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“That’s Not Funny” - The Art of Laughs with Toronto’s Art of Time Ensemble

“First you get down on your knees

Fiddle with your rosaries

Bow your head with great respect

And genuflect… genuflect… genuflect!”

“…Do whatever steps you want if

You have cleared it with the pontiff

Everybody say his own Kyrie Eleison

Doing the Vatican Rag” – by Tom Lehrer

“Eerie” and “intoxicating” … Just in time for Hallowe’en

As it begins its third season, the Danforth’s Coal Mine Theatre continues to build its reputation as one of Toronto’s most challenging, risky and thrilling independent companies with the premiere of English playwright Laura Wade’s Royal Court Theatre hit, “Breathing Corpses.”  Now in previews, it opens this Wednesday night, Oct. 26th.

Canadian premiere of hit Donald Trump play – U.S. Election Night, Tuesday, Nov. 8th

“Superb and remarkably complex…”     Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune

Which candidate will be pushing up daisies on U.S. Election Night, Tuesday, November 8th, just a fortnight from tomorrow?  In Toronto, a more apt question might be who will be presenting Daisey, that is celebrated … and some might say notorious… American playwright and monologist Mike Daisey.

“You Want It Darker,” Leonard Cohen’s new album, Now Available at Song & Script

“A bleak masterpiece… Rich, deep and potent as ever.” - The Telegraph, London, UK

By Dennis Kucherawy

Tomorrow, Friday, Oct. 21st

Uncork the wine, put on the fire and lay back ‘cause it’s going to be a Leonard Cohen weekend.

Thursday, 20 October 2016 21:24

Donovan at Danforth Music Hall

Written by Dennis Kucherawy

Donovan Brings the Sixties Back to Toronto’s Danforth Music Hall Friday night

His hit “Mellow Yellow” Featured in the Hit “Minions” Animated Comedy

His fans range from nostalgic Baby Boomers to “Minions” groupies everywhere.

Indeed, Donovan, now 70-years-old, wrote the soundtrack for the Hippy Era.

By Dennis Kucherawy

“If you can remember the Sixties,” the late comedian Robin Williams once said, “you weren’t there.”

Wednesday, 19 October 2016 16:21

Mike Myers at Toronto Reference Library Friday

Written by Dennis Kucherawy

True Patriot Mike Myers at Toronto Reference Library Friday night

Canada – “YEAH, BABY!!”

This Friday night, internationally renowned comedian Mike Myers visits the Appel Salon in Toronto’s Reference Library to discuss his new book titled, of course, “Canada.”  The free 90-minute event, that includes an autographing session, begins at 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016 16:15

Acting Up’s David Bowie / Queen Tribute

Written by Dennis Kucherawy

Song & Script “Uncovers” Acting Up’s David Bowie / Queen Tribute

By Dennis Kucherawy

Does Beelzebub ever have a devil of a concert put aside for you!

In less than a fortnight, some of Canada’s most talented “Rebel Rebels” will unleash a thrilling tribute to rock ‘n’ roll legends Queen (Freddie Mercury) and David Bowie in celebration of the 10th anniversary of Acting Up Stage Company’s “Uncovered” concert series.

 

Contrary to Tom Cochrane,

life is more than a highway, 

according to one of Canada’s

greatest playwrights,

indigenous or otherwise. 

It’s the universe.

That’s the ambitious theatrical palette Tomson Highway embraces in the Toronto premiere of his awesome new musical that bursts with originality, energy, imagination and, of course, love.  In addition to writing the show’s book, lyrics and music, he plays the piano as part of a trio.

Soulpepper’s Hosanna sparks memories of Monette

Often outrageously hilarious and at times sadly tragic, Soulpepper’s “Hosanna” is regarded as one of Montréal playwright Michel Tremblay’s greatest plays.

Set in the demi-monde of Montreal’s Blvd. St. Laurent, colloquially known as “The Main,” the play begins with a drag queen named Hosanna, who is obsessed with the cinematic glamour goddess Elizabeth Taylor.

Hosanna is quietly returning from a Hallowe’en to the bachelor apartment on Plaza Saint-Hubert he shares with his lover, an aging would-be macho biker stud named Cuirette.

Pulitzer Prize-winning Cancer Author to Speak Monday at Toronto Reference Library

Siddhartha Mukherjee to deliver 2016 The Cutting Edge Lecture as part of Appel Salon Series

By Dennis Kucherawy

This Monday, Oct. 17th, Siddhartha Mukherjee, the Indian-born American scientist, physician and writer, will deliver a lecture titled “It’s All About You:  Personalized Medicine and a Revolution in Cancer Treatment.”  Sponsored by the Krembil Foundation, it’s the 2016 lecture in the series titled “The Cutting Edge:  Exploring New Ideas at the Intersection of Health and Technology.”

