 2 (and continuing to Jan. 27, 2009) an extra performance per week "at an irresistible ticket price" will be added to the playing schedule. Beginning Dec. 2, We Will Rock You will play on Tuesday evenings and every seat in the theatre will cost $20. This new promotion is being called "Ten Toonie Tuesdays." An added matinee Tuesday Dec. 23 is also at this price. There are ten $20 performance opportunities.

Nothing like a rowdy evening at the theatre.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Globe theatre in London announces 2009 season

The 2009 season at Shakespeare's Globe in London, presented under the title Young Hearts, will include new stagings of Romeo and Juliet, As You Like It and Troilus and Cressida, as well as a revival of Dominic Dromgoole's 2007 production of Love's Labour's Lost that will eventually venture on a North American tour in the autumn of 2009.

Ché Walker's The Frontline, which premiered in the 2008 season, will also be revived, alongside a new play by Trevor Griffiths and a new version of Euripides' Helen by Frank McGuinness.

Artistic director Dominic Dromgoole said, "At Shakespeare's Globe, each new performance feels like a new burst of energy and a new beginning. The 2009 season of Young Hearts celebrates the heedless joy of youth, a love of life and the enduring passion of our audiences."

The theatre will also produce summer tours of The Comedy of Errors and A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Public booking for the season opens Feb. 14, 2009, at the box office, 020 7401 9919, or by visiting www.shakespeares-globe.org.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Fingers Crossed

I just arrived in New York last night. We have a few EAP contact meetings, before the American Thanksgiving weekend. I am hoping to get returns for South Pacific tonight. It would be a coup, but I am hopeful. I let you know.


image courtesy of the New York Times

Apollo Theatre to hold premiere of 'Dreamgirls'


The upcoming national tour of the Henry Krieger-Tom Eyen Motown musical, Dreamgirls, will premiere at Harlem's historic Apollo Theater in November 2009.

Robert Longbottom will direct and co-choreograph the national tour.

Producers of the national tour will hold auditions for Dreamgirls' central trio of The Dreams, including the roles of Deena Jones, Lorrell Robinson and Effie White, on Nov. 22 at the Apollo Theatre

Producer John Breglio released a statement regarding the decision. "The opening scene in Dreamgirls takes place in the legendary Apollo Theater, so it is only fitting that we are launching the national tour at this historic venue. The prospect that we may discover the new Dreams at the Apollo, where so many stars were discovered, just adds to our excitement in bringing this great musical back to the stage."

Tickets for Dreamgirls at the Apollo Theater go on sale Jan. 26, 2009, at 10 AM via Ticketmaster.com and the Apollo Theater box office.

Minnelli will appear on 'Rosie Live'


Very exciting news from New York yesterday as it was announced that Liza Minnelli will appear on the premiere taping of the upcoming variety show Rosie Live. Liza Minnelli is currently in New York rehearsing her scheduled December 3rd return to Broadway in a limited run of Liza's at the Palace . . .!

TVweek.com is reporting that Minnelli, Kathy Griffin, Tony Award winner Jane Krakowski, Ne-Yo and singer Alanis Morissette are the guests for the NBC variety special, which will air Nov. 26 at 9 PM ET live from New York's Little Shubert Theatre.

Rosie Live, according to a previous NBC press release, will feature "a topical monologue, musical production numbers and hilarious comedy sketches." The program is produced by Universal Media Studios in association with KidRo Productions. O'Donnell and David Friedman are the executive producers.

This is VERY, VERY exciting.

New cast announced for Toronto's 'Jersey Boys'

A mostly brand-new cast will step into the Canadian production of Jersey Boys beginning Dec. 12.

The Toronto engagement of Jersey Boys, which began performances Aug. 21, has been extended through Feb. 1, 2009.

Canadian Jeremy Kushnier, who has been playing Tommy DeVito since the Canadian run began, will continue in that role. He will be joined onstage by Derek Krantz as Bob Gaudio, Michael Lomenda as Nick Massi and Jeff Madden as Frankie Valli with Timothy Sell as Gyp DeCarlo and Shawn Wright as Bob Crewe.

New musical 'Sister Act' will premiere in London


I have been meaning to post a news bulletin from last week regarding Whoopi G's announcement on The View that she is staging Sister Act. Usually I find the over-saturation of film-to-stage productions a little hard to bare, however, this idea excites us. A fierce black diva musical sounds absolutely divine.

Here is the news brief from playbill.com


"Whoopi Goldberg and Stage Entertainment will produce the London premiere of Sister Act, the new musical comedy based on the hit film of the same name. Previews will begin May 6, 2009, at the London Palladium with an official opening June 2.

Sister Act features a score by eight-time Oscar winner Alan Menken and lyrics by Glenn Slater. The book was penned by Cheri and Bill Steinkellner ("Cheers"). Peter Schneider will direct a cast to be announced in 2009.

In a statement Goldberg, who starred in the film version of "Sister Act," said, "If you are fortunate enough to be a part of something wonderful, I feel it's important to pass the baton. The best way for me to be a part of this new incarnation of Sister Act is to make sure everyone knows it's happening. The stage version of the show is fresh and new and I'm beyond thrilled to be part of it."

The creative team will also include musical supervisor Michael Kosarin, choreographer Anthony Van Laast, set designer Klara Zieglerova, costume designer Lez Brotherston, sound designer Mick Potter, lighting designer Natasha Katz and musical director Nick Skilbeck.

Sister Act — based on the 1992 movie that cast Goldberg in the role of the singer-turned-sister — has played engagements at the Pasadena Playhouse and Atlanta's Alliance Theatre.
Show times will be Monday-Saturday at 7:30 PM with matinees Wednesdays and Saturdays at 3 PM.

The London Palladium is located in London on Argyll Street. Tickets for the production, which is booking through Feb. 13, 2010, will be available by calling 0844 412 2704 or by visiting www.sisteractthemusical.com." (Andrew Gans, playbill.com, 13 Nov 08)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Line-up at Statlers

Hey everyone. Jenni Burke and Curtains Down is back at Statlers tonight (with a brand new piano).

Here is the line-up for this evening - check it out!

