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Saturday, June 30, 2012

News Roundup, June 30, 2012

Steven Schipper
(photo credit: grajewski-fotograf inc)
VANCOUVER: Jessie Awards were handed out this week. Among winners were lead Meg Roe for The Penelopiad at Arts Club AND for All the Way Home at Electric company, and lead Greg Armstrong-Morris for La Cage aux folles at the late Vancouver Playhouse. Do You Want What I Have Got? A Craigslist Canata won for outstanding new script. Le portrait Gooble from Théâtre la Seizième won for best young audience production. (Source and full list of winners)

EDMONTON: Among winners of the Sterling Awards handed out this week in the capital was Death Of a Salesman. Citadel Theatre's revival of the Arthur Miller work won for best production. Carl Hare won the lifetime achievement award, while Brian Dooley won for best male lead for Michel and Ti-Jean at Theatre Network and Val Blanche won for best female lead for Little Elephants at Shadow Theatre. Edmonton Opera's anime-style Mikado scored for best costumes designed by Deanna Finnman. (Source and full list of winners)

OTTAWA: The Governor General's office has announced the names of Canadians who will join or be promoted within the Order of Canada and three well-known theatre people are on the list: playwright Sharon Pollock becomes an Officer; Des McAnuff, present artistic director of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival and Manitoba Theatre Centre artistic director Steven Schipper were named Members. Among other notable names: Yannick Nézet-Séguin, conductor (who has collaborated with theatre artists, notably at the Théâtre du Nouveau Monde) was named Companion. Michel Goulet, a sculptor and sometimes set designer, was named Member. Other names known within the arts industry - Guy Maddin, Nancy Kilgour, Greg Hollingshead, Stephen Chatham and Pierre Bruneau were named Members. (Source)

TORONTO: The Canadian Opera Company announced that the 2011-12 season had a whopping 91% attendance.

Theatre For Thought, June 30, 2012


ALL YOUR THEATRE NOW BELONGS TO YOU
joel fishbane
Fringe Festivals have long been a unique way to tap into the zeitgeist and this year’s Montreal Fringe was no exception: there were four shows about the end of the world, three of which involved zombies. At least one show at the upcoming Toronto Fringe will continue the trend, although exactly how remains to be seen. Zed.To, produced by The Mission Business, looks like it might be another zombie-flavoured night at the theatre. A piece of immersive entertainment, its plot actually started way back in 2009, threatening to give new meaning to that old writing technique of starting a story in medias res.
To understand the show, I caught up with one of its creators, Elenna Mosoff. The artistic associate producer of Acting Up Stage Company, Mosoff was most recently seen celebrating the company's accomplishments at the Dora Awards (for their productions of Caroline, or Change and Ride the Cyclone). But she hasn’t had much time to admire the trophies – she’s too deeply immersed in another, more pressing narrative Since 2009, Mosoff and her partners – local hotshots David Fono, Martha Haldenby, Trevor Haldenby and Byron Laviolette – have been crafting a theatre event that involved the creation of an online universe which will have direct consequences on the theatrical experience being planned for the upcoming Toronto Fringe.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Review: (Vancouver) Xanadu


Gaelan Beatty and Marlie Collins (Photo by David Cooper)


The Joyous Camp of it All
Xanadu is a well-oiled machine
by Jay Catterson

Holy Zeus! This Arts Club Vancouver production of the delightfully zany Broadway jukebox musical Xanadu, based on the god-awful 80s movie of the same name and includes all the hit songs plus others from Electric Light Orchestra, hits the Granville Island Stage like a glittery lightning bolt struck down from the heavens. The production is a well-oiled machine, and the actors all give performances that both delight and impress. Director Dean Paul Gibson has to be commended on the splendid job of executing the ingeniously comedic book by Douglas Carter Beane on stage; this show is a juggernaut to perform, with all the witty lines and gags needing to be pulled off with enough panache that if not executed right, they could be lost on the audience. However, the cast is solid and vocally splendid, and they deliver on all levels... mostly while wearing roller skates! 

