We Will Rock You, Last Empress, Rat Pack and Wicked Announced for Toronto 2004-05

News   We Will Rock You, Last Empress, Rat Pack and Wicked Announced for Toronto 2004-05 We Will Rock You, the London musical about a futuristic world where music is outlawed — and where the music of Queen breaks though — will have its North American premiere in May 2005 in Toronto, the Mirvish family announced March 22.

The show has a book by Ben Elton, music by Queen, music supervision by Brian May, choreography by Arlene Phillips and direction by Christopher Renshaw.

Seattle and Las Vegas were previously mentioned as hosting the show 2004-05, but Toronto is now the North American launchpad.

Other shows in Mirvish theatres (run by David and Ed Mirvish) in 2004-05 season include three more musicals (including the previously-announced Canadian premiere of Wicked) and two comedies.

"This is our 41st season, our fifth decade since my father, Ed Mirvish, bought and refurbished the Royal Alexandra Theatre," David Mirvish said in a statement. "Since then, Toronto theatre's scene has grown and so have we.  Our subscription audience has grown to over 40,000 subscribers, among the largest subscription audiences in North America."

The Last Empress, an acclaimed musical spectacle from Seoul, Korea, makes its Canadian premiere in August 2004. Music is by Hee Gab Kim, with lyrics by In Ja Yang and book by Mun Yol Yi. The adaptation is by Kwang Lim Kim. "This powerful musical tells of Korea's legendary Queen Min, who is often compared to Elizabeth I of England and Eva Peron of Argentina," according to the announcement. "Magnificently staged with impressive sets, stunning lighting and sumptuous costumes, this large-scale show with a company of 80 has been heralded in theatre capitals around the world. You will be fascinated and touched by the story of a woman who rose from humble beginnings to lead her country to greatness, and you will be impressed by the powerful, haunting singing voices and the awe inspiring dancing."

The work is presented in its original language "with English supertitles to preserve its theatrical power."

The Rat Pack, a musical entertainment, will gets its North American premiere in September 2004. Musical Direction is by Barry Robinson, with direction and choreography by Mitch Sebastian.

According to the announcement: "Direct from a record breaking run in London's West End, The Rat Pack brilliantly recreates the ultimate meeting of three legendary performers. In 1960, while filming the casino robbery caper, 'Ocean's Eleven,' in Las Vegas, Frank Sinatra got together a group of his closest buddies for impromptu concerts at the Sands Hotel. Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis and Dean Martin crooned, quipped and one upped each other. While the three were on stage together, the Sands became the coolest nightspot in the world.

The Sands is gone, and Frank, Sammy and Dean have passed, but the new show "transports you back to that moment in popular music history that has never been equaled."

A Couple of Blaguards, Frank McCourt and Malachy McCourt's theatrical reminiscence, makes its Canadian debut November-December 2004.

"From Limerick, Ireland, via New York, comes the McCourt brothers' hilarious and poignant A Couple of Blacguards.  You already know Frank McCourt from his best-selling 'Angela's Ashes.' His brother Malachy has joined him to create a reminiscence of their childhood."

A Toronto Fringe Festival show, Da Kink in My Hair, graduates to a larger venue January 2005. Trey Anthony's play, set in a West Indian hair salon in Toronto, is directed by Weyni Mengesha.

"Da Kink in My Hair gives voice to six women who tell us their unforgettable stories. Mixing laughter and tears, and told in words, music and dance, the stories explore the hardship, struggles and joys of black women's lives."

Originally staged at the Toronto Fringe Festival, the show was invited to the New York International Fringe Festival and Toronto's Theatre Passe Muraille.

Wicked, the current smash Broadway musical by composer-lyricist Stephen Schwartz, begins its Canadian premiere in March 2005. The show, like the source novel by Gregory Maguire, tells the story of the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda before the events of "The Wizard of Oz."

Exact dates amd venues will be announced. For more information, call (416) 593-4225, (800) 771-3933 or visit www.mirvish.com.

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