Friday, 16 September 2016 15:19

Kensington Jazz – Back to TO’s Jazz Roots

Written by Dennis Kucherawy

Kensington Market Jazz Festival

Salutes Beloved Pioneer,

Drummer Archie Alleyne

By Dennis Kucherawy

“Without the past, there is no future.”  Toronto jazz pioneer Archie Alleyne’s famous and wise words best describe the arrival of the Kensington Market Jazz Festival (KMJF) premiering this weekend.  It’s a return to one of the roots of Toronto…and Canada’s … jazz scene.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016 17:27

New Toronto Jazz Fest Opens This Friday

Written by Dennis Kucherawy

Kensington Market Jazz Festival to Feature Stellar Lineup This Weekend – Sept. 16th to 18th

For Canada’s internationally renowned jazz diva Molly Johnson, this weekend is more than a dream come true.  It’s a homecoming.

By Dennis Kucherawy

Thursday, 08 September 2016 22:55

The Donna Summer Project

Written by Dennis Kucherawy

“Jersey Boys” Love to Love (Donna) Summer

This January, “Jersey Boys,” the Four Seasons’ juke-box musical, will close after 11 years on Broadway.  The Tony and Olivier Award-winning Best Musical, also a recipient of a 2007 Grammy Award for Best Musical Show album, is the 12th longest running in the history of the Great White Way.

This summer, the show’s director and choreographer, two former Torontonians, reunited to make magic happen again, this time with the life and music of the late great Disco Diva Donna Summer. She died in 2012.

Monday, 05 September 2016 23:23

CANCER BENEFIT CONCERT DEFIES GRAVITY

Written by Dennis Kucherawy

North York Cancer Benefit Concert Lineup Defies Gravity

Together We’re Unlimited – Monday, Sept. 19th

By Dennis Kucherawy

“A formidable force of will and phenomenal technique,” Chris Jones of the venerable Chicago Tribune raved about her performance.

The Chicago Sun-Times said she was “astonishing,” and that her rendition of the unforgettable “Rose’s Turn,” a nervous breakdown set to music, was volcanic.

Thursday, 18 August 2016 15:11

Randy Bachman Rocks the Ex

Written by Dennis Kucherawy

Tomorrow night (Friday), Canadian

rock ‘n’ roll legend Randy Bachman will

once again take care of business by

kicking off this year’s Bandstand series

at The Ex.

With Guess Who bandmate Burton Cummings, Bachman has written some of Canada’s greatest rock ‘n’ roll songs

including “These Eyes,” “No Time,” “Undun,” “Share the Land” … the list goes on and on. 

By Dennis Kucherawy

Thursday, 30 June 2016 14:11

Church On Church St. This Sunday, July 3rd

Written by Dennis Kucherawy

Music at the Annual MCC Toronto Service Features “Kinky Boots’” Co-Star A.J. Bridel and Jeigh Madjus (Off-Broadway’s “Here Lies Love”)

This Sunday, July 3rd, A.J. Bridel, “Kinky Boots’” showstopper and 2016 Dora nominee, will headline MCC Toronto’s “Church on Church Street,” Canada’s largest annual outdoor worship service led by Rev. Dr. Brent Hawkes.

 

Friday, 24 June 2016 17:59

Kaylee Harwood in Concert

Written by Dennis Kucherawy

Stratford/Shaw/Broadway vet in Concert

Dora Warmup This Monday, June 27th

Opens in “Life After” at Fringe Festival July 1st

If football games have tail-gate parties, what do theatre award shows have?  If it’s Toronto, it’s a special Happy Hour jazz concert with lovely leading lady Kaylee Harwood!

This Monday, in her words, it’s “a Pre-Dora Awards pit stop” at 120 Diner from 6 to 7 p.m.  It’s located at 120 Church Street, near Richmond St. E.  Call 416-792-7725 for reservations or text 416-706-4237.

Saturday, 18 June 2016 14:54

"Matilda-The Musical"

Written by Dennis Kucherawy

CD and Song Book Now in Stock

London’s Royal Shakespeare Company’s "Matilda – The Musical” is an international sensation.  Based on Roald Dahl’s  famous children’s story, it is a delightful show for all ages, the winner of more than 50 major international awards including 12 for Best Musical.

