Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Gladstone Variations

The Gladstone Variations is getting some major hype here in Toronto. Many news publications in the city are reporting that this production is the theatre event of the summer. Now Magazine is calling it, "the most exciting show in town". The Gladstone Variations is composed of four simultaneously performed interconnected plays that take audiences on a journey of discovery through Toronto's historic Gladstone Hotel where past & present collide. Back by audience demand, The Gladstone Variations premiered as part of the 2007 Toronto Fringe Festival.

The Gladstone Variations

By Rick Roberts, Mike McPhaden, Brendan Gall and Julie Tepperman, directed by Aaron Willis, Ruth Madoc-Jones, Alan Dilworth and Rebecca Benson (Convergence).

At the Gladstone Hotel (1214 Queen West).

To August 3.

$25-$30. 416-504-7529

Revival News on Broadway: Guys and Dolls

The New York Times is reporting that Guys and Dolls is coming back to Broadway in the spring of 2009. The last revival was produced seventeen years ago with a cast that included Peter Gallagher and Nathan Lane.

The new production will be directed by Des McAnuff, who is the sole Artistic Director of the Stratford Festival, and choreographed by Sergio Trujillo. McAnuff is a very fascinating man who caused quite the stir this past spring when he took over the prestigious title at the festival. He garnered massive media attention for his unique and abrasive approach to theatre directing and his communication skills with fellow colleagues.

The casting will be announced in due time.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

AVENUE Q Arrives in Toronto

AVENUE Q, Broadway's smash-hit 2004 Tony Award®-winner for Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book is finally hitting the Toronto Theatre scene tonight. The show will play for just over a month at the historic Elgin Theatre. The show has been brought to Toronto care of Dancap Productions. Dancap, which began staging hit broadway shows last year in the city, is one of Toronto's largest theatre companies and has proven to be the strongest competition for the Mirvish dynisty.

AVENUE Q is a hilarious show featuring a cast of people and puppets who tell the story about trying to make it in NYC with big dreams and a tiny bank account. The show is smart, risqué and has a refreshingly funny book.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Theatre News: New York

The New York Times is reporting some exciting theatre news regarding a new musical and an entirely adolescent cast:

"There is likely to be some shrieking when an all-teenage cast takes over a Broadway stage this fall in the musical “13,” with music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown (“Parade”). Producers have announced an official opening date of Oct. 5, following previews that will begin Sept. 16 at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theater. The show, about a boy who, after his parents divorce, must move from New York City to Indiana and try to get in with the cool kids, features a book by the children’s author and songwriter Dan Elish (“Born Too Short, Confessions of an Eighth-Grade Basket Case”) and Robert Horn (“Dame Edna: Back With a Vengeance”).

The musical “13” was first presented at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles almost two years ago. More recently, after significant rewrites, it played at the Norma Terris Theater in Chester, Conn. The musical features an all-teenage band, but adults are involved too: the director is Jeremy Sams, whose credits include the recent London production of “The Sound of Music,” and the choreographer is Christopher Gattelli (“Rodgers & Hammerstein’s South Pacific” and “Altar Boyz”)." (Steven McElroy

Theatre News: New York

The New York Times is reporting that a sequel to the movie musical Hairspray is in the works. Julie Bosman explains:

"John Waters, the director who started the Hairspray business with his 1988 film, has begun writing a treatment for a sequel to the movie musical, a hit last summer. 'I’m just beginning to think about it,' Mr. Waters said in a telephone interview from Provincetown, Mass. 'My mind is racing, and I’ve done huge amounts of research.' Mr. Waters said he set aside working on a book so that he could devote this summer to the treatment, which he began 10 days ago... New Line Cinema is aiming to release the film in mid-July 2010, according to Variety. The original “Hairspray” film was turned into a musical that opened on Broadway in 2002. That show was adapted into the 2007 musical film." (

This adaption could really go either way, however John Waters is a very talented man with a wicked sense of humour - let's just think of Female Trouble and Serial Mom for a moment.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Theatre News: London

It looks like after nearly ten years of rumours and whispers through the theatre industry the sequel to The Phantom of the Opera appears to finally be moving forward. According to Richard Ouzounian of the Toronto Star, the news came directly from Andrew Lloyd Webber himself. The title of the musical is said to be Once Upon Another Time, and is scheduled for an October or November 2009 release.

