The Original Billy Bishop Boys Will Reunite for 2009 Revival in Toronto

News   The Original Billy Bishop Boys Will Reunite for 2009 Revival in Toronto
Actor-writers Eric Peterson and John Gray will reunite in their acclaimed musical play, Billy Bishop Goes to War, a rueful look at the real-life World War I fighter pilot from Ontario, as part of Soulpepper Theatre Company's 2009 season in Toronto.

The 30-year-old play with music — written and composed by Gray, with Peterson — will again feature Peterson as Owen Sound, Ontario native Billy Bishop (and many other characters), and Gray at the piano.

It will run Aug. 8–29, 2009, at Young Centre for the Performing Arts at 55 Mill Street, Building 49 in the Distillery Historic District in Toronto.

The original production toured Canada and traveled to London's West End and to Broadway (staying briefly, in 1980, with Peterson and Gray).

The creators remounted the play in 1998, with Peterson portraying an older Billy Bishop reminiscing about his heroic past. The Soulpepper production "will revisit the 1998 revival" and will be directed by Soulpepper founding member Ted Dykstra.

The show — which premiered in Vancouver in 1978 and remains one of the best-known Canadian theatre titles from the past 30 years — has been seen all over Canada (with Peterson and actor-musician Gray and others), in regional theatres around the world as a licensable property and in a TV version. The score was captured on an LP cast recording, though no CD release apparently exists.

Billy Bishop Goes to War replaces the previously announced Soulpepper remount of Dylan Thomas' Under Milk Wood.

Soulpepper also announced that Peterson will be joining the company for much of the 2009 season. The beloved Canadian actor is known to Canadians for his roles in the TV series "Street Legal" and "Corner Gas." He'll make his Soulpepper debut as Shelly Levene in Glengarry Glen Ross (April 2–May 9, 2009). He will also appear, with Diana D'Aquila, Kenneth Welsh and Jeff Lillico, in Of the Fields, Lately (June 25–July 30, 2009), prior to the Billy Bishop run.

Subscriptions to the 2009 season are on sale now and are available by calling the Young Centre box office at (416) 866-8666. Single tickets to Soulpepper's 2009 season go on sale Nov. 11 and will be available online at or by calling the Young Centre box office.


Soulpepper Theatre Company is an artist-founded, classical repertory theatre company with a three-tiered mandate: to present the world's greatest stories in vital Canadian interpretations; to provide classical training to a new generation of theatre artists; and to provide access and mentorship programs for young people using theatre as the vehicle.

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