Stage Door News
London: Tickets available starting today to the Grand Theatre’s 2021/22 season
Saturday, November 6, 2021
After a 19-month “intermission” from live theatre, and an extensive $9.5 million renovation, London’s Grand Theatre is thrilled to officially welcome audiences back to the Theatre for an unforgettable season of live performances – beginning on November 30, 2021, with the Grand’s holiday spectacular Home for the Holidays.
The Grand’s 2021/22 season will feature five distinct and diverse stories, told across two stages. Tickets for the season are on sale November 6, and are priced on special offer at $50 for all Spriet Stage performances and $30 for performances on the Auburn Development Stage. With gratitude, the Grand welcomes back BMO Financial Group as season sponsor.
Grand Artistic Director, Dennis Garnhum on the arts and the Grand’s new season
“The arts have an uncanny ability to bring people together,” affirms Dennis Garnhum, Grand Theatre Artistic Director. “After almost two years of isolation, uncertainty, and darkness, the arts are needed – perhaps more than ever – to help strengthen the social fabric of our communities, to heal us, and to lift us. As we emerge from the pandemic and into a new reality, the Grand is excited to raise the curtain on our bold new season. A season that will amplify five distinct perspectives, while still shining a light on the stories and the artists that unite us.”
Grand Executive Director, Deb Harvey on the high demand for live theatre
“Coming out of a pandemic, and after being closed for 19 months, we were not sure what to expect from our patrons when launching our new season and ticket sales,” says Deb Harvey, Grand Theatre Executive Director. “However, we were astounded by the support of our loyal subscribers, who flooded to our Box Office and website during our pre-sale. Not only was our pre-sale a great success, but it ultimately resulted in the biggest week of ticket sales in the Grand’s history. As we had hoped, and as proven with these unbelievable sales, there is a huge demand for theatre in London and at its home theatre: the Grand.”
The five Grand productions, in season order, are:
• Home for the Holidays – A Theatrical Concert
Created and directed by: Dennis Garnhum
Spriet Stage | November 30 – December 24, 2021
Title Sponsor: McCormick Canada
An original Grand presentation, Home for the Holidays is much more than your traditional concert experience. This ninety-minute, theatrical celebration features 27 diverse holiday songs, eight extraordinary singers, six musicians, and inspired production elements to put you in the holiday mood.
Home for the Holidays brings renowned local and Canadian talent to the Spriet Stage. Making their Grand Theatre debut are: Gabi Epstein, Jacob MacInnis, and Masini McDermott. Returning cast includes: London-born, Justin Eddy who has appeared in six seasons at the Grand, most recently in A Christmas Carol (2017); Gavin Hope, who regularly performs in the ever-popular musical showcase, Jeans ‘n Classics; London-born, multidisciplinary actor, and Grand Re:Opening Festival (2021) artist, Mark Uhre; and notable Canadian and Broadway actor, Blythe Wilson who recently played the Spirit of Christmas Present in the Grand’s production of A Christmas Carol (2018).
Hoping to add to the cumulative total that has surpassed $300,000, the Grand Theatre will again be supporting the London Food Bank for a fifth consecutive year. During the run of Home for the Holidays, audience members will be asked for monetary donations following each performance.
Written and adapted for stage by: Emma Donoghue
Music & Lyrics by: Cora Bissett and Kathryn Joseph
Directed by: Cora Bissett
Spriet Stage | January 11 – 29, 2022
A co-production with Mirvish Productions and Covent Garden Productions
Title Sponsor: Ahria
Resilience, imagination, and the power of a mother’s love return to the Spriet Stage in Room, written and adapted for the stage by Emma Donoghue.
Kidnapped as a teenage girl, Ma has been locked inside a purpose-built room in her captor’s garden for seven years. Her five year-old son, Jack, has no concept of the world outside and happily exists inside Room. But for Ma, the time has come to escape and face their biggest challenge: the world outside Room.
After being cancelled before its opening night performance in March 2020, the Grand is delighted to welcome back Room and the majority of its cast to the Spriet Stage, including London-born, award-winning actor, Alexis Gordon in the role of Ma.
Grand Artistic Director, Dennis Garnhum on the recasting of Young Jack “As we all know, time moves in one direction: forward. And, as time marched forward throughout the pandemic, so did the age and height of the incredible young actors who were first cast in our 2020 production of Room. While we will miss watching Hayden Baertsoen and Quinsley Edison alternate playing the role of Young Jack with incredible joy and magnetism, we are thrilled to bring Room back to the theatre. And, we are already busy recasting this pivotal role, and working with Mirvish Productions and Covent Garden Productions to bring this powerful production to life.”