The story, originally conceived by thriller author Frederick Forsyth and further elaborated by Ben Elton, is set in 1906 in New York, here the Phantom runs a freak show at Coney Island and Christine, now married to Raoul, is an opera diva on tour.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Something's Rocking in Denmark hits TO!

Cliff Jones, a Toronto composer-lyricist has been working on his musical version of the saga of the Prince of Denmark on and off for the past 35 years. Its latest reincarnation can be seen when Something's Rocking in Denmark plays three performances tomorrow and Saturday at the Jane Mallett Theatre.

The idea of the show is a rock musical of Hamlet. To put it mildly, the musical has had quite the colourful past. Theatre critic Richard Ouzounian explains in today's Toronto Star:

"It all began back in the 1970s, when CBC Radio had a variety department, which used to commission new musicals frequently. Jones was one of their golden boys and he came up with an idea for a rock musical of Hamlet he called Kronborg: 1582.
They loved the idea and put it on the air Dec. 1, 1973 starring Cal Dodd as Hamlet and Nancy White as Ophelia. It instantly attracted many fans, including Alan Lund, who was then the artistic director of the Charlottetown Festival. Under the same title, it opened at Charlottetown in 1975 starring Brent Carver as Hamlet and Beverly D'Angelo as Ophelia, both of whom later went on to international success.
Longtime island summer visitor Colleen Dewhurst also became a fan of the show and brought Broadway producer Lester Osterman to see it. He decided to take the show to New York and hired legendary director Gower Champion to stage it. It opened to unanimously poisonous reviews ("Perfectly and impeccably awful," lamented the New York Post), closing seven performances later.
In 1981, a version called Something's Rocking in Denmark played a 14-month run at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles and since then it has popped up at colleges and universities around Canada." (

Now, the LA production of the show garnered quite a lot of critical praise, and won twelve Dramalogue Awards. Many believed the musicals eclectic mix of musical genres was very effective and the energy of the show was said to be electrifying. It will be very interesting to see what the reception is this weekend.

Jones, who is also directing this short run, is hoping this version will be a conglomeration of "the best of all previous productions."

The cast of 18 features Scott Freethy, Ted Ambrose, Lisa Bell, Matthew A.C. Campbell, Trevor Covelli, , Michael Harvey, Laura Higgs and Gerald Isaac.

Fri. 8 p.m., Sat. 2 & 8 p.m.
Jane Mallett Theatre, 27 Front St. E.
$30-$40 at or

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Just For Laughs Toronto!

The Just For Laughs Comedy Festival is hitting local theatres across Toronto today! See big name comedy stars like Jason Alexander, Jimmy Falone and Martin Short, all participating in their own one man show.

Or if you are in the mood for hilarious theatre shows, Just For Laughs has those too. Asian Invasion and Wiseguys are both showing at this year's festival, both of which are being staged at the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatres.

For all info regarding Just For Laughs Toronto check out:


Monday, July 21, 2008

We Will Rock You Redux

Theatre critic Richard has written an article on We Will Rock You, which ended its run a few months ago at the Canon Theatre, but has subsequently been relocated up Yonge Street to the smaller Panasonic Theatre (approx. half the size of the Canon). Supposedly the show has been re imagined, rethought and remounted.

We know Toronto has 'embraced' the show, but lets hope Ben Elton, Brian May and Roger Taylor have refocused the show to really emphasize the music of the book, instead of the awkward story and confusing staging. The smaller venue looks like it was a good decision for a rock show like this.


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Theatre News: New York reported some exciting news yesterday that had theatre communities around the globe buzzing as West Side Story is coming back to Broadway! This will be the second revival of the show, which saw its first staged in February of 1980. This production is said to be darker, grittier and bilingual.

