The green is poking out and doing its usual flirtation. Elsewhere in Toronto, theatre is blooming.
Book it today:
Hand to God at the Coal Mine Theatre. Minuscule but mighty is the space on the Danforth run by Ted Dykstra and Diana Bentley. As Dykstra told our audience last weekend, this is bare-bones-budget kind of theatre and yet, what has been on offer since he began five years ago is continued excellence in programming and product. I have yet to see anything there that didn’t provoke and prod at the brainspace: Hand to God was another home run. If you like your comedies running dark and demonic, this is for you. I loved it. So did a lot of others: the show is sold out but added matinee info is here.
Godspell at the George Ignatieff Theatre. Coming just in time for the Summer Solstice, Wavestage surely will tune us up for summer and all the vibrancy that season offers with their production of this hit musical. Godspell was the first major musical theatre offering from three-time Grammy and Academy Award winner, Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Pippin, Children of Eden) and chances are strong if you went to summer camp anytime after it hit off-Broadway in 1971, you sang some of that memorable score as did millions around the world when the show toured. When Godspell went on to open on Broadway in 1977, that music won Schwartz a Tony award for best original score. Toronto has a strong connection with Godspell. When it opened here in 1972, it became an instant hit.
I will never forget it. All those people became my best friends. I remember every moment of that play.-Andrea Martin
Next to Normal at the CAA theatre. This musical won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama along with three Tony awards and is part of the Off-Mirvish series. Produced by the Musical Stage Company whose mandate is to offer material that “cause conversations on the car ride home”, this is a show that will do more for understanding the impact of mental illness than any flashy health campaign out there. Go see it for the best cast on Toronto stages right now led by Louise Pitre and Ma-Anne Dionisio: both, along with the other cast members, were outstanding on the preview performance I saw. Yes, we stood and cheered. Toronto audiences need to do that more often. These people delivered. Ticket info here
On the horizon: Toronto Fringe Festival will be partnering with Crow’s Theatre this coming July and bringing 16 festival shows to their home in Leslieville. That’s a first. As for Crow’s upcoming season, the hottest ticket next fall is sure to be Ghost Quartet. The Canadian premiere of what Crows are calling a “surreal chamber musical” comes from Dave Malloy, the composer/lyricist of Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812. If this new production is anything as fresh as that one, I’m in.