• RUBABOO - Songs and Stories with Andrea Menard
By: Andrea Menard
Auburn Stage | February 1-12, 2022
Derived from the Michif word for ‘leftovers stew’ or ‘big pot,’ Rubaboo will take audiences on an intimate, moving, and joyous journey – guided by powerhouse, Métis performer, Andrea Menard.
An award-winning, singer-songwriter, and actor, Andrea’s lyrical voice and masterful storytelling will envelop you into the beauty of Métis culture. Featuring the sounds of drums and guitar, this grand musical feast will include songs of reconciliation, unity, love, frustration, and resilience.
Leading this powerful production, Andrea Menard is a Métis singer/songwriter, actor, speaker, wellness trainer, retreat host, and the founder of the Sacred Feminine Learning Lodge. She is a five-time Gemini-nominated actress, a 15-time music award winner, and was named ACTRA National’s Woman of the Year for 2021. The Grand is ecstatic to welcome Menard back to its stage, after performing the role of Anna-Rae in the Theatre’s 2020 production of Honour Beat.
• CONTROLLED DAMAGE
By: Andrea Scott
Spriet Stage | February 22-March 12, 2022
On November 8, 1946, Black Nova Scotian, Viola Desmond walked into the Whites-only section of the Roseland Theatre in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. Unaware that the theatre was segregated, Viola took a seat on the main floor, instead of in the balcony where Black patrons were expected to sit. She was eventually arrested and dragged from the theatre.
In Controlled Damage, award-winning, London-born playwright Andrea Scott illuminates the story of Viola Desmond – a woman who took a stand against racial discrimination, by taking a seat at a theatre.
Hailed as “so much more than a simple history lesson,” Controlled Damage had its world premiere in February 2020 at the Neptune Theatre in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The Grand is proud to continue to bring this important story to London, and to honour the life and legacy of Viola Desmond.
Book by: Matt Murray
Music by: Colleen Dauncey
Lyrics by: Akiva Romer-Segal
Directed by: Dennis Garnhum
Spriet Stage | March 29-April 20, 2022
Hospitality Sponsor: Tourism London
GROW is an outrageously fun, big-hearted musical that examines the bonds of sisterhood, community, and the choices we all must make as we grow.
Before they are baptized into their faith forever, twin sisters Hannah and Ruth go on Rumspringa – a ‘hall pass’ for Amish teenagers – to explore the secular world. When stranded in an unfamiliar Toronto neighbourhood, the sisters’ beliefs are tested as they team up with a down-on-his-luck cannabis dealer to help run his illegal grow-op.
A COMPASS New Play Development production, GROW was scheduled to open at the Grand in April 2020, but was cancelled in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was first developed through Sheridan College’s Canadian Music Theatre Project, where the Broadway hit Come From Away originated. It was further workshopped at the prestigious Goodspeed Festival of New Musicals in East Haddam, Connecticut. A majority of the actors originally cast in the Grand’s production of GROW will return to the Spriet Stage in March 2022.
As Ontario emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Grand Theatre will follow all provincial regulations regarding the safety of the theatre for audiences, artists, and staff. Until provincially- mandated restrictions are lifted, the Grand will require all patrons to wear masks within the Theatre and provide proof of vaccination via vaccine receipt or enhanced vaccine certificate – along with corresponding government identification – to enter the premises.
“At the Grand, we are committed to the safety and well-being of our artists, staff, volunteers, and our patrons,” says Deb Harvey, Executive Director. “As COVID-19 requirements evolve, the Grand will continue to openly and quickly communicate about the work we are doing to keep the Grand a safe place for all to work, to come together, and to enjoy.”
In celebration of the return to live theatre, and to expand the accessibility of the arts, the Grand is pleased to offer all Spriet Stage performances in the 2021/22 Season at $50 per ticket. Auburn Development Stage productions will be available at $30 per ticket. Season tickets will not be offered for the current Season, but all previous subscription details will be carried forward into the next Grand Season. Beginning November 6, 2021 at noon, tickets for the 2021/22 Season can be purchased at grandtheatre.com, by phone at 519-672-8800, or at the Box Office, 471 Richmond Street.