Brandon Matthieus
Jeigh Madjus
Lynn Filusch
Kate Proctor
Shawn Hurford
James Lesvesque
Blair Irwin
Ryan Kerr
Bob Dillon

Friday, November 14, 2008

Opening this week in Toronto

Here is your listings for theatre opening this week in and around the GTA; also I have to give a shout out to the show Festen which begins previews on November 17th at the Berkeley Street Theatre. The show is based on the 1998 Danish Dogme film of the same name ("The Celebration" is the English translation). The film is a masterpiece. Let's hope the staging will be equally as gratifying.


Bressani by Frank Spezzano (The Italian Pastoral Commission /The Pirandello Theatre). This historical drama looks at the life of the first Italian Jesuit in North America. Nov 13-16, Fri-Sat 8 pm, Sun 3 pm, student mats Thu-Fri 1 pm. $20, student mats $10. Don Bosco Catholic School Auditorium, 2 St Andrews Blvd. 416-781-9000.

Duet For One by Tom Kempinski (Duet for One Co-Op). This drama is based on the life of cellist Jacqueline du Pré. Nov 14-16, Fri-Sun 8 pm, mats Sat-Sun 2 pm. $20. Heliconian Hall, 35 Hazelton. 416-696-5950 ext 2.

Hay Fever by Noel Coward (Markham Little Theatre). The self-centred Bliss family drives away its guests in this manners comedy. Opens Nov 19 and runs to Nov 22, Wed-Sat 8 pm. $22, seniors/students $19 (Wed-Thu only). Markham Theatre for the Performing Arts, 171 Town Centre. 905-305-7469.

Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen (Stage Centre Productions). A headstrong new bride causes chaos in order to keep her checkered past secret. Opens Nov 13 and runs to Nov 29, Thu-Sat (and Nov 26) 8 pm, Sun 2 pm. $25, seniors $20, student $15. Fairview Library, 35 Fairview Mall. 416-299-5557, stagecentreproductions.com.

Hospitality 3: Individualism Was A Mistake by Caroline Dubois, Claudia Fancello and Jacob Wren. (Harbourfront World Stage/Quebec Now!). Indie rock meets theatre in PME-ART's performance piece about collaboration. Opens Nov 19 and runs to Nov 22, Wed-Sat 8 pm. $15-$30. Enwave Theatre, 231 Queens Quay W. 416-973-4000, harbourfrontcentre.com.

Miss Julie: Sheh'mah (KICK Theatre). This adaptation of a play by August Strindberg looks at sex between upper and lower classes. Opens Nov 13 and runs to Nov 29, Tue-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2:30 pm. $20, Sun pwyc. Theatre Centre, 1087 Queen W. 416-538-0988, kicktheatre.ca.

Murderous Women adapted from the book by Frank Jones (Theatre Erindale). Historical murders committed by women are re-enacted in this drama. Previews Nov 13. Opens Nov 14 and runs to Nov 22, Tue-Thu 7:30 pm, Fri-Sat 8 pm, mat Nov 22 at 2 pm. $9-$14. Erindale Studio Theatre, 3359 Mississauga Rd N. 905-569-4369, theatreerindale.com.

My Name Is Rachel Corrie adapted by Katherine Viner and Alan Rickman (Organic Underground Theatre Collective). This solo drama is based on the diaries and e-mails of the American peace activist killed in Gaza in 2003. Nov 14-15, at 7:30 pm. $10-$15. Multimedia Studio Theatre, 3359 Mississauga Rd N. 888-222-6608, cjpme.ca.

Paradise By The River by Vittorio Rossi (Shadowpath Theatre). This drama looks at the internment of Italian-Canadian men during WWII. Nov 13-14, Thu 8 pm, Fri 1 and 7 pm. $25-$28. City Playhouse Theatre, 1000 New Westminster, Vaughan. 905-882-7469.

The Paranormal Show (Campbell House Museum). Vladimir Eisengrimm performs mind reading, hypnotism, a seance and other sideshow feats. Opens Nov 13 and runs to Nov 29, Thu-Sat 9 pm (except Nov 27). $40. 160 Queen W. 416-597-0227, theparanormalshow.net.

Talking Heads by Alan Bennett (Alumnae Theatre). Three of Bennett's darkly comedic monologues produced for BBC-TV are presented on stage. Opens Nov 14 and runs to Nov 29, Wed-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2 pm. $20, Wed-Thu 2-for-1, Sun pwyc. 70 Berkeley, 3rd floor studio. 416-364-4170, alumnaetheatre.com.

Tosca by Giacomo Puccini (Opera Lirica Italiana). The dramatic opera is fully staged and presented in Italian with English surtitles. Nov 13-15, Thu and Sat 8 pm. $30, student/seniors $25, child $20. Betty Oliphant Theatre, 404 Jarvis. 416-882-0246, operaliricaitaliana.com.

The Trial Of Mary And Joseph/The Woman Taken In Adultery (Poculi Ludique Societas). Two short plays based on biblical tales examine medieval views of female sexuality. Nov 13-16, Thu-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2 pm. $20, seniors $15, students $10. Studio Theatre, 4 Glen Morris. 416-978-5096.

Trudeau Stories by Brooke Johnson (Theatre Passe Muraille). Johnson's solo show dramatizes memories, letters and journal entries relating to her friendship with the former prime minister. Previews Nov 14-18. Opens Nov 19 and runs to Dec 6, Tue-Sat 7 pm (except Nov 14 at 8:30 pm and no evening show Nov 15), mat Sat 2:30 pm. $30-$35, previews $15, mat pwyc. 16 Ryerson. 416-504-7529, passemuraille.on.ca.

