Producer David Mirvish will present nine productions on four Toronto stages for the 2009-10 season, with seven on the Mirvish Theatre Subscription.
The slate includes locally produced shows (Cloud 9, Stuff Happens) and touring productions (such as August: Osage County, Fiddler on the Roof), plus the North American premieres of the Australian musical Priscilla Queen of the Desert and Perry Henzell's reggae-infused The Harder They Come, the West End musical with songs by Jimmy Cliff.
Also planned are the Canadian premieres of Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein, the Pulitzer Prize-winning August: Osage County and the new musical Little House on the Prairie starring Melissa Gilbert. A resident Toronto production of David Hare's Stuff Happens, the play about the Bush administration's rush to war, will also be staged (by the Canadian troupe Studio 180).
The new Fiddler on the Roof tour with Chaim Topol as Tevye, a new production of the hit London Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and a revival of Caryl Churchill's Cloud 9 are also scheduled.
Performances will light up the The Royal Alexandra, The Princess of Wales, The Canon and The Panasonic theatres in Toronto. Exact theatres and dates were not announced.
Mirvish said, "Some of these shows will be performed in Toronto by visiting companies; others will feature our own multi-talented performers. In both cases, we will be bringing audiences the best theatrical work available anywhere." Visit mirvish.com.
Here's the Mirvish 2009-10 season at a glance:
The Harder They Come by Perry Henzell, songs by Jimmy Cliff, July-August 2008. North American premiere direct from London's West End. "Based on the iconic '70s film that launched Jimmy Cliff and reggae music onto the world stage, this exhilarating musical tells the story of a country boy who makes for the bright lights of Kingston, Jamaica. With a head full of songs, including 'You Can Get it if You Really Want,' 'Many Rivers To Cross,' 'Higher and Higher,' 'Rivers of Babylon' and 'The Harder They Come,' he dreams of becoming a reggae star. When the harsh reality of the music scene drives him into a fast and furious life as an outlaw, he would rather die than kill his dream!" A "brilliant new musical production by the esteemed Theatre Royal Stratford East in London, England…staged in the spare, Brechtian style…" Toronto is the first stop in an international tour.
Stuff Happens by David Hare, directed by Joel Greenberg, November-December 2009. "We are proud to welcome Studio 180, the acclaimed Toronto-based company that has staged Canadian premieres of such important international plays as The Laramie Project and The Arab-Israeli Cookbook. "Starring a 15-member ensemble that included some of Canada's most celebrated actors, Stuff Happens played to sold-out audiences, and we are delighted to present this important and compelling work to a larger audience through the Mirvish Theatre Subscription Season. Beginning with the first days of the Bush administration and following its march to war, Stuff Happens is a dramatic speculation, authenticated from multiple real-life sources, on the behind-closed-door proceedings that have shaped recent world events. David Hare blends documented public-record information and theatrical invention to create a riveting play that happens to center on recent history."
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, lyrics by Tim Rice, music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, beginning in fall 2009. "With a crash of drums and a flash of light, Joseph returns to Toronto in his dazzling coat of many colors. It's a new staging of the record-breaking 1990s London Palladium production of the…family classic, now playing to full houses on London's West End. This colorful retelling of the Biblical story of dreamboat Joseph, his uncanny abilities and his Technicolor designer coat sings out to young and old alike…" Joseph will feature an all-Canadian company.
Fiddler on the Roof, book by Joseph Stein, based on stories by Sholem Aleichem, music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick. December 2009-January 2010. Film and London Fiddler star Chaim Topol is featured in his farewell tour of the classic about traditions in a Russian-Jewish village.
Little House on the Prairie, music by Rachel Portman, book by Rachel Sheinkin, lyrics by Donna di Novelli, directed by Francesca Zambello, January 2009-February 2010. The Canadian premiere of the new musical inspired by the books of Laura Ingalls Wilder, starring Melissa Gilbert, who played Laura in the much-loved television series, who now plays Ma.
Young Frankenstein, book by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan, music and lyrics by Mel Brooks, directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman, March-April 2010. The Canadian premiere of the Broadway musical comedy based on the film of the same name, about the heir of Dr. Frankenstein returning to Transylvania.
Priscilla Queen of the Desert The Musical by Stephan Elliott and Allan Scott, Spring 2010. The North American premiere of the Australian musical based on the Oscar-winning film, telling "the story of a glamorous Sydney-based performing trio: Tick, Bernadette and Felicia. Travelling across Australia in a battered old bus (nicknamed Priscilla), the three agree to take their show to the middle of the outback. In a heart-warming, uplifting adventure, these three fish out of water, searching for love and friendship, end up finding more than they could ever have dreamed. Priscilla features a dazzling array of spectacular and colorful costumes and a score of dance-floor classics, including: 'I Will Survive,' 'Don't Leave Me This Way,' 'Finally,' 'I Love The Nightlife,' 'Color My World' and 'Shake Your Groove Thing,' all brought to life by the big sound of the live Priscilla band." This production will be staged in Toronto with an all-Canadian company. BONUS SHOWS (Not part of the subscription series)
August: Osage County by Tracy Letts, directed by Anna D. Shapiro and starring Estelle Parsons, November 2009. The Canadian premiere of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company's Tony Award-winning American dark comedy about a dysfunctional Oklahoma family reuniting after its patriarch disappears.
Cloud 9 by Caryl Churchill, January-February 2010. "British playwright Churchill won an Obie Award when her hilarious, outrageous, thought-provoking and poignant satire about relationships, sex, work, mothers, Africa, power, politics and money first played Off-Broadway in 1981. Two decades later, the wild romp that is Cloud 9 is as funny and as relevant as ever! This new production of this contemporary classic will be directed by the acclaimed Alisa Palmer. She has assembled a dream cast that will have theatregoers on cloud nine indeed." It will feature Ann-Marie MacDonald, Shawn Doyle, Megan Follows, David Jansen, Yanna McIntosh and Blair Williams.