According to
"The new Broadway production of the landmark musical West Side Story, directed by librettist Arthur Laurents, will begin previews Feb. 23, 2009, at a Nederlander theatre to be announced, the producers confirmed July 16. A March 2009 opening date will be announced, according to producers Kevin McCollum, James L. Nederlander and Jeffrey Seller. As previously reported, a pre-Broadway engagement will play Dec. 16, 2008-Jan. 17, 2009, at Washington, DC's National Theatre, where the musical made its world premiere in 1957" (

West Side Story has music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and a book by Laurents. The staging will employ the original choreography of late director Jerome Robbins, who conceived the project by using Romeo and Juliet as inspiration. Furthermore, the Robbins choreography will be restaged by Tony Award nominee Joey McKneely.

This West Side Story will have an onstage cast of 37 and 30 musicians in the orchestra pit.

Theatre News: New York

Broadway news has come from New York where the Dolly Parton Musical Nine to Five (which has been in development for a few years now) has finally announced its official Broadway date.

"The musical is scheduled to premiere at Center Theatre Group/Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles with previews starting September 3, 2008 and official opening on September 21, running through October 19, 2008," According to

The musical is scheduled to open on Broadway at the Marquis Theatre in previews on March 24, 2009, with the official opening on April 23, 2009.

"A reading of the material for the musical was given on January 19, 2007 (coincidentally Parton's 61st birthday), with a cast including Tracey Ullman, Alice Ripley and Megan Hilty, with Norm Lewis, Marc Kudisch, Amy Hohn and an ensemble. A revised draft was tested in a week-long workshop beginning on June 20, 2007, with an industry presentation on June 28, 2007 in New York City. The workshop cast included the previously mentioned principal cast, along with Bebe Neuwirth as Roz and Andy Karl, among others." (


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Toronto Fringe 2008

Well theatre go-ers, that is a wrap on the 2008 Toronto Fringe Festival. All in all it was a great year full of unexpected hits (and some surprising misses). If you missed any of the best reviewed shows at this year's festival, not to worry as once again for the third year in a row there will be a 'Best Of the Fringe' later this month. Here are the details below:


At the Diesel Playhouse. Tickets on sale July 14!

Wake - July 16, 17 & 18

Lupe Undone - July 16, 17, & 19

The Swearing Jar - July 18, 19, 20

Nursery School Musical - July 20

Gameshow: The Musical - July 20 and 27

One Woman Show - July 23, 24, 25 & 26

The Christian Republican Fundraiser in Daytona Tennnessee - July 23, 24 & 27

(We recommend all of these shows. All are quite good!)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Theatre News: Stratford

Renowned theatre journalist Richard Ouzounian reported some early Stratford news this morning regarding Stratford's 2009 season, and power broking couple Colm and Donna Feore:

"The Feores are indeed going to be working together on Cyrano de Bergerac next season at Stratford, but it's on the original Edmond Rostand version, not a song-and-dance adaptation. Feore, by the way, previously played the role at Stratford in 1994. Feore is also expected to be playing the murderous Scotsman in Macbeth.

In other news, I hear that there will only be three Shakespearean titles on next year's playbill, with A Midsummer Night's Dream and Julius Caesar joining the Scottish play.

And, in another change, I'm informed that one of the musicals will be returning to the Festival Theatre stage only a year after we were told the Avon Theatre is where all such shows would play in the future.

As previously suggested, West Side Story is the show moving onto the Festival stage, directed by prominent Chicago and Broadway (The Color Purple) stager Gary Griffin and choreographed by Tony nominee and Toronto guy, Sergio Trujillo, who also arranged the dances for Stratford's last production of the show in 1999.

At the Avon stage, look for Stephen Sondheim's ancient Roman romp A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum to be taking up residence.

Also coming to the Avon will be Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, to be directed by Brian Bedford." (

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Theatre News: New York

Some sad news was reported yesterday in The New York Times, as it is"The End of the Road for Passing Strange".