You're A Good Man Charlie Brown by Clark Gesner (Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People). This family musical is based on the 'Peanuts' comic strip characters. Opens Nov 13 and runs to Dec 30, opening night 7 pm, Sat-Sun 2 pm (call for other times). $20, student/seniors $15. 165 Front E. 416-862-2222, lktyp.ca.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Let's have a discussion about this

An interesting article popped up in the New York Times today about Scott Eckern's, resignation from California Musical Theatre. He has resigned amidst a fury of outrage at his donation of 1,000 $ in support of Proposition 8. Most people know that Prop 8 is the California initiative, which passed, and will change the State's constitution to discriminate against same-sex marriages. Eckern's financial support of Prop 8 was made public by a group of activists in California, calling for a boycott of businesses and individuals who contributed to the initiative. Once his name was out he faced increasing criticism for his contribution and early this week the pressure forced him to resign.
Now, I am a California resident and I voted against Prop 8, I am pleased to say. And I am deeply saddened that larger California population wants to write discrimination into our State constitution. However, I am very torn about Mr. Eckern's "forced" resignation. Eckern, who is a practicing Mormon, has the right to contribute his own money to what ever political initiatives that he wants, in my opinion. I don't believe that his personal convictions should have any bearing on his work relationship with California Musical Theatre. Sure it seems odd that a guy who has worked in musical theatre for a decade and has a lesbian sister, by his own admission would contribute to such a heinous ballot initiative, but should he really have to quit his job because of it?
I would really like to hear some thoughts on this, so please feel free to leave comments, and definitely check out the article in the Times.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Deborah Cox releases new album


Although this entry is not entirely theatre related, I have to give a shout out to Deborah Cox who released her long awaited album The Promise yesterday. Cox is a well known Canadian icon - a belting black diva if you will. She has released a number of albums and has appeared in numerous contemporary films. She is probably best known in our theatre community from her starring role on Broadway in Aida.

Check out her album and her new song "Beautiful U R" below!



Friday, November 7, 2008

Sharon performs tonight


The delightful and always entertaining Sharron Matthews performs tonight in the city. Matthews is playing at the Toronto Centre for the Arts (5040 Young Street) in her one woman show - Sharron Matthews... Uptown Girl.


The show starts at 8:15 p.m. and tickets are $15. Call 416-872-1111 to purchase or inquire.


Opening this week in Toronto

Here is the list of theatre openings for this week:

The Abduction From The Seraglio by WA Mozart (Opera Atelier). Two men plot to rescue their girlfriends from an Ottoman Pasha in this commedia dell'arte opera. Opens Nov 8 and runs to Nov 15, Fri-Sat and Tue-Wed 7:30 pm, Sun 3 pm. $30-$135. Elgin Theatre, 189 Yonge. 416-872-5555, operaatelier.com.

And Stockings For The Ladies by Attila Clenmann (Holocaust Education Week). A Canadian airman helps Jewish refugees in post-WWII Germany in this solo show. Nov 7-9, Fri 2 pm, Sat 8 pm, Sun 2:30 pm. Free. Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People, 165 Front E. 416-862-2222, holocausteducationweek.com.

Banana Boys by Leon Aureus (fu-GEN Asian Canadian Theatre Company). Five young Asian-Canadian men wrestle with issues of race and identity. Opens Nov 12 and runs to Nov 15, Wed-Sat 8 pm, mat Sat 2 pm. $20, student/seniors $12. Hart House Theatre, 7 Hart House. 416-978-8849, harthousetheatre.ca.

Emilia Galotti by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (Stratford Festival). A prince's obsession with another man's fiancée leads to murder and abduction. Nov 6-9, Thu 8 pm, Fri-Sun 2 pm. $50-$90, student/seniors $22-$69. Avon Theatre, Stratford. 800-567-1600, stratfordfestival.ca.

A Glimpse Of The Light by Ben Finn (TEATRON Jewish Theatre). Holocaust survivors witness the birth of Israel in this musical. Opens Nov 12 and runs to Nov 23, (preview Nov 12 at 1 pm), Thu and Sat (and Nov 12) 8 pm, Sun 2 pm. $22-$44. Leah Posluns Theatre, 4588 Bathurst. 416-781-5527, teatrontheatre.com.

Kindertransport by Diane Samuels (Harold Green Jewish Theatre Company). This drama looks at Jewish children separated from their parents during WWII. Opens Nov 6 and runs to Nov 23, Mon-Thu and Sat 8 pm, mats Tue-Wed 1 pm, Sun 2 pm. $32-$52. Al Green Theatre, 750 Spadina. 416-366-7723, hgjewishtheatre.com.

Nikola Tesla, An Evening With Genius by J Michael Newlight and Frank Tabbita (Professional Engineers of Ontario/IEEE Toronto). The inventor recounts his life and envisions a wireless future. Nov 6-8 at 8 pm. $20-$25, stu/srs $15-$20. Betty Oliphant Theatre, 404 Jarvis. 1-888-222-6608, vasicweb.com/tesla.

ScrABrrRrraaNNG - A Cabaret Of Futurist Performance (Graduate Centre for Study of Drama U of T). Performances by Jess Dobkin, Sky Gilbert and others are presented as part of the Futurist Dramaturgy and Performance Conference. Nov 6-8, Thu-Fri 9 pm, Sat 10 pm. (Conference runs Fri-Sat at Robert Gill Theatre, 214 College.) $8-$12. Studio Theatre, 4 Glen Morris. 416-978-7986, graddrama.utoronto.ca.

Soulless by Aaron Bushkowsky (505 Productions Equity Co-op). Five people question their apathy for others and their love of material goods. Opens Nov 6 and runs to Nov 23, Tue-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2:30 pm. $20, Sun pwyc. Factory Theatre Studio, 125 Bathurst. 416-504-9971, soullessplay.com.

That Came Out Wrong by Graeme Gerrard (Buddies in Bad Times Theatre). A gay teen deals with coming out in rural Ontario in this comedy. Opens Nov 6 and runs to Nov 16, Thu and Sat-Sun 8 pm, mat Sun 2 pm. $15. 12 Alexander. 416-975-8555, ticketweb.ca.

Unconditional/Waiting For Lefty Brett C Leonard/Clifford Odets (Column 13 Actors Company). This double bill features a drama about sex and violence in the lives of nine New Yorkers, and a one-act play about the taxi cab strike of 1934. Opens Nov 12 and runs to Nov 29, Wed-Sat 8 pm, (Waiting For Lefty Fri-Sat only, 10:30 pm). $15, student/seniors $12, Wed is pwyc. Dancemakers Centre for Creation, 55 Mill, bldg 58. 647-377-4903, column13.org.

