Tuesday, August 17, 2010

17 Aug'10

Rating: 5 out of 5

As the curator of any fine-arts museum knows, stripping away years of built-up sediment and grime in restoring a work to its original glory can be a two-edged sword. For even while there are those who will thrill to the breadth and depth of the artist's original vision, there are still others who will complain that the patina of age was what made the work a classic. It's no different if the work of art is a piece of musical theatre, except it is often sentiment and sediment that is stripped away.

Case in point, director Bartlett Sher's justifiably celebrated Lincoln Centre revival and re-imagining of Rodgers and Hammerstein's SOUTH PACIFIC, a work adapted from James. A Michener's Tales of the South Pacific, with music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II and book by Hammerstein and Joshua Logan.

While there are certainly those of us who thrill at the vision of a SOUTH PACIFIC stripped of the layers of sentimentality and tradition accumulated over the years, there are still others who see Sher's new look at at an old work as something akin to theatrical blasphemy. But one suspects even those dissenters will find a thrill or two in the touring production of Sher's SOUTH PACIFIC that opened Sunday on the stage of the Four Seasons Centre, the second and final offering in Dancap Productions summer season there.

Not only is it a beautiful show to watch, thanks to Michael Yeargan's sets and Donald Holder's lighting, it's also a glorious show to hear. And while that's a tribute to the enduring power of Rodgers and Hammerstein's score and impressive work from conductor Lawrence Goldberg and his musicians, it also signals that many of the sound problems that plagued MISS SAIGON during its Four Seasons run have been worked out, as technicians learn more about staging a modern-miked musical in a hall purpose-built for the unamplified human voice.

Happily, there is a host of impressive performances too. for all that the actors cast in all of the principal roles seem to be a little off centre from what one might expect -- all of them except Welsh-born, Toronto-based Jason Howard. He uses a voice as rich and smooth as old port, as well as some smooth acting, to create an Emile de Becque for the ages. Emile, of course, is the French-born planter who, at the height of the Second World War, falls for the charms of Nellie Forbush, a cock-eyed optimist from Arkansas played with a rich and subtle vein of melancholy by Carmen Cusack.

While their relationship is threatened by the racial prejudice of the day -- a racism underlined by the re-introduction of a song excised from the original, called My Girl Back Home -- another love story is being written by Lieutenant Cable (played with a patrician aloofness by Anderson Davis) and the lovely Liat (Sumie Maeda), the under-age daughter of Bloody Mary (Jodie Kimura), the latter relationship with more tragic consequences.

Bloody Mary, of course, is the amoral native entrepreneur determined to make her fortune from the American military personnel who have taken over her island, her greed echoed in the persona of Luther Billis, rescued from clichéd casting by Matthew Saldivar with impressive results.

While this may not be a perfect production -- on a few occasions, Sher drags his feet and allows his audience to get ahead of his production -- it is not only a fresh look at an old classic, but one that takes all that glorious old music and makes it seem younger than springtime.
17 Aug'10

Rating: 5 out of 5

NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE -- Regardless of what Shaw Festival patrons may think of Caryl Churchill's SERIOUS MONEY -- and smart money suggests opinions are going to be all over the chart -- one thing is certain: Everyone is going to agree that it is an impressive vehicle to demonstrate the fest's blue-chip acting ensemble.

A number of patrons used a well-placed interval as an excuse to flee Churchill's profanity-laced, left-wing screed against Thatcherism and greed at Saturday night's opening performance in the intimate Studio Theatre. Most of those who stayed left the theatre impressed, even amazed, at the the breadth and depth of the ensemble so carefully assembled here over the years, first by erstwhile artistic director Christopher Newton, and more recently by his successor Jackie Maxwell, whose contract as artistic director has recently been renewed.

For those who like a bit of spice with their theatre, this can be considered an endorsement, of sorts, of Maxwell's courage and vision in programming works such as Churchill's delightfully vicious dissection of the immoral world of international finance -- despite all it has done for us lately. Written in 1987, this is the work's Canadian professional première. And for all that SERIOUS MONEY was written and is firmly rooted in another era, its portrayal of the chicanery and immorality at the heart of international money is going to ring terribly and truly contemporary to anyone who has watched helplessly over the past year as the world economy teeters on the edge of a terrifying abyss.

