Tuesday, July 24, 2012

COC NEWS: General Director Alexander Neef Renews Contract Through 2020/21

Amidst the recent, very public upheaval of one Toronto stalwart comes news that another, the Canadian Opera Company, has recommitted to their leadership.  Alexander Neef , has renewed his contract as the General Director for the COC through the 2020/21 season.

“The relentless improvement in the artistry we are witnessing on the stage of the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts is the best evidence of Alexander Neef’s unique ability to fit the right artists to the works that can best show their talents,” says Philip C. Deck, President of the Canadian Opera Company Board of Directors. Neef's work, in recent years, has inspired a resurgence of Opera fever in the city and brought tons of media attention, high profile productions and big name stars.  Mr Deck went on to say, " “From the range of operatic repertoire presented under his leadership to date, to the incredible opera stars now being seen and heard with the COC, he has already left an indelible mark on the culture of this city...Alexander has truly made the COC home to the best, and I look forward to the continued growth in artistic excellence that his tenure will bring.”  The news is sure to please local fans, particularly the younger, hipper crowds who have begun to attend parties and openings at the Four Seasons.

Since commencing his appointment as General Director in October 2008, Neef has overseen the presentation of:

- One world premiere (The Nightingale and Other Short Fables, 2009)

- Three Canadian premieres (Maria Stuarda, 2010; Love from Afar, 2012; A Florentine Tragedy, 2012)

- Six COC premieres (Rusalka, 2009; A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 2009; Nixon in China, 2011; Orfeo ed Euridice, 2011; Iphigenia in Tauris, 2011; Semele, 2012)

- Ten new productions to the COC’s repertoire (Fidelio, 2009; A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 2009; The Nightingale and Other Short Fables, 2009; Othello, 2010; Idomeneo, 2010; Aida, 2010; The Magic Flute, 2011; Rigoletto, 2011; Love from Afar, 2012; A Florentine Tragedy/Gianni Schicchi, 2012)

Congratulations Mr. Neef.  We'll see you at the Opera!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Preview: Sharron Matthews Superstar: GOLD

Tonight is the night! Our girl Sharron is premiering her GOLD cabaret piece TONIGHT at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. Sure to be jammed full of hilarious, moving, heartfelt and robust storytelling and musical arrangements; Sharron is the Toronto Mother of cabaret and what a privilege it is to see her under the lights, shinning bright! Sharron is at Buddies until Sunday!

"Best of the Fest 2011" The Scotsman
"#1 Cabaret in New York City in 2010" - NitelifeExchange
"Best Cabaret Performer 2009" -Now Magazine

A Message From Sharron's team:

COME ON OUT TO THE Kick off of Sharron's 2012 Tour!
She is traveling to Scotland, London, New York City and South Africa!! LORD!! 
Sharron's ONLY TORONTO shows in 2012 is this weekend!

Tickets are $20.00
Show @ 8pm
Call Buddies Box Office #416 975 8555 for TIX or go down to 12 Alexander Street
Box Office Hours are 12-5 Tuesday to Saturday

HER SOLID GOLD HITS!! And NEW dreamy numbers and stories...all GOLD! GOLD DIGGERS! GOLD STEALERS!! GOLD SEQUINS!!! You get the picture people!

Harbourfront Announces the winner of FRESH BLOOD Award

Harbourfront Centre’s NextSteps and The Chimera Project are proud announce Toronto-based choreographer, Anjelica Scannura  as the winner of the Paula Citron FRESH BLOOD Award and the Audience Choice recipient for 2012.

Scannura won both awards for After the Fall, a dance performance she created and performed which dealt with the repression of women in societies that bar them from basic civil liberties. Scannura’s body becomes the movement, transgressing the boundaries of flamenco that is at her training roots.

“In a review early in Scannura’s career, I once called the dancer/choreographer “a wild child of dance”. This description still holds true,” says national dance critic, Paula Citron. “In performance, Scannura is passionate and compelling. She rivets the eye with her consummate charisma, and as a result, seems to dance rings around her fellows.”