(listings courtesy of nowtoronto.com)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Statler's update

I know everyone has been very concerned about the status at Statler's. Jenni Burke, who hosts Curtain's Down sent out an email letting everyone know that this weeks closure on Monday night, was NOT a permanent thing, and Statler's will be back in action soon. I hope this shocks all fans back into regular attendance. Statler's is one of the only venues in Toronto where emerging talent can showcase, mingle and promote themselves. It deserves our support, and there is no better way of supporting than showing up. And not just on Monday nights. Statler's hosts tons of private cabaret events, with a wealth of talent. And it is usually cheap and sometimes free, so get out there.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Rough Road Ahead for Broadway



Great article in the Times yesterday. Nobody saw it of course because of election coverage, but I always love Patrick Cohen. Photo courtesy of Hiroko Masuike for The New York Times.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Curtains Down at Statlers tonight

We adore Jenni Burke and the weekly Curtains Down cabaret evening at Statlers.

Appearing this week is:

Derrick Paul Miller
James Lesvesque
Jeigh Madjus
Chis Wilson
Michael Gill
Ashley Keefer
Nadia Dubeau

Saturday, November 1, 2008

O here we go again - "Million-Dollar Quartet"




I always get pegged as a tough critic, a nay-sayer, what-have-you, but I cannot help but be a bit concerned about this trend in musical theatre. The regurgitated song cycle. A new musical is making news in the New York Times, as well as regionally, Washington and Chicago specifically, "Million Dollar Quartet." It is based on a historic, almost mythical jam session, between Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins, with a score that includes "Blue Suede Shoes" among many others of the period's blue chip rock and role. The Times is expecting "Million-Dollar Quartet" to do very well, and likely make its way to Broadway, a speculation made all the more likely with a New York Times puff piece under its belt.
Here is what concerns me. On Wednesday Justin and I went to see Jersey Boys. Despite the SNOW and reoccurring sound problems we enjoyed ourselves. But after we left the theatre I said to Justin, "in all honesty that was not better than "The Drowsy Chaperone". You may recall that Jersey Boys beat out "The Drowsy Chaperone" to win the Tony for best new musical in 2006. I mean sure the music was great and I was totally into it. And I can see how with a stellar cast "Jersey Boys" would explode off the stage, but where is the creativity in stitching a musical together from period hits.
Now I love "Mamma Mia!" just as much as the next musical geek, but the difference is that ABBA wrote musicals, and most of their music was so theatrical in intention, that it seems more appropriate. I have also been guilty of suggesting, albeit late one night, that the Carpenters story and songs would make an awesome musical. So I don't want to rule it out completely, it just concerns me that creativity is dying.
Look at the most successful shows in New York in the last few years, many have been film-to-stage adaptions and revivals. And Toronto is even worse, the biggest hits here this year were "We Will Rock You" and "Dirty Dancing", both awful - in terms of writing, development, and even basic character evolution. And "Jersey Boys," which I overheard an usher say, will likely have a second extension beyond the February extension announced when the show opened. That is good for the city and for performers working here, since it will continue with a local cast. But why is it that people wont come out for multiple extensions of "The Drowsy Chaperone"? A show that was born here, and was brought back to Toronto with the original Man in the Chair, Bob Martin, in tow. It baffles me. Anyway we will have to wait and see about "Million-Dollar Quartet." (image from the New York Times.)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Local theatre openings

Nice to see so much theatre opening this week in and around the city. I would highly recommend checking out Bashir Lazhar at the Tarragon Theatre and Tartuffe at the Papermill Theatre.

Bashir Lazhar by Evelyne de la Chenelière (Tarragon Theatre). An immigrant finds his calling teaching a class of sixth graders who are coping with a tragedy. Previews to Nov 4. Opens Nov 5 and runs to Dec 7, Tue-Sat 8 pm, mats Sat-Sun 2:30 pm. $32-$38, student/seniors $27, previews $19, Fri rush $10. 30 Bridgman. 416-531-1827, tarragontheatre.com.

Cats by Andrew Lloyd Webber, TS Eliot and Trevor Nunn (Curtain Call Players). Opens Oct 30 and runs to Nov 8, Thu-Fri (and Nov 1) 8 pm, mat Nov 1, 2 and 8 at 2 pm. $22. Fairview Library, 35 Fairview Mall. 416-703-6181, curtaincallplayers.com.

Cute With Chris: Live by Chris Leavins (Theatre Centre). The webcast show satirizing society's obsession with 'cute' is presented on stage. Oct 30-Nov 2, Thu-Fri 8 pm, Sat 7 and 9 pm, Sun 7 pm. $21, rush $10. 1087 Queen W. 416-534-9261, theatrecentre.org.

The Fire Raisers by Max Frisch (Theatre @ York). This black comedy looks at humanity's complicity in its own calamities. Previews Nov 2-3. Opens Nov 4 and runs to Nov 8, nightly at 7:30 pm, mats Nov 5 and 7 at 1 pm. $15, student/seniors $10, previews pwyc-$5. Joseph G Green Theatre, York U, 4700 Keele. 416-736-5888.

Glamourous Nights by Ivor Novello (Toronto Operetta Theatre). Songs from Novello's shows are performed in this musical tribute. Nov 1-2, Sat 8 pm, Sun 2 pm. $35. Jane Mallett Theatre, 27 Front E. 416-366-7723, stlc.com.

Gypsy by Arthur Laurents, Jule Styne and Stephen Sondheim (Scarborough Music Theatre). This musical is based on the life of burlesque star Gypsy Rose Lee. Opens Oct 30 and runs to Nov 15, Thu-Sat (except Nov 15) 8 pm, Sun (and Nov 15) 2 pm. $24, student/seniors $20 (Thu and Sun only). Scarborough Village Theatre, 3600 Kingston. 416-396-4049, smtgypsy.com.

Impromptu Splendor (The National Theatre of Canada). An audience suggestion will spawn an improvised play in this weekly show. Opens Oct 30, indefinite run. Thu 8 pm. Pwyc. Comedy Bar, 945B Bloor W. nationaltheatreofcanada@gmail.com.

