Say Yes

the cast of broadway’s jesus christ superstar

The Tony Awards are a shared story for a lot of people who work in the theatre. Once upon a time we were all little boys and girls in cities far and wide from Manhattan watching the glorious and shining stars of Broadway sing and dance across our television screens. It was something we aspired toward, something of a collective dream.

Ten years ago I graduated from High School in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I was seventeen years old. What I expected from these annual awards as a seventeen year old girl was the same thing I anticipated every year before; that I would be given a glimpse of the best theatre in the world: the theatre on Broadway. I waited eagerly to see Bernadette Peters, Carol Burnett, Angela Lansbury, Sutton and Hunter Foster, Mandy Patinkin, Kristin Chenoweth, Idina Menzel, Adam Pascal, Jesse L. Martin, Anthony Rapp, Chita Rivera, Ann Reinking, Bea Arthur, Julie Andrews, Angela Lansbury, Patti LuPone, Betty Buckley, Liza Minnelli, Bebe Neuwirth, Audra McDonald, Jane Krakowski, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Nathan Lane, Harvey Fierstein, Marissa Jaret Winokur and Tim Curry perform. It never occurred to me to ask, “Where are the Canadians?” I had been conditioned, as I believe most of us are, to assume, subconsciously I think, that we were not good enough to be there.

Of course I knew that some Canadian performers got to work on Broadway, as part of an American or British company. Martin Short was in The Goodbye Girl with Bernadette Peters. Louise Pitre was Donna in Mamma Mia. Julie Martell was in Sam Mendes’ production of Gypsy. Later, Bob Martin led a mostly American cast of a Canadian-written musical in an impressive Broadway run. But even as ardently interested and supportive of my regional theatre as I was, I never imagined even the possibility of a Canadian company’s production transferring to Broadway. That wasn’t within the realm of the world of Broadway that I had seen and I didn’t know enough about Canadian theatre to challenge the status quo.

Tonight there are children going to sleep across this great country of ours having seen the Stratford Shakespeare Festival’s production of Jesus Christ Superstar performing on the Tony Awards. They were waiting eagerly to see Paul Nolan and Chilina Kennedy and Mark Cassius and Bruce Dow and Marcus Nance and Josh Young. These kids, the theatre performers, directors, designers, writers and audience members of tomorrow, know unequivocally now that they do not need to leave Canadian companies behind to become a Broadway star. They know that the Canadian theatre community is not only good enough to compete, but that we are among some of the best in the world.

One hundred years ago Canadian actors flocked to the United States because the theatres here were overrun with British and American tours and opportunities were scarce for those who wished to make a livelihood. Slowly a system emerged that sought not only to foster the development of a national Canadian theatre movement, as well as a sense of a Canadian theatrical culture and tradition, but also to bring communities across the country world-class theatre productions using indigenous theatre artists. These were called the Regional Theatres. In the same way that the Stratford Cast of Jesus Christ Superstar has successfully burst into an American dominated arena, so too did the early Regional Theatres forge a trail for Canadian artists amidst a market saturated with American talent. Soon most Regional theatres were hiring mostly Canadian artists for their productions and in time the most successful of these theatres, for example The Citadel Theatre in Edmonton and the Manitoba Theatre Centre in Winnipeg, began hiring a large percentage of artists from the community that they wished to serve.