Director Eda Holmes is in charge here. She wastes little time in proving it, claiming the playing-court setting created by Peter Hartwell (who designed both MONEY's London premiere and the subsequent New York production) with assurance, launching into Churchill's often incomprehensible, usually profane and always compelling tale of murder and mayhem, told primarily in rhyming couplets. As we are launched into the world she has created by our narrator, Zackerman, a young market hotshot beautifully played by Ali Momen, a bit of order begins to emerge. What started out as a who-dunnit slowly morphs into a why-dunnit as Scilla Todd (Marla McLean) the sister of a murdered deal maker (Ken James Stewart) tries to track down who killed her brother and, more importantly in this world of greed, what happened to the money he had amassed.

Before it all ends, with the audience still not terribly clear, one suspects, about who is responsible for the young man's death, what happened to his money and why he died, Holmes -- in full collaboration with the playwright -- has rubbed our noses in the fascinating world of high finance. It is a world of greed where run-of-the-mill, dog-eat-dog survival seems not only awfully civilized but even terribly naive.

And along the way we've seen Shaw Festival veterans such as David Schurmann, Anthony Bekenn and Lorne Kennedy not just rub shoulders with rising stars like Graeme Somerville, Helen Taylor and Steven Sutcliff and emerging talents like Momen, Stewart and McLean but fuse with them in an impressive ensemble. They're all capable of the challenges these roles demand. And best of all, with artists such as Nicola Correia-Damude, Kyle Blair, Ijeoma Emesowum and a bevy of others showing so much promise, the future at Shaw seems secure, particularly with Maxwell at the helm.

As for the play itself, SERIOUS MONEY seems to be a work for serious theatre lovers looking for a dish that is simultaneously raw and well done. If you go to the theatre to escape, give it a pass (or at least, consider yourself warned), but if you're addicted to theatre that brings you to life, SERIOUS MONEY is worth your serious attention.

Monday, August 16, 2010

16 Aug'10

Rating: 4 out of 5

NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE -- The only thing wrong, by some lights, with Jackie Maxwell's new production of Linda Griffiths' AGE OF AROUSAL is that it might just be over-aroused.

Known to Toronto audiences largely through Maja Ardal's wonderful and more constrained 2007 Nightwood production at the Factory Theatre, the Shaw Festival's production of Griffiths' "wildly inspired" stage adaptation of George Gissing's novel, THE ODD WOMEN, leans so heavily, although never inappropriately, into the world of Victorian melodrama that it flirts on occasion with hysteria.

And one would assume hysteria to be a condition directors might avoid in mounting a work too often mistakenly and patronizingly dismissed as feminist polemic. It is, in fact, so much more, spinning out as it does a tale that documents the beginning of the struggle of a major portion of humanity, long dismissed as mere subtext, to move centre stage and become a vital part of life's text instead. AGE OF AROUSAL opened on the Court House stage Friday.

In late Victorian London, the work is set in a school where women are taught the mysteries of the newly-invented typewriter by Mary Barfoot (Donna Belleville), a fictitious feminist pioneer, and her same-sex lover, Rhoda Nunn, played by Jenny Young.

But their idealistic existence and their school are both threatened when Rhoda reunites with Virginia Madden (Kelli Fox), a childhood friend fallen on hard times, and brings Virginia and her two sisters -- the fey Alice, played by Sharry Flett, and the sexually curious Monica, played by Zarrin Darnall-Martin -- into the school. Their arrival coincides with the return of Mary's nephew, Everard (Gray Powell) from abroad, and his attraction to both the earthy charms of Monica and the more intellectual charms embodied in Rhoda, serve to complicate things.

Played out on a beautiful, if somewhat overelaborate, set by Sue Lepage, lit by Alan Brodie -- AGE plays out on two levels, affording the playwright the opportunity to reveal to her audience what her characters are saying and what they are thinking as well -- a process Griffith's has reinvented as "thoughtspeak" for all that it is a variation of what Shakespeare was more than content to simply call a soliloquy.

It is also something of which Maxwell and her production make far too much, flirting with overblown Victorian melodrama. Where Ardal's earlier production made no big deal of her characters speaking from both the world of text and subtext - her actors speaking internal thoughts as simple asides, Maxwell and choreographer Valerie Moore impose an overblown operatic sensibility that serves to obscure a story that remains nonetheless utterly compelling.

