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Volume 5 Issue 10 - July/August 2000

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  • Theatre
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  • August
  • Toronto
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Music THEATRE SPOTLIGHT

Music THEATRE SPOTLIGHT BY SARAH B. HOOD Canadian Content in Time for Canada Day The Canadian pride expressed in the flags and fireworks of Canada Day continues to shed its glow over many of the productions of the· summer months. Canada's comic operatic icon Mary Lou Fallis gets the ball rolling on July 4 with her new show Primadonna 's First Farewell ·Tour. Fallis was nominated for a Dora Award for last year's reprise of her hugely popular Primadonna. Now she returns to show us how a Canadian diva faces the prospect of advancing years by going home for her first farewell concert. Primadonna gave the world interpretations of familiar material that no one ever expected to see: imagine a sweet-toothed soprano devouring sachertorte while singing "Tales From the Vienna Woods". In this new show, says Fallis, we will hear her reinterpretations of favourites from Schubert, Handel and Donizetti - "all the good composers." How unusual will her performances be? "Let's just say that there's an S & M ver~ion of a Mozart aria," she promises. Do these interpretations give listeners new insight into the world of opera? "Sometimes the insight that I give them ruins them for other performances," Fallis says, naming a noted critic who complained she had forever destroyed his appreciation of the Queen of the Night's Aria. But wasn't he previously traumatised by the famously squeaky ' recording of the same piece by Floqmce Foster Jenkins? I ask. "I have to say I sing· better than qer, hands down; you put that down," insists the Diva. Don Messer's Violin revisits a different kind of Canadian musical icon. For those readers too young to remember the enduringly beloved CBC staple Don Messer's Jubilee, Messer was one of the leading exponents of Canada's east-coast Scots-Irish folk music tradition, and although he wasn't as well loved as Rocket Richard ... well, he came close. Don Messer's Violin runs at the Brockville Arts Centr~. Brockville, until July 1. Among the other Canadian content on offer this summer: Cheatfr1' Heam by Canadians Paul Ledoux (Fire) and David. Smyth runs at the Georgian Theatre Festival, Meaford 1,mtil August 19, while the charming • Canadian trucker musical 18 Wheels, by John Gray (Rock and Roll) rups at Port Colborne's '· Showboat Festival Theatre to July 19. Here's an item just in from the Once Is Enough Department: just as we've all been getting used to the idea that it's possible to inake an international hit musical out of 70s songs we'd thought we'd finally managed to stop singing (that would be Mamma Mia, based on the hits of Abba), along comes another one! From July 31 to August 5 a production called. Barry Manilow's Copacabana is running at the Hummingbird Centre. It stars Gavin MacLeod, notorious for his long-running portrayals of "Murray" on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Captain Stu bing on The· Love Boat. Apart from the title song, other music we'll be listening to in "the hottest spot north of Havana" will be Latincflavoured numbers like "Ay Caramba!", "Lola" and "Who Needs To Dream?" I suppose' there's room in the world for a musical based on what must have been one of the silliest songs ever to become a major hit - but what worries me is the open door that it will leave for knock-offs. Just imagine what the producers will be throwing at us in the next few .' seasons ... What about Winchester Cathedral, a loving trip to the intersection of Memory Lane and Carnaby Street? Britney , Spears could create the lead role · of' an aspiring model ih swinging '60s London, with a tangled love life and a great wardrobe of mi~iskirts, wide, hot-pink vinyl belts and matching go-go boots. And who would play her mom? Why, non~ other than former supermodel and star of Tommy Tune's Me And My Gal -- ' Twiggy, of course, Finally, a tantalizing bit · of information: The Theatre · Centre and The Music Gallery - two of Toronto's most consistent presenters of challenging original music/theatre/dance experimentation - are both homele~s or about to be. The good news is that they're - · exploring the possibility of . sharing a space. Let's hope they find a suitable home to.gether; the resulting cross-fertilization - ofaudiences as well as artists - , is one of the most exciting pro~pects to have arisen in the last few seasons of Toronto theatre. Music Theatre Notes ' Maybe in summertime it's just that we're too laid-back and lassitudinous to be able to sjt through a whole musical. That must be why there are so many shows that consist of only the very best bits by a. given composer. I remember one idyllic summer volunteeririg as an usher at a production of an Irving · Berlin tribute in a beautiful stone outdoor theatre in Old Montreal. Maybe that's why I 'love his music so much - but you can't really fault a songwriter who comes up with · "Easter Parade" "Alexander's Ragtime Band", '"There's No · t Business Like Show Business", "God Bless America", "White Christmas" and "Blues Skies".