CharPo's Real Theatre! June 29, 2012


Thursday, June 28, 2012

CPC Picture of the Week, June 27, 2012

The archetypal farce photo! (And we especially like the hat!)
Jackie Mustakas, Josée Boudreau, Darren Keay, Karen Wood, David Leyshon, Gabi Epstein in Perfect Wedding, Drayton Festival Theatre, 2012

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Video of the Week

One of Shakespeare's best "duals" with two of Canada's best actors:
Ben Carlson and Deborah Hay in Much Ado About Nothing

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

After Dark, June 26, 2012

In The Heat of The Night
What is happening to the Fringe and do we all need to worry?
By Gaëtan L. Charlebois

The 2012 editions of the Montreal Fringe, The Ottawa Fringe and the London Fringe are over and that, my friends, is problem number one with that thing we love so much: The Canadian Fringe Movement.

The Canadian Association of Fringe Festivals is the organization that holds the rights, in this country, to that glorious name: Fringe. They can bestow it or not, based on certain criteria. This year they blessed a new Fringe, in PEI, the Island Fringe. But here's what else we THOUGHT they did: maintain order among the festivals. Apparently not.




Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Sunday Read: Title At End by Brad Fraser




TITLE AT END
BY BRAD FRASER
THE SETTING.
An office.
THE CHARACTERS
The Artistic Director (AD), male, middle-aged
The Playwright (PW), male, middle-aged.
(The actors for the production were Ron White as the Artistic Director and Gavin Crawford as the Playwright. It was directed by Brad Fraser for Wrecking Ball 13 in Toronto on June 20, 2012.)
Copyright 2012. All rights reserved.


Production photos courtesy of Wrecking Ball and photo credit is Keith Barker.
LIGHTS RISE ON THE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR IN HIS OFFICE. HE SITS AT HIS DESK LEAFING THROUGH THE PAGES OF AN UNBOUND SCRIPT. THERE’S A KNOCK AT THE DOOR AND THE PLAYWRIGHT ENTERS WITHOUT WAITING FOR AN ANSWER.
PW- Hey.
AD- Have a seat.

Tour Whore, June 24, 2012


The Feeling Skin
by Cameryn Moore

You know how you grab your seat in a Fringe venue, and they have the air conditioning on so high that you have to put on a jacket, or you would if you were still carrying a jacket, but you aren’t, so you just sit there and freeze your butt off the whole time? In such a situation, you almost have to dedicate a whole paragraph in the review, right, or in the online comments or handwritten beer-tent buzz sheet to how distressing that is, and how it totally interfered with your ability to enjoy the show. Don’t you hate that?

Or you know, you’re standing outside in a line-up, the sun is beating off of the concrete surroundings, at least you have water and the door will be opening soon, but good god, it’s hot. And when you finally file into that air-conditioned space, ugh, it hits your sweaty skin and then all you can talk about with your neighbor until the lights come up on the show is how much you hate the chilly air. It feels good for a few minutes, but then you’re too cold, and can’t someone do something about that anyway? You know what I’m talking about? Yeah?

Shut up. Just shut up. I’m not going to feel cool again until September.

Coming to a Fringe Near You

Coming to a Fringe Near You
Reviews from Montreal

Editor's Note: The Montreal Fringe is one of the earliest in the season and as a result some of the ratings below - for shows which will be appearing at other Fringes across the country - are presented simply as representative of a moment in the life of that production. Fringe shows have a knack for improving as they travel.


Jem Rolls: TEN STARTS AND AN END
by Gaëtan L. Charlebois

I had been told by so many hard-core Fringers that if you have not seen a Jem Rolls show you have not lived. I am actually dissuaded by such hyperbole but this time I was assigned this venue and there was no avoiding the man and his latest work.

Simply, Jem Rolls - a performance poet - offers the kind of production that beggars the vocabulary. It is virtually impossible to do justice to both performer and text. Suffice it to say that ten minutes in I put away my notebook and was like a child - sitting forward in my seat utterly hypnotized as if I was five again and listening to one of my siblings tell me a particularly wondrous tale that I would insist on again and again.