Maxwell's love affair with Victorian melodrama colours many of the performances too, transforming the three impoverished sisters whose arrival sets things in motion into refugees from a Dickensian poor house rather than women struggling to survive in genteel, if abject, poverty, while Powell's Everard is transformed into a Dudley Do-right rather than simply a confused man trying to find his way in a world of women.

Happily, however, Griffiths still comes out a winner and her play - one for the ages.
16 Aug'10

Rating: 3 out of 5

STRATFORD -- Playwright George F. Walker may have injected his own two cents worth into Bertolt Brecht's THREEPENNY OPERA -- but in the end, it all doesn't seem to add up to the value of a full nickel, plugged or otherwise. The play is called KING OF THIEVES and it had its world premiere here in the Stratford Festival's Studio Theatre Thursday, in a slick production helmed by Jennifer Tarver.

Like Brecht's THREEPENNY, which featured music by Kurt Weill, KING OF THIEVES, with an often sparkling score by John Roby, is a musical theatre adaptation of John Gay's enduring BEGGAR'S OPERA, set in the underbelly of society, where every day is a matter of life and death.

In his retelling, Walker sets his tale in the days immediately before the market crash that led to the Great Depression of the 1930s. And where in Brecht's world, Mac -- immortalized as Mack the Knife in Weill's score -- became the prototypical anti-hero, he is transformed in Walker's world into a swaggering cross between GUYS AND DOLLS' Sky Masterson and a singing ROBIN HOOD. Played by Evan Buliung, he is fighting against a conniving trio of corrupt bankers (Scott A. Hurst, Sandy Winsby and Shane Carty) and a pair of corrupt cops (Nigel Bennett and Paul Fauteux) to save the world from their dastardly and far-too-sketchily-explained plots.

But if Walker is to be faulted for lack of plot development -- and truthfully, in the wake of our most recent economic crisis, most of us simply lack the resources to understand all but the broadest brush strokes of economic chicanery -- director Tarver has to wear at least some of the blame for this King's less-than impressive reign.

While Tarver conspires with designer Peter Hartwell and choreographer Tracey Flye to bring King's gritty court to impressive life, she also conspires to impose such a high sheen on things that the grit and sweat and grime -- the humanity, in fact -- that is Walker's milieu is all but removed. So while there are fine, even polished performances from a supporting cast that includes Sean Cullen (as our meta-theatrical master of ceremonies) Stephanie Roth (as Jenny), Shane Carty (as a tragic beggar boy), Laura Condlin (as Mac's wife, Polly) and Jay Brazeau and Nora McLellan (as her parents, the evil Peachums), they are all boldly and broadly two-dimensional.

Tarver seems content to have her cast sing of their suffering instead of showing it to us. Worse, when the bullets start to fly and it looks as though no one will make it out of this production alive, there is absolutely no sense of either risk or danger. It's has all been reduced to mere entertainment. So in the end, watching KING OF THIEVES is a lot like eating a wonderful soufflé. What you get is beautifully prepared and even delicious, but don't expect to leave the theatre feeling well fed. 

Sunday, August 15, 2010

13 Aug'10

Rating: 5 out of 5

STRATFORD – Any student of human nature must recognize that novelist Choderlos de Laclos didn't really discover mankind's propensity for turning his favourite contact sport into a blood sport He simply revealed it, with a lot of relish.

He did it, of course, in LES LIAISONS DANGEREUSES, a novel that would subsequently be famously, even expertly, adapted to the stage a few centuries on by British playwright Christopher Hampton. That adaptation proved so successful, it spawned a hit movie titled DANGEROUS LIAISONS. Now, Hampton's adaptation is back on stage, oddly enough sporting the movie's title, in a lavish new production by the Stratford Festival that swept across the stage of the Festival Theatre on Thursday in all but epic style.

Set among the French aristocracy in the days before it fell under the heels of a blood-soaked revolution -- a fact underscored with a rather heavy hand in this production -- DANGEROUS LIAISONS is, at its heart, a love story, albeit a love story twisted into shapes almost unrecognizable by the hothouse environment in which it has been forced to bloom. Once intimates, the fading and widowed La Marquise de Merteuil (Seana McKenna) and the rakish Le Vicomte de Valmont (Tom McCamus) have settled into a strange form of friendship that allows them to treasure the memory of the physical intimacies they once shared, even while they separately pursue new conquests.