In his article “Time for theatre to get past the first stage of grief: denialThe Globe and Mail Theatre critic J. Kelly Nestruck asks, “Is the experience of seeing God of Carnage live with Canadian actors putting on Brooklyn accents worth the extra $53 (plus gas, plus parking, plus babysitter, plus rushing through dinner to make curtain time)? What does it contribute to Canadian culture beyond the economic spin-offs that arts-funding defenders drone on about ad nauseum?” I would argue that the same question could be asked of Stratford’s production of Jesus Christ Superstar. Why should Canadian companies perform any non-Canadian play at all? Why should anyone want to see anything live when it all can be downloaded for free without ever leaving one’s basement? Of course I would rather see something live performed by Canadian actors. That is the ultimate experience for me because I love the Canadian theatre. We can do these plays in Canada and with Canadian talent and we can do them terrifically. Perhaps if our prospective theatre audiences were not continually being conditioned by the media in this country to believe in the national inferiority complex and to prescribe to the idea that theatre is on the brink of collapse, more people would be inclined to attend. There is still a destructive and dangerous tendency here to bring in third rate touring productions of hit Broadway and West End shows, of plays just like God of Carnage, rather than staging them inventively here using Canadian talent. From an artistic point of view, shows like Doubt and Wit and Art offer incredible opportunities for Canadian performers, designers and directors to sink their teeth into a style of theatre that can be quite different from the work that is created here, while offering patrons the opportunity to see first-rate productions of the shows they were either going to go down to New York to see anyway or wished that they could.

Creating an ambiance of panic in the world of the Regional theatre does not make for smarter programming, it makes for safer and more cautious Artistic Directors who throw out the balance between artistry and economics. This makes the seasons at these theatres stale, tepid and weak. If there are independent theatres doing bold and brave, exciting and challenging work in the city, it is no wonder that audiences are flocking there instead. Each regional theatre and every theatre community is different. You cannot sum these issues up in sweeping generalizations. For example, it could be argued that since Matthew Jocelyn has taken tenure at Canadian Stage, Toronto no longer has a regional theatre. Perhaps with the growing and thriving number of strong independent theatre companies in that city it has outgrown its need for one. Yet, in Halifax, Neptune Theatre, the regional theatre, is the only theatre in the city that offers a full season of shows (September-May) and one of a tiny handful with its own venue. Newfoundland does not even have a regional theatre and all the Newfoundland-based artists that I have spoken to on the subject have told me that they think that their province would benefit from having one. So, in this case, something that could be seen as being an archaic model that no longer suits one Canadian city would be a novelty in another.

I grew up in Halifax and in and around Neptune Theatre all my life. I grew up loving seeing Nova Scotian-based actors putting on Brooklyn accents and doing the equivalent of God of Carnage and thinking that I was the luckiest person in the world to be able to live here and witness that. The regional theatre was the only theatre I had. That is the reality in many communities in this country, and an experience that is not reflected at all in Nestruck’s article. Many of the people that I watched at Neptune Theatre, people who began as actors from within the community of Nova Scotia, are now working for companies like Stratford, Soulpepper, Shaw and Mirvish. The regional theatre was their training ground and in many cases, their theatre school. I was in no way shape or form alone in my desire to see the people from my city onstage in my regional theatre. Nova Scotians love to support their own and that is not just a regional experience.

I know what the challenges are that Neptune Theatre faces at the moment and I can tell you that they are not the same challenges that the Vancouver Playhouse faced and not at all the same as the ones Aubrey Dan faced with DanCap. We cannot paint these occurrences with the same brush or ignore the theatres such as The Manitoba Theatre Centre, where the exact same production of God of Carnage that received such a lukewarm response in Vancouver, played to steady and impassioned crowds in Winnipeg. Our focus should not be exclusively intent on dissecting what the theatre executives in this country in financial disaster did wrong, but we should be learning from what the theatre executives in this country in theatres that are thriving are doing right. How has Steven Schipper at RMTC gotten roughly 800 high school aged subscribers– teenagers who are subscribing to the theatre’s season independent of their parents? How did Bob Baker at the Citadel connect the theatre to the growing independent and Fringe theatre scene in Edmonton? What impact did his commitment to hiring Edmontonian actors and staging Edmontonian plays have on the success and the growth of the theatre complex? It is easy to point fingers and blame and to condemn, but it is far more constructive to ask, “How can we improve on this? What lessons can we learn from those who are where we want to be?”

