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Volume 28 Issue 3 | December 2022 - January 2023

  • Text
  • Thewholenotecom
  • Faculty
  • Arts
  • Theatre
  • Musical
  • Jazz
  • Orchestra
  • Symphony
  • January
  • December
  • Toronto
Creative Collisions offer land-use hope for community and arts space; "Take Dec 10 for Example" -- Orchestral Explosion; Landmark novel finds music theatre form; Behind the scenes at Salute to Vienna; Collaborative serendipity on the joint-concert front; Amnesia and the alternative: QSYO's take on "Comfort and Joy". A bumber crop of record reviews (and not a Holiday compilation among them)! All this and more...

MUSIC THEATRE FALL ON

MUSIC THEATRE FALL ON YOUR KNEES finds theatrical form JENNIFER PARR An October workshop for Fall on Your Knees. JOHN LAUENER “ Ten years ago, I was inspired to adapt Fall on Your Knees as a piece of music-driven theatre,” says director Alisa Palmer. On January 20 at the Bluma Appel Theatre in Toronto, that initial seed of inspiration will have its first public performance as a fully fledged two-part epic piece of theatre. “History told with a thumping, complex narrative, a host of colourful characters and a great big bow to psychology” is how the Chicago Tribune described Fall on Your Knees, the multi-award winning 1996 novel by Canadian writer, playwright, and actor Anne-Marie Macdonald, that has been acclaimed around the world and translated into 23 languages. The book has an epic sweep. Chronicling the history of three generations of the Piper family through the variously fated lives of the daughters of an Irish-immigrant self-trained piano tuner, Fall on Your Knees begins in Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton Island, with music in all its forms, from step dancing to folk music, interwoven through daily life. From its Cape Breton Celtic roots, the story’s action is propelled forward by the music of the sisters’ lives: the trench songs of WW1, Tin Pan Alley and on into the 1920s, exploring the emerging jazz scene of Harlem in New York when Kathleen goes to New York City in hopes of becoming a singer at the Metropolitan Opera. Macdonald, herself, has said that the novel “began, in my mind, as a play. I ended up bringing the story to light as a novel but I’ve always cherished the vision of it as a three-dimensional experience for a live audience.” Hannah Moscovitch, who is writing the script and co-adapting the novel with director Palmer says: “We wanted our adaptation to be a work of art and not just render the book onto the stage. That meant we needed a rigorous collaboration between all the artists working on the adaptation to make the show a music-driven, image-driven and story-driven experience.” Along with Palmer and Moscovitch, the team includes composer and music director Sean Mayes, a rising-star composer who works and teaches in Canada, the US and the UK. Known for his work on Broadway productions MJ (assistant conductor) and Hadestown (associate conductor), he was also, this fall, the music director and conductor of the world premiere of Mandela, a new musical about Nelson Mandela at the Young Vic Theatre in London, England. As befits the story’s scale, the adaptation also has an epic sweep, with 24 named roles distributed among 13 actors, one of whom, vocalist Maryem Tollar, in Anne-Marie Macdonald LORA MACDONALD PALMER CROW’S THEATRE presents SOUNDSTREAMS 18 | December 2022 - January 2023 thewholenote.com

addition to the role of Mrs. Mahmoud, the sisters’ maternal grandmother, also shares live musical duties with multi-instrumentalists Anna Atkinson and Spencer Murray. So, what direction will the composer and adaptation team take with the music to drive the story? I am intrigued and looking forward to seeing (and hearing) what the team comes up with. Produced in association with the National Arts Centre (Ottawa), Vita Brevis Arts (Toronto), Canadian Stage (Toronto), Neptune Theatre (Halifax) and the Grand Theatre (London), Fall on Your Knees will travel to Halifax, London and Ottawa immediately following its Toronto premiere. For more information, see canadianstage.com (Toronto run: January 20-February 4). Wringing Out the Old Before Ringing in the New The past six months have seen an exciting resurgence of theatre as live performance has returned, including superb large scale musical productions of Damn Yankees at the Shaw Festival, Cabaret at the Stratford Festival and & Juliet at the Princess of Wales Theatre (Mirvish Productions), as well as top-notch medium-scale music theatre such as Choir Boy at Canadian Stage, to smaller shows such as the Festival Players’ The Shape of Home and Golden Record at Soulpepper. There is a hunger from both sides – performers to perform and audiences to return to auditoria, whether wearing masks or not. Now that the winter season is upon us holiday-themed productions are exploding across Ontario’s stages – a chance to squeeze every last drop of fun out of the old year before bidding it a relatively fond farewell. JD Leslie (L) and Herbie Barnes in YPT’s Snow White Traditional Fare Sign of hope: the beloved west-end Toronto Pia Bouman School for Ballet and Movement is at last able to go back to their usual Nutcracker performance location at Humberside Collegiate for a full-scale production – a worthy flag bearer for the contingent of Christmas Carols and Nutcrackers out there. Neither show wins the DAHLIA KATZ thewholenote.com December 2022 - January 2023 | 19

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