It is on the basis of that friendship that they join in a conspiracy to humiliate a man who has slighted them both, while spicing up their own relationship. To that end, Valmont will seduce and debauch the man's virginal young bride -- the young Cecile Volanges, played by Bethany Jillard -- thus robbing the bridegroom of the very innocence he most treasures, and paying the bridegroom back for abandoning La Marquise's favour for the charms of a woman who had been sharing the bed of Le Vicomte.

As a sort of side bet, Valmont also undertakes to seduce the virtuous and virtually irreproachable Mme de Tourvel, played by Sara Topham, debauching her despite her celebrated piety and her devotion to her marriage. The prize, should he succeed on both fronts, is a renewal of intimacies with La Marquise herself, for all that her bed seldom has a chance to cool since he left it.

Impressively directed by Ethan McSweeny and lavishly designed by Santo Loquasto, this is a compelling production, even if it is occasionally unbalanced by too much talk and not enough action. While there are impressive performances throughout from a blue-blooded supporting cast -- the venerable Martha Henry, the always impressive Yanna McIntosh and the evergreen Michael Therriault joining Jillard and Topham in an all but flawless ensemble -- it belongs, in the end, to McCamus and McKenna. And well it should, for rarely have these two worked better, either separately or as a team.

As the conniving Marquise, McKenna uses a blazing sense of femininity and a razor-sharp intellect to conceal a heart so hard and cold that it could probably crush diamonds, while McCamus brings enough charm and swagger -- the latter impeded only slightly by the heels his costuming demands -- that he seduces his audience with the same ease with which he undoes the virtue of the lovely young Cecile.

There are occasional nits that could be picked, were one so inclined. While McSweeney's solution to scenic changes is impressive, it also turns a lot of those scene changes into too-stately minuets, and the rock-infused score often proves intrusive, even while it showcases the uncredited voice of Stratford alum Tyley Ross. But weighed off against the skill of McKenna and McCamus, these are niggling concerns indeed. This company, Laclos, Hampton, and the audience, all come out winners. 

Thursday, August 12, 2010

12 Aug'10

Rating: 4 out of 5

STRATFORD – In a world of do-overs, a la BEING ERICA or even GROUNDHOG DAY, playwright Michel Tremblay contents himself in FOR THE PLEASURE OF SEEING HER AGAIN with a simple revisiting, creating a highly personal, even intimate, reunion for his late mother and for himself. Throughout most of the play, in fact, Tremblay maintains the detachment of a simple historian, presenting both mother and son in a light as unforgiving of their minor transgressions as it is accepting of their strengths. And as the Stratford Festival production that opened on the Tom Patterson stage Wednesday proves, that makes for theatre that is both compelling and entertaining.

It begins with masterful simplicity, as The Narrator, (played by Tom Rooney) takes to a stage furnished only with a splash of vivid carpet, a dining table and two chairs. The Narrator begins by shaping expectations, at the same time as he is very subtly beginning to shape the portrait of his subject -- a subject, he insists, who is familiar to us all, for all that she has never been written about before. As that portrait begins to take shape -- and as the role of narrator fades and Rooney slips with deceptive ease into the role of the playwright as a young boy, the stage -- and Tremblay's memories -- suddenly springs to life with the arrival of Nana, as played by Lucy Peacock.

Not surprisingly to anyone who has studied the women who inhabit plays like Tremblay's LES BELLES-SOEURS, ALBERTINE IN FIVE TIMES, and the rest of his impressive canon, this is not a mother in the tradition of the Madonna and child -- but rather a living, breathing woman, as full of vitality, humanity and emotion as the Montreal streets around her. She is already in full flight, horrified at having her washday interrupted by the police, after her son is caught red-handed in the midst of a boyish prank. As anger, embarrassment and parental concern war with relief, she milks the situation for maximum dramatic effect, using one childish act of misplaced bravado to foretell a disastrous end for her son in flight after flight of hyperbole.

And clearly, the young son is not only accustomed to her histrionics, but amused and entertained by them as well. This sets the tone for a chain of familial encounters delightfully unfiltered by the fiction in which Tremblay heretofore has been known to cloak the women of his family before launching them into the world of his plays.

With unobtrusive precision, he shows us how the mother's vision shapes her son, not so much driving him into a world of words and theatre as opening it up to him in ways even she can't really comprehend. A boy shaped by his mother's irreverent tales of family and friends grows to become a playwright and entertain the world with his own tales of family and friends, and finally, using that skill -- the gift she gave him -- to bring his mother one final joy in the only way he can, as he closes the circle.

