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Thursday, 11 May 2017 14:48

ONEGIN Launches The Musical Stage Co. Season

Written by  Dennis Kucherawy
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Vancouver Smash Hit Comes to Toronto in New Production

Previews begin this Saturday, May 13th at Berkeley Street Theatre

By Dennis Kucherawy

“Onegin’s” world premiere production last year at Vancouver’s Arts Club Theatre … held over twice … won an unprecedented 10 Jessie Awards. Now, The Musical Stage Co., formerly known as Acting Up Stage Co., is presenting Canada’s west coast hit in Toronto with previews beginning this weekend.


The Vancouver Sun described the sung-through musical as “big romantic melodrama with indie rock intimacy.”  The Globe and Mail called it “spectacular”: “`Onegin’ is not simply a shiny musical with catchy tunes and clever lyrics.  This show rises to another level:  It is a searing love story with authenticity that cuts through the song-and-dance spectacle and strikes the audience at its core.  The emotion does not feel Broadway-musical surface, but hits Russian-literature depths.”

“(It’s) one sweet piece of theatre,” said Peter Birnie, formerly of The Vancouver Sun.

Co-creators Amiel Gladstone and Veda Hille have reimagined Pushkin’s poem and Tchaikovsky’s opera from a contemporary perspective, says the show’s press release:  “`Onegin’ uses a high-energy musical score to tell a sweeping tale of unrequited love, infatuation and intrigue.  (The) young and innocent Tatyana falls in love with the self-obsessed aristocrat Onegin, but he rejects her, inspiring passionate love letters, noble duels and second chances.”

Director Amiel Gladstone and composer Veda Hille are in Toronto working on this production as is Josh Epstein who created the role of Vladimir Lensky.  Gladstone got the idea for a musical adaptation after working as an assistant director on a Vancouver Opera production of Tchaikovsky’s “Onegin.”  “I remember thinking `No one has ever updated this,’ and it is actually quite modern in terms of character and story and what they’re going through,” he said.

Hille added: “A young woman falls in love with someone who is perhaps a little difficult – as young women will do.  And what happens when there’s love and it’s not recognized?  It is utterly tragic.  They story is about real love and bad timing.  It’s a story of not recognizing someone in time.”

Hille and Gladstone’s indie-rock musical score is original although based on the opera’s “structural template” and incorporating musical lines “lifted directly from Tchaikovsky’s composition, says the press release.

Mitchell Marcus, artistic director of The Musical Stage Co., expressed his excitement that `Onegin’ is the first show to be presented under Acting Up Stage. Co’s new name: “It is a perfect example of our firm commitment to the most innovative and exciting Canadian musicals.  Like our most important past work, `Onegin’ is contemporary, thought provoking, passionate and moving.

“I believe it will be remembered in the history books as one of the great Canadian musicals.  I feel very fortunate we get to create the second production ever and share it with Toronto audiences for the first time.”

For more information about “Onegin” and The Musical Stage Co., visit

www.musicalstage company.com.


Ticket Information:

$35 to $59

Order by phone at 416-368-3110, online at www.canadianstage.com

or in person at the Canadian Stage Box Office

Berkeley Street Theatre

26 Berkeley Street, Toronto

May 13th to June 4th, 2017 (Opening night:  Wednesday, May 17th)

By Dennis Kucherawy

Last modified on Thursday, 11 May 2017 14:52
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