FRESH BLOOD is presented by The Chimera Project, in association with Harbourfront Centre. "It's a unique opportunity for the FRESH BLOOD artists to be seen by the most respected dance critic in Canada, and we are all grateful to Ms. Citron for taking the time to invest in new contemporary dance artists in this way,” says Malgorzata Nowacka, Artistic Director of The Chimera Project. “Angelica is mesmerizing on stage - her presence and ability to transform are unique. She is someone to watch in the future."

“Harbourfront Centre is pleased to be a partner with The Chimera Project on FRESH BLOOD as a unique opportunity for the development of emerging artists and emerging voices,” says Aristic Associate for dance, Lynanne Sparrow. “Congratulations to all of the artists who were are a part of Fresh Blood and to Anjelica Scannura as the winner of both the Paula Citron FRESH BLOOD Award and the Audience Choice recipient for 2012.”

Anjelica Scannura began her dance training at the National Ballet School of Canada and her training in Flamenco at Ritmo Flamenco. Scannura appeared in Disney's Camp Rock, alongside the Jonas Brothers and starred in the TIFF 2009 film Manson, My Name is Evil. She has toured extensively throughout the world and has choreographed for and taught at various secondary schools and McMaster University. Scannura is a recipient of the Chalmer's Professional Development Award (OAC) in May 2011, a board member of Dance Ontario and has been co-producing a new dance series Dance Expeditions. Her most recent appearance was in Diasporic Genius Productions' Tumbling Into Light and she is currently working towards Ritmo Flamenco's new production Vida Flamenca.

FRESH BLOOD presents interesting, innovative and surprising dance works of tomorrow’s contemporary dance superstars. Each emerging Canadian choreographer on the programme has less than five years of professional experience and is given five minutes to showcase his or her work.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The One and Only Returns: Sharron Matthews Weekend!

One of EAPs favourites returns this weekend to the Buddies and Bad Times cabaret space! Sharron Matthews is BACK!!! One of the most inspiring human beings working in the theatre community folks. Preview to follow, but please check out this wicked good clip from her Superstar Tour last year! Goose. Bumps. Forever. 

For tix please click the header!

Monday, July 16, 2012

A message from the Toronto Fringe Festival 2012 Round-Up

Press Release:

The 2012 Toronto Fringe:
More Rootin’ Tootin’ Than High Falutin’

The 2012 Toronto Fringe Festival kicked off to record crowds and sales on July 4th at its headquarters, in the parking lot behind Honest Ed’s. This year had the highest grossing opening sales day in Fringe record. There were over 300 people in attendance for the opening ceremonies and poster sprint; the poster wall filled up completely within two minutes; and the Fringe sold $14,000 worth of tickets.

The brand new Artist Alley arrangement allowed for the Fringe to showcase its visual artists like never before. The visual artists sold over $13,000,which is a 400% increase over last year. With 10 visual artists, 10 alley plays, The 100 running around, an open mic stage and a daily rotating local food vendor, The Artist Alley was the place to be during the festival.

2012 tickest were 1% away from an all time record, despite the fact that there were 13 less companies than the record year. The Toronto Fringe sold 59,182 tickets to this year’s festival. This means that the Toronto Fringe returned $450,470 to artists. This total brings the Toronto Fringe to just shy of $6 millionreturned to artists since its inception in 1989.