As I have written before, Garth Drabinsky being a crook, the same as Aubrey Dan not being a very savvy theatre producer, have absolutely nothing to do with the quality of the Toronto musical theatre community, the quantity of the potential audience or is any reflection of any trends or failings of our community in general. They are two individuals whose emphasis on monetary success led them to make flawed decisions that eventually led to their downfall. We have to stop blaming ourselves for their shortcomings or allowing the press to insinuate that this is somehow proof that we are inferior to the United States, that we don’t have what it takes or that we are somehow doomed to be constant failures when attempting to produce big budget shows with Canadian casts.

Tonight the cast of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival’s production of Jesus Christ Superstar shared the stage with Bernadette Peters, Harvey Fierstein, Mandy Patinkin, Audra McDonald, Judith Light, Andrew and Celia Keenan-Bolger, Alan Menken, Patti LuPone, Hugh Jackman, Neil Patrick Harris and Angela Lansbury because that is where they belong. This country is filled with world-class theatre artists who have the talent, the drive and the intelligence to accomplish whatever dream has hatched in their mind. Tonight, Tony Award winner Jordan Roth said in his acceptance speech, “There are those rare people who look at the world and see things the rest of us don’t see until they show us. These are the writers. There are a special few who can take that and turn it back into a world; these are the directors, the designers. There are fearless beings who can live in that world and show us who we are, those are our actors. There are dedicated people who know why that world matters so very much: crew, theatre staff, producers, investors, managers, marketers, and then there are the people who step forward and say, ‘show me this world. Open, change me.’ These are our audiences. And when all of these people come together and say, ‘YES’, there is theatre.”

I encourage you all to say YES. To throw yourself into the theatre in whatever way you want to experience it. To say YES to helping your fellow theatre artists, to say YES to helping to build your theatre community, to say YES to discussing how to make these institutions work for us and to investigate them and our various theatre scenes as unique and complex individual entities. I encourage you to say YES to believing in the Canadian theatre, in its power to change people, to move people, to bring people to tears, to make people laugh and to fill them with pride. I hear voices from the newspapers every day saying No. Maybe it’s their job to do so, but all I see happening is a grinding to a halt. A panicked face full of doubt. What good is this to art? Barrel through the negativity with YES. Try not to let the pettiness of jealousy or self-doubt weigh you down. Let’s work together and be kind. We’ve already proven that dreams come true.

This is only the beginning.  

