Stage Door News
Toronto: The Musical Stage Co. announces four months of outdoor programming
Thursday, June 24, 2021
On the heels of beginning their sold-out summer concert series - PORCHSIDE SONGS - The Musical Stage Company is thrilled to make a series of announcements today regarding their remarkable summer programming line-up and a fresh new take on their annual fall concert series. Unveiling a cast of luminaries to light up the previously announced new Canadian musical BLACKOUT, the company is also unveiling additional programming for High Park, the electrifying projects that make up MUSICAL MOMENTS this summer and details about their annual signature UNCOVERED concert.
Following an earlier announcement that the company would produce a special in-development production of the new Canadian musical BLACKOUT in the beloved High Park Amphitheatre as part of Canadian Stage’s Dream in High Park 2021 programming, The Musical Stage Company is thrilled to unveil the full cast line-up and other production details today. The stellar performers bringing this iconic Toronto story to life include Brandon Antonio (Next To Normal/Musical Stage Company, Mirvish; RePrint/Musical Stage Company) and Michael De Rose (RePrint/Musical Stage Company; Lil’ Red Robin Hood/Ross Petty) – who both appeared in a short workshop version of BLACKOUT in the summer of 2019 – along with Chilina Kennedy (Beautiful: The Carole King Musical/Stephen Sondheim Theatre; Jesus Christ Superstar/Stratford), Rami Khan (Bend It Like Beckham: The Musical/Starvox; Urinetown/Keep It In The Family), Germaine Konji (The Cider House Rules/Talk Is Free Theatre; In Real Life/Theatre Sheridan), Yemie Sonuga (The Book of Mormon/Prince of Wales Theatre; Porgy and Bess/Regent Park Open Air Theatre), Jonathan Winsby (Carousel/Stratford; The Sound of Music/The Arts Club), and Synthia Yusuf (The Boy in the Moon/The Cultch; The Sound of Music/The Arts Club).
BLACKOUT was originally developed through The Musical Stage Company’s innovative musical development initiative Launch Pad and will be on stage in High Park from July 23rd – August 15th with tickets on sale to the public today. Originally slated for premiere as part of 2020-21 season, BLACKOUT is set on the evening of the unforgettable northeast blackout of 2003. This preview production will feature limited technical elements within the park setting but will give the writers and artistic team a chance to get the production on its feet in front of small physically-distanced audiences.
This thrilling new work depicts three stories of connection that unfolded when the city was dark, and strangers banded together to find the light. From two of Canada’s most exciting voices –Anton Lipovetsky and Steven Gallagher – BLACKOUT is a story of hope, resilience, and community that feels perfectly suited to a moment of reconnection.
“The 2003 blackout was an unforgettable collective experience for Torontonians, bringing people together in many surprising ways, says Musical Stage Company Artistic and Managing Director Mitchell Marcus. “As we take thefirst steps towards in-person connection again, I hope the story of people coming together in our city will serve as the perfect antidote to months of isolation and a celebratory reminder of how our shared experiences can unite us. This musical feels extremely cathartic and I believe it will resonate strongly with audiences, reminding them of the power of live theatre.”
With book written by Steven Gallagher and music and lyrics by Anton Lipovetsky (The Musical Stage Company’s current Crescendo artist), BLACKOUT is directed by Ann Hodges who has also served as a dramaturg on the project, Music Supervision and Orchestrations is by Wayne Gwillim, set design is by Brandon Kleiman, costume design by Alex Amini, lighting design by Logan Raju Cracknell, and sound design is by Kaitlyn Mackinnon.
Performances of BLACKOUT will run July 23rd – August 15th. Confirmed seating is $49.00, with 50% of all tickets being offered as Pay What You Can. For more information and tickets, visit musicalstagecompany.com
Ancillary Park Programming
As part of their residency in the High Park Amphitheatre this summer, The Musical Stage Company has also programmed ancillary programming for families and music lovers of all ages, which further underscores the company’s commitment to the development of new work and the musical theatre artists of the future.