The 2012 Toronto Fringe Festival had 155 shows featuring artists from Toronto and around the world. This year’s festival didn’t see a “run-away” hit, but rather a large group of successful productions with many of those shows having near sold out runs. The site-specifics this year were truly an exemplary example of Fringe spirit selling out buses, bars and bra-shops! The 2012 had a very successful Tip-the-Fringe campaign raising over $43,000. The continuing support of the creation lab by our patrons and the matching campaign from TD Bank means that the Toronto Fringe can continue to be the home for independent theatre year-round.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Patron's Pick of the Fringe

The Patron’s Pick is decided after every company’s 4th show.  Selection is based on a combination of cash ticket sales after the first four shows coupled with media reception and overall ‘buzz’ of the production.  The winning plays are announced on the Fringe website, and listed at the Festival Box Office and all venue box offices.  100% of the tickets available for Patrons’ Pick performances can be sold in advance. Tickets are on sale now.

the 2012 patron’s picks are:

Rare: Sunday, July 15th at 9:15pm – Tarragon Mainspace
Mahmoud: Sunday, July 15th at 9:15pm – Tarragon Extraspace
Tinfoil Dinosaur: Sunday, July 15th at 7:30pm – Solo Room
One In A Million (a micromusical): Sunday, July 15th at 9:15pm – Randolph Theatre
A Funeral for Clowns: Sunday, July 15th at 9:45pm – Annex Theatre
Help Yourself: Sunday, July 15th at 9:30pm – George Ignatieff Theatre
The Other Three Sisters: Sunday, July 15th at 6:45pm – St. Vlad’s Theatre
Medicine: Sunday, July 15th at 9:15pm – Helen Gardiner Phelan Playhouse
21 Days: Sunday, July 15th at 6:45pm – Robert Gill Theatre
pomme is french for apple: Sunday, July 15th at 6:45pm – Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace
With Love and A Major Organ: Sunday, July 15th at 7:30pm – Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace
The Dinner: Sunday, July 15th at 9:15pm – Factory Theatre Mainspace

Best of Fringe

Each year the Fringe jury selects the best eight show from that year to be showcased at the Best of Fringe Festival Uptown.  Well, the results are in and the line up for the Best of ... Uptown is here.  Among the notables are With Love and A Major Organ, The Wakowski Brothers, Rare  and our personal favourite of the festival pomme is french for apple.  Check them out below.

Help Yourself
pomme is french for apple
The Shape of Things
The Taming of The Shrew
The Wakowski Brothers
With Love and a Major Organ

“The Best of Fringe Uptown”, is hosted at the Toronto Centre for the Arts. Shows are selected by a panel of independent producers who take box office numbers and media responses into account when choosing the winning productions. Best of Fringe Uptown is produced by Toronto Centre for the Arts and will take place from July 18th – August 3rd. Click here for ticket info.  This is the best chance you've got to see one some of the highlights of Fringe which you may have missed.

Shakespeare in High Park

"Shakespeare in High Park [is] an indispensable summer fixture"
 - NOW Magazine

"an uproariously good time" 
 - Mooney on Theatre

"3.5 out of 4 stars"
 - The Globe and Mail

A Midsummer Night's Dream has been on for a few weeks in High Park and it is a definite must see this summer.  With the weather expected to be gorgeous all week and Fringe drawing to a close this might be the perfect time to get out to the West End for a summer classic.  

Monday, July 9, 2012

The BEST shows of the Toronto Fringe (so far)...

Alright darlings I have been on a FRINGE binge and I have some fucking wonderful shows to recommend to you all! It has been such a pleasure seeing so much fresh, passionate theatre on those Toronto stages. How refreshing I must say. Ok so below are my favourite shows so far at the Fringe this year:

Written and performed by Liza Paul and Bahia Watson

Not sure if it is because I identify so strongly with being a black woman or not, but this piece of theatre had me roaring, rolling and sobbing with laughter from the opening moment until curtain call. These two actresses, Liza Paul and Bahia Watson are sublime and sparkle like something fierce. All their various characters are polished and the acting is razor sharp. I could rave about this show for hours so please just check these angels out!

