Music Theatre Quick Off the Mark Early music theatre releases beat the mid-season rush The theatre season proper doesn't really get rolling until around October 15 (when there will be too many thiQgs running to even hope to see them all). However, September always sees a few early-bird productions, and this year is no exception. One of the most promising is Fireweeds: Women of the Yukon, the inaugural production of Burning Passions Theatre. If you're fond of wildflowers, you may already know that the lovely and upright fireweed is among the hardiest of native plants. Its vivid purple blossoms are named not so much for their colour as for the fact that they are often the first to flourish again on ground that has been ravaged by fire. In that spirit, composer and playwright Cathy Elliott has drawn· upon her personal experience in a casino cabaret in Dawson City, and upon the rich material available about historical women during the time of the Gold Rush, to write a musical photo album of Yukon women. Directed by Laurel Smith (a former producer of Toronto's First Night festival), Fireweeds runs from September 14 to October 7 at the CanStage theatre upstairs at 26 Berkeley Street. In composing the music, Elliott says, she drew on po1folar local music, but with a twist. "A lot of it is very folky," she says. "There's a lot of ragtime, but I play around with it. The chords are warm -- I like to go angular when I can. I'm trying to do the expected, but with a little bit of the unexpected in it. That's what I hope it turns out to be." And while the women are tarryhootin' upstairs, the men are getting up to something else again downstairs at the same theatre (26 Berkeley) when CanStage presents Outrageous by Brad Fraser and Joey Miller, September 28 to October 21. Miller (War Brides, Eight to the Bar) has received three Dora nominations and one award (in 1991 for That Scatterbrain Booky). Fraser has written a string of highly successful plays, including Poor Super Man and Unidentified Remains and the True Nature of Love. Together they have taken inspiration from the 1997 movie of the same name starring· female impersonator Craig 22 Wholenote SEPTEMBER 1, 20.00 - OCTOBER 7, 2000 by Sarah B. Hood · Thom Allison is Robin Turner is Mae West in the CanStage production of Outrageous Russell, and created a musical about the friendship between schizophrenic Liza and would-be female impersonator Robin. The show is strictly age restricted, and publicity material contains warnings about explicit language and staging. So if you like it a bit raw, this one's for you. · Only a few blocks away at the Hummingbird Centre the Canadian Opera Company is off to a typically early season start with The Bartered Bride and Otelia, running in rep on various dates between September 21 and Oct9ber 7. Rigoletto, Traviata and Trovatore are Verdi's three most popular operas, but Otelia is considered to be every bit as good a piece of work (by everyone except George · Bernard Shaw, who apparently commented that Verdi's "well was running dry" after hearing it.) It tells, of course, the tragic tale of Shakespeare's Moor of Venice who "loved not wisely but too well". Duped into believing his wife Desdemona has been unfaithful, Otello kills her: a better-than-average storyline upon which to hang so_me pretty moving opera music. Russian tenor Vladimir Bogachov sings the title role, which he has performed to ac- claim at the Met and Covent Garden, among other venues. On a gentler note, The Bartered Bride by Czech composer Smetana, starring Czech soprano Eva Urbanova, uses traditional folk music to tell a much lighter love stmy of a betrothed couple in a country romance with a hidden identity and a happy ending. Finally, The SFX Theatrical Group productipn of The Sound of Music, which was slated to run at the Pantages Theatre from September 19 to 24, has been cancelled, ·due to casting complications. Looking ahead, a number of interesting original Canadian music theatre productions are coming up. Just to mention a few: Workman Theatre Project has announced a production called Joy, written by Maja Ardal, with songs by Joey Miller (October). It's a musical on an unlikely theme: depression. Workman Theatre Project is based right inside the Queen Street Mental Health Centre, and stages its plays with casts that include people who are professional theatre artists and people who have struggled with mental illness. The CanStage's premiere of Larry's Party by Richard Ouzounian and Marek Norman, based on the book by Carol Shields, opens at the Bluma Appel Theatre (January/February). It stars everyone's favourite local musical star Brent Carver (fresh from a summer playing Tevye in Stratford's Fiddler On The Roof). Robin Phillips (currently directing the COC's Otelia) directs. Described as "a new play with o\d songs", Maja Ardal's Midnight Sun (January /February) tells of the U.S. invasion of northern Iceland: how American pop culture was almost harder to resist in wartime years than the occup)'.ing troops. And two tempting remounts close out the spring: the lighthearted Anything That Moves by Ann-Marie MacDonald and Allen Cole runs at Tarragon Theatre in May and June. And if you missed the charming local surprise hit The Drowsy Chaperone, you'll get a chance to see it early next summer when it's remounted in its full glory at the Royal Alex.
