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Wednesday, 14 December 2016 19:28

“A Very Soulpepper Christmas” Concert Returns Dec. 20th Featured

Written by  Dennis Kucherawy
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Two performances only

Canada’s blues/jazz/gospel

great singer Jackie Richardson leads cast - New arrangements

of traditional carols by music director Mike Ross

“A soul!  A soul!  A soul cake!

Please good Missis a soul cake!” – Traditional

Written by Dennis Kucherawy

Jackie Richardson, Canada’s national jazz/blues singing treasure,  is once again sprinkling a little “pepper” on our soul cakes next week.

“A Very Soulpepper Christmas” concert returns this coming Tuesday, Dec. 20th, but, to meet popular demand, it has moved to the Jane Mallett Theatre in the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts for only two performances – a matinee at 2 p.m. and an evening concert at 7:30 p.m. that is almost sold-out.

Jackie and Soulpepper musical director Mike Ross headline a talented, “all-star” line-up of singers and musicians consisting of:

·      Waleed Abdulhami

·      Stephanie Cadman

·      Ins Choi

·      Albert Schultz

·      Brendan Wall

·      Hailey Gillis

·      Chris Butcher

·      Rebecca Hennessy

·      Paul Metcalfe

·      Andrew Pacheco

·      Trishul Sharma and

·      Lowell Whitty.

The concert is part of Soulpepper Theatre’s Family Festival that is running throughout December.  The company is ushering in the Yuletide with plays and a magic show at two locations – its home base, the Young Centre for the Performing Arts, in the Distillery District and the Jane Mallett Theatre in the St. Lawrence Centre for the Performing Arts.

At last year’s premiere Christmas concert, Mike Ross, also Soulpepper’s Director of Music and Resident Artist, said it is “the first `holiday specific’ concert presented as part of Soulpepper’s popular Concert series.”

This is a concert for the entire family, he said, full of “stories and music celebrating favorite sounds of the season,” with a “Soulpepper twist.”  That means, he said, these concerts have a unique format.  “These are original creations by Soulpepper artists with the support of some of Toronto’s best musicians that always involve a story-telling element, not only music.”

The stories will be the artists’ reminiscences, mostly about their connection to a song they will perform.

Ross said the show will be multicultural, reflecting the backgrounds of its “diverse artistic company” and Toronto as well.  “There is a global take on several holiday carols, including, returning from last year, one performed by Waleed Abdulhamid (from Toronto of South Indian descent).”

Songs performed last year included “O Holy Night,” “O Come All Ye Faithful” (in Mike Ross’ driving new folk arrangement), “Coventry Carol,” “À La Nanita,” “Deepest December,” “Last Month of the Year,” Jackie Richarson’s passionate performance of “Look to This Day,” (composed by Mike Ross with lyrics by Kalidasa / Anand) and more.

Last year’s concert is available for a limited time on CD available from the theatre.

Other Entertainment During Soulpepper’s Annual December Family Festival:

Soulpepper calls it a “holiday mix of theatre, concerts, and magic shows.”  Among the plays are the company’s beloved and magnificent production of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” adapted by Michael Shamata now on.  Company member Joseph Ziegler returns as Scrooge, a role he has played with Soulpepper since 2001.

Also playing, but at the St. Lawrence Centre’s Jane Mallett Theatre, is “It’s A Wonderful Life,” a stage adaptation by Philip Grecian of Frank Capra’s classic film of redemption and love that starred Jimmy Stewart.

Other shows include Soulpepper’s Dora Award-winning “Alligator Pie” for all ages, based on Toronto poet Dennis Lee’s poems; “Hocus Pocus,” a new magical show with David Ben, and the debut of “Rose,” a whimsical musical presentation from Mike Ross and Sarah Wilson based on Gertrude Stein’s children’s book “The World is Round” that premieres this Friday, Dec. 16th and continues Sat., Dec. 17th and Thursday, Dec. 22nd.

“A rose is a rose is a rose… but who is Rose?” asks the press release. Rose is the heroine who takes a magical journey to discover her place in the world with the help of her best friend, Willie, and her dog, Love.

Beginning Jan. 6th, Soulpepper will present the three-day Winter Waves family program that will transform the Young Centre through free music, theatre, film and interactive experiences with Soulpepper Resident Artists and special guests.

Information on Bypassing the Christmas Market Entrance Fee:

Anyone visiting the Young Centre on weekends during the Christmas Market from now until it closes on Thursday, Dec. 22nd, may bypass the lines and the fee by entering via Cherry St. – There is a separate lane against the building leading into the lobby.  Having a printed ticket helps, but it isn’t necessary.

Ticket information:

“A Very Soulpepper Christmas Concert” will take place at the St. Lawrence Centre’s Jane Mallett theatre, located at:

27 Front. St. E.

Toronto, On. (just two blocks east of Yonge St. and just east of the SONY Centre for the Performing Arts.)

To order tickets and more information, phone the box office at 416-866-8666 or visit www.soulpepper.ca and click on performances. Tickets are also available at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts’ box office.  It is located in the Distillery District’s Young Centre for the Performing Arts, 50 Tank House Lane, Toronto, ON.

Tickets are $25 to $60 for the 2 p.m. matinee and 7:30 p.m. performances.  NB – Few tickets remain for the latter concert.

Rush tickets, if available, are $25 one hour ahead of curtain time.

By Dennis Kucherawy    

Last modified on Wednesday, 14 December 2016 19:38
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