Issue #109: May 15, 2003
- It looks as though Sir Elton John has really caught the Broadway bug. Following the success of two long-running Disney hits (Lion King and Aida) he is teaming up with his longtime collaborator Bernie Taupin to bring The Vampire Lestat to the musical stage. Based on a character from Anne Rice's popular novels, it looks like we'll get the first glimpse of this production in 2005. Let's hope it fares better than the recent vampire bomb Dance of the Vampires.
- A Broadway-bound revival of the 1944 comedy Harvey opens at Boston's Shubert Theater on September 9 before heading to New York. Directed by Charles Nelson Reilly (anyone remember him on Hollywood Squares?), the new Harvey will launch the 2003-04 season of Boston's Wang Center for the Performing Arts, which includes the Shubert Theater. Other productions slated for the Shubert season are Hair (Jan. 20 - Feb. 1) and the 20th Anniversary All-Star Tour of Nunsense (Feb. 10 - 15). The Wang Center will showcase The Sound of Music (Sept. 16 - 21), Miss Saigon (Sept. 23 - 28), Thoroughly Modern Millie (Oct. 7 - 12), Chicago (Nov. 4 - 9), Cameron Mackintosh's production of Oliver! (March 2 - 7) and Starlight Express (April 27 - May 2).
- The 2002 Pulitzer Prize winner Topdog/Underdog makes its British premiere on August 11 at the Royal Court Theatre for a limited run to August 30.
- As residents of Toronto, Canada, we find ourselves being the focus of an international epidemic that has not only taken its toll on the health care system, its workers and the victims of this frightening new virus, SARS, but has severely damaged the entertainment industry for which this city is well known. However, unlike the Broadway industry in the wake of 9/11, the Toronto theatre and hospitality industry jumped immediately on the situation when the various levels of government didn't get a handle on the crisis quickly enough. Led by producer David Mirvish, deep discount theatre tickets (and I mean deep) were offered for the long running productions of Lion King and Mamma Mia! Cleverly packaged with restaurant, hotel rooms and even baseball tickets it was a deal few could resist. And many didn't!!! The first day of the campaign, phone lines blew out and theatre line-ups lasted hours. It just goes to show you that if a community bands together to fight the misinformation by the world press and a lack of action by politicians, it can overcome the odds. Come to Toronto and see for yourself what a safe, healthy and entertaining city it is.