Stage Door News
Niagara-on-the-Lake: George Krissa offers a musical showcase at Corks Winebar February 9
Wednesday, February 6, 2019
While eight years may seem like a somewhat meteoric rise for a budding actor to find his way to the Shaw Festival stage, for George Krissa, it seemed like anything but.
“When you’re in the middle of it, it feels like forever,” said the 30-year-old Toronto-based actor and singer who, this spring, will take to the Shaw Festival stage for several roles, most notably the lead of Tommy Albright in Brigadoon. While that development — along with his recent stint as Rocky in the Stratford Festival’s record-setting run of The Rocky Horror Show — would place him within the realm of a successful musical actor, it wasn’t always so for Krissa, who on Feb. 9 will offer up a showcase of his musical talents with a review show of sorts.
That recent success didn’t come easy, even if it came relatively quick for the Saskatchewan native. It wasn’t until 2011 that he began pursuing a career in musical theatre.
At the time, he wasn’t unfamiliar with the art form — he grew up acting in productions at a nearby community college. When high school came to a close he was left debating the possibility of theatre school, but the prospect of a monologue audition for a program deterred him.
“I should have just sucked it up,” said Krissa, laughing. Now, he rather enjoys monologues.
Instead of a theatre program, Krissa leaned into music, attending a two-year diploma program for music before moving to Edmonton to pursue a career as a singer, at least until January 2011, when he rekindled his youthful dream of acting.
“I really missed performing … so I just packed up my truck and moved to Toronto,” said Krissa.
“I didn’t have an agent, I had no training, no experience,” he said, recalling years of working to make ends meet, all the while training in dance five days a week, taking vocal lessons, auditioning and taking any role that came his way. The seven years it took him to land a spot at Stratford, a longtime dream, were long ones, he said.
“I feel like I’ve been working at it my whole life,” he said, recalling how he showed up for an open dance call at Stratford, only to be invited back for a singing audition and eventually landing the role in The Rocky Horror Show. The popularity of that production saw its run stretched into December, making it the longest-running Stratford production ever.
“A lot of eyebrows were raised,” said Krissa. “It was a wild experience.”
Now taking on a lead at the Shaw with Brigadoon, alongside roles in upcoming festival productions of The Horse and His Boy and Cyrano de Bergerac, Krissa is crossing another dream off his list.
“Stratford and Shaw are kind of the biggest two,” said Krissa, but notes the seldom-produced Brigadoon is among his favourite musicals. The music will be instantly recognizable to the audience, even if the show is not, he said.
Before he graces the Shaw stage, however, Niagara will get a glimpse of his musical talents on Feb. 9. With Something Something Productions stepping up to welcome the actor and singer, Krissa will host a musical showcase in the performance space above Corks Winebar and Eatery.
“I’m not going to do much of any one thing,” said Krissa, promising an array of funk, country, classical, musical theatre, pop, soul and jazz numbers for those in attendance, including at least one preview piece from Brigadoon.
“People will get kind of a sneak peek,” said Something Something Productions producer and co-founder Rob Burke, who had reached out to Krissa based on his Stratford performance before his debut at Shaw was even announced.
Burke said guests can expect a few guest appearances, including some notable Canadian dramatic talent.
“There could be a few other things up his sleeve,” said Burke.
Tickets are $40 and will likely sell out, according to Burke. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. before the show kicks off at 8 p.m.
By Steve Henschel for www.niagarathisweek.com
Photo: George Krissa as Rocky in The Rocky Horror Show at the Stratford Festival. © 2018 Cylla von Tiedemann.