Go Out Tonight and See Rent

anthony rapp and adam pascal
How do I sum up my relationship of thirteen years with Jonathan Larson’s musical Rent in a single concise and pithy sentence? Well… I am a Renthead. Of course, I am currently a grown up Renthead, and one who hasn’t recreated the “La Vie Boheme” choreography with her friends on the tables in the art room, slept with her “Rent bible,” or used the term “Tidina” anytime remotely recently. Yet, I will go on the record as saying that for the past thirteen years, Rent has held a very special place in my heart and it is the show that I credit the most with inspiring me to pursue a life in the theatre. I’ve always felt very grateful, almost oddly indebted, to Jonathan Larson because Rent has had such a profound effect in shaping the woman I have become. I say all this to provide some context for the review I am about to write. Had someone told me in 1997 that one day it would be my job to review Anthony Rapp and Adam Pascal’s performances in a 2010 production of Rent, I definitely would have thought that person was insane. And yet, here we are.
As I have previously alluded to, Rent was written by Jonathan Larson in 1995 in attempt to immortalize the lives of his friends and fellow artists who were living amid poverty, addiction and disease in the Alphabet City neighbourhood of New York City. He honoured their bohemian lifestyle in this musical about seizing whatever time you have left and infusing every minute of your life with love. Anthony Rapp and Adam Pascal played Mark Cohen and Roger Davis respectively in the original (and quite legendary) 1996 Broadway cast and they have both returned to their roles for the Broadway Tour which plays at the Canon Theatre until January 24th, 2010.
This was the third production of Rent (the musical) that I have had the fortune of seeing following a 1998 production in Toronto and a Broadway production in 2004. It has been some time since I have last watched the 2005 film version directed by Chris Columbus, or since I have listened to either of the cast recordings and so I found that in watching this particular production, Larson’s music and especially Michael Grief’s direction, had a renewed freshness for me. I was especially struck by how haunting and gorgeous particular harmonies were and how, regardless of how many times I hear it, “Seasons of Love” keeps sending chills down my spine. Gwen Stewart, another veteran from the 1996 Original Cast, reprises her soloist role in this song with enough gusto and pure talent to knock you headlong off your seat.
Michael Grief’s direction of Rent is very interesting because from a 2010 perspective, it seems so obviously suited to a mid-nineties avant-garde off-Broadway rock musical for a small venue. There are times when the actions depicted onstage are more suggestive than they are realistic and the stark darkness and raw seediness that permeates throughout the space, even to the point of having it purposefully unclear where particular voices are coming from, and scenes being crowded and action getting a little lost as a stylistic choice is, even by 2010 standards, rare for a theatre as big as the Canon. I appreciated that Grief did not offer us a glamorized “Broadway” version of this story, but instead he allowed there to be some roughness around the edges, which remains even fifteen years later. Marlies Yearby’s choreography gives Rent’s music an added pulsing heartbeat of joy. Specifically during the numbers “Santa Fe” and “La Vie Boheme” the casts’ movements reflect Larson’s lyrics so brilliantly and give each individual character the chance to shine through.
The cast that has been assembled for this tour is exquisite. Michael McElroy has a beautiful soulful Baritone voice as Tom Collins, the sweet anarchist and ex-roommate of Mark and Roger who returns to New York and meets Angel, the love of his life. His performance is equal parts blissful and heartbreaking, the latter especially when he brought the house to tears with “I’ll Cover You (Reprise).” Angel, exuberant, passionate, and wildly fun, is played with the ultimate panache by Justin Johnston, whose Angel won my heart as soon as she leapt effortless from the floor to the top of the table. Merle Dandridge is a feisty, powerful Joanne, who commands the stage and who is obviously a competent, shrewd and merciless lawyer. Her performance of “Take Me or Leave Me” with Nicolette Hart’s Maureen is absolutely epic. Hart is hilarious and unique as Maureen and I appreciated her departure from Idina Menzel’s iconic portrayal (in the original cast and reprised in the film). Hart infuses Maureen with even more than her usual zaniness and establishes a nice familiarity with Rapp’s Mark, which was distinctively flirty and implied that, perhaps, she was not entirely finished with him yet. Hart performed Maureen’s performance piece “Over the Moon” with the utmost in hilarity and fervour. Lexi Lawson’s Mimi has a powerful voice which clinches both “Out Tonight” and “Light My Candle” perfectly. What I found especially captivating in Lawson was the way she moved, with utter precision and isolation, as though she were continually moving her body one joint at a time in succession. It was quite mesmerizing.
It was a joy and a privilege, and to be maudlin but honest, a dream come true, to see Anthony Rapp and Adam Pascal in this production. There is something magically iconic about seeing Mark’s scarf and Roger’s plaid pants and feeling connected to this tradition that began fifteen years ago with these same two actors. They are also exceptionally talented. Adam Pascal’s voice is better than ever in this production, it soars with incredible richness and intensity and he has an especially heartbreaking moment at the end of the show where he infuses the word “Mimi” with power, regret, fear and longing. Anthony Rapp gave the funniest performance as Mark that I have ever seen, and I realized how important it is for the narrator of what can be an intense and sober show, to have an inclination toward absurdity in things like tangos, and the penchant towards silliness while dancing on the table at cafes. He brought the house down when he held his line “La Vieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee Boheme” for what may be a record-breaking long time. Together, Rapp and Pascal have fantastic chemistry; their characters have a beautiful, unspoken closeness about them that is simple, pure and inherent. Watching them perform the title song “Rent” is the stuff of legends, but watching them perform “What You Own” might blow your mind.
There is a line in Rent that speaks to “connection in an isolating age,” and I fervently believe that today in 2010 we live in an isolating age. Rent is about connecting, to ideas, to people and to art. In a world where we can sit home alone and chat on Facebook, watch youtube videos on our iphones and create our own virtual worlds on Farmville, one of the easiest ways for us to truly start to connect with one another is to attend live theatre. Seeing Rent may be a good place to start.
Rent: The Broadway Tour plays at the Canon Theatre (244 Victoria Street) until January 24th, 2010. For more information please call 416.872.1212 or visit www.mirvish.com.

