The current Canadian production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s production of The Wizard of Oz will take up residence at Las Vegas’s Smith Center for the Performing Arts beginning September 10. Currently at the Ed Mirvish Theatre in Toronto, they will wrap up on August 18 as they prepare to head to south. Most of the current cast will make the journey, which will be the beginning of a North American tour ending on July 20, 2014 at Ottawa’s National Arts Centre.
The theatre world doesn’t often have the chance to celebrate a producer with such staying power as Toronto’s Mirvish Productions. This season 2013/2014 celebrates 50 years since Ed Mirvish purchased the Royal Alexandra Theatre and over the years turned King Street West into the vibrant theatre district it is today. This season brings back a favourite, Les Miserable, with a predominately Canadian cast. Toronto will host the pre-Broadway production of Disney’s Aladdin. Also on tap is the Canadian premier of the Tony-winner Once, a new production of Cats as well as the world premiere of the “tango rock opera” Arrabal from Toronto native choreographer Sergio Trujillo (Jersey Boys). It looks like Toronto theatre goers will have reason to celebrate this half century of Mirvish presentations. For a full list of the upcoming season visit www.mirvish.com.
The latest report has the iconic musical Les Miserables returning to Toronto in September. With all the excitement surrounding the recent feature film, it just makes sense to capitalize on the continuing popularity of Les Miz. Casting has not been confirmed however expect a stellar gathering since Toronto is a city that continues to have a deep love affair with this musical. Will keep you posted as additional information becomes available.
It is true, Canadian actor Conrad Bain will probably be best known as dad to the two adopted sons on TV’s 80′s series Diff’rent Strokes, however he was much more than that. After serving in the Canadian Armed Forces he studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. In 1956 Bain made his Broadway debut in The Iceman Cometh. Then he returned to Canada and performed at the Stratford Festival in 1958 and continued performing on stage in both the US and Canada until an audition in 1971 led him to television. Bain died on January 14th at 89.
Academy Award winner Tom Hanks is scheduled to make his Broadway debut in Lucky Guy. Written by the late Nora Ephron, Hanks will portray the late journalist Mike McAlary who won the Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of the police brutality case of Abner Louima. Previews begin at the Broadhurst Theatre on March 1 with the opening night slated for April 1.
In recognition of Remembrance Day, Mirvish Productions is offering complimentary tickets to War Horse to any Canadian veteran or member of the armed forces from November 13 to December 2. Companion tickets can be purchased from $39 to $69 at the Princess of Wales Theatre. This is an amazing offer to a memorable production…a great way to recognize their service.
So looking forward to the brilliant Louis Pitre performance at the Roxy Theatre in Owen Sound on Friday, October 12th. I have fond memories of working with her on the television series Star Portraits, however it is her stage performances that she is best known. Who can forget her as Fontine in the first Toronto engagement of Les Miserables. Then of course her Tony nominated performance in Mamma Mia! a role she originated in Toronto before heading to Broadway. The Owen Sound community is in for a spectacular night of entertainment.
In a twist of fate, the revival of Gore Vidal‘s political play The Best Man saw the author pass away at 86 during the run. Currently at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theater until September 9, the play boasts a who’s who cast including; Cybill Shepherd, John Stamos, Kristin Davis, Elizabeth Ashley, James Earl Jones and John Larroquette.
After a 13 month run from July 2009 to August 2010, the Australian company of Jersey Boys heads back to Melbourne’s Princess Theatre for a limited 14 week run beginning January 10. Currently in Brisbane for the summer the boys head to Adelaide for a short run beginning October 26.
July 12 marks the last opening night for Dancap Productions…ending a five-year ride that saw great highlights as well as lows. Once again the Toronto commercial theatre landscape has shrunk…which doesn’t bode well since healthy competition keeps everyone on their toes. Theatre is one of those businesses that can see great success one day then bankruptcy the next. It is a credit to Aubrey Dan that he hung in there this long….through some very tough times.
It was a pleasure working on Dancap’s first foray into the marketplace, Jersey Boys. A terrific team was behind bringing this production to Toronto audiences and proved to be one of my career highlights. Wishing Dan the best in whatever his next chapter is….and thanks for the memories.