I felt both assaulted and charmed by a fearless performer who pours his words over you - in poems, descriptions, interactions - to a blissful drowning by both poet and spectator. 


I'll stop now. I want to remember.



Saturday, June 23, 2012

Theatre For Thought, June 23, 2012


QUEEN OF THE STAGE
joel fishbane
Here’s a funny story: last winter I auditioned for the Montreal premiere of Elizabeth Rex, Timothy Findley’s award-winning play about a meeting between Queen Elizabeth and Shakespeare’s company of actors. After discussing the show, director Mike Payette asked if I had any questions. “Just one,” I said. “Is Leni Parker playing the Queen?” Mike’s smile was almost imperceptible as he neither confirmed or denied the question. Suffice it to say I didn’t get the part; but a few weeks later, I learned that Leni Parker would indeed be playing that most famous of all British queens.
I can’t take credit for putting the idea into Mike Payette’s head; he’s a smart enough guy that he had already offered her the role by the time I came along. And why not? Leni Parker is one of Montreal’s most respected talents, a Concordia grad who has become known for the regal bearing she brings to every role she plays. Whether it’s the titular Baroness in Michael Mackenzie’s The Baroness and the Pig or the romantic heroine of Collen Curran’s True Nature, Parker can be countered on to provide an imposing presence and the sort of wit that can turn a simple greeting into a cutting remark.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Opinion: Stuart Munro on the Slotkin Affair

This Week at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival
by Stuart Munro
(Stuart Munro is a senior reviewer at The Charlebois Post - Toronto)

Something strange happened at the Stratford Festival this week. On Monday, theatre reviewer and blogger, Lynn Slotkin, had her media tickets for the remainder of the season revoked. When she asked why, the PR rep on the other end of the line paused before saying “it didn’t look like [she] was a fan/friend . . . of the Stratford Festival.” (Ms. Slotkin admits she’s not sure which word was used.) She blogged about it, the story made its way around Facebook, and behold! A few days later her media tickets were reinstated for the season. The reasoning? “Upon reflection, we realize that critical debate is an essential part of any vibrant theatrical culture and that we should continue to provide you with reviewer’s tickets.”
Now I just want to say that I don’t know Lynn Slotkin. We’ve never met in any capacity and I’ve never read her reviews. The situation has been resolved, and this is not me leaping to her defense. But it isn’t too hard to see that there are potential dangers here.

Review: (Winnipeg) Henry V


Andrew Cecon (photo credit: Allen Fraser)

Perfection
When a reviewer puts away a notebook and just watches
by Nanette Soucy

I am a sucker for a good war story.

Chalk it up to coming of age near CFB Gagetown, in New Brunswick, where it’s been said that 1 in 4 men are enlisted, photos of our grandfathers in their uniforms inform our definition of handsome, seeing our boys off to war, or at least, Basic, an emotional and necessary sacrifice that feeds our sense of nobility and patriotism, and the foundation of so many friendships is poured like so much beer in the junior ranks’ mess.

Shakespeare in the Ruins imbues its production of Henry V with familiarity by setting it in the trenches of the Great War.  Emblematic of the almost clichéd universality of the Bard’s works, with a few clever ad-libs, cuts and edits, and a fantastic assembly of props and costumes, it is almost impossible to imagine that the story of Hal’s rejection of the old Eastcheap gang, his re-integration by disguise of the junior ranks, miraculous take-over of France, and getting the girl in the end, could take place in any other time, in any other context than World War I.


CharPo's Real Theatre! June 22, 2012


Thursday, June 21, 2012

BREAKING NEWS: Ken Gass terminated as Factory AD

According to a news article by Richard Ouzounian on the Toronto Star website and confirmed by a Tweet from Globe and Mail critic J. Kelly Nestruck, Ken Gass - artistic director for the last 15 years of Factory Theatre in Toronto - has been abruptly terminated as of today. On the company's website, a search for a new AD has already been announced.

This is a developing story.