Toronto previews begin Tuesday, July 5th,2016

Thursday, 16 June 2016 16:49

Soulpepper’s “Mary” Is Brilliant

Written by Dennis Kucherawy

Closes this weekend!!!!

Excellent writing, acting and directing make Soulpepper’s thought-provoking production of Irish writer Colm Tóibín’s acclaimed and controversial “The Testament of Mary” a must-see.  It compels viewers to reconsider religious history.

The 70-minute play (no intermission) is now in its final weekend with a final performance this Saturday, June 18th, at the Distillery District’s Young Centre for the Performing Arts.

Saturday, 11 June 2016 15:26

And the Tony Award Went to…

Written by Dennis Kucherawy

Euphoric Joy! What a marvelous party!

Life, especially life in show business, unfolds in the strangest ways.

At Livent, I was the original publicist for "Kiss of the Spider Woman” that premiered at Toronto’s Bluma Appel theatre, then went on to win seven 1993 Tony Awards including “Best Musical.”  It was director Hal Prince’s first production since his smash international hit “The Phantom of the Opera” and was eagerly anticipated.

Saturday, 11 June 2016 14:25

New Barbra Streisand Album Due This August

Written by Dennis Kucherawy

New Streisand Broadway/Hollywood Album Due This August

This Sunday night, Barbra Streisand will make her first appearance at the Tony Awards since 1970, more than 35 years ago.

That’s just the beginning of her return to the Great White Way.  On August 26th, she is also releasing “Encore:  Movie Partners Sing Broadway” featuring duets with major film stars including Antonio Banderas, Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway

The album features three songs by Stephen Sondheim: “Loving You” from “Passion, “The Best Thing That Ever Happened” from “Road Show” and “Take Me to the World” from “Evening Primrose.”

An Insider’s Look at Tony Best Revival Nominee “She Loves Me”

SLM’s Music Whiz Shares His Thoughts

It's not every day you receive a fan note from a legendary Broadway lyricist, one that is being honored this year with a Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre.  Then again, David Krane isn’t your everyday composer/arranger.  The show is “She Loves Me,” but the following is a “HeLoves Me” moment.

Last June 10th, on opening night of the Roundabout Theatre Company’s production, lyricist Sheldon Harnick, who survives his late partner, composer Jerry Bock, wrote David, complimenting him on the incidental music and dance arrangements he composed for the revival.  It is an opening night note that, he told Song & Script, he will cherish forever:

Saturday, 11 June 2016 14:07

Rock the Tonys With Acting Up Stage Co.

Written by Dennis Kucherawy

Rock the Tonys With Acting Up Stage Co. this Sunday

Acting Up Stage Company, one of Toronto’s most exciting theatre troupes, is celebrating this year’s Tony Awards this Sunday night at The Friar Firkin pub at 160 John St.

The free tickets are gone, but there may be some cancellations.

Doors open at 7 p.m. and the telecast on The Friar’s big screen begins at 8 p.m.  There will be special prizes.

Celebrate the Tony Awards in Style

Getting ready for the “Hamill-TONYS”

"My brother-in-law just laid down 65 bills that bear the likeness of the first Treasury secretary in exchange of a pair of tickets to the Broadway musical that bears his name:  `Hamilton.’” – Joanne Kaufman, The Wall Street Journal

With the Tony Awards speeding toward us this Sunday, June 12th, “Hamilton” has become the Tragically Hip of Broadway.  As of yesterday, a single ticket is listed for $10,000 for creator and star Lin-Manuel Miranda’s sold-out final performance in the title role. Insane!  You could buy a Lincoln for that kind of money… maybe used… and drive to New York.

Wednesday, 08 June 2016 16:11

An Evening with George Takei

Written by Dennis Kucherawy

Pride 2016 Presents an Evening with George Takei

On Sunday, June 26th, at Ryerson Theatre, Hikaru Sulu, helmsman of the Star Trek enterprise, aka George Takei …American actor, director, author and activist …

will visit Toronto to help celebrate our first month-long Pride.

His visit follows his acclaimed Broadway engagement earlier this year, starring opposite Lea “Miss Saigon” Salonga in the musical “Allegiance,” directed by Stafford Arima, Toronto York University grad and Olivier-nominee in his Great White Way debut.

Saturday, 04 June 2016 14:46

"Poster Boy" Opens July 27th

Written by Dennis Kucherawy

Stafford Arima’s New Musical Receives World Premiere at Prestigious Williamstown Theatre Festival This July

"Poster Boy" Opens July 27th

By Dennis Kucherawy

You could say Canadian Olivier-nominated director Stafford Arima now has his Oskar.