"Passing Strange, the Broadway musical that will soon be filmed by Spike Lee, will end its run at the Belasco Theater after the Sunday matinee performance on July 20. The show, about a black musician who wanders the world in search of meaning, only to find it within, began previews on Broadway on Feb. 8 and opened on Feb. 28. The two performances Mr. Lee will record in front of a live audience are on July 19 at 2 and 8 p.m."

There has been no real reason given for the sudden close. Producers did issue statements, however they all remained positive, optimistic and gracious:

Gerald Schoenfeld of The Shubert Organization said, "We are extremely proud of Passing Strange and its many accomplishments on Broadway. That Spike Lee will film the show is a crowning achievement and represents a milestone in the American musical theatre. We appreciate the support of the show's many ardent fans that have helped keep it running."

Producer Elizabeth Ireland McCann added, "Passing Strange has been an unparalleled experience for me as a lifelong theatre lover. I cannot express how genuinely proud I am of the show, the brilliant creators, the fantastic cast, the band and every member of the Passing Strange family. We brought a show to Broadway and, at the very least, shook things up a bit."
Passing Strange features a Tony Award-winning book by Stew, lyrics by Stew and music by Stew and his longtime musical partner Heidi Rodewald of The Negro Problem.


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Summer Theatre

The Canadian Stage Company has welcomed back two-time Dora Award winning director ahdri zhina mandiela and her popular interpretation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Her colourful, hip-hop twist on the Bard’s tangled tale of mischievous fairies and mismatched lovers who wander through an enchanted forest-meets-industrial-wasteland is part of the 26th annual CanStage TD Dream in High Park outdoor theatre season.

The show has been getting some pretty good reviews. I hear word of a fantastic cast, a great pace and a good interpretation that does not compromise the originals integrity. And lets be honest, outdoor theatre is wonderful.

Performances run Tuesday through Sunday at 8 p.m. Gate opens at 6 p.m. Admission is PWYC and free for children 14 and under.

For more information contact, 416-367-1652 or

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Theatre News!

The New York Times is reporting some high profile theatre news that I thought I would share with everyone:

"Manhattan Theater Club said that Brian Murray, the winner of two Drama Desk awards and a three-time Tony nominee, would join the cast of its coming Broadway production of “To Be or Not to Be,” a black comedy by Nick Whitby based on the 1942 Carole Lombard-Jack Benny movie of the same title. The production will be directed by the three-time Tony Award nominee Casey Nicholaw (“The Drowsy Chaperone”), and the cast will also include the Tony nominees Craig Bierko and Jan Maxwell." - Randy Kennedy

Previews for the show begin on September 11th, while the official opening will be on October 2nd.


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

An Emerging Artist

I met Marisa Mcintyre, 25, a few years ago and thought she was a great girl. She was energetic, funny (very funny) and kind. After playing the lead role of Sophie in the Toronto production of Mamma Mia! Marisa took a break from the stage for a few years.

But the girl is back! And is looking better than ever on CBC's hit show How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?

With only six women remaining, Marisa is really stepping up and is proving to Canada why she should be there.

Check out her theatre and screen presence by clicking on the link below.

The girl has it. Such a promising emerging artist.

Vote for Marisa on Maria! which airs Sunday and Monday @ 8PM on CBC!


Monday, July 7, 2008

Fringe 2008

As we reach the middle point of the 2008 Toronto Fringe Festival, we thought we would put out a small list of works which we are highly recommending so far this year.

Gameshow: The Musical
Play by: Kathy Anderson Presented by: J. Biel Productions
Royal St. George's Auditorium
Show times: Tues, July 8 @ 10:30 PM Fri, July 11 @ 3:30 PM Sun, July 13 @ 7:30 PM

Such an enjoyable piece of theatre. Full of energy and lovable Ryerson grads.

It's just a phase
Play by: Marissa Gregoris Presented by: Gregarious Productions
Show times: Mon, July 7 @ 7:00 PM Tues, July 8 @ 2:45 PM Wed, July 9 @ 4:15 PM Fri, July 11 @ 12:30 PM Sat, July 12 @ 8:45 PM

Impressive script work from Marissa Gregoris.