Review: (Montreal) Elizabeth Rex



Enter The Queen
Tableau d'Hote conquers the heat
by Anna Fuerstenberg

Last night’s performance of Elizabeth Rex was a kind of coming of age for Montreal Theatre. It is a fantastic script, written by the inimitable Timothy Findley, and directed with tremendous grace and extraordinary intelligence by two of this city’s finest directors. Mike Payette and Liz Valdez created a work that is wonderful for any audience, and has an added layer of insights for the lover of Shakespeare’s canon.

The imaginative story pits Elizabeth the First, brilliantly performed by Leni Parker against William Shakespeare, delightfully portrayed by Arthur Holden, and his leading man/lady, Ned. Brett Watson as Ned gave a tour de force performance that left the audience breathless and is worth crawling through the unbearable heat to witness.  The repartee is brilliant and the tension as they await the execution of the Earl of Essex thrilling. 

CPC's Picture of the Week, June 21, 2012

She lands at the Queen Elizabeth in Vancouver in four weeks...
Mary Poppins, of course!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Review: (Winnipeg) Footloose


Everybody Cut Foot Loose! (Just don’t put it in the mail and send it to the Conservatives, please.) 
(And if you’re writing headlines about either, try not to put them together, ok, 
Winnipeg Metro? Jeeze.) 
by Nanette Soucy

I have a vivid memory of early childhood afternoons spent in the kid next door’s living room, dancing about, swooning about Kevin Bacon with all the affected  passion 6 year olds can muster, and getting in trouble for breaking knick-knacks by kicking off the white patent mary-janes we’d worn to church. Tammy Ferguson’s mom was the fuddy-duddy preacher in our lives, banning fun by forcing us outside, our Sunday shoes pitched out the door behind us.

Flawlessly choreographed, the fiercely energetic cast of Rainbow Stage’s Footloose delivers classic musical theatre kitsch with unselfconscious relish. Although at times during the first half, the dialogue seems to be merely biding time until the next song, the show picks up quickly and ravishes us with the 80’s pop hits we come looking for in the second half. Troublesome City Kid Ren McCormack, played by David Ball, brings the groove back to repressed, anti-intellectual, rule-bound Bomont, a town  whose conservatism, manifest in the law banning dancing, is brilliantly expressed in the song Learning to be Silent, where the town’s womenfolk sing la la la, lips pursed, unable to speak truth to the powers that be, their husbands, their boyfriends, their fathers.  The overboard abstemiousness of Bomont adults should be a hilarious caricature, but unfortunately rings true for many contemporary American states,  which makes Footloose all the more relevant in this era of wars against women and attempts to legislate “traditional family values” that slowly creep their way into Canadian consciousness from our neighbours to the South. Ren McCormack’s talent for compelling us to open up and let our hair down shines brightest in the transformation of his podunk friend Willard Hewitt, from bowlegged doofus, to  dancing machine. Markian Tarasiuk manages his character’s arc with outstanding and delightful inertia.

Like so many teen movies of the era, from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off to Pump Up the Volume, the gist of the Footloose story is of grown-ups cramping teen style, and of determined kids fighting the conservative adult squareness that encroaches on their good time. But as director Carson Nattrass notes, it is fundamentally the story of a community dealing with loss, and no more appropriate opener could have been chosen for Rainbow Stage’s 57th season, as their community mourns the loss, and celebrates the life of Executive Producer Ken Peter, who passed away unexpectedly this winter after having recommended this particular show for the upcoming year. Grief can overcome a community and compel us to resent that anyone could ever sing or dance again.  Youth, however, springs eternal, and joy is indomitable. As Willard Hewitt’s mama tells us, once you climb a mountain, you can’t back down. Doubtless, Ken Peter would have wanted it this way.

Footloose continues to July 8

Video of the Week, June 20, 2012

She Has a Name from Burnt Thicket is
now playing at the Montreal Fringe as part of its tour
across Canada.
(Read our review)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

After Dark, June 19, 2012

One Fundamental Joy
Healing the spirit
by Gaëtan L. Charlebois

When things get hairy - health, finances, The Charlebois Post, life, love - I pick up my dog, he glues his body to my chest (knowing what's coming) and I squeeze him so hard he moans. As I loosen the hug we both do the same thing: we sigh. He nods off and I feel the weight of the world melt away.