News From Around the Barrio

I have been remiss in keeping you informed with some of the goings on beyond the borders of Canada’s Ocean Playground for the past few weeks, and I owe many apologies for completely dropping the Toronto Fringe Festival ball. I’m so sorry I missed it. It passed me by completely with nary even a shout-out. I hope that all the shows were great successes, it seems as though Torontonians ventured out in droves to support the arts, and I couldn’t be happier! It is been a tumultuous couple of weeks with starting my first two weeks of teaching entirely sold-out camps for 4-6 year olds at Neptune Theatre School, acquiring a nasty virus we’re all hoping is not any strain of Swine Flu, having two computers crash (one twice) and still dealing with pesky schoolwork haunting me from my academic adventures. That said, there still seems to be an awful lot to tell you, so, as Matthew Amyotte would say, without any further ad-uh—let’s see what’s-a-goin’-on in your neighborhood!

First and foremost, I have just recently become aware of Canopy Theatre in Toronto, which is a nine year old company dedicated to fostering and showcasing the talents of young and emerging artistic professionals in the production of outdoor classical theatre in downtown Toronto. Romeo and Juliet opens on July 15th at Philosopher’s Stage at Philosopher’s Walk (80 Queen’s Park) and runs until August 1st. The mandate of this theatre company is the creation of assessable theatre, and so not only does Canopy allow you to get your Shakespeare fix without a hefty trip to Stratford, its ticket prices are excruciatingly reasonable ($10.00 for adults, $8.00 for students/seniors and PWYC performances on Wednesdays). Andrea Wasserman, Canopy’s Artistic Director directs, and the show is produced by Doug Floyd through Hart House Theatre and Evelyn Wiseman. Matt Gorman Assistant Directs, Susan Bond provides dramaturgy and the play stars Tyrone Savage and Cosette Derome. Bring Your Own Blanket. This is a production of the world’s most famous love story that everyone will be able to enjoy! 416 946-0314 or email info@canopytheatre.ca.