Hung to Dry
Play by: Peggy Harowitz, Donna Maloney, Carly Spencer
Presented by: RumRaisin Productions
Show times: Mon, July 7 @ 4:00 PM Tues, July 8 @ 5:00 PM Thu, July 10 @ 2:45 PM Sat, July 12 @ 6:15 PM Sun, July 13 @ 5:45 PM

Hilarious. This three women, sixty minute sketch show is knee slapping fun.

Rum and Vodka
Play by: Conor McPherson Presented by: Cart/Horse Theatre
Show times: Fri, July 11 @ 11:30 PM Sat, July 12 @ Noon Sun, July 13 @ 9:00 PM

Follows a Dublin man as he recounts a three day sex and alcohol binge fest. Script writer Conor McPherson does a nice job here of producing a one man monologue that really works. Really fine acting from Matthew Gorman helps as well.

The Christian Republican Fundraiser in Dayton Tennessee
Play by: Grant Tilly Presented by: Bloomfield Productions
Show times: Mon, July 7 @ 7:30 PM Tue, July 8 @ 5:00 PM Wed, July 9 @ 7:30 PM Fri, July 11 @ 5:15 PM Sat, July 12 @ 7:00 PM Sun, July 13 @ 3:00 PM

A country-rock musical where liberal protesters crash a Republican Fundraiser in Tennessee. A really great musical here, the songwriting is especially good.

For tickets go to:

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Theatre to Film News is reporting that Spike Lee is working on adapting the Tony Award winning musical 'Passing Strange' to film. The distribution company has yet to be determined, however rumors of a cable television showing is circulating.

Emerging Artist

Ryan singing at the AIDS vigil. He is one of our favorite performers. Ryan is a jack of all trades: singer, actor, comedian and artist. We are hoping that if we are able to do a reading of Wood - the new musical by Dan Collins and Julianne Wick Davis - come next spring that Ryan will be a part of it. I'm thinking he would make an awesome Chad, Twink or maybe even Herman.... I am also looking forward to hearing him sing I'm Out the show-stopping number from Wood.

Liza Mattimore

Theatre News!

This morning while reading The New York Times, I came across some theatre news that I would like to share with everyone:

"The Tony Award winner Idina Menzel, who spent time on Broadway in “Wicked” and “Rent,” will appear from July 11 to July 13 in a new musical at Vassar College, in the Martel Theater of the Vogelstein Center for Drama and Film. The show, “Nero,” is by Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik, the award-winning creators of “Spring Awakening,” and is part of the Powerhouse Theater summer season at the college. The cast will also feature Jeffrey Carlson (“Taboo”) and Lea Michele (“Spring Awakening”)." PATRICIA COHEN

The combination of all these ingredients is exciting and very, very interesting. Stay tuned for future developments.


A New Emerging Artist

The very funny and talented Sara Hennessey is performing this year at Toronto's Fringe Festival. Check her out! Already garnering great reviews and we highly recommend it.

"Conquistador of laughter, Sara Hennessey unleashes her rambunctious joie de vivre on the big city, overcoming heartbreak and suburban angst. A hyperkinetic storyteller, this renowned comedienne tackles the shackles of bitter mid-twenties dismay, offering hilarious insight into her restless brain. Sara Hennessey Time is time well spent. You are welcome in advance."