From August 10th – 13th the company will present STILLWATER SCHOOL FOR MOSQUITOS, a work-in-progress musical presentation for children and families, collectively created by The Mulligans: Peter Fernandes, Hailey Gillis, Qasim Khan, Courtney Ch’ng Lancaster, and Jennifer Villaverde.
STILLWATER SCHOOL FOR MOSQUITOS was adapted from the book The Mosquito Brothers by Griffin Ondaatje and follows the tale of Dinnn, a little mosquito born in a big puddle in a movie theatre parking lot. Join the Mulligans as they follow the misfit adventures of Dinnn, the only mosquito in a family of four-hundred-and-one who doesn't like to fly.
Performances of STILLWATER FOR MOSQUITOS will run August 10th – 13th at 11:00am with all tickets offered as Pay What You, on sale today. For more information and tickets visit musicalstagecompany.com.
On August 7th & 10th The Musical Stage Company presents the 2020-21 Syd & Shirley Banks Prize winners, Dillan Chiblow & Germaine Konji, in a special cabaret concert titled BAAPII ROHO at the High Park Amphitheatre. BAAPII ROHO is a deep and disruptive dive into the joy of two artists and invites audiences to enjoy an evening of song under the stars. The entire concert has been created and is artistically led by The Musical Stage Company's 2020-21 RBC Apprentices.
Performances of BAAPII ROHO will run August 7th at 11AM and August 10 at 8PM with all tickets offered as Pay What You, on sale today.
Musical Moments Grant Recipients – animating Toronto’s outdoor spaces with music throughout the summer
As previously announced in the spring, The Musical Stage Company issued a call for applications for a new program for summer 2021 - MUSICAL MOMENTS. Awarding a total of $25,000 in grants, the program seeks to reimagine how artists can bring communities and neighbourhoods together through creative experience, by funding dynamic artistic programming that reunites Torontonians with music.
From Etobicoke to King West to North York and beyond, the eight selected MUSICAL MOMENTS projects will pop up in city parks, neighborhood streets, front porches, abandoned gardens, retirement homes, and schools - infusing the city with explosive street parties, instrument making workshops, distanced dance installations, and surprise musical performances for unknowing neighbors. Each MUSICAL MOMENTS program has been created by artists for a specific neighbourhood or community that they are connected to, bringing small but impactful bursts of togetherness to seniors, Queer community groups, kids, BIPOC audiences, newcomers and more.
Today the company is pleased to share that the following eight projects will come to life across the city this summer: Beat Makers!, connecting with children to make instruments and engage with music; Bitter Juice Presents: The “Say Your Peace” Show, celebrating the art of jamming; Olivia Shortt: 1:1 Concerts, improvised songs for individual patrons; PARTYPEOPLE, an interactive journey of dance, reveals, and surprises; The (Secret) Garden, a music installation in a hidden urban garden; A Song For You, a surprise acoustic music set for neighbours; The Songs of My Elders, bringing music to long term care residents; and Street Party, an interactive musical parade. For complete details visit musicalstagecompany.com.
MUSICAL MOMENTS is made possible thanks to the generous support of William J.S. Boyle, C.M.
UNCOVERED 2021: The Music of Dolly Parton
Looking forward to the fall, for 2021 The Musical Stage Company brings its beloved annual signature concert series UnCovered, live to the drive-in, spotlighting hit songs from the Queen of Country. UnCovered: The Music of Dolly Parton will be presented October 4th – 7th at the CityView Drive-In and feature wildly inventive arrangements of Dolly classics by music director Reza Jacobs, performed by a line-up of award-winning Canadian artists often seen on international stages and screens. An evening of world-class talent, performing live to drive-in audiences, overlooking the breathtaking Toronto skyline, UnCovered 2021 will be another unmissable event re-connecting audiences with the joy of live music.
Tickets for UnCovered: The Music of Dolly Parton are now available for groups of 8 or more, single tickets will be made available in September along with the announcement of this year’s line-up of performers. For more information visit musicalstagecompany.com