My Mother's Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding, the Musical Fringe Hit, Gets Legit Toronto Run

By Kenneth Jones
11 Aug 2009

Commercial producer David Mirvish will present an expanded and reworked new production of the recent Toronto Fringe festival hit, My Mother's Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding, beginning Nov. 7 at the Panasonic Theatre in Toronto.



This original Canadian musical comedy by David Hein and Irene Carl Sankoff became the toast of the 2009 Fringe of Toronto Theatre Festival when it played in July at Bread & Circus, according to Mirvish. It's being billed as "that rare theatrical success story: a show that seemingly came out of nowhere and created intense buzz as soon as its first showing ended, resulting in crowds lining up for hours to secure tickets to its remaining Fringe performances."

Mirvish said in a statement, "When members of my staff saw the very first performances of this hilarious and touching musical, they reported back to me with such enthusiasm that I even took my out-of-town guests to a performance. At the performance we attended the crowd went wild, and they had good reason to do so. There is no doubt this is a special work from exciting, new musical theatre voices. We feel privileged to play a part in bringing the work to a bigger audience.

"It doesn't often happen that a show leaps straight from its fringe beginnings and lands in the mainstream. The last time it happened was ten years ago with a little show we discovered (also at the Toronto Fringe) called The Drowsy Chaperone, which we helped to develop over a workshop and several productions. And everyone knows what eventually happened with that show."

My Mother's Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding "tells the story of a mother and son," according to production notes. "The mother feels lost in life, wrestling with her identity. A new job brings new opportunities and with it a chance to truly find herself…discovering her sexuality, rediscovering her faith, and eventually coming out to her teenage son, ex-husband and homophobic Jewish mother."

Among the song titles: "If You Love Me," "You Don't Need a Penis," "Don't Take Your Lesbian Moms to Hooters" and "A Short History of Gay Marriage in Canada."

The show is based on a true story. Hein, an award-winning singer-songwriter, wrote the title song as a gift to his mother, about her real-life wedding. It became a crowd favorite, and he performed the song as he toured across North America. "In Alberta it challenged small-town homophobic misconceptions and in America it galvanized a cheering audience of lesbians who are still denied the right to marry," according to show notes.

Hein thought his mother's journey would make a good theatrical work, so he and his wife, Irene Carl Sankoff, began writing the musical in January 2009. "They stitched together the stories that everyone asks them to tell: what life is like with two moms, including the seven parents at their wedding; the 'facts of life' talk that Irene received from her in-laws; and how David's mom first came out to him.

The new fall production "will be expanded and reworked to include new songs, more characters, a larger cast and a bigger band."

Like the original, it will be directed by Andrew Lamb, and will star Shaw and Stratford festival veteran Lisa Horner as David's mom.

More casting details and ticketing information will be announced soon.

For more about Mirvish productions in Toronto, visit www.mirvish.com.