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Issue #111: June 15, 2003


  • I knew it was going to be a good night when the opening had Billy Joel playing New York State of Mind in the middle of Times Square.  The Tony Awards were chock-a-block full of stunning performances and smart acceptance speeches.  Are we surprised about the eight Tonys that Hairspray took away including the big prize of Best Musical?  Some of the other hardware the John Waters movie-to- stage musical took home were Best Book of a Musical, Best Performances by a Leading Actor – Harvey Fierstein, and Actress in a Musical – Marissa Jaret Winokur.  The other big winners included Nine – Best Musical Revival and Best Performance by a Featured Actress; Movin’ Out received Best Choreography for Twyla Tharpe and Orchestrations for Billy Joel and Stuart MalinaLong Day’s Journey Into Night won the big play categories including Best Revival of a Play and Best Performance by a Leading Actor and Actress in a Play – Brian Dennehy and Vanessa Redgrave.  The “coming out” play Take Me Out scored Best Play and Best Direction for Joe Montello.
  • Look for “Golden Girl” Rue McClanahan and Mark Hamill to tread the boards in the fall in Richard Alfieri’s Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks.  No theatre mentioned just yet.
  • It just goes to show you that even with unanimous rave reviews there is no guarantee for box office life.  Case in point – the spectacular Baz Luhrmann production of La Boheme will close on June 29 after a run of only 228 performances.

Broadway On The Road

  • Unfortunately the SARS situation is continuing to take no prisoners in Toronto.  Just days after Mirvish Productions announced the closing of their Disney production of The Lion King on September 28 the announcement of the fate of their Mamma Mia! run was announced.  In order to push ticket sales into The Lion King’s final weeks, Mamma Mia! will take a “summer holiday” with ticket sales suspended after July 1 then ramp up again after the Disney hit leaves town with the Abba tuner returning on September 29.

Curtain Call

  • One of my favourite actors passed away on June 12 – the charismatic Gregory Peck was 87.  You may be familiar with his stellar film career, which included classics such as To Kill a Mockingbird, The Guns of Navarone, Moby Dick, Cape Fear  — just some of the 60 films he starred in.  But prior to his film career, Peck as a young man was a tour guide in New York at Rockefeller Center, which led to movement classes with dance legend Martha Graham.  He took acting classes at Sandy Meisner’s Neighbourhood Playhouse where he performed in summer stock productions.  This led to his Broadway debut as a physician in Emlyn Williams’ wartime drama Morning Star.  He made a few more Broadway appearances before giving in to the call of Hollywood in 1943 – and the rest is history.  His stage and film career spanned six decades – a rare talent that will be sorely missed.    

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