Inna Di Wardrobe by Deidre 'D-Lishus' Walton (Meow Films/Gurbeen Bhasin). Dub poet d'bi.young anitafrika performs, followed by Walton's play about coming out. Opens Oct 30 and runs to Nov 9, Thu-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2:30 pm. $15. Palmerston Library Theatre, 560 Palmerston. 416-393-7680.

Obsidian Theatre International Playwrights Forum (Obsidian Theatre Company). The forum offers workshops and panels with international playwrights, plus readings by Marie Beath Badian, Victor Gomez, Alicia Payne and others. Oct 31-Nov 2, Thu 7 pm opening party (at Theatre Passe Muraille, 16 Ryerson) includes performance of Pyaasa or The Misfit, Sat forums 9:30 am to 4 pm, readings at 8 pm, Sun forums 10:30 am to 4 pm. $5. Enwave Theatre, 231 Queens Quay W. 416-463-8444, obsidian-theatre.com.

South Of China by Raymond Storey (George Brown College Theatre School). A Brit and a Canadian seek their fortunes in 1930s Malaysia. Opens Nov 5 and runs to Nov 15, Tue-Sat 7:30 pm, mat Sat 1:30 pm. $15, srs $10, stu $6. Young Centre for the Performing Arts, 55 Mill. 416-866-8666.

Tartuffe by Molière (East Side Players). This adaptation of the comedy uses simple prose to satirize hypocrisy, deceit and blind piety. Opens Oct 30 and runs to Nov 15, Wed-Sat 8 pm, mats Sat-Sun (except Nov 1) 2 pm. $18, stu $12. Papermill Theatre, 67 Pottery. 416-425-0917, eastsideplayers.ca.

Thumbelina adapted by Zenon Skrzypczyk (Solar Stage Children's Theatre). This interactive musical children's show is based on the classic fairy tale. Opens Nov 1 and runs to Nov 29, Sat-Sun 11 am and 2 pm. $13. 4950 Yonge. 416-368-8031, solarstage.on.ca.

(Openings courtesy of nowtoronto.com)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

MacIvor wins the Siminovitch Prize




Canada's largest theatre prize, the Elinore and Lou Siminovitch Prize in Theatre, was awarded last evening to Daniel MacIvor.

MacIvor was chosen from a fine list of five finalists which included Toronto's Morwyn Brebner and Colleen Murphy, Daniel Danis of St-David de Falardeau, Que., and Larry Tremblay of Montreal.

The winning prize amount is a healthy $100,000. From this amount $25,000 is given to a protege or organization of choice. MacIvor's proteges were from Vancouver, playwrights Daniel Arnold and Medina Hahn.

In 2006 MacIvor won the Governor General's award for his collection of five plays called I still Love You. His work includes the plays See Bob Run, Wild Abandon, The Soldier Dreams, You Are Here, How It Works, His Greatness, and A Beautiful View.

His recent solo works; House, Here Lies Henry and Monster were seen at the Buddies in Bad Times Theatre and were all a hit among critics and audiences.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Curtains Down at Statlers

Statlers is having their weekly cabaret evening tonight with the always adorable and witty Jenni Burke. Check it out tonight at 8pm, it is their Halloween special with appearances by the following local artists:



ANDREW GERMAN
KYLE GILLIS
KRISTIN GALER
BRANDON FIRLA
KELLY HOLLIFF
MICHAEL GILL
MOLLY JANE ATKINSON
DK IBOMEKA
NATHALIE NADON
JUSTIN BOTT
JOHNNY MCGILLIS

Opening this week in the GTA!

I was away in Montreal over the weekend enjoying the luxuries of that beautiful city and missed five days of EAP blogging. Here is the first post - theatre openings for the week of October 23rd - 30th:

Anthony Of Green Gables/Point of View by Michael Misek/Zehra Abbas (Sawitri Theatre Group/Youth Troopers for Global Awareness). This double bill features two plays with a South Asian flavour. Oct 23-25, Thu-Fri 8 pm, Sat 7 pm. $15, stu/srs $10. Sampradaya Dance Centre, 5-3250 Ridgeway, Mississauga. sawitri.com.

A Chorus Line by Michael Bennet, James Kirkwood, Nicholas Dante, Marvin Hamlisch and Edward Kleban (Mirvish). Singers and dancers vie for a spot in a Broadway production in this long awaited musical. Opens Oct 28 and runs to Nov 30, Tue-Sat 8 pm, mats Sat-Sun and Wed 2 pm. $20-$99. Canon Theatre, 244 Victoria. 416-872-1212, mirvish.com.

Edges by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (Acting Up Stage Theatre Company). This rock 'n' roll song cycle looks at jobs, love and Facebook friends. Previews to Oct 26. Opens Oct 27 and runs to Nov 10, Sun 7 pm, Mon 8 pm. $25, students are $15. Revival, 783 College. edgestoronto.com.

Leader Of The Pack... The Ellie Greenwich Musical by Ellie Greenwich and Anne Beatts (Encore Entertainment). A young woman becomes famous writing hit doo-wop songs in the early 60s. Opens Oct 23 and runs to Nov 2, Tue-Sat 8 pm, mat Sun 2 pm. $30, mats $28. Toronto Centre for the Arts, 5040 Yonge. 416-872-1111, encoreshows.com.

The Misfit by Anita Majumdar (Theatre Passe Muraille). An Indo-Canadian woman is disowned by her family and community in this solo piece, part of TPM's Fall Festival of Four Plays. Previews Oct 23-24. Opens Oct 25 and runs to Nov 15, Tue-Sat 7 pm, mat Sat 2:30 pm (beginning Nov 1). $30-$35, previews $15, mats pwyc. Mainspace, 16 Ryerson. 416-504-7529, passemuraille.on.ca.

A New Life
by Elmer Rice (Theatre Erindale). A widow clashes with her in-laws over who will raise her baby. Previews Oct 23. Opens Oct 24 and runs to Nov 1, Tue-Thu 7:30 pm, Fri-Sat 8 pm, mat Nov 1 at 2 pm. $9-$14. Erindale Studio Theatre, 3359 Mississauga Rd N. 905-569-4369, theatreerindale.com.

One Man Star Wars by Charles Ross (Diesel Playhouse Theatre). Ross plays all the characters in this solo comedy. Opens Oct 28 and runs to Nov 1, Tue-Thu 8 pm, Fri-Sat 7 and 11 pm. $27.50. 56 Blue Jays Way. 416-870-8000.

