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Issue #149: April 15, 2005


  • Producers of the Broadway revival La Cage aux Folles took the unusual step of firing Daniel Davis who plays the role of Georges.  Apparently his "obnoxious offstage behaviour" was sighted and he was booted after the Sunday, March 27 matinee performance at the Marquis Theatre.  Standing in the wings to fill his shoes was Robert Goulet.  Last seen on Broadway in Moon Over Buffalo in l996, the 71-year-old stage veteran cut his Broadway teeth back in 1960 in the Broadway debut of Camelot.  Interesting that Eric Idle's Spamalot is currently playing to full houses just down a block or two.six degrees of separation.or maybe one degree!!!

Broadway On The Road

  • All sorts of things happening in Toronto this next season.  Local producers Mirvish Productions, announced their 2005/2006 season with Broadway legend Julie Andrews in tow.  Ms. Andrews' labour of love The Boyfriend will open at the Royal Alexandra Theatre in January.  Ms. Andrews directed this production, which is close to her heart since she made her Broadway debut in the original production fifty years ago.  Also on the roster is the return (have lost count) of the original mega-musical Les Miserables.  No word yet on whether either of the two notable local Jean Valjean's, Colm Wilkinson and Michael Burgess, will make appearances during the run.  And as mentioned previously.yes Toronto will become middle earth when the much -anticipated The Lord of The Rings opens for an indefinite run in February.  The lack of theatre availability in London bumped Toronto to the front of the line to stage the $27million production.  There were a lot of sensitive negotiations by the Canadian contingent to land the production.  Having the world premiere in Toronto will help the city regain some lustre it lost in recent years from early closings of productions.  To be continued.
  • Speaking of witch.Toronto is the city where the first touring production of Wicked launches and many in the theatre world thought it would be home to an open ended production.  Not so.looks like Chicago has landed that right.  Even though the Toronto production was virtually sold out soon after tickets went on sale the producers decided Chicago was their kinda town.  Don't fret Torontonians.looks like Wicked will make a return visit in 2006.

London's West End

  • The National Theatre's artistic director Nicholas Hytner announced recently this year's offering including the NT's first staging of Shakespeare's Henry IV, Parts 1 & 2 and Oscar nominee (Vera Drake) Mike Leigh's first play in 12 years, as yet untitled.  Leading the Shakespeare double bill is British stage legend Michael Gambon in the role of Falstaff.  Parts 1&2 open back-to-back May 4, marking Hytner's third year on the job.  

Curtain Call

  • One of Britain's most controversial comics, Dave Allen, died on March 10.  When I heard the news I was taken aback and quite sad remembering a time in the 80s when he was performing at the O'Keefe Centre to two sold-out engagements.  I had the pleasure of setting up the publicity for the engagement and worked with him over the few days he was in Toronto.  His wit was biting attacking political hypocrisy, and as an Irish born Catholic, he spoke first hand about the church domination of Ireland. unpopular subjects but oh, he could make you laugh.  A slight man, alone onstage in an immaculate suit with just a microphone, he captivated audiences, those who knew his talent and many new fans made on that trip.  He was a pioneer of the storytelling style, which started in the late 60s and early 70s.  The BBC aired his hugely popular series starting with Tonight With Dave Allen and the tremendously successful Dave Allen At Large.  Both series were picked up in North America in the 70s and 80s. reruns would be relevant, funny and thought provoking today.  He was a thinking man's comedian and truly a gentleman.  Gone way too soon at age 68.

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