That’s Oskar Eustis, artistic director of New York’s Public Theatre, who gave the world such hits as Tony Kushner’s epic play “Angels in America,” the musical hit “Fun Home” and the unstoppable sensation “Hamilton.” He is involved in the development of Stafford Arima’s latest project, “Poster Boy.”

Obviously, it's a coup for Stafford to be working with such a giant of American theatre.  During his public conversation at the Panasonic Theatre May 9th sponsored by Toronto’s Koffler Centre, “Angels in America” Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner called Oskar Eustis “my best friend.”

“Poster Boy’s” world premiere engagement takes place July 27th to Aug. 7th at Massachusetts’ renowned Williamstown Theatre Festival (WTF), about a three-hour drive from Boston.

The Toronto-born and raised Arima is a graduate of York University where, upon graduating, was the recipient of the Dean’s Prize for Excellence in Creative Work.

He is known locally for his imaginative 2012 Stratford Festival production of “Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris” that starred Brent Carver.

In the UK, Arima received a 2004 Olivier Award nomination for his direction of the West End production of “Ragtime.” In 2012, her also directed the “revisal” of the musical “Carrie,” long regarded as the biggest flop on Broadway in history.  He turned it into a hit with Richard Zoglin of Time Magazine commenting “… this “Carrie” has real weight and emotional conviction, and it engaged me more than a lot of musicals I’ve seen lately…This show has guts.”

Among Stafford’s many credits, he made his Broadway debut this season directing the acclaimed musical, “Allegiance,” at the Longacre Theatre.  It starred George (“Star Trek – TV”) Takei and Lea Salonga, who created the role of Kim in “Miss Saigon” in the West End and in New York.

“Poster Boy” is produced and “was nurtured” by Williamstown’s artistic director Mandy Greenfield, and the Public also will be involved, said publicist Molly Barnett.  “Their exact involvement hasn’t been announced yet,” she said in an e-mail.

Stafford declined comment when asked about Oskar Eustis' contribution.

Vogue magazine in a profile published this February titled “Inside the High-Drama Life of `Hamilton’ Impresario Oskar Eustis,” reported he is “overseeing the development” of “Poster Boy.”  The story said the musical was “inspired by (actual events surrounding) the notorious cyberbullying of Tyler Clementi, a Rutgers freshman who, in 2010, jumped to his death from (Upper Manhattan’s/Washington Heights’) George Washington Bridge after his roommate secretly captured him kissing another man on a webcam and then tweeted about it.”

Clementi’s death brought international attention to the dire consequences of cyber-bullying.  He became the cause’s “Poster Boy.”

"The musical’s story is thought-provoking as it “lays bare the complexity of protecting our privacy, identity and humanity in the digital era,” says the show’s news release.

Vogue writer Adam Green sat in on a working session Eustis conducted with Arima, music/lyricist and Tony Award-nominee Craig Carnelia (“The Sweet Smell of Success”) and playwright Joe Tracz who is writing the book.  “The musical,” Green writes, “centers on a pair of friends who go by their online names, DistanceRunner and TrollCity.”  They unite in an online chat room to

discover what drove one of their own to take his life in such a shocking manner.

(Other online names in “Poster Boy” include Sexposition, Harrison42 and Citi2Mo.)

Eustis pushes them to clarify the characters’ motivations, he reports. “`DistanceRunner needs to accept that he didn’t prevent Tyler from killing himself,’” Eustis says.  “`And TrollCity needs to accept that he doesn’t mean they’re powerless.  They’re both wrong and they’re both right.  Does that sound right to you?’”

“`Absolutely,’” says Carnelia, as Green continues to describe the session.

“`I identify with the rage,’” says Eustis. “`For me, the equivalent is people who try to say things to cheer me up.  They have this desperate need to believe that you can be fixed.’

“Eustice doesn’t believe that there is a fix for grief, though he does have faith in the consoling power of theatre,” Green surmises.

The musical will be performed without an intermission.

The cast of seven actors consists of:

Jerry Dixon:       Harrison42

Katie Lee Hill:     Female Reporter,

Hannah/Molly/Wei,

Jane Clementi/University Worker

Llana:                DistanceRunner

Stephen Wallem: Sexposition

Noah Zachary:    TrollCity

Tayler Trensch:   Tyler Clementi aka Citi2Mo

Rohan Kymal:     Dharun Ravi

 

About the Williamstown Theatre Festival (WTF):

The festival is a resident summer theatre on the campus of Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts that, in 2002, received a 2002 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre under Mandy Greenfield’s artistic direction.  It creates renowned productions of both world premiere plays as well as revivals of some of the great works of the Western theatrical canon.