Pyaasa by Anusree Roy (Theatre Passe Muraille). TPM's Fall Festival of Four Plays opens with Roy's solo drama about a young girl facing India's caste system. Previews to Oct 23. Opens Oct 24 and runs to Nov 15, Tue-Sat 8:30 pm, mat Sat 4 pm (beginning Nov 1). $20-$25, previews $15, mats pwyc. Backspace, 16 Ryerson. 416-504-7529, passemuraille.on.ca.

There Is No Trifling With Love/On Ne Badine Pas Avec L'amour by Alfred de Musset (Théâtre français de Toronto). Three young people struggle with their passions while trying to fulfill their dreams in this French-language play. Previews to Oct 23. Opens Oct 24 and runs to Nov 8, Wed-Sat 8 pm, mats Sat Nov 1 and 8 at 3:30 pm, Sun 2:30 pm. (Shows with English surtitles: Oct 23, 24, 29, Nov 1 and 7.) $29-$46, student/seniors $24-$32. Berkeley Street Theatre, 26 Berkeley. 416-534-6604.

Top Girls by Caryl Churchill (Soulpepper). A career woman interacts with historical and real women at three seperate locations, including a dinner party. Opens Oct 25 and runs to Nov 22, Mon-Sat 8 pm, mats Wed and Sat (except Oct 25) 2 pm. $34-$65, student $28. Young Centre for the Performing Arts, 55 Mill. 416-866-8666, soulpepper.ca.

The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler (V-Day Toronto). Female monologists perform in this funder for Street Haven at the Crossroads. Oct 25-26, Sat 7 pm, Sun 5 pm. $22.50, stu $18.50. Workman Theatre, 1001 Queen W. 416-928-6796, vdaytoronto@gmail.com.

(information courtesy of nowotoronto.com)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

[boxhead]

I promised to write a full review this week for [boxhead] which I recently saw. It might be a difficult task given the nature of the subject, but for now I will say that it was riveting. I was really drawn in and compelled by the subject matter. So often new theatre tries way to hard, or takes itself way to serious to translate well to live presentation, and while [boxhead[ has some borderline moments, (the opening with the illuminated drumming hands) almost made me groan Ala blue man group. But, as things when along I began to appreciate the subject matter and even more so the impressive acting chops of Adam Lazarus and Andrew Shaver. I mean it is not your everyday actor who can convey, with nuance, with a cardboard box covering their head. Be sure to check out [boxhead]., which runs thru. Nov 2

Synecdoche New York

I found this interesting Toronto based theatre blog. And have been waiting for the full trailer for this film, which I have been really excited about. So thanks Praxis for the post.


Monday, October 20, 2008

9 to 5 previews to cheers in LA



9 to 5 the musical based on the hit film, which starred Dolly Parton has opened in previews in LA. I give LA credit, they are really trying to expand the cultural depth of that otherwise vapid city, and theatre previews are a great addition to the LA scene. The show which is slated to make its Broadway debut next year, has received modest acclaim thus far, although most of the reviews acknowledge that the show needs some tweaks before it hits the Great White Way. I am proud to see Stephanie Block receiving the attention she deserves. Torontonians might remember Stephanie because she got her big break here in Wicked. I have known for a while that she had an incredible voice. She also appears on the Pirate Queen original cast album, but it is nice to hear that she had got some serious acting chops as well. I can't wait to see this show when it finally makes it to NY. I will actually suspend my moratorium on movie musicals for this one.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Liza Minelli is going to Broadway


Wonderful news from playbill.com this Sunday morning:


"Tony, Grammy, Oscar and Emmy Award winner Liza Minnelli will return to Broadway in Liza's at the Palace . . .!, a two-week concert engagement that will begin performances Dec. 3. Tickets go on sale to the general public Oct. 26.The limited engagement, produced by John Scher/Metropolitan Talent Presents & Jubilee Time Productions, will play Broadway's Palace Theatre through Dec. 14. Ron Lewis directs and choreographs. Gary Labriola is executive producer. Minnelli will be joined onstage by Cortés Alexander, Jim Caruso, Tiger Martina and Johnny Rodgers." (Andrew Gans, playbill.com)


Show times are Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday evenings at 8 PM with matinees on Sundays at 3 PM. The Palace Theatre is located at Broadway and 47th Street. Tickets range in price from $25 to $125. For more information visit www.lizasatthepalace.com.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Toronto theatre openings this week

A great piece of theatre is opening this week - check out the Canadian Stage Company's production of Frost/Nixon at the Bluma Apple. Here is your weekly list:

[Boxhead] by Darren O'Donnell (Crow's Theatre/Mammalian Diving Reflex). A geneticist wakes up with a thought-controlling box attached to his head. Previews Oct 18-19. Opens Oct 21 and runs to Nov 2, Tue-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2:30 pm. $20-$29, previews $15, Sun pwyc.
Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, 12 Alexander. 416-975-8555, artsexy.ca.

The Box Social by James Reaney (Preface Theatre). Female deities of revenge help a woman facing a crisis in this adaptation of Reaney's short story. Previews to Oct 16. Opens Oct 17 and runs to Nov 1, Mon-Sat 8 pm, mat Sat 2 pm. $16, stu $10.
Walmer Centre Theatre, 188 Lowther. 647-654-8995, prefacetheatre.com.

Frost/Nixon by Peter Morgan (The Canadian Stage Company). A talk-show host elicits an apology and confession from Richard Nixon. Opens Oct 16 and runs to Nov 8, Mon-Sat 8 pm, mats Wed 1:30 pm, Sat 2 pm. $20-$90.
Bluma Appel Theatre, 27 Front E. 416-368-3110, canstage.com.

Going For Love by Glenville Lovell (AW Productions/Sayge Theatre of Barbados). A Barbadian woman living in Canada must choose between love and career. Oct 18-19, Sat 8 pm, Sun 4 pm. $20-$25. De La Salle College Auditorium, 131 Farnham. 416-487-9015.