Venue 10 – Theatre Passe Muraille, 16 Ryerson Avenue:
July 09 08:45 PM, July 10 04:30 PM, July 12 12:00 PM, July 13 06:15 PM, July 14 01:45 PM

Written by the Soul Circus Collective, Directed by Tracey Erin Smith

Wow so I just saw SOULO this afternoon and I thought it was absolutely delicious. It was wonderfully warm and fresh, it felt very current, relatable and it was very smart. The three actors which carry the three vignette's Terrence Bryant, DJ Edwards and Marco Bernardi all deliver strong and soulful performances that feel natural and passionate. I can only say that I hope the piece moves on to a larger theatrical run, I'm thinking maybe Buddies in Bad Times? (Brendan Healy, hi!) and receives a longer running time where we can dive deeper into the more poignant, darker parts of their souls. Calling all queers (and everyone;) to the theatre! Check this piece out ya'll!!!

Robert Gill Theatre (214 College Street, 3rd Floor)
July 09 02:30 PM, July 10 06:45 PM
, July 11 04:00 PM, July 12 02:45 PM, July 14 07:00 PM

Written by Judith Thompson
Nine people with Down syndrome collaborated with director Judith Thompson to express their own personal stories of love, loss, frustration, liberation and triumph is this beautiful piece that will have you laughing, crying and cheering throughout. A powerful   show this is a true celebration of the human spirit told in poetry, dance and song. If you are capable of getting a ticket (this is a super HOT show at the Fringe this year) I urge you to do so! Only a few shows left so if you want tickets book in advance or arrive very early.

Venue 1 – Tarragon Mainspace (30 Bridgman Ave.)
July 09 06:15 PM, July 10 08:45 PM, July 13 07:00 PM, July 14 02:15 PM

Conceived by Frank Manzo
You know I wasn't expected to be moved by this piece as I thought it was going to be all juice and flash, but I will tell you that I really felt this one. As a yoga teacher I have become more appreciative of the human body and all its capabilities... and this show is a fucking brilliant celebration in the human body. Not only its form (there is lots of sexiness going on here, and I was sure not complaining) but also the human body's ability to impact, to tell a story and to heal. This show is packed full of buoyant, strong, masculine and feminine dance pieces. Also, it is super fun and charming. 
Factory Theatre, room: Mainspace, 125 Bathurst
Jul 9 at 8:30 pm, Jul 10 at 1:15 pm, Jul 11 at 9:15 pm, Jul 13 at 5:45 pm, Jul 14 at 11:30 pm

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Tick Tonight at FringeTO

Justin and I are seeing our first show together tonight at the Fringe Festival.  Check it out!  

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Exculsive Invite for SummerWorks Soiree

The SummerWorks Festival would like to invite you to its second annual VIP fundraising dinner party!
Please join us on Thursday, July 5th for a special evening supporting SummerWorks hosted by award-winning playwright and actor, Michael Healey.

This event, taking place at the historic and beautiful Great Hall, will be an elegant sit-down three-course meal prepared by chefs Mark Cutrara + Alexandra Feswick, who are on the cusp of opening their new Samuel J Moore Restaurant on the main floor of the Great Hall.

Appetizers and cocktails will be served at 6:00pm followed by the meal at 7:00.

The meal will be served with wine, music, and an assortment of short performances and happenings from SummerWorks artists including Bob Wiseman, the Brick Lane Advice Booth and magic from James Alan, whose new one man show, Lies Damn Lies & Magic Tricks, will be featured in the Festival this year.

Tickets are $100.00 and you will receive a $75.00 tax receipt. Please purchase your tickets HERE If you are unable to join us on July 5th, kindly consider making a donation either with Eventbrite or with Canada Helps through our website www.summerworks.ca/donate.

PS: This year's Festival is from August 9-19. Ink it into your calendars. For more details click here!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Toronto Fringe Festival 2012 Top Picks (so far)...

Alright here we go! The Toronto Fringe Festival kicks off tomorrow! 
The festival provides a vessel for 155 shows to be staged and produced across the city. The festival of theatre magic will be held at 12 venues, 14 site-specific locations, and at the now infamous Fringe Tent. We have always adored the festival and truly believe it to be a powerful source of community building and artistic development.