Music THEATRE •!• L1sT1NGs: SEPTEMBER 2000 Burning Passions Theatre. Fireweeds: Women of the Yukon. Depicts life in the Yukon with a woman's perspective, from the time of the Klondike Gold Rush to present-day. Written & composed by Cathy Elliott; directed by Laurel Smith. September 14 to October 7. Monday·Saturday: 8:00; Wednesday matinees: 1 :00; Saturday matinees: 2:00. Canadian Stage. Theatre Upstairs, 26 Berkeley St. 651-451~. to ; Mondays & Sept. 13 preview: PWYC. Canadian Opera Company. Smetana: The Bartered Bride. Eva Urbanova, Miroslav Dvorsky, Benoit Boutet, Dean Peterson & other performers; Paula Suozzi, director; Kenneth Montgomery, conductor. September 22,28, October 4.7: 8:00; September 26: 7:00; October 1: 2:00. Hummingbird Centre for the Performing Arts, 1 Front St. East. 872- 2262. to 5; to (young person). Canadian Opera Company. Verdi: Otello. Vladimir Bogachov, Zvetelina Vassiieva, Anita Krause & other performers; Robin Phillips, director; Richard Bradshaw, conductor. September 21,27,30, October 6: 8:00; September 24: 2:00; October 3: 7:00. Hummingbird Centre for the Performing Arts, 1 Front St. East. 872-2262. to 5; io (young person). i:anStage. Outrageous. Canadian musical. Book & lyrics by Brad Fraser & Joey Miller. Previews September 19·23: 8:00; regular run September 28-0ctober 21: Mon.-Sat.: 8:00; Wednesday 1 :30; Saturday: 2:00. Berkeley Street Theatre, 26 Berkeley. 368- 3110. (previews);$ 20·(regular). Douglas Rice Studio. Mozart: The Impresario. Comic opera & other vocal music by Mozart. September 29,30, October 6 & 7: 8:00. Bloor Street United · Church, 300 Bloor St. 922·3113. . Elgin Theatre. Grease. Rock & roll musical. September 21 to October 22. 189 Yonge St. 872-5555. .50-. . Guelph Jazz Festival. Passages. Multi· media jazz opera by Jesse Stewart & Paul Haines. Jesse Stewa.rt, percussion; Anne Bourne, cello; David Mott, baritone saxophone; Maggie Nicols, voice; Roswell Rudd, trombone; David Rokeby, video installation. September 10: 8:00. Macdonald Stewart Art Centre, 358 Gordon St., Guelph. 519-763-4952. ,. Mirvish Productions. Mamma Mia! Musical based on the songs of ABBA. Music & lyrics by Benny Andersson & Bjorn Ulvaeus; book by Catherine Johnson; directed by Phyllida Lloyd. To December 31. Tuesday· Saturday: 8:00; Wednesday, Saturday & Sunday: 2:00. Royal Alexandra Theatre, 260 King St. West. 872-1212. to 5. Mirvish Productions. The lion King. Stage musical of Disney's 1994 animated feature. To April 1, 2001. Princess of Wales Theatre, 300 King St. West. 872-1212. to 5. Discover the joy of singing! pro VOCE Studios New York• Los Ange~es · Washington, DC • Toronto . Private Voice Lessons Experienced, qualified faculty including RCM examiners. Workshops for Singers Fall Intensive with New York teacher Michael Warren 416-960-0472 360-0442 Port Hope Festival Theatre. Snake Oil & Sassafras. By Ian MacDonald. Romance & songs of the travelling Medicine Show. Sept.13· 16, 20·23, 27 -30: 8:00; Sept. 16, 19,21,24,26,& 28: 2:00. Capitol Theatre, 20 Queen St., Port Hope. 800-434- 5092. to . Shaw Festival. Musical Reading Series: Sadie Thompson. One-act version of Vernon Duke's 1944 musical about the tropical Autumn 2000 All courses begin the week of Sept. 7 Register Now For more information or to register phone: (416) 876-5859 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org temptress created by Somerset Maugham. September 15 12:00 noon. Royal George Theatre. Queen Street, Niagara-on-the-Lake. 1-800-511-7429. . Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Alexander Nevsky: Film Spectacular. Music by Prokofiel. Ewa Podles, contralto; Toronto Mendelssohn Choir; Michael Lankester, conductor. September 15: 8:00. Massey Hall, 15 Shuter. 593-4828. to . Courses for Singers Performance Technique Coordinating singing with acting 1. Audition Arias 2. Cosi fan Tutte (excerpts) 3. Don Giovanni (excerpts) Peter Neff, Instructor Lied Interpretation and presentation 1. Franz Schubert 2. Hugo Wolf: Morike-Lieder , 3. Gustav Mahler Peter Neff, Instructor Languages for singers and coaches 1 . French Anne Lefoulon, MA, Instructor 2. Italian Antonio Rossini, PhD, Instructor 3. German Karin Barton, P~D. Instructor • The Vocal Art Forum The New Opera and Concerts Centre is holding auditions for its first workshop production of a fully staged The Barber of Seville by G.Rossini under the stage direction of Nina Scott-Stoddart. Four performances will take place at the George lgnat.ieff Theatre on November 10, 11 and 12 of 2000. For audition time and information please contact Mila Filatova, Director and Producer " a,t (416) 604-1557 SEPTEMBER 1, 2000 - OCTOBER 7, 2000 Wholenote 23