Heritage Day - Arab Pride (Harbourfront Centre/Canadian Arab Federation). This cultural festival features music, poetry, art and more. Oct 17-18, see website for times. Free and ticketed events. 235 Queens Quay W. 416-973-4000, harbourfrontcentre.com.

Metamorphoses by Mary Zimmerman (Ryerson Theatre School). Based on the myths of Ovid, stories about characters from classical Greece are told using modern language and humour. Previews Oct 16. Opens Oct 17 and runs to Nov 14, see website for dates and times. $18, stu/srs $14. Abrams Studio Theatre, 46 Gerrard E. 416-979-5118, ryersontheatre.ca.

The Nightwood by Robin Muller (Back Burner Productions). This adaptation of a Celtic fairy tale features puppets, stilt walkers and dance. Opens Oct 18 and runs to Nov 1, Fri-Sun 8 pm, mat Oct 25 at 2 pm. $10. Dufferin Theatre, 651 Dufferin. back-burner-productions.com.

Nunsense by Dan Goggin (Amicus Productions). Nuns raise money for funerals in this musical comedy. Opens Oct 16 and runs to Oct 25, Wed-Sat 8 pm, mats Oct 18-19 at 2 pm. $20, stu/srs $18. Fairview Library Theatre, 35 Fairview Mall. amicusproductions.ca.

A Raisin In The Sun by Lorainne Hansberry (Soulpepper). This drama looks at a black family living in 1950s Chicago. Opens Oct 16 and runs to Nov 15, Mon-Sat 7:30 pm, mats Sat and Wed 1:30 pm. $44-$65, previews/mats $34-$59, stu $28, rush $20 (stu $5). Young Centre for the Performing Arts, 55 Mill. 416-866-8666

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Sound of Music



I had the distinct pleasure to get a free ticket to see a press preview of The Sound of Music at the Princess of Wales theatre last week, in Toronto. I say a pleasure, because The Sound of Music is not the kind of show that I would buy a ticket for, although I have no doubt it will be a huge success here, for Mirvish. And also because I really enjoyed myself. It was especially interesting for me since I didn't watch the television program, How do you Solve a Problem like Maria?, which accompanied and cast the lead for the Toronto revival. Not having watched the casting show I had a more objective take on Elicia's performance, which while not bad lacked a certain Maria-esqu quality. I mean it may be a press preview, but Maria should not forget the words to Do a Dear, you know that song about singing. Despite that, Elicia's obvious novice status in professional theatre lent itself to some moments of genuine connection. Her relationship with the von Trapp children was warm and believable. Sadly, I can't say the same for the relationship between Elicia's Maria and Burke Moses' Captain von Trapp. It was like watching Maria make out with her gay uncle. The was more genuine feeling between Maria and the Mother Abbess, played by French-Canadian Noella Huet. As far a Huet is concerned, it's obvious that her voice got her the job. Climb Every Mountain was a showstopper, and to be honest the opening hymn was the most moving scene in the entire production, I actually had a tear in my eye right from the jump. But I could not get over Huet's french accent, I know it is not very equitable of me, but it was a distraction.

As far as the production was concerned, it was a big success. The scene changes were seamless, and given the enormous scale of The Sound of Music I thought it was both impressive and simple. For example the Austrian mountains which are so central at the beginning and ending of the show were done on an arm which tilted forwards and backwards in a twisting motion that proved very effective. Of course there were glitches, sound, lighting kinks, but nothing that seemed unfixable for the opening this month. As long as Maria remembers that Re - a drop of golden sun follows Do it should be a huge hit, with avid theatre-goers and families alike.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Bitch Salad tonight at Buddies


After a long weekend in Barrie that was full of indulgences, we are back in the city and are heading to the theatre.

Tonight we are attending the monthly edition of Bitch Salad. The event is hosted by Andrew Johnson and its main objective is to provide a platform for emerging and established comedians to perform.

The event is always so cleverly themed and tonight's, The Journey to the Isle of Lesbos, is no exception. Tonight's edition is described as; "A night of hyper-hilarious Sapphic Slapstick, by a group of ladies who have two things in common... 1.) they're brilliant comedians, and 2.) they kiss other girls... and they like it".

Featured this evening is: Sabrina Jalees, Dawn Whitwell, Mae Martin, Linda Ellis, Martha Chaves.


Tuesday, October 14th, Doors at 8, Show at 8:30
Buddies In Bad Times Theatre, 12 Alexander St. $8


Thursday, October 9, 2008

Toronto theatre openings this week

Here is your weekly run down of theatre openings across the GTA.

The Black Rider, The Casting Of The Magic Bullets by Tom Waits, Robert Wilson and William S Burroughs (November Theatre). To impress a girl's father, a man obtains magic bullets from a sinister stranger in this drama. Previews to Oct 14. Opens Oct 15 and runs to Nov 16, Tue-Sat 8 pm, mats Sat-Sun 2:30 pm. $32-$38, previews $19, Fri rush $10. Tarragon Theatre, 30 Bridgman. 416-531-1827, tarragontheatre.com.

Frost/Nixon by Peter Morgan (The Canadian Stage Company). A dubious talk-show host elicits an apology and confession from Richard Nixon. Opens Oct 13 and runs to Nov 8, Mon-Sat 8 pm, mats Wed 1:30 pm, Sat 2 pm. $20-$90. Bluma Appel Theatre, 27 Front E. 416-368-3110, canstage.com.

Inch Of Your Life: Episode 3 by Massimo Pagliaroli (Good Company Theatre). The episodic stage show about three brothers presents a new instalment. Opens Oct 15 and runs to Nov 1, Wed-Fri 8:30 pm, Sat 9 pm. $15. Bread & Circus, 193½ Baldwin. 416-525-3697.

Scratch by Charlotte Corbeil-Coleman (Factory Theatre). A 15-year-old girl deals with lice and losing her mother to cancer. Touching, poignant and emotional. Opens Oct 9 and runs to Nov 2, Tue-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2 pm. $26-$37, Fri rush $10, Sun pwyc. Factory Theatre, 125 Bathurst. 416-504-9971, factorytheatre.ca.