As everything was coming down on my head last week - deadlines missed, student protests, Syrian horror - I realized that I might break the dogs ribs if I kept picking him up. Then I thought, "Thank keeeeerist for The Fringe!"

Not just the Fringe, actually.

Theatre.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Reviews: Glimpses of the Montreal Fringe


Butt Kapinski, Private Eye
reviewed by by Chad Dembski

A film noir clown show (improvised?) by American Deanna Fleysher (from Hollywood appropriately) that attempts to solve a murder that has just occurred.  A show with a massive amount of audience participation, (all 10 of us had to participate at least two or three times) that will  be a thrill for some or a nightmare for others.  The show quickly derails and seems beset with massive technical flaws that seemed to be - possibly - part of the act but I was never quite sure.  Still the plot (which goes in every direction) is not the point of the show, it is the relationship between the buffoon clown Butt Lapinski and the various audience members.  I was surprised how good natured and willing to play along everyone in the house was and that seemed to help keep the show afloat.  I imagine a much larger audience would provide a more interesting dynamic for the audience members who do not want to participate (which included myself).  Still Deanna Fleysher is a fantastic improviser who has a lot of charm and who seems to revel in the awkward and bizarre banter between her and the audience.  So if you want to be part of a Fringe show and enjoy participating onstage this show is for you, if not you may find this uncomfortable and hard to get through. 



The Sunday Read: Dan Bray on Women in Early Modern Theatre

Codpiece Daughters: 
Women on the Early-Modern Stage
by Dan Bray 
(All photos by Dan Bray, Yuen-Ying Carpenter, and Clare Waque.) 


SIR ALEXANDER
’Tis woman more than man, Man more than woman, and, which to none can hap,
The sun gives her two shadows to one shape! (The Roaring Girl)


Every season, Vile Passéist Theatre aims to unite the shows it stages by focusing on a theme that was relevant to both the early-modern era and our own. Last year, we explored The Jew of Malta and Edward II: their depiction of a Jewish man and a homosexual king provided our audiences with valuable insight into how Elizabethans perceived "the Other" within their society. Our 2012-13 season is similarly focused. In staging the plays The Roaring Girl (by Middleton & Dekker),The Maid’s Tragedy, and The Tamer Tamed (By Beaumont & Fletcher), we are moving our gaze onto Jacobean treatments of females and exploring how their roles transformed or were limited by their society.


Top left: Christina Turner as Anabella and Colleen MacIsaac as Putana (’Tis Pity She’s a Whore). Bottom left: Kaleigh Fleming as Moll and Claire St-Francois as Mistress Yellowhammer (A Chaste Maid in Cheapside). Right: Lesley Robertson as Cariola (The Duchess of Malfi).

Tour Whore, June 17, 2012


Here is How I Wake Up
by Cameryn Moore

Here is how I wake up:
Reciting lines. I’m performing in the Out-of-Towner Fringe-for-All tomorrow, still working out the flow of my one-minute preview. So much can go wrong in one minute; if it goes really wrong, I’ll go over one minute and the lights will go down, and that looks bad. So I fell asleep last night at 3am talking through this short little snippet. I think I went through it maybe six times? And I woke up at 8am, fully 45 minutes before I had set my alarm to go off, and I was mumbling lines to myself.

Here is how I wake up:
Phone rings. It’s the landline. Shit. I know I set my alarm. But maybe I forgot to save it. I squint at the phone, yep, 10:05, the wankers are starting early today. Fumble for my glasses bedside, scramble for the phone, trip over the power cord to my laptop, find a pen, fuck, fuck, fuck, deep breath, “Hi, it’s Cameryn… great, I’m ready.”
Here is how I wake up:
Eyes stinging. Gah. Last night wasn’t a show night, just some eye makeup, so I didn’t bother taking it off. When I’ve got full makeup on, for a show or appearance, I always do the routine: eye-makeup remover, facial towelettes (both from Neutrogena), splash with water, light night moisturizer. It takes five minutes, tops. But at 5 in the morning that can feel like an eternity between me and my bed.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Theatre For Thought, June 16, 2012