If you loved Spring Awakening earlier this year in Toronto, and if you’re eagerly awaiting news of Jake Epstein’s first week as Melchior in the National Touring Cast, I have been told that you must ensure a seat in the audience for the Canadian Premiere of the American musical bare presented by Waters Edge Productions. According to its website, “bare is a pop-rock musical about the coming-of-age of five high school seniors at a Catholic boarding school. Knowing their stay in this insular world is drawing to a close, each of them question where they are in their lives and what the future holds in store. Answers are sought in the church confessional and in less formal venues including a stage, a rave, and a well-locked dorm room. The story focuses in on a secret love affair between two boys, Peter (played by Wade Muir) and Jason (Graham Parkhurst). Though Peter is ready to tell the world about their relationship, Jason fears the repercussions. bare is the beautiful and moving story about love, fear, acceptance and finding yourself.” Bare opens July 17th at Hart House Theatre (7 Hart House Circle, Toronto) and plays Wednesday-Saturday until August 1st, 2009 at 8:00pm with a 2:00pm matinee on Saturday. Tickets are $35.00 for adults and $25.00 for students and seniors. For tickets visit UofT Tix.
If you’re looking for a fun little frolic in Barrie, and in the heat of the summer, who isn’t (?!), Da Capo Productions is presenting the delightful Charles Schultz/ Clark Gesner/Andrew Lippa musical You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown at the Barrie Downtown Theatre (1 Dunlop Street). It boasts of a stellar cast: Trevor Campbell (Charlie Brown), Ari Weinberg (Snoopy), Lizzie Kurtz (Lucy), Ryan Kelly (Schroeder), Gabi Epstein (Sally) and Christopher Wilson (Linus). The direction and choreography is by Donna Marie Baratta and the Musical Directing by M.J. Johnson. The show plays July 27, 2009 until July 31st, 2009- Monday/ Friday at 1pm and Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday at 7pm. Tickets are $15.00 for adults and $10.00 for children and seniors. For reservations please call 705 717-9776 or visit the website.
Also in Barrie this summer you can catch a creation from Mamma Mia/ We Will Rock You star Adam Brazier called He Sings She Sings at the Gryphon Theatre (1 Georgian Drive). Here is the blurb from the website: July 22nd at 2:00pm and 8:00pm, July 23rd and 24th at 8:00pm for $29.00 ($25.00 for 2:00pm), “created and directed by Adam Brazier “songs from some of Broadway’s best musicals including A Chorus Line, West Side Story, Annie and The Full Monty, will leave you singing and smiling. A cast of two (Brazier with Melissa Thomson-Hicks and Mark Selby on the keys) embarks on a wonderfully humorous look at modern-day relationships through the revealing words and music of the most beloved tunes of all time!” Sounds like the potential for a charming evening! For more information, visit this website.

Since I dropped the Toronto Fringe ball, but I am a big fan of Chris Craddock, a brilliant playwright/performer from Edmonton who started in the Edmonton Fringe Festival years ago, I am going to plug his show Moving Along, hoping that all you in Toronto saw it and relished it for every exquisite moment and that you will help me pass the word along to the citizens of Winnipeg. Moving Along begins at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival (Canwest Performing Arts Centre 2 Forks Market Road) July 15, 2009 at 11:00pm, Thursday July 16th at 5:00pm, Friday July 17th at 10:30pm, Tuesday July 21st at 7:15pm, Thursday July 23rd at 12:00pm, Friday July 24th at 9:30pm and Saturday July 25th at 12:00pm. Here is what other reputable people had to say about Craddock and his show: “The writing is as electric as the chair and the performance will make you gasp!”- Liz Nichols, The Edmonton Journal, “Craddock is nothing less than brilliant”- Martin Morrow The Calgary Herald, and “This show is brilliant!… See it! See it! See it!”-Kurt Spenrath See Magazine. I rest my case.

Summer is always fraught with Shakespearean offerings what with classical works under canopies and in parks and parking lots alike. In Edmonton, for example, the Freewill Shakespeare Festival has kick-started with Comedy of Errors and Titus Andronicus which play on alternate evenings at 8:00pm Tuesday through Sunday until July 26th. There are matinees at 2:00pm on Saturday and Sunday. For tickets visit Tix on the Square or call 780-420-1757.

