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Saturday, 06 May 2017 15:13

“Wicked” Composer Visits Toronto This Weekend

Written by  Dennis Kucherawy
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Three-time Oscar winner Stephen Schwartz to Share

Intimate Evening of Song and Memories at Panasonic

Theatre Sunday, May 7th at    7:30 p.m.

Onstage conversation with Michael Kerker, ASCAP Director of Musical Theatre and Performances by All-Star Canadian singers

Presented by Canadian Musical Theatre Writers’ Collective in association with ASCAP

Forty-five years ago this month, the Toronto production of Stephen Schwartz’s first smash-hit “Godspell” set a local record for the longest run of a live stage musical.


Opening in May 1972, it was expected to run for only a few weeks.  It went on to play a record 488 performances, first at the Royal Alexandra Theatre, then at the Bayview Playhouse in Leaside.

The cast featured a group of relative unknowns who went on to great fame, some with the SCTV show and, for Gilda Radner,  Saturday Night Live.  They included London, Ontario’s Victor Garber, Andrea Martin, Eugene Levy, Martin Short and Dave Thomas.  Thunder Bay’s Paul Shaffer, the music director, was hand-picked by Stephen Schwartz to work on the movie adaptation which starred, of course, Victor Garber.

This weekend, he returns to Toronto for “An Evening with Stephen Schwartz” at the Panasonic Theatre, presented by the Canadian Musical Writers’ Collective in association with ASCAP.  It happens this Sunday night at 7:30 p.m. at the Panasonic Theatre on Yonge St.

The composer and lyricist of many more classic hit musicals such as “Pippin,” “The Baker’s Wife” and “Wicked,” (which is in its second decade on Broadway) will participate in an onstage conversation with Michael Kerker, ASCAP’s Director of Music.

In addition to discussing his career, Mr. Schwartz will play some of his acclaimed songs, accompanying such accomplished Canadian entertainers as Canadian Broadway star Chilina Kennedy, Stratford Festival stalwart Cynthia Dale, Drayton Festival’s Danielle Wade, Dora Award winner Charlotte Moore, Jahlen Barnes (“Passing Strange”) and students from Sheridan College.

Stratford and Shaw Festival’s Chilina Kennedy, who will repeat her acclaimed Broadway performance in “Beautiful:  The Carole King Musical” in Toronto with the national touring company this June, said she’s excited as she has never had the chance to work with Stephen before.  “I love his work!” she enthused.  I am singing a song from `Godspell’ and look forward to hearing the rest of the selections (performed) this evening.

“I have many of his songs on my bucket list so this is just the beginning!”

Today, Mr. Schwartz will participate in the first Canadian edition of the ASCAP workshop at the Randolph Theatre on Bathurst Street.  Excerpts from two Canadian musicals in-progress will be performed for commentary and advice from a panel:  Joe DiPietro (“Memphis,” “Nice Work If You Can Get It”) and Canadian Bob Martin (“The Drowsy Chaperone”) and Stephen Schwartz.

The musicals are “Rumspringa Break:  An Am-ish Musical” (Book by Matt Murray, Music by Colleen Dauncey, lyrics by Akiva Romer-Segal) and “The Journey That Save Curious George” (Book by Jen Shuber, Music and lyrics by Nicky Phillips, Based on the book of the same name.)

As well as the workshop, Mr. Schwartz will conduct a master class with Sheridan College students.

Ticket Info:

Tickets range from $29 to $99.  VIP tickets are $175 and include a private dinner with Stephen Schwartz.

They are available by phone at 416-872-1212 and online at mirvish.com/shows/an-evening-with-stephen-schwartz.

Visit Song & Script to purchase and/or order our wide selection of CDs, songbooks and DVDs from Stephen Schwartz musicals.

It includes DVDs of the movie adaptation of “Godspell” starring Canada’s Victor Garber and the theatrical presentation of Bob Fosse’s production of “Pippin,” that was filmed in Hamilton Place and starred Ben Vereen.

By Dennis Kucherawy

Last modified on Saturday, 06 May 2017 15:31
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