Despite the fact that he seems utterly overwhelmed by the demands of the Patterson's thrust stage, director Chris Abraham recognizes Peacock and Rooney as a well matched pair of theatrical thoroughbreds and puts them through their paces in a translation by Linda Gaboriau. Rooney is particularly fine here, slipping effortlessly through time, while gently training focus on Nana's often caustic wit and the huge heart hidden in her seeming pettiness.

And while one might occasionally wish to see a little more of the character and a little less of the actor in her performance, there is no denying Peacock's skill -- a skill which always makes it a pleasure seeing her again.
THEATRE NEWS: Petty panto a real Beauty
12 Aug'10


They’ve taken Peter from the frying Pan to the fire, and raked Cinderella over the coals.

And now the folks at Ross Petty Productions are turning up the heat on the classic BEAUTY AND THE BEAST — just in time for Christmas, of course.

Ross Petty Productions announced Wednesday that, in celebration of their 15th season of fractured fairy tales, they’ll be teaming up with sponsors like The Bay, The Fairmont Royal York and Lowes, to premiere a new Christmas panto, titled BEAUTY AND THE BEAST: THE SAVAGELY SILLY FAMILY MUSICAL.

Written, with absolutely no apparent apologies to Mother Goose or the brothers Grimm, by Lorna Wright and Nicholas Hune-Brown and directed once again by Ted Dykstra, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST will feature a cast that includes Canadian Idol sweetheart Melissa O’Neil as the Beauty of title, while Degrassi’s Jake Epstein plays her beastly co-star.

In other major roles, DIRTY DANCING’s Jake Simon, panto regular Eddie Glen and  perennial villain Ross Petty himself, have all signed on to be part of Toronto’s most beloved bout of Seasonal Affective Disorder.

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST will run at the Elgin Theatre from Nov. 25 through Jan. 2, with tickets priced from $85 to $27 — and yes, family packages are available.

 For tix and further info, call 416-872-5555 or visit www.ticketmaster.ca or the Elgin box office.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

11 Aug'10

Rating: 4 out of 5

STRATFORD -- If THE TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA was, as some believe, the first-ever play penned by an aspiring young playwright from Stratford-upon-Avon, then clearly, that playwright -- one William Shakespeare by name -- wasn't going to be troubled overmuch in subsequent work by the sophomore curse. TWO GENTS, in other words, was not going to be a tough act to follow, for even while there are flashes of what would later be recognized as Shakespeare's almost dizzying way with words here, this is a play that has never been considered one of his greatest or best.

And while most people agree its lack of regard is rooted in an ending that is as abrupt as it is unkind to its heroines, director Dean Gabourie is more inclined to write off this failure to thrive as a case of simple misunderstanding. Gabourie, it seems, believes that most of us look at the work in the wrong light by considering it a mere comedy, subscribing instead to a thesis advanced years ago by one Bernard Shaw, who suggested in reviewing a turn of the century production, that the work was "a vaudeville," which is a completely different kettle of fish.

To that end, in the Stratford Festival's latest production of the work, which opened Tuesday in the Studio Theatre, Gabourie and his collaborators impose not just an early 20th century feel on the proceedings, as Shakespeare's two young swells from Verona wreak havoc in the court of Milan, but specifically, an early 20th century movie feel. All of which means that, even though one suspects Shaw was dismissing the work as more a variety show than a play, Gabourie et al have used his remark as reason to serve up a production stuffed chock-full of whimsical silent-era celluloid references to everybody from Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton to W.C. Fields and the Keystone Kops. In the process, they suggest that Shakespeare might not only be considered the father of modern theatre, but of United Artists as well. And, all in all, it's an interesting premise, although that premise doesn't quite stretch to cover the entire running time of the play.

Dion Johnstone and Gareth Potter are strongly, impressively cast as Valentine and Proteus, the TWO GENTLEMEN of title -- and while it is the former who first heads off for Milan, it is the latter who has lingered in Verona for the love he bears fair Julia (Sophia Walker), who really upsets the Milanese applecart by his arrival.

For despite his parting protestations of undying love for his beloved Julia, Proteus promptly falls madly in love with the equally fair Silvia (Claire Lautier), undeterred either by the fact that she has been promised to another by her father (John Vickery in broad Barrymore mode), or that she is already both beloved by and in love with Valentine.