Titus Andronicus, Shakespeare’s goriest of tragedies, is (obviously) the inspiration for Stewart Lemoine’s newest revenge comedy Mother of the Year now playing at the Varscona Theatre in Edmonton. Check this out! “In July 2008, the largest Teatro cast in many a season convened for the premiere of Stewart Lemoine’s A Rocky Night for his Nibs. Box office records were shattered as a riot of summer fun was had by all. Teatro’s July offering for 2009 is entitled Mother of the Year, and it’s another big ‘un, a grandly scaled companion piece to the Free Will Shakespeare Festival’s concurrent production of Titus Andronicus. This potent new Lemoine offering looks directly into the dark eyes of ambition and revenge and returns their cold gaze with a dazzling smile
Set in Edmonton during the 1980’s, Mother of the Year unfurls the dramatically hilarious saga of a pair of rival meat packing companies and the families who run them. It’s a fast-paced, shockingly Shakespearean display of simmering resentments, disastrous marital alliances, quiet double-crosses, and bold betrayals, all played out in a world strongly reminiscent of such classic Reagan Era prime time soap operas as Dynasty, Dallas, and Knot’s Landing.
Coralie Cairns, previously seen in Teatro’s At the Zenith of the Empire and The Velvet Shock, returns in the role of Vitellia Fane, the fire-breathing matriarch of Fane Foods, with Ron Pederson and Farren Timoteo as her hapless sons. Julien Arnold plays hooky from the Free Will Players this season, to appear as Granger Haverly, proud CEO of Haverly Meats, father to two coltish daughters portrayed by Briana Buckmaster and Shannon Blanchet, and employer of two assistants with very different notions of loyalty, played by Jana O’Connor and Davina Stewart. Andrew MacDonald-Smith appears as a mysterious newcomer among the sexy slaughterhouse crowd, and Jeff Haslam and Sheri Somerville smolder as unscrupulous contractors whose dealings with the Haverlys and the Fanes help precipitate the torrents of calamity and carnage that conclude the play.
Stewart Lemoine directs the proceedings with whimsical gravity, while set and lighting designers Paul Bezaire and Scott Peters create an opulent Romanesque vision of Edmonton in its Pocklingtonian heyday. Costume designer Leona Brausen has a ball, outfitting everyone in shoulder pads, sequins, and appliqué. In a long overdue return to Teatro, stage manager Michelle Chan uncorks the champagne, hoses down the abattoir, and hands out the volumnizing gel.
Mother of the Year runs at the Varscona Theatre from July 9 to 25. Performances are Tuesday through Saturday evenings at 7:30 pm, with additional matinee performances on Saturdays at 2pm
Ticket prices are $25 for adults and $20 for students and seniors on Wednesday through Saturday evenings. All seats on Saturday afternoons are $15, and Tuesday evenings are Pay-What-You-Can.
Also, anyone with a ticket stub from the Free Will production of Titus Andronicus will receive a $10 discount on a single regularly priced ticket for Mother of the Year, and Mother of the Year ticket holders will receive the same discount at Titus Andronicus. This deal is available at the door only!
For reservations, call 780 433-3399, Voice box #1.Tickets also available through Tix on-the-Square at 780 420-1757 or http://www.tixonthesquare.ca/
AT THE VARSCONA THEATRE 10329 – 83 AVENUE.”

Also at the Varscona, if you’re in Edmonton, you’re not going to want to miss the Season Finale of Oh Susanna!—the live, improvised Euro-style variety show hosted by the indominable and ultra glamorous Susanna Patchouli. It has been an entire decade of frivololity- so come kick off at the party that tops them all—featuring the divine charms of co-host Eros, God of Love and the antics of the Compania del Mambo, plus a cavalcade (a freakin’ cavalcade!!) of special guests! Laughs! Music! Cocktails! The party starts at 11pm on Saturday July 25th at the Varscona Theatre (10329-83rd Avenue, Edmonton.) It’s surely a celebration not to be missed!

I am hesitantly going to post the news that Anthony Rapp, the original Mark in Jonathan Larson’s 1996 musical Rent, who reprised his role in the 2006 Chris Columbus film adaptation told me that as far as he knows, Toronto will be added to the list of destinations for the National Touring Company of the musical in which Rapp plays Mark and Original Cast Member Adam Pascal reprises his role of Roger. I will post more information as soon as it becomes available, in the meantime, you can catch the scoops from this website.

Lastly, I wanted to draw your attention to the fact that I have enabled the comment option at the bottom of each of my blog posts. I do encourage you all to leave comments and opinions and to further discussions of the issues that the blog attempts to raise. I also encourage you to embark in discussions with one another as well as just with me, as that will help develop a more unique and strong sense of community here at TWISI. Please, do bear in mind to be considerate and respectful, and that this blog tries its best to be a positive space, and while of course criticism is welcome, I would like to gently discourage anything that resembles overt “bashing”. Enjoy! And thanks for visiting