8 years ago

Volume 8 Issue 8 - May 2003

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y Sarah B. Hood THERE'S

y Sarah B. Hood THERE'S A DISTINCTLY DYNASTIC tl)eme in tht? air this month, with musicals about the factual and fictional royal houses of Korea, Siam, Japan, Egypt and Nubia on the boards. ELTON'S EGYPT Not for the first time, Aida and her ancient Egyptian frieIXls are descetiding with a great splash upon Toronto. This time it's not the familiar Verdi version, but the Elton John/Tim Rice collaboration that has been such a hit in New York, coming to the Canon Theatre from May 7 to 31. Perhaps the first question one might ask is simply: Why? If you've already got music by Verdi, why do you reed a new score? "The story is so powerful and moving, I think what they've done is make it much more accessible," says Paulette Ivory, who played Nala in the London production of The Lion King, and who'll portray the captive Nubitin princess Aida in Toronto. "I saw the opera, and I struggled keeping up with the story; now a child could follow it," she adds. "Also, it includes so many different musical styles: rock, pop, gospel... There's even a bit of reggae. That makes it much more appealing," she says. This show is definitely set in the Egypt of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat rather than someplace a real pharaoh would recognize. One of the show-stoppers features Egyptian princess Amneris belting out a song about her fashion fetish ("My Strongest Suit") in the midst 'of a fantasy runway with models dressed in outrageous couture-type outfits. Oh yes, and former Monkee Mickey Dolenz plays Zoser, father of Aida's lover Radames. "The music has the essence of Elton John written all over it," says Ivory. When asked about the songs she gets to sing, she singles out the big gospel- Paulette Ivory soaked first-act closer "The Gods Love Nubia", poll1ting otit that "I have more vocal freedom in that one, and audiences tend to be very moved by it, so that would probably be my favourite, if I had to pick." On May 5, Ivory finds out whether she's the winner of this year's Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Non-Resident Production. The awards, which are presented at the Kennedy Center, honour professional theatre in the Washington, D.C. area. The other nominees in Ivory's category include$: formidable Bartma Cook (the original Marion the Librarian in The Music Man) and Mariette Hartley. (A few Canadians are also represented among the nominees; Len Ca'r- iou is up for the Outstanding Lead Actor prize, while Toronto's Mary Ellen Mahoney is nominated in the Supporting Performer category for her role in Mamma Mia!) TONY TIME On the subject of ·awards, Broadway's ,Tony Award nominations ( ' will be announced on May 12. The Great White Way has seen a year heavy with revivals: Man of La Mancha; Rodgers & Hart's The Boys from Syracuse; a Flower Drum Song rewritten by Henry David Hwang and starring Lea (Miss Saigon). Salonga; Baz Luhrmann's La Boheme; Nine with Antonio Handeras, Mary Stuart Masterson and Chita Rivera, and Gypsy with Bernadette Peters, directed by Sam Mendes. Among the few new musicals have been Hairspray, based on the film by John Waters; Movin' Out, with the songs of Billy Joel and the choreograhy of Twyla Tharp, Dance of the Vampires with Michael (Phantom of the Opera) Crawford, and a "play with music" called Imaginary Friends, about Lillian Hellman and Mary McCarthy. The hip-hop/performance poetry show Def Poetry Jam is a likely Tony winner, although it's not exactly a musical. The awards will be handed out at Radio City Music Hall on Sunday, June 8, and are broadcast by CBS. . SHAW AND STRATFORD In 1978, five Tony Awards went to the musical On the Twentieth Century, which was based on a 1932 nonmusical show by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur. The Betty Comden/ Adolph Green/Cy Coleman show - seton board a train - is the Shaw Festival's big musical seasonopener. It runs from May 22 to November 2 in the Royal George Theatre. Stratford is leading off with two of the best loved of all Broadway shows. Rodgers and Hammerstein's The King and I plays from May 28 to October 12 at the Festival Theatre. Lucy Peacock takes on the role of Anna Leonowens, while Victor Talmadge plays the Siamese King. Then from May 31 to October 4, Lerner and Loewe's Gigi runs at the Avon Theatre. Jennifer Gould takes the title role, with the likable and listenable Dan Chameroy as Gaston (not to be confused with his Beauty and the Beast role of ... ummm ... Gaston). Domini Blythe plays the wordly-wise Inez Alvarez, and James Blendick (as Honore Lachailles), gets to inquire - on the subject of little girls - "without them what would little boys do?" LLIVAN at the Leah Posluns Theatre 4588 Bathurst Street (between Sheppard and Finch) May 17, 22, 23, 24 - 8pm May 18 & 25 - 2pm May 21-lpm A fully-staged production by the Metropolitan family Thursday, Friday, Saturday ' June 5, 6, 7 at 7:30 p.m. Narrator: Anne Thomson Joseph: Benjamin Stein Pharoah: Malcolm Sinclair Directed by William Martyn; Music Direction by Patricia Wright; Produced by Marlene Smith Admission: adults; children 12 and under For tickets: 416-363-0331 Ext.51 Metropolitan United Church 56 Queen Street East at Church Street, Toronto 416-363-0331 May 1 - June 7 2003

Watch for Sarah B. Hood's upcoming book Toronto: The Unkoown City, co-written with Howard Alder, to be published by Arsenal Pulp Press in Fa/12003. GIDDY GONDOLIERI For their annual foray into Gilbert anl Sullivan, the Alexander Singers and Players have chosen The Gondoliers. Featuring one of the loveliest and most lilting scores (and songs .....,m....., ....... T"ll"ll...,..,,....,...m..,...,,.,........, like "Take a Pair of Sparkling Eyes"), the show doubles the sopranos and tenors fu a romantic tale of mixed-up infants that. provides just enough substance to weave a satisfyingly wispy cotton-candy cone of a plot. The Gondoliers runs from May 17 to 25 at the Leah Posluns Theatre. (Meanwhile, Toronto Operetta Theatre's production of the al- . ways-pleasing 1he Mikado continues until May 11 attheJaneMallett'Theatre of the St. Lawrence Centre.) EPIC EMPRESS FALLS VICTIM Finally, the Hummingbird was to be importing a rare specimen from May 29 to June 14. Titled 1he Last Empress, it's a full-out, big cast musical with lots of visual si)lendour, originating in Korea. With music by Hee . Gap Kim, lyrics by In Ja Yang, book by Mun Yo! Yi and direction by Ho Jin Yun, the show retells the true story of Korea's beloved Queen Min of the Chosun Dynasty. SARS-related concerns have, at least temporarily, derailed the show. +Guitars +Music books +Amp_s +Digital pianos +Keyboards +Lessons +Accessories +Music software YAMAHA&~y 4 Area Locations: +2431 Yonge St., Toronto 416~485-8868 +Scarborough Town Centre 416-296-8840 +Square One Mississauga 905-896~ 7766. +349 King SLW., Oshawa 905-576-2414 Canada's foremost Violin Specialists 201 Church Street Toronto, On. MSB 1Y7 email -·-· , PHILIP L. DA VIS fonnerly with f.f. Schmder: Frankfurt, West Geimany A Fine Selection of Small and · Full Sized Instruments and Bow§' • Expert Repairs (416) 466-9619 67 Wolverleigh Blvd., Toronto, Ontario, M4J 1R6

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