Play by: Sara Hennessey Presented by: Sara Hennessey
Show times: Wed , July 2 @ 8:45 PM Sat , July 5 @ 5:45 PM Sun , July 6 @ 1:45 PM Tues , July 8 @ 10:45 PM Wed , July 9 @ 6:00 PM Fri , July 11 @ 8:00 PM Sat , July 12 @ 12:00 PM

Friday, July 4, 2008

"The Fringe is Toronto 's largest theatre festival. In 2008 it will host over 800 artists from Ontario , Canada and around the world, with over 135 unique productions in more than 25 venues. Productions range from dramas to musical extravaganzas to improv and take place in local theatres as well as in unusual spots: playgrounds, parking lots and more. A KidsVenue hosts eight plays exclusively for children and families. The festival also hosts a beer tent, two outdoor patios and a free nightly Cabaret. unjuried, unexpected, unforgettable". (

The Toronto Fringe Festival has kicked off this week. Now in its twentieth year, the festival has become a delicious summer ritual for theatre goers in the city. Known for its diversity and creativity, the Fringe has become, arguably, the most important theatre festival in Toronto. The festival has become a launching pad for fresh new work. Look no further than The Drowsy Chaperone (1999), 'Da Kink in My Hair (2001) and Bash'd (2007) for evidence of its reputation.

Check out the listings part of their website for all your show options!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Dora Awards

The 29th Annual Dora Awards were presented last night. After a seemingly rocky year, both in ticket sales and internal conflict, The Canadian Stage Company still came out on top with a total of seven wins (all in important categories). Soulpepper Theatre Company took in four wins. Other companies which took in honours included, Buddies In Bad Times Theatre and The Canadian Opera Company. The Dora Awards are handed out for excellence in Toronto theatre, dance and opera. They're named after Dora Mavor Moore, the late actor, director and teacher who founded the New Play Society, a training ground for writers, performers and technicians. In total, 219 shows were eligible for this year's awards, 47 of which were new plays or musicals.

Here is a list of the major awards handed out last evening, a full list can be viewed at

Outstanding New Play: Judith Thompson, The Palace of the End
Outstanding New Musical: devised by Jim LeFrancois and David Oiye, Arthouse Cabaret
Outstanding Production of a Play: The December Man, The Canadian Stage Company in co-production with The Citadel Theatre
Outstanding Production of a Musical: Fire, The Canadian Stage Company in co-production with The Citadel Theatre
Outstanding Direction of a Play: Alisa Palmer, Top Girls
Outstanding Direction of a Musical: James MacDonald, Fire
Outstanding Performance by a Male in a Principal Role – Play: Joseph Ziegler, The Time of Your Life
Outstanding Performance by a Female in a Principal Role – Play: Lally Cadeau, Rose
Outstanding Performance by a Male in a Principal Role – Musical: Ted Dykstra, Fire
Outstanding Performance by a Female in a Principal Role – Musical: Nicole Underhay, Fire
Outstanding Performance in a Featured Role in a Play or Musical: Stuart Hughes, The Time of Your Life


As many people know CanStage is one of the few Toronto production companies that does some development of new work, and is a major player in the Toronto Theatre community. A community that remains fairly small and heavily monopolized, and one that is primarily a buying power more than a development power. That is why all the shake-ups at CanStage are being watched with baited breathe. In June the National Post reported that Martin Briggs - the Artistic Producer is resigning after 16 years at the helm. This comes not even six months after the newly anointed Artistic Director David Storch resigned after only eight months on the job. And in February nine individuals were fired from the organization. Mr. Briggs is not leaving the company until next June, but I am sure all of the theatre community will be watching the hiring process closely. You can bet EAP will be. The full article by Adam McDowell is linked below.
-Liza Mattimore

[Title Of Show] opening on Broadway July 17th. This show has already revolutionized how theatre is marketed, and it is sure to be a big Broadway hit... check out their website to see what I mean

-Liza Mattimore

Mission Statement

Emerging Art Productions is committed to the facilitation and development of new works for the stage. Theatre is an art form which powerfully reflects and embodies the communities in which it is presented. With that in mind, Emerging Art Productions aims to foster those communities and create a fertile environment for the development of new work, and present them to an industry audience. We believe that our location, in Toronto, is our greatest asset. With Its proximity to New York and cultural ties to London, Toronto is well positioned to provide a springboard for emerging theatrical productions. It is EAP’s goal to work with playwrights, composers and the local theatre community to develop new works, which in turn will be performed for audiences in Toronto and elsewhere.