Of course, chaos on a Shakespearean level ensues, egged on by the young men's respective servants, the aptly named Speed (played by Bruce Dow), and the melancholy Launce (Robert Persichini) demonstrating an impressive ability to channel W.C. Fields, yet upstaged at almost every turn by a beagle named Otto (cast as Launce's faithful companion, Crab).

With strong work from its principals and a supporting cast that includes Trish Lindstrom, Wayne Best, Stephen Russell, Andrew Gillies and a host of others, it is good fun, at least until it all starts to wear more than a little thin. In the end, not only does the imposed faux vaudeville patina do little to disguise the shortcomings of a playwright who was understandably a little shy of achieving his full potential in this work, it underscores the fact that the whole concept finally seems to have more to do with good distraction than good direction.

Friday, August 6, 2010

THEATRE NEWS: Nextstage lineup announced; 'Love, Loss…' run extended
6 Aug'10


The line-up for the fourth annual Nextstage Theatre Festival was announced Thursday by organizers of The Toronto Fringe. Slated to take to the stages of the Factory Theatre Jan. 5 through 16, 2011, the line-up will include a world première, a pair of North American premières and a couple of Toronto premières, in addition to shows that have played in previous editions of the Toronto Fringe.

On the Factory mainstage, look for:

The North American première of Nicola Gunn's AT THE SANS HOTEL; True Edge Productions' DUEL OF AGES, reworked from the 2007 edition of The Fringe; Role Your Own Theatre's FAIRY TALE ENDING: THE BIG BAD FAMILY MUSICAL, with music and lyrics by Kieren MacMIllan & Jeremy Hutton, from the 2010 Fringe; and the world première of THE GRACE PROJECT, written by Judith Thompson and the ensemble.

Meanwhile, the Factory's Studio theatre will feature:

The Toronto première of Darrah Teitel's THE APOLOGY; the full production debut of Sulong Theatre's EATING WITH LOLA, written and performed by Catherine Hernanadez; the Toronto première of Carol Cece Anderson's SWAN SONG OF MARIA (A TRAGIC FAIRY TALE); and the North American première of David Egan's TOM'S A-COLD.

Tickets, as well as four and eight-show passes, for the Next Stage Festival will be available Nov. 15 at www.fringetoronto.com


Seems they're coming out of the closet not just to see LOVE, LOSS AND WHAT I WORE, but to star in it as well. Which may account for the announcement Thursday that the Canadian production of the Ephron sisters' hit off-Broadway show will now run for an additional month at the Panasonic Theatre.

The announcement comes as Lauren Collins, Wendy Crewson, Cynthia Dale, Linda Kash and Margot Kidder prepare to take over from Paula Brancati, Andrea Martin, Sharron Matthews, Louise Pitre and Mary Walsh, the cast which opened the show in July and will continue to perform through Saturday.

The new cast, which will hit the Panasonic stage Tuesday, is then slated to perform through Sept. 4 when they will be replaced by a cast that will include Jeanne Beker, Barbara Budd and Sheila McCarthy as well as two additional cast members to be announced. That cast will perform through Oct. 2.

For tix and info, call 416-872-1212.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

THEATRE NEWS: Stratford app; 'Wiccan Wedding' to NYC; 'Mrs. Brown Cow' adds week
5 Aug'10


Hark, what app through yonder smart phone shines.

It's just the Stratford Festival's new app, it seems, developed by Metronome Mobile Media Solutions and now available as a free download for Fest fans eager to find out the latest in playbill information, ticket availability and other pressing theatrical information. Visit www.stratfordshakespearefestival.com for further information — and once the new app is installed, don't forget to shut your phone off before the play starts.


After a run at Toronto's Panasonic Theatre, the musical MY MOTHER'S LESBIAN JEWISH WICCAN WEDDING has been selected as one of 27 musicals in the annual New York Musical Theatre Festival, slated to hit the Big Apple Sept. 27 through Oct. 17. For further info, visit www.nymf.org.


The Mirvish organization announced Wednesday that a final week of performances has been added to HOW NOW, MRS. BROWN COW!, a theatrical bundle from Britain, described as "The Susan Boyle of comedy." HOW NOW... will now run at the Canon Theatre August 19 through Sept. 4, following a limited preview.