Ha'Penny Bridge Musical to Premiere in 2007-08 Toronto Season

News   Ha'Penny Bridge Musical to Premiere in 2007-08 Toronto Season The 2007-08 season presented by David and Ed Mirvish at their three theatres in Toronto will include the world premiere of Ha'penny Bridge, a musical set in Ireland.

Donna Feore, a veteran of the Stratford Festival, will direct and choreograph the musical by Alastair McGuckian. It's scheduled for May-June 2008 at the Princess of Wales Theatre.

The show is billed as a musical spectacle set in Dublin, Ireland, in 1922. Previous productions of the show in Ireland were considered workshops and "this new production has been completely reworked," a spokesperson told Playbill.com.

According to the Mirvishes, "In the vein of such stage hits as Fiddler on the Roof and Les Misérables, Ha'penny Bridge – The Musical portrays a rich, moving, but troubled love story, set in Ireland against a backdrop of political unrest and divided loyalties. It is Dublin, 1922. As the English troops prepare to move out and civil war threatens to tear the city apart, the Irish capital's residents suffer the dual pressures of political violence and poverty. It is amidst this chaos that George Aitkin, a young Londoner, meets Molly Cassidy. In an historical period of heightened nationalistic tension — greed, deceit, jealousy and love are mixed with dramatic consequences. What chance has their love of surviving in a country divided by civil war?"

The 2007-08 Mirvish subscription season will also include the previously announced North American premiere of the play with music and dancing, Dirty Dancing - The Classic Story on Stage; a stop of the national tour of director John Doyle's Sweeney Todd by Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler; a visit by the tour of the courtroom drama Twelve Angry Men; and the North American premiere of the Chichester Festival's fresh take on the RSC's The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby Parts I and II.

The season marks the 100th anniversary of the Royal Alexandra Theatre, which was rescued and re-lit by Ed Mirvish. "This year, my family celebrates 44 years of producing theatre in Toronto," stated David Mirvish. "It all started when my father, Ed Mirvish, purchased the Royal Alexandra Theatre and saved it from demolition. He restored and refurbished what many people have called the most beautiful theatre on the continent, to its 1907 splendor and began presenting an eclectic program of plays and musicals."

The family built the Princess of Wales Theatre in 1993 to expand the programming possibilities. In 2000 the Mirvishes added a third stage to its subscription series when they assumed management of the Canon Theatre.

Here's the 2007-08 Mirvish season at a glance:

  • Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story on Stage, starting Oct. 31 at the Royal Alexandra Theatre. Written and created by Eleanor Bergstein, directed by James Powell, choreography by Kate Champion. Following openings in London, Germany and Australia, Dirty Dancing "makes its North American premiere as the cornerstone show of the 2007-08 Time of Your Life Mirvish Subscription Season." Inspired by the film of the same name, this is "a coming of age love story involving the talented and headstrong dancer Johnny Castle and Frances 'Baby' Houseman. During her family’s summer holiday at the popular Kellerman's resort, Baby, a doctor's daughter with dreams of joining the Peace Corps, meets Johnny, the guy from the wrong side of the tracks. Against all odds, they fall in love, learning life-changing lessons along the way." The score includes the Academy Award-winning "(I've Had) The Time Of My Life," "Hungry Eyes" and classics such as "Do You Love Me?"
  • Sweeney Todd – The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, November-December 2007, at the Princess of Wales Theatre. The Canadian premiere of director John Doyle's take on the Sondheim-Wheeler musical, with actors playing instruments.
  • Twelve Angry Men, January-February 2008, at the Princess of Wales. The Canadian premiere of the Roundabout Theatre Production of Reginald Rose's courtroom drama, directed by Scott Ellis and starring Richard Thomas.
  • The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby – Parts I and II, March-April 2008, Princess of Wales Theatre. The North American premiere of the Chichester Festival Production, written by Charles Dickens, adapted by David Edgar, directed by Jonathan Church and Philip Franks. "Nicholas Nickleby became a landmark production when the Royal Shakespeare Company first performed it in 1980. Playing in London and New York for strictly limited seasons, the RSC production was also filmed for television. No one has dared produce it since." In summer 2006, Britain's renowned Chichester Festival commissioned a new interpretation of the 1980 production. "As soon as it was on stage, audiences and critics cheered, pronouncing the revival a landmark production of its own. Parts I and II of Nicholas Nickleby combine to create an experience of rare scope and scale. 27 actors play 150 roles in the gloriously sprawling tale of young Nicholas, left penniless on the death of his father, as he embarks on his spellbinding journey through 1830s England, to find happiness and love in the teeming city of London." The two-part production will be performed in repertory. For Mirvish season subscription information, call (416) 593-4225 or (800) 771-3933 or visit www.mirvish.com.