To celebrate the festival's launch tomorrow we have compiled a list of our top picks so far:

A Comedy in 60 minutes
Paul Watson Productions
Written by: Liza Paul and Bahia Watson

Show Description:
A series of vignettes about women and their most embarrassing and empowering moments. This piece has loads 
of buzz surrounding it and has a lot of critics talkin'.

At Theatre Passe Muraille: Mainspace, 16 Ryerson
Dates and Times: Jul 6 at 11 pm | Jul 8 at 4 pm | Jul 9 at 8:45 pm | Jul 10 at 4:30 pm | Jul 12 at noon | Jul 13 at 6:15 pm | Jul 14 at 1:45 pm

A Comedy/ Play in 60 minutes
A Modern Attitudes Production
By: Morgan Ewen

Show Description:
A woman tries to make the best of her 8-year jail term in this solo comedy. Going by the poster photo this woman Morgan Ewen is EAP city!
At Tarragon Theatre in the ExtraSpace, 30 Bridgman
Dated and Times: Jul 6 at 9:15pm | Jul 7 at 3:30 pm | Jul 8 at 4:45 pm |Jul 11 at 5:45 pm | Jul 12 at 3:30 pm | Jul 13 at 1:45 pm | Jul 15 at 7:30pm

A Comedy, Sketch in 60 minutes
A Town Toast Theatre Company Production
Written by the cast

Show Description: 
The talented cast of ALL THE WORLD'S A STAGE OF GRIEF performs a sketch-comedy show inspired by Shakespeare. Eclectic yet fluid, dark but strangely uplifting, twisted yet touching, the piece it is a celebration of contradiction.

At the Randolph Theatre, 736 Bathurst, Toronto
Dated and Times: Jul 6 at 7 pm | Jul 8 at 3:30 pm | Jul 9 at 10:30 pm | Jul 11 at 1:45 pm | Jul 12 at 9:15 pm | Jul 14 at 2:15 pm | Jul 15 at 5:15 pm

A Comedy in 60 minutes 
Produced and Written by Mark Shyzer

Show Description:
Four characters' lives collide in Shyzer's comedic solo show. Mark Shyzer and Evalyn Parry(!) have been working together on the show from its inception and throughout every incarnation of the show - the workshop performance during the Young Creator's Unit, Fishbowl's premiere as part of the Buddies In Bad Times 2009 season, the 2010 North American Fringe Festival tour, and the current 2012 Canadian Fringe tour.

At the Helen Gardiner Phelan Playhouse, 79A St George, Toronto
Dated and Times: Jul 4 at 6:30 pm | Jul 6 at 8:45 pm | Jul 8 at 1:30 pm |Jul 11 at 11 pm | Jul 12 at 7:45 pm | Jul 13 at 1:45 pm | Jul 14 at 3:30 pm

A Comedy in 75 minutes
A Lallygag Theatre Production
Written by Matthew MacKenzie

Show Description:
A 10-year old and her friends lead a revolution against the ruling adult class in this comedy which stars the delightful Jessica Moss. Laughter and warmth expected in this piece.

At the George Ignatieff Theatre, 15 Devonshire, Toronto
Dates and Times: Jul 5 at 8:15 pm | Jul 8 at 7:30 pm | Jul 9 at 2 pm | Jul 11 at 2:15 pm | Jul 12 at 4 pm | Jul 13 at 8:30 pm | Jul 14 at 5:45 pm

A Musical Comedy in 90 minutes
From ToyBox Productions
Written by Lesley Carlberg

Show Description:
This collection of songs and monologues looks at freeing ourselves from the body as measured by the scale.

At Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace, 16 Ryerson, Toronto
Dates and Times: Jul 5 at 8:15 pm | Jul 6 at 5:15 pm | Jul 8 at noon | Jul 9 at 10:30 pm | Jul 10 at 6:15 pm | Jul 13 at 2:15 pm | Jul 14 at 10:30 pm

A Play in 50 minutes 
From Baby Gumm Productions 
Written by Darren Stewart-Jones

Show Description:
This performance piece is based on recordings Judy Garland made in the 60s for her never-written autobiography. Starring last year's Fringe sensation Michael Hughes!

At the Annex Theatre, 730 Bathurst, Toronto
Dates and Times: Jul 6 at 7 pm | Jul 7 at noon | Jul 9 at 6:45 pm | Jul 11 at 11 pm | Jul 12 at 1:45 pm | Jul 14 at 2:15 pm | Jul 15 at 1:45 pm

A Dance piece in 60 minutes
Produced by Kiri Figueiredo Dance
Written by Kiri Figueiredo, Michael Caldwell and Shannon Litzenberger

Show Description:
Three dancers explore the hidden corners of human nature through four physically intense works. 

At the Robert Gill Theatre, 214 College, Toronto
Dates and Times: Jul 6 at 7:30 pm | Jul 7 at 1 pm | Jul 8 at 10:15 pm | Jul 11 at 6:15 pm | Jul 12 at 8:30 pm | Jul 13 at 4 pm | Jul 14 at 3:30 pm

A Comedy, Sketch in 60 minutes
A Two Weird Ladies Production
Written by Laura Salvas and Mandy Sellers

Show Description:
A labyrinth of eccentric sketch comedy spun from reality, insanity, awkwardness and rage. Two Weird Ladies is a sketch comedy duo comprised of Mandy Sellers, who is set to join the cast of The Second City National Touring Company this summer and was nominated for a 2011 Canadian Comedy Award for Best Female Improviser, and Laura Salvas, a 2009 Toronto Standup Comedy Brawl Finalist. The Ladies joined forces in November, 2010

At the Helen Gardiner Phelan Playhouse, 79A St George, Toronto
Dates and Times: Jul 6 at 1:15 pm | Jul 7 at 9:15 pm | Jul 9 at 10:45 pm |Jul 10 at 4:45 pm | Jul 12 at 9:30 pm | Jul 13 at 5:15 pm | Jul 14 at 1:45 pm

A Dance/ Musical in 60 minutes 
From Manzo Entertainment Inc. 
Written by Frank Manzo

Show Description:
 A slick, fun (and a little dirty) dance show similar to a musical but without cheesy singing; no tutus or abstract motifs, either. This dansical tells the story of MANNY, a gay man in search of love, and DINA & LYNNE, a lesbian couple that must deal with the harsh reality of job loss and the strain it has on a relationship. 

At the Factory Theatre, room: Mainspace, 125 Bathurst, Toronto
Dates and Times: Jul 6 at 1:15 pm | Jul 7 at 7:30 pm | Jul 9 at 8:30 pm |Jul 10 at 1:15 pm | Jul 11 at 9:15 pm | Jul 13 at 5:45 pm | Jul 14 at 11:30 pm

A Dramatic/Comic Play in 60 minutes
A Ten Foot Pole Theatre Production
Written by Rob Salerno

Show Description:
A relevant and provocative piece. A young artist confronts the man who he believes knowingly gave him HIV in this darkly comic drama.

At the Robert Gill Theatre, 214 College, Toronto
Dates and Times: Jul 6 at 11 pm | Jul 7 at 2:45 pm | Jul 9 at 8:45 pm | Jul 10 at 5 pm | Jul 11 at 11:30 pm | Jul 13 at 5:45 pm | Jul 14 at noon

Beauty and the Beast in Toronto!

It is here! The exhilarating, energetic and enchanting family musical Beauty and the Beast is opening tonight at the beautiful Four Seasons Centre. I saw this musical more than 15 years ago with my Grandmother, and I am so excited to be taking my niece this Thursday to her very first musical experience. Thank you Dancap! For more info or to purchase tickets please click the header!