Since 1955, WTF has brought together gifted emerging theatre artists with our country’s finest theatre professionals to produce a vibrant summer season in the Berkshires, while simultaneously running one of the country’s top training and professional development programs.

In 2015, the Festival launched a New Play Commissioning Program as well as a community-immersive theatre initiative that unites professional theatre artists with Berkshire residents to create new work.  Additionally, each summer the Festival produces an array of unique cultural events including family-friendly theatre, Late-Night Cabarets, music concerts and comedy.

The artists and productions shaped there each summer fill theatre in New York, throughout the country, and abroad.  Recently critically acclaimed productions launched by the WTF include the recent revival of Sam Shephard’s “Fool for Love” directed by Daniel Aukin, starring Nina Arianda and Sam Rockwell; Bernard Pomerance’s “The Elephant Man” directed by Scott Ellis, starring Bradley Cooper; John Kander, Fred Ebb and Terrence McNally’s “The Visit”, directed by John Doyle, starring Chita Rivera, among many others.

Other major celebrities who have performed there include Sigourney Weaver, Gwyneth Paltrow, Christopher Walken, Nathan Lane, Richard Chamberlain, Kate Burton, Olympia Dukkakis, Paul Giamatti and Calista Flockhart.

"Poster Boy" will be performed as part of the NIKOS Stage Season, named after Nikos Psacharopoulos, a Yale Drama School professor who co-founded the WTF and was its executive artistic director from more than 30 years.  He attracted such leading actors as E.G. Marshall, Frank Langella, Rosemary Harris, Blythe Danner and Colleen Dewhurst.

Ticket Information:

Single tickets are now available at www.wtfestival.org or by mail order using WTF’s season brochure (call 413-597-3400 to join the mailing list.)

When the WTF box office opens in June, tickets may be purchased online, by phone (by calling 413-597-3400), or in person at the ’62 Center for Theatre and Dance Box Office at 1000 Main St. (Route 2), Williamstown, MA 02167.

Visit Song & Script to order CDs and songbooks of musicals and plays referred to in this blog including  “Allegiance,” the revival of “Carrie,” “Hamilton,” “Fun Home” and the DVD of HBO’s “Angels in America” starring Al Pacino.

By Dennis Kucherawy

Thursday, 02 June 2016 13:33

Don DeLillo in Conversation

Written by Dennis Kucherawy

Don DeLillo in Conversation Tonight at Reference Library

"The gods have equipped Don DeLillo with the antennae of a visionary.” – Martin Amis

It’s been a fantastic week for contemporary literature at the Reference Library’s Appel Salon downtown as two of our era’s greatest authors paid Toronto a visit to promote their new novels.

Monday night, Julian Barnes, Man Booker Prize Winner, spoke to a standing room only audience about “The Noise of Time,” his new, highly praised novel based on the life of Russian composer Dimitri Shostakovich.

Tuesday, 31 May 2016 15:20

Dora Nominations Announced

Written by Dennis Kucherawy

Nominations Announced for 37th Annual Dora Mavor Moore Awards

Prizes honor best in Toronto Performing Arts

The Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts (TAPA) today announced 236 nominations for the 221 eligible productions for the 37th annual Dora Mavor Moore Awards.

For the 2015-16 season, 113 producing companies registered eligible productions.  The winners will be announced at the glittering ceremony hosted by award-winning actor/director Bruce Dow on Monday, June 27th at Harbourfront Centre’s Concert Stage.  The annual Silver Ticket and Audience Choice Awards also will be revealed.

Leading companies receiving nominations are:

Julian Barnes, Man Booker Prize Winner, Appears Tonight at Reference Library

New novel based on life of Russian composer Dimitri Shostakovich hailed as his “masterpiece”

“…a magnificent fictionalized retelling of the composer’s life under Stalin.” – The Guardian

Julian Barnes, one of our era’s greatest writers, will appear tonight at the Toronto Reference Library’s Appel Salon to discuss his new, highly-acclaimed novel “The Noise of Time.”

Acting Up Stage Company Celebrates 10th “Uncovered” Anniversary with David Bowie/Queen Tribute

Broadway stars Brent Carver and Paul Nolan Lead Talented Company

Thunderbolt and frightening, very very frightening?  Well, you and Scaramouche might as well do the fandango as Beelzebub has a devil of a concert put aside for you later this year.

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