The Canadian Stage Company's 2000-2001 season in Toronto will include two new musicals developed by the CanStage AT&T Canada New Play Development Program, plus Toronto premieres of Closer, Hysteria and Wit.
As previously reported by Playbill On-Line, Larry's Party is a new musical version of the Carol Shields novel of the same name, and the musical, Outrageous, is inspired by the cult film of the same name.
The character study of a man celebrating a milestone birthday, Larry's Party is adapted by Richard Ouzounian and composer Marek Norman, and will be directed by Robin Phillips and star Brent Carver in the title role. Outrageous by Brad Fraser and Joey Miller, is based on the 1977 film that starred female impersonator Craig Russell.
Some of the Canadian artists involved in artistic producer Martin Bragg's new season include puppeteer Ronnie Burkett, Dennis Garnhum, Ann-Marie MacDonald, Seana McKenna, Morris Panych and Eric Peterson.
The company operates in two spaces, The CanStage Bluma Appel Theatre and the CanStage Berkeley Street Theatre. A summer production is offered in High Park, as well (in July 2001, Sarah Stanley, former artistic director of Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, will direct Shrew, a new take on The Taming of the Shrew). The season includes: • Outrageous, book and lyrics by Brad Fraser, music and additional lyrics by Joey Miller, directed by Brad Fraser. Sept. 19-Oct. 21. The seriocomic, adult-oriented tale of a budding drag queen's friendship with a schizophrenic woman in 1970s Toronto. CanStage Berkeley Street.
• Hysteria, by Terry Johnson, directed by Morris Panych, designed by Ken MacDonald, starring Eric Peterson and David Storch. Oct. 9-Nov. 4. The award winning comedy about an ailing Sigmund Freud's final days in a quiet London suburb after fleeing Nazi-occupied Vienna. There, he finds himself being berated by Salvador Dali and moving closer to hysteria. Peterson is Freud, Storch is Dali. CanStage Bluma Appel Theatre.
• The Weir by Conor McPherson. Nov. 13-Dec. 9. The London and New York hit about four men telling ghost stories in an Irish pub on a dark and stormy night, and how the woman they want to impress has a haunting story of her own. CanStage Bluma Appel Theatre.
• Larry's Party, adapted from the novel by Carol Shields, book and lyrics by Richard Ouzounian, music by Marek Norman, directed by Robin Phillips, starring Brent Carver. Jan. 8, 2001-Feb. 3, 2001. Tony Award winner Carver (Kiss of the Spider Woman) is Larry Weller, an ordinary man living an ordinary existence. Emerging from a dreamy adolescence with a floral arts diploma and a passion for garden mazes, he stumbles blindly in search of the man he believes he should become. CanStage Bluma Appel.
• Happy, created and performed by Ronnie Burkett. Jan. 22, 2001-Feb. 17, 2001. After bringing down the house last season with his Street of Blood, the new show by internationally acclaimed puppeteer presents his new work. CanStage Berkeley Street.
• Wit by Margaret Edson, directed by Glynis Leyshon, starring Seana McKenna. Feb. 12, 2001-March 10, 2001. The Pulitzer Prize-winning play about a poetry professor's struggle with cancer and embrace of her passions. CanStage Bluma Appel Theatre.
• Closer by Patrick Marber, directed by Dennis Garnhum. March 12, 2001-April 7, 2001. The darkly comic tale of intertwining lovers in London who weave a web of lust, love, betrayal and loss. CanStage Berkeley Street Theatre.
• Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet), by Ann-Marie MacDonald, directed by Alisa Palmer, starring Ann-Marie MacDonald. March 19, 2001-April 14, 2001. Playwright-actress-novelist MacDonald ("Fall On Your Knees") stars as Shakespearean scholar Constance Ledbelly in the return of the 1998 comic and thought-provoking play about her oddball theory that Othello and Romeo and Juliet are rewrites of earlier, now missing, comedies. She is hurled into an unlikely series of adventures in the tradition of "Alice in Wonderland." CanStage Bluma Appel.
• Shrew by William Shakespeare, directed by Sarah Stanley. July 11, 2001-Aug. 20, 2001. A modern take on Shakespeare's comedy about marriage, the sexes, respect, deception. In High Park.
For season tickets, call (416) 368-3110, or visit the web site at www.canstage.com,
-- By Kenneth Jones