Tony Award winner Victoria Clark stars in the Toronto premiere of the new Broadway-aimed musical Sousatzka, based on Bernice Rubens' original novel Madame Sousatzka. It officially opens March 23, having began preview performances February 25 at the Elgin Theatre.
Clark, who recently made her New York Musical Festival directorial debut with Newton's Cradle, is cast in the title role of the stern Polish piano player and teacher (the part created in the Madame Sousatzka film by Shirley MacLaine, who won a Golden Globe for her performance). Clark won a Tony for The Light in the Piazza. She was most recently on Broadway in a Tony-nominated performance in the revival of Gigi.
The production also features Tony Award winner Judy Kaye as the Countess and Tony nominee Montego Glover as Xholiswa Khenketha. The part of the young student, Themba Khenketha, is played by Jordan Barrow.
The cast of 47 Canadian and American performers also includes Ryan Allen, Sara Jean Ford, Fuschia!, John Hillner, Virginia Preston, Christianne Tisdale, Nick Wyman, plus ensemble members Jewelle Blackman, Ben Bogen, Karen Burthwright, Mark Cassius, Leroy Church, Janelle Cooper, Réjean Cournoyer, Alvin Crawford, Saccha Dennis, Bernard Dotson, Rebecca Eichenberger, Shiloh Goodin, Kira Guloien, Mary Gutzi, Tevyn Hill, Erin Lamar, Eryn LeCroy, James Levesque, Hailey Lewis, David Lindo-Reid, Monique Lund, Alison McCaughey, Cory O’Brien, Travis Pratt, Mya Puryear, Jack Rennie, Tim Shew, Jamal Shuriah, David Silvestri, Kaden Stephen, Eva Tavares, Tryphena Wade, Charles Wallace, J.D Webster, and Jonathan Winsby.
Performances are scheduled to continue through April 9 at Toronto’s Elgin. Tickets are on sale by visiting ticketmaster.ca. Planning is underway for a fall Broadway premiere at a theatre to be announced.
The production also marks the theatrical return of Garth Drabinsky, who served 18 months in a Canadian jail for fraud connected with the collapse of his production company Livent. The Toronto-based producer had developed the show in a June 7-July 17, 2016 workshop there that featured a number of Broadway veterans, including Clark.
The musical has a book by Craig Lucas. It is directed by Adrian Noble, with choreography by Graciela Daniele. Also on the creative team: Tony Award-winning scenic designer Anthony Ward (Mary Stuart), Tony-winning costume designer Paul Tazwell (Hamilton), two-time Tony-winning lighting designer Howell Binkley (Hamilton), Olivier Award-winning projection designer Jonathan Driscoll (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), Grammy Award-winning sound designer Martin Levan (Phantom of the Opera, Sunset Boulevard, Show Boat, Cats cast recording), Tony-winning orchestrator Jonathan Tunick (Sweeney Todd, Into the Woods, Titanic), Grammy-winning musical supervisor David Caddick (Phantom of the Opera, Sunset Boulevard, Les Misérables cast recording), music director Brad Haak (An American in Paris), with additional music and vocal arrangements by Grammy-winning Lebo M. (The Lion King), and additional music arrangements by Grammy-nominated Marius de Vries (the films Moulin Rouge, La La Land).
Ruth Prawer Jhabvala and John Schlesinger penned the screenplay for Madame Sousatzka, based on the novel by Bernice Rubens. As described by the producers, the musical is based on the Rubens novel, Sousatzka, set in London, England, in 1982. It tells the story of “a musical prodigy torn between two powerful women from vastly different worlds: his mother, a political refugee from South Africa and his piano teacher, a brilliant eccentric with a shattered past. These two proud, iconoclastic women must ultimately cross cultural and racial divides to find common ground, or else jeopardize the young musician’s destiny.”
Drabinsky and Livent are known for a slate of lavish Broadway productions including Kiss of the Spider Woman, Ragtime, Show Boat, Candide, Fosse, and Parade. But because of his unanswered U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission indictment in the States, Drabinsky risks arrest if he comes to the U.S., so he has taken the title creative producer and is leaving the operation of the Broadway production to a group called Teatro Proscenium Limited Partnership.
Teatro Proscenium CEO Richard Stursberg issued a statement saying, “To be able to present this remarkable creative team, and cast, and the musical work of one of the best creative producers of our age, is a gift. My association with Garth has proven itself to be one of the most satisfying and enduring creative relationships I’ve ever had, and I look forward to ensuring that he has every resource available to get this inspired show to Broadway, and beyond.”
For more information, visit SousatzkaMusical.com.
(Updated March 23, 2017)