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,

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,

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,

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,

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,

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.

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,

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,

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,

(Openings courtesy of

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:


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.

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,

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.

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,

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,

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,

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,

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,

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,

(information courtesy of

Sunday, October 26, 2008


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 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,

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

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,

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,

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,

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,

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,

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.

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.

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,

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,

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,

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,

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,

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

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.


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.