Monday June 8th was the Theatre 20 Season Launch Party, held at the snazzy Vagabondo Italian Ristorante + Lounge downtown. The event was a blast & well worth all the hard work. It was great to see a mix of theatre supporters, young & old, as well as industry members of all levels, from friends of mine just starting out to actors like T20 Founding Artist Brent Carver, who is not only a Tony winner but also the recipient of the prestigious Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for lifetime achievement; the highest honour in the performing arts.
The night consisted of a lot of fancy food, schmoozing & mingling, and of course our season announcement. There were preview performances from each of the shows we have in development, as well as some numbers by former Emerging Artists. Nora McLellan performed a beautiful piece from The End that we are presenting in November, and David Keeley sang a Leonard Cohen song as an introduction to this season’s production of Chelsea Hotel.
I don’t usually do well in crowds, or meeting new people, but the party was very relaxed and, maybe because it was a room full of artists and we were there to celebrate, everyone was in high spirits and very easy to talk to. I definitely need to work on my name-memorizing skills, but it was nice to be able to do more than the usual “nice to meet you” and to actually engage with some people and hear about all the awesome projects happening in the city this summer and over the next year.
I’ll write much more about each of these as we get into them more (at the moment, I’ve basically just been working on booking spaces for workshops, rehearsals & performances, so I don’t have much to say on the artistic side of things), but for now here’s a summary of our various development projects;
Co-Produced with Musical Works in Concert
Rehearsal, Dramaturgy, Workshop: August 18-23, 2015
Performances: August 20-23, 2015 – Factory Theatre, Toronto
The celebration of new Canadian musicals in concert will run August 20-23, 2015. Stay tuned for more details.
Based on the poems of Wilfred Owen and letters to his mother during the Great War
Conceived and Written by Peter Hinton
Music by Leslie Arden, Linda Catlin Smith, Allen Cole, Veda Hille, Alice Ping Yee Ho, Derek Holman, John Millard, David Sereda, Rodney Sharman, David Warrack
Co-produced with Theatres of War
Showcase Presentation: November 11, 2015 – Tarragon Theatre, Toronto
This show centres on the letters written by Wilfred Owen to his mother during the Great War, as well as Owen’s poetry. A showcase presentation will be held at the Tarragon Theatre on Rememberance Day, 2015.
Book by Kevin Michael Shea, Music by Scott Christian
Lyrics by Wade Bogert-O’Brien & Kevin Michael Shea
Co-produced with the Confederation Centre
Workshop: July 14 – August 7, 2015
Showcase Presentation: August 7, 2015 – Confederation Centre, Charlottetown
A married woman and a young lawyer walk through the woods. Their friendship has reached an impasse. Previously featured at the Toronto Next Stage Festival, this adaptation of an Anton Chekov story is described as “a romantic, bittersweet musical about small moments and momentous decisions.”
The Secret Life of Dr. James Miranda Barry
Based on the book by Ivan & Anne Kronenfeld
Book by Jen Shuber, Music & Lyrics by Nicky Phillips
Development: September, 2015 – April, 2016
A musical centring around the life of Dr. James Miranda Barry, a 19th century surgeon who lived his adult life as male, but was discerned as female upon his death.
We’ve also got one major production, Chelsea Hotel;
Chelsea Hotel: The Songs of Leonard Cohen
Directed and Conceived by Tracey Power
Musical Direction and Arrangements by Steven Charles
A Firehall Arts Centre production in association with Theatre Passe Muraille
February 3-21, 2016 – Theatre Passe Muraille, Toronto
The show, which had its world premiere in 2012 at Vancouver’s Firehall Arts Centre, features the music of Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen. In it, six performers play seventeen different instruments in a tribute to the musical legend.
Then of course there are the training programs, the Conservatory & Composium, now both under the heading of “Academy”. Trimaine, our admin assistant, is spending the day calling & arranging audition times for the Conservatory, and I’m very happy to hear the names of a lot of talented people I know. Hopefully I’ll get to work with some of them this year.
So that’s about it! As I said, many more details, but I’ll get to those in time for the shows. For now my focus is bookings & fundraising here with T20, and then rehearsals & fundraising for Bygone; Kill Sister, Kill! is currently in the middle of auditions. Basically, I’m gonna spend the summer very broke, very tired, very busy & very fulfilled 🙂