The new season at the Royal Alexandra Theatre in Toronto, announced Feb. 20, emphasizes the strong link that Mirvish Productions have with London's Old Vic, which the company also owns.
The Royal Alexandra's subscription base is the largest in Canada, and will present four productions in the next season. Two of which will be direct transfers from the boards of the Old Vic.
* September - October, 1997
The Importance of Being Ernest by Oscar Wilde.
Directed by Terry Hands, who has assembled the original London cast for the Royal Alex production. Starring Roger Allam, the original Javeert is Les Miz, and Barbara Leigh-Hunt, recently seen on TV in Pride and Prejudice .
* November '97 - April '98
Rent by Jonathan Larson
This will be the Canadian premiere, and has been eagerly awaited by Toronto audiences since it was first aquired by Mirvish Productions almost a year ago. Casting is in the call-back stage. Stephanie Gorin, heading the Canadian casting team, personally saw 1300 aspiring actors/singers trying out for the roles available. Directed by Michael Greif, and, it is planned, an entire Candian cast, the cast list will be announced shortly.
* May '98 - June '98
The show will be chosen from one of the twelve new productions that comprise of Sir Peter Hall's first season as artistic director of the Old Vic.
The classics include: Waste, by Harley Granville Barker, Cloud Nine, by Caryl Churchill, The Seagull, by Anton Chekov (newly translated by Tom Stoppard), Waiting for Godot, by Samuel Beckett, The Provok'd Wife, by Sir John Vanburgh, and King Lear, by William Shakespeare.
The new plays include: Shining Souls by Chris Hannan, Snake in the Grass, by Roy MacGregor, Playhouse Creatures, by April de Angelis, Grace Note by Samuel Adamson, Hurly Burly by David Rabe, and Prayers of Sherkin by Sebastian Barry (his earlier play, The Steward of Christendom is playing in New York this season). * June '98 - July '98
2 Pianos, 4 Hands, writen and performed by Ted Dykstra and Richard Greenblatt. Premiered by Toronto's Tarragon Theatre in March '96, the play has sold out two Toronto engagements, and played to standing-room-only houses on a national tour. It's New York debut is planned for October '97.
Subscriptions for all four plays are available. The subscription office phone number is: (416) 593-4225.
-- By Ray Ellicock
Theatre News Canada