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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...

prize for most

prize for most productions though: there are at least 12 productions of Elf: the Musical, both professional and amateur, across the province. Suddenly extra popular this year, Elf: the Musical is based on the film Elf, with music by Matthew Sklar and book by Thomas Meehan and Bob Martin (of Drowsy Chaperone fame). The Grand Theatre’s production of Elf: the Musical just lost a performance to multiple cases of COVID but we hope that this is just a blip and not a sign of things to come. Two traditional seasonal offerings are on my must-see list this year: first, the stage version of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas at the Shaw Festival, helmed by the dynamic team of director Kate Hennig and choreographer Allison Plamondon who brought us last year’s Niagaraon-the-lake hit Holiday Inn. November 18-December 23. www.shawfest.ca. I also don’t want to miss the always joyously anarchic panto from Ross Petty Productions, with its score of contemporary pop hits repurposed for fairy tale antics. An additional incentive is that Peter’s Final Flight is a final panto bow by the production company. All the usual elements will be there: the bright young juvenile leads, the smiling villain just asking to be booed (Ross Petty himself as Captain Hook – a role he has said is one of his favourites) and that strange British tradition of the “dame” always played by a man – in this case Dan Chameroy returning in skirts as another audience favourite, Plumbum. Matt Murray writes the script again, and all is directed and choreographed by Tracey Flye, with music direction by Bob Foster. December 2-January 7. https://www.rosspetty.com A little more offbeat I find myself also looking for more unusual holiday offerings and several have caught my eye: Young People’s Theatre is presenting Snow White, in a revamped contemporary version exploring and not shying away from the problematic themes included in the original fairy tale but also promising fun and laughter and enjoyable singing and dancing by the alternating cast of two playing all 14 characters. November 21-January 7. https://www.youngpeoplestheatre.org At Harbourfront, co-presented by Why Not Theatre, Moby Dick is coming into harbour in a production by the internationally acclaimed puppet theatre from France and Norway, Plexus Polair, led by artistic director Yngvild Aspeli. The highly dramatic novel has been adapted into an even more highly dramatic stage production that features fabulous life size puppets, a stunning visual design and an underwater orchestra. December 13-16 https://harbourfrontcentre.com/event/ moby-dick/ At the Royal Alexandra Theatre, on the more traditional side of feel-good musicals but without the holiday theme, is Fisherman’s Friends, the Musical. Based on the true story of a group of Cornish fishermen getting together to sing the traditional working songs they had sung for generations and being discovered by a fish-out-of-water music manager, the show tells the story of the group becoming chartstopping sensations and ending up onstage at the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury. Joyous performances of traditional Cornish folk tunes accompanied by traditional instruments are interwoven throughout. November 30-January 15. www. mirvish.com A scene from Plexus Polaire’s Moby Dick Ross Petty as Captain Hook and Dan Chameroy as Plumbum BRUCE ZINGER Shaw Festival's Gypsy, featuring Kate Hennig opens in May 2023. CHRISTOPHE RAYNAUD DE LAGE Ringing In the New Looking ahead into 2023, three previously postponed musical productions are finally getting the chance to open, and I am circling them on my calendar right now. In April the remount under the umbrella of Crow’s Theatre of Yes Theatre’s hit Sudbury production of Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along will come at last to Toronto’s East End. Sondheim fans like myself will be thrilled to get the chance to see this increasingly popular Sondheim musical which was a notorious flop on Broadway when it first debuted in 19981. Inspired by the 1934 Kaufman and Hart play of the same name, Merrily famously tells in reverse order the story of three friends and their rise to fame at the expense of the friendship that made it all possible. Dora award-winner Mitchell Cushman directs and the score is filled with favourites such as We’ve Got a Good Thing Going. April 19-May 7. https:// www.crowstheatre.com/whats-on/view-all/ merrilywerollalong In May, the Shaw Festival’s previously postponed production of Gypsy, starring Kate Hennig, will finally have the chance to open. The beloved musical, inspired by the memoirs of Gypsy Rose Lee, by Arthur Laurents (book), Jule Styne (music), and Stephen Sondheim (lyrics) is a wonderful vehicle for a singing actress. Famously first played by larger-than-life belter, Ethel Merman, Mama Rose has also been memorably played by Angela Lansbury, Tyne Daly, Bernadette Peters, and Patti LuPone among others. It is exciting to anticipate seeing the talented Kate Hennig’s take on this legendary character. May 10-October 7. https:// www.shawfest.com/playbill/gypsy/ And finally, Kelly v. Kelly by Britta Johnson (music and lyrics) and Sara Farb (book) developed through the Musical Stage Company’s Crescendo Program, and repeatedly postponed thanks to COVID, will at last get its world premiere in May. Based on a real story from 1915, this exciting musical tells the story of a 19-yearold heiress who after getting romantically entangled with a tango dancer finds herself being sued in court by her mother for “incorrigibility.” I saw an early excerpt a few years ago presented by the now defunct Canadian Musical Theatre Project, and music, choreography and book were stunning, surprising and fun. May 26-June 18. Canadian Stage Berkeley Street. https:// musicalstagecompany.com/shows/ kelly-v-kelly/ Jennifer Parr is a Toronto-based director, dramaturge, fight director and acting coach, brought up from a young age on a rich mix of musicals, Shakespeare and new Canadian plays. 20 | December 2022 - January 2023 thewholenote.com

KOERNER HALL 2022.23 Concert Season Academy Chamber Orchestra SATURDAY, DECEMBER 17, 7:30PM MAZZOLENI CONCERT HALL FREE (TICKET REQUIRED) String students from The Phil and Eli Taylor Performance Academy for Young Artists come together as the Academy Chamber Orchestra to perform a special concert Leif Ove Andsnes THURSDAY, JANUARY 26, 8PM KOERNER HALL TICKETS START AT ONLY At his Koerner Hall debut, “one of the most gifted musicians of his generation” (Wall Street Journal) will perform Silvestrov’s Bagatelle, Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 31, and works by Janáček and Vustin Supported by The Michael and Sonja Koerner Fund for Classical Programming The Glenn Gould School Vocal Showcase SATURDAY, JANUARY 28, 7:30PM MAZZOLENI CONCERT HALL TICKETS START AT ONLY A wonderful opportunity to see the GGS’s talented voice students present an evening of art songs and opera excerpts Taylor Academy Showcase Concert SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 4, 4:30PM MAZZOLENI CONCERT HALL FREE (TICKET REQUIRED) The Phil and Eli Taylor Performance Academy for Young Artists presents concerts by the leading young classical musicians in Canada. Hear the stars of tomorrow! Bach Collegium Japan, Masaaki Suzuki, conductor, with Roderick Williams, baritone SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 5, 3PM KOERNER HALL TICKETS START AT ONLY One of the world’s most sought after baritones, Roderick Williams will perform Bach, Telemann, and more with Bach Collegium Japan Supported by The Michael and Sonja Koerner Fund for Classical Programming Earl Lee conducts the Royal Conservatory Orchestra FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 8PM KOERNER HALL TICKETS START AT ONLY Earl Lee is a renowned Korean Canadian cellist and conductor, currently Assistant Conductor of the Boston Symphony. He and the RCO will perform Stravinsky, Barber, and Schumann Part of the Temerty Orchestral Program TICKETS & SUBSCRIPTIONS ON SALE NOW! 416.408.0208 RCMUSIC.COM/PERFORMANCE 237 BLOOR STREET WEST (BLOOR ST. & AVENUE RD.) TORONTO

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