War And Peace by Sergei Prokofiev (Canadian Opera Company). The opera based on Tolstoy's novel is performed in Russian with English surtitles. Opens Oct 10 and runs to Nov 1: Oct 10, 14, 16, 22, 29 and Nov 1 at 7 pm, Oct 19 at 2 pm, Oct 25 at 4:30 pm. $60-$275, youth $30-$95. Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, 145 Queen W. 416-363-8231, coc.ca.

Wild Dogs by Helen Humphreys (Nightwood Theatre). A violent incident stuns a group of dog owners. Opens Oct 9 and runs to Nov 8, Mon-Sat 8 pm, mats Wed 1:30 pm, Sat 2 pm. $20-$42, Mon pwyc. Berkeley Street Theatre, 26 Berkeley. 416-368-3110.

You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown by Clark Gesner, Andrew Lippa and John Howard (Da Capo Productions Young Company). This family musical is based on Charles Schulz's Peanuts comic strip characters. Oct 11-15, Sat and Tue-Wed 7 pm, mat Sat 2 pm. $15, student/seniors $10. Palmerston Library, 560 Palmerston. 647-298-9338, da-capo.ca.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Stage to screen news


News from New York as just a couple of days ago at the Oct. 6 Revival: Broadway's Next Act panel discussion at Carnegie Hall's Zankel Hall, as possible film adaptations of the award-winning musicals Spring Awakening and In The Heights were mentioned.


Ana Gasteyer moderated the evening, which featured Spring Awakening composer Duncan Sheik, In the Heights creator-star Lin-Manuel Miranda, Legally Blonde director-choreographer Jerry Mitchell, original Rent star Anthony Rapp and "Hairspray" film director Adam Shankman.

Although both refused to go into much detail regarding the topic, I think we can all agree that this is going to happen. With the right casting and with a director like Baz Luhrmann, Rob Marshall, or Stephen Daldry, we could see some powerful film adaptations of important Broadway shows.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Thirteen - gets lukewarm reception on Broadway



Jason Robert Brown's new musical Thirteen, which EAP blogged about a while back, and which features a cast and orchestra all under the age of eighteen opened on Broadway over the weekend. I have not heard any of the music personally but those who have had only positive things to say, and even Ben Brantley for the New York Times said the score was not the problem. Brantley felt the show was short on originality and reminded him more of High School Musical (ouch) than a challenging narrative about being a young adult. Brantley's review is linked below
http://theater2.nytimes.com/2008/10/06/theater/reviews/06bran.html

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

King Lear at Hart House



Hart House Theatre's King Lear opens tonight. I am not going because it is my birthday and I have dinner plans but I am hoping to catch it during its run, which I believe is until the eighteenth. I love to support Hart House, because it's my Alma mater, and because I have fond memories of doing shows there. Paul Templin, who runs the theatre is also one of the nicest guys working in the business, in Toronto. Check out King Lear if you have a chance.

Frost/Nixon



I just finished reading Frost/Nixon by Peter Morgan. Such a good play, I really enjoyed it, and it made me wish I had seen it during its Broadway run. It surprises me that it didn't run longer. It officially opened as a limited engagement at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre on April 22, 2007 and closed on August 19, 2007, after 137 performances. And I heard recently that Ron Howard is directing a film based on this incredible story. He's not adapting the Morgan script, which is too bad, but understandable. The scope of the play might not translate well on film. I have also heard from some of my Toronto sources that CanStage is planning on staging Frost/Nixon here next season. I am curious to see who's in it, and I will definitely go see it.

For anyone who doesn't know the story of the Frost-Nixon interviews it's a pretty incredible piece of television history. David Frost, British playboy, TV presenter scores the biggest interview, possibly of all times, with Nixon. And he gets the ultimate admission of Nixon's guilt in the Watergate cover-up. It was the first interview Nixon gave after his resignation, and the first time he ever admitted any wrong doing with regards to Watergate. Nixon and his manager Swifty Lazar choose Frost because they were going to make tons of money on the deal, and they figured he wouldn't be hard hitting. I would love to see the original footage, maybe it's on youtube?

Theatre News: New York -Wig Out



Now here is a play that I would like to see. Wig Out, written by Tarell Alvin McCraney opened on Tuesday night at the Vineyard Theatre in New York, the New York Times is reporting. According to the review Wig Out is an epic look at the life of drag queens and the men who love them. I love the Vineyard Theatre, they always take risks and are constantly putting up amazing new shows. [title of show] also had a run at the Vineyard. I hope Wig Out is still running when I get to the city in a few weeks. I really want to see it, because deep down I know I am a drag queen trapped in a woman's body. The Times Review is linked bellow.

http://theater2.nytimes.com/2008/10/01/theater/reviews/01wig.html?ref=theater

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Newman's Own

Justin is in New York for a week. I cannot even begin to tell you how jealous I am. He got a rush ticket to see Patti in Gypsy, need I say more. Anyway, that means I have to step it up on the EAP blog. I am sure all of the avid readers will miss Justin's more objective approach, but I am not a journalist and I can only write about what moves me. And today that subject is Paul Newman. Perhaps one of the most gorgeous, talented and endearing public figures of the last half century, Mr. Newman pasted away yesterday evening from a long battle with cancer.



Everyone knows by now of course, but I want to add my voice to the memorial of this charismatic figure in American stage and screen history. I mean Cat on a Hot Tin Roof - hello! Butch Cassidy, Paul Newman is not just a man who will be missed, he is a legend. Plus Paul and Joanne had the ultimate relationship, a love for all time. Newman was a phenomenal actor, advocate, social entrepreneur and overall individual.Paul Newman also graduated from my mother's Alma matter Kenyon College in Ohio. On June 1, 2007, Kenyon College announced that Newman had donated $10 million to the school to establish a scholarship fund as part of the college's current $230 million fund-raising campaign. Newman and Woodward were honorary co-chairs of a previous campaign, just one of the many philanthropic causes Newman devoted himself to.

Also a Canadian side note - it was during the filming of Winnipeg in 1969 that Newman first got his taste for auto racing, something which became a sincere hobby for him, and an odd passion that he and I share. Basically, i am saying that Paul Newman and I should have been lovers, if it wasn't for the age difference and the fact that we never met, we would have been meant to be. Rest in Peace Sir, you will be missed, but not forgotten.