AN UNENLIGHTENED CONVERSATION WITH ELIZABETH BLUE
joel fishbane
I met Elizabeth Blue a year ago but she still hasn’t met me. Such is the life of the actor: you perform a series of quirky quasi-autobiographical monologues and people start thinking they know you better then their own friends. Hoping to avoid embarrassment in case we bumped into each other on the street, I decided to contact her when I saw she was returning to the Fringe Festival – along with her new show One Week with the Shaman. I’m happy to report that now we’ve properly met - or at least as properly as anyone can meet in the digital world.
“I got into performing as a junior in high school,” Elizabeth Blue wrote in an email, no doubt sent from some quaint café in the heart of Manhattan. “I got the extra role in Into the Woods – Milky White the cow, a role previously given to a stuffed animal.” Apparently the role was such a hit that people to this day call her Milky White. “That cow really opened up doors for me,” she added.

Friday, June 15, 2012

News Roundup, June 15, 2012

Calder
NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE: The Shaw Festival has named a new Executive Director: Elaine Calder. Calder's resumé is impressive. "Ms. Calder is recognized as one of North American’s most sought after arts administrators. After leaving The Shaw in 1994, Ms. Calder went on to hold executive positions in the Canadian Opera Company, the National Arts Centre, the Edmonton Symphony, the Hartford Stage in Connecticut and the Oregon Symphony — where she has been President of that renowned institution since 2007."


TORONTO: According to a Tweet today from J. Kelly Nestruck, critic at the Globe and Mail, Daniel Brooks will be stepping down as artistic director of Necessary Angel as of the end of the present season. On the subject of the Globe and Mail, it was also announced that the paper would be merging its Arts and Life sections and, as of August, only be publishing the new section four times a week.

CALGARY: A new, as-yet-unnamed, critics's award has been launched in Cow Town. "Myself [Jessica Goldman], along with Stephen Hunt and Bob Clark of the Calgary Herald and Louis B. Hobson of the Sun have banded together to establish the first annual Calgary Theatre Critics’ Awards." (Source)


CharPo's Real Theatre! June 15, 2012


Thursday, June 14, 2012

CPC's Picture of the Week, June 14, 2012

Invent your own story for Emily Cooper's terrific photo of Wade Bogert-O'Brien in Shaw Festival's French Without Tears!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Video of the Week, June 13, 2012

And it's time to Shake and Bake (Shakespeare outdoors!). Starting off with
one of two - at least - productions of Taming of the Shrew this summer:  Bard on the Beach in Vancouver.
(The other we know of is at Repercussion in Montreal)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Blog: Theatre Night Fever

Back to the Mercers
by Howard Dai



I’ve always been a big fan of David French’s Mercer Family series, and have been waiting for these Canadian plays to be put on stage in Vancouver. 

And they are finally here. Furthermore, the actors in this production are two of my good friends from last year’s school musical Grease. This production of Salt Water Moon features 18-year-old Jesse DeCoste, and 16-year-old Sofia Newman.

After Dark, June 12, 2012

Why We Do It
Answering the question: "Why is there so much Fringe shit on your site?"
by Gaëtan L. Charlebois

For the next three months or so - whether you go to our national, Atlantic, Alberta, Montreal or Toronto sites - you will see a whole heap of Fringe coverage. Since I started covering the Montreal Fringe, some two decades ago, I have been an apostle of the movement. The reason is simple.

The Fringe is the alpha and omega of Canadian theatre. Before there were festivals at Stratford or Citadels in Edmonton, there were Fringes. Sure, back then we called it amateur theatre competitions (or festivals) but it still boiled down to an assembly of people who loved theatre defining the art of the future as it pertains to this country and, in most cases, doing it with nothing but imagination.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Sunday Read: Sarah Segal-Lazar on creating the Island Fringe in PEI



What to Expect When You’re Expecting (to Plan a Fringe)
5 Things to Know When Creating a Fringe Festival
by Sarah Segal-Lazar 
1) You are insane. And there is a very good chance that you have too much time on your hands. Either that, or you have masochistic tendencies. But if you have a career in the arts, then chances are that you’re already dealing with all things mentioned above. 