If you 're convinced, you can see a Berlin show called - what else? - Blue Skies at the Showboat Festival Theatre in Port Colbome from August 23 to September 3. Or maybe you prefer Cole Porter? Then head to Ganaraska for the August 13 presentation of Red, Hot & Cole. For the suave and sophisticated Sir Noel, it's Oh Coward! - playing at both the Upper Canada Playhouse in Morrisburg until July 16 and the Grand Theatre, Kingston from July 19 to 29. And if, like Woody Allen, you love the evocative chords of George Gershwin, then you'll enjoy Summertime at the Helen ·Gardiner Phelan Playhouse right here in Toronto from August 13 to 20. Another favourite of mine would have to be the contemporary songwritiflg team of Kander and Ebb (whom I once had a chance to meet). They may not yet be as famous as Gershwin or Porter, but they've written a remarkable string of hits, including Cabaret, Chicago and Kiss of the Spider Woman. New Stages Summer Theatre in Peterborough is presenting a Kander and Ebb revue, The World Goes Round, from July 6 to 15. And to close this article off ohso-neatly, I offer as a final note a production that falls into not one but two of the categories · I've been discussing so far. Stan Rogers - A Matter of Heart is both a tribute to a great songwriter and a genuine Canadian product. Rogers is the poet laureate of Canada's working men and their families: you either can't listen to a single one of hi~ songs or you're addicted . to the simple, straightforward , emotion of songs like "Barrett's Privateers". Stan Rogers runs at the Jane Mallett Theatre of the St. Lawrence Centre from July 12 to August 5. Music THEATRE LISTINGS COMMENCE ON PAGE 22 2000 Artist International 2ndAnnual Music Competition September 5 -11.2000 Sponsored by th.e Toronto School of Music Canada *Pru.es & Awards: Piano, Voice, Strings, Woodwind 1" 1 Pme Winner. $ 8,000.00, 2°d Pme. $ 5,000.00 3rd Pme. $ 3,000.00 * Special Awards: all the finalists will receive$ 500.00 *Total grant of $ 80.000.00 .. plus concert *i • Note: 1 51 , 2°d, and 3rd Prizes & Finalists, certificates will be' . awarded to winners in all four Disciplines: Voice, Piano, Woodwinds and Strings To promote the talent of young musicians. *Objectives: To provide financial assistance for education ,To offer the winners an opportunity to perform * Eligibility: open to young musicians between the ages of 8 to 18 & 18 to 35 years old wh_o have the talent. *Process: A resume with photo and applicati9n fee of.0 must be mailed t9 the Artist International Music & Dance Association ,#1 Bowan court North York, Ontario, · M2K 3A8 Canada. All materials and application fee must be received on or before July 31, 2000. Residents outside of Toronto are permitted to send an audition tape with Three contrasting pieces that best display their talent. Successful candidates Will be invited to The semifinals and Finals co~petition. will be held from Sep 5 to 11, 2000. in Toronto, For further information, please contact Tel (416) 346-6963 or (416) 260~1882 Fax (416) 222-8928. / pro VOCE Studios New York • Los Angeles Washington, DC • Toronto presents Excerpts from Don Giovanni - Mozart Don Pasquale - Donizetti Faust - Gounod Susannah - Floyd and The Medium (complete)- Menotti Musical Direction by Mila Filatova Stage Direction by Edwarp Franko Friday and Saturday, July 21, 22 at 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Jul 22,23 at 2 .m. The Alumnae Theatre 70 Berkeley Street Tickets / 416-960-0472 CAMMI· Canadian Amateur Musicians/ Musiciens Amateurs du Canada Do you like to make music? Plan a musical vacation! o group instruction o instrumental and vocal ¢ orchestra, band, choir o musical theatre o classical, jazz, world music o professional coaching staff o non-competitve atmosphere o swir:nming, nature walks Cedar Glen Music Cel'Jtre for adult amateur singers and instrumentalists (50 minutes north of Toronto) ; July 30 - August 6, 2000 August 6 - l 3, 2000 o over 20 years of music making · o· programs for adult amateur music makers of all levels For information and brochure: · (416) 964-3642 cedar_glen@cammac.ca Visit our website at www.cammac.ca oronto School of Music Canad Maureen Forrester, Honorary Chair. Colin. Yip, President We offer superb musical instruction by a distinguished teaching fahlty of world-renowned musicians. *Audition for International Opera Centre Now* Music director William Shookhoff Professio~al opera training program for G. Verdi: La Traviata, Rigoletto, Aida, Otello; W.A. Mozart: Don Giovanni, Magic Flute, Marriage of Figaro; G. Puccini: Tosca, Turandot, Madama Butterfly, Gianni Schicchi; G. Bizet: Carmen, performance with orchestral accompaniment . Professional Performance Diploma For high school graduates who wish to become professional musicians. (Piano, Voice, Strings, Woodwinds, Composition, Jazz, Chinese Music, Church Music, Opera, Musical Theatre) Artist Diploma Program dvanced level for professional studies the students who possess a degre or equivalent qualifications.preparing student for solo performance ' careers or entry level positions as music teachers. General Music Education Private or group instruction for children (ages 4 and up) as well as adults from beginners to advanced levels. (for'Piano, Voice, Strings Woodwinds, Music theory, Music history, Compositi'*1.Jazz Music,) •SCHOLARSHIPS available to TALENTS Students* For information and registration, please contact Toronto School of Music Canada Downtown: 349 Queen Street West, Suite 201, Toronto, Ont, MSV2A4 Tel~ (416) 260-1882 Fax (416) 222-8928 North York: No. I Bowan Court, North York, Ontario, M2K3A8 Tel. (416) 346-6963 Fax. (416) 222-8928

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