Allow me to clarify: creating The Island Fringe Festival has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. It’s given me the opportunity to team up with some incredible members of the arts community on PEI. It’s something that I’ve wanted to see on the Island for years. And in creating a site-specific Fringe Festival, it’s allowed me to help put up theatre in local, non-traditional spaces that I love. The frenetic energy that comes with planning a Fringe is just part of the Fringe package. 


The Abominable Showman, June 10, 2012



Life is a cabaret, old chum
Bugs takes in Cabaret in London’s West End, then previews the upcoming Montreal production of the famed musical as he uncovers similar themes within his own political family, back in colonial Africa…
By Richard Burnett
I knew I was in deep trouble when my travel buddy Vinnie and I were several shots into a bottle of absinthe hanging out with a couple friends in London for my birthday back in 2007, in a nightclub that looked like the alien bar in the original Star Wars movie. 
London – or Londonistan, as I like to call it, since British jihadists were terrorizing the city at the time – is still the pulse of Europe, though I couldn’t find mine when we stumbled from Detroit, the absinthe bar, to the Shadow Lounge on Old Compton Street in Soho, an expensive disco where Graham Norton and Rupert Everett like to hang out with the beautiful people. 
I felt like I was the star of a musical, like Cabaret, which we saw the previous night at the Lyric Theatre – the oldest theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue in the West End, having opened in December 1888. 
Sarah Bernhardt, Tallulah Bankhead, Leslie Howard, Noël Coward, Laurence Olivier, Vivien Leigh, Joan Plowright, Judi Dench and John Malkovich have all performed on this glorious stage. 

Tour Whore, June 10, 2012


So...where do I sleep?
by Cameryn Moore

Billet. Homestays. Couchsurfing. When I explain the concept to non-touring people, or, let’s face it, people who are well off enough to be able to get a hotel room any and every time they travel, they look at me like I’ve suggested collecting bed bugs as a viable protein source for when grocery money is running a bit low. “Doesn’t it get a little … weird?” Well, yeah. But they’re more afraid of me than I am of them.
Seriously, many of my hosts are a little afraid of me. I’m a special case. I’m a pain in the ass for billeting coordinators across Canada, because I’m a real-life, still-doin’-it phone whore. I try to keep working for my phone-sex company while I’m touring (10am to 3pm Eastern time, with the five-hour shift starting progressively earlier as I travel west). This means I need a private room, at the very least, with no kids around and no barky dogs, and I always ask for a landline, just in case, rather than paying international roaming charges for the privilege of taking company calls on my cell phone. 

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Review: (Toronto) Next to Normal



(poster art)

A Light in the Dark
Clearwater Theatre finds the truth in a complex show
by Stuart Munro
“I am the one who knows you
I am the one who cares
I am the one who’s always been there
I am the one who’s helped you
And if you think that I just don’t give a damn
Then you just don’t know who I am”
So sings Dan, the husband of Diana, about halfway through the first act of the Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning Next to Normal. Diana has been struggling with bipolar disorder for the better part of sixteen years, but it seems as though this is the first time that Dan is at a loss for what to do. After this, the roller coaster of emotions really takes off, and it becomes clear why Next to Normal is referred to as the “feel everything musical.”

Review: (Toronto) Einstein on the Beach


"Building" from Einstein on the Beach (photo credit: Lucie Jansch)

The Must Be Seen
Glass, Wilson, Childs, Luminato = event
by Axel Van Chee


Einstein on the Beach, an opera composed by Philip Glass, directed by Robert Wilson, and choreographed by Lucinda Childs was something of a holy grail back when I was at music school: everyone talked about it but no one had seen it, except for the few professors who happened to be at the right place, at the right time, and also of a certain age. It is known to be a landmark work that changed, and extended our understanding of not just music, but the art of theatre since the work's premier in 1976. And that, I think, this is what makes the recreation at Sony Center as part of the Luminato Festival such an extraordinary event: what the audience is witnessing is not something new, but a seminal work that, like the atomic bomb (borrowing a page from Einstein), transformed the world of the performance arts.