Stage Door News
London, ON: The Grand Theatre presents the world premiere of the new Canadian musical “Grow”
Tuesday, April 12, 2022
Is the grass always greener on the other side? From April 19 to 30, this age-old question will be theatrically explored as London’s Grand Theatre proudly presents the World Premiere of the Canadian musical comedy GROW.
GROW follows Amish twins, Hannah and Ruth, as they leave the comfort of their sheltered community to explore the modern world for the first time. After arriving in Toronto, their plans quickly go up in smoke and they wind up crashing with a down-on-his-luck illegal cannabis dealer. Their sisterhood is tested when the creation of the “world’s greatest weed” launches one of the twins to astronomical heights. Packed with soaring songs, big laughs, and unforgettable characters, this brand-new musical comedy examines the bonds of family, the value of community, and the choices we make in order to grow.
“When I first encountered GROW in 2016, I knew I was in the presence of something uniquely-exceptional,” remarks Grand Theatre Artistic Director and GROW Director, Dennis Garnhum. “Although GROW tells an entirely original story, addressing the anonymities of Amish culture, its themes of family and personal choice are incredibly relevant and deeply relatable. Is your family defined by blood? Or, is your family the ones you choose to be with? Audiences will be left to decide as they become some of the firsts in the world to experience this beautiful, heart-warming, and “high”-larious musical.”
The book for GROW was written by Sarnia-born playwright, Matt Murray (Myth of the Ostrich, Ross Petty Pantomimes, Going Under, Maggie: a new musical written with award-winning recording artist Johnny Reid). Canadian song-writing team, Colleen Dauncey and Akiva Romer-Segal penned the musical’s memorable music and lyrics. Celebrated by the Globe and Mail as "the Canadian musical's next power duo," the pair have written the scores to Going Under, Bremen Rock City and The Louder We Get (formerly Prom Queen: The Musical), which was staged during the Grand’s 2018/2019 Season as its High School Project.
At the invitation of prominent Canadian producer, Michael Rubinoff, in 2016 GROW was first developed through Sheridan College’s Canadian Music Theatre Project, where the Broadway smash hit Come From Away originated. It was further workshopped at the prestigious Goodspeed Festival of New Musicals in East Haddam, Connecticut in 2020.
GROW brings renowned international and Canadian talent to the Spriet Stage. Making their Grand Theatre debut are: Ann Paula Bautista, Megan Dallan, Izad Etemadi, Christina Gordon, Arinea Hermans, Taran Kim, Sweeney MacArthur, Clea McCaffrey, Adam Sanders, and Jenny Weisz. Returning cast includes: Andrew McAllister, who last appeared at the Grand in the 2012 production of Hair ; Scarborough-born, Masini McDermott who captivated audiences with her powerful vocals in the Grand’s holiday spectacular, Home for the Holidays (2021); and notable Canadian actor, director, and instructor, Jan Alexandra Smith who has appeared in seven seasons at the Grand– perhaps most notably remembered as Johannah Donnelly in the cultural epic, Vigilante and Scrooge in A Christmas Carol.
A COMPASS New Play Development production, GROW was scheduled to have its world premiere at the Grand Theatre in April 2020 but was suspended in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Determined to bring the compelling musical to its London audience, the Grand postponed the show to close its 2021/2022 season on the Spriet Stage.
“It’s been a long two years for us all,” says GROW producer, Michael Rubinoff. “After all that GROW, and we as a society have gone through, I couldn’t be happier that audiences will finally experience this joyous, beautiful, and compelling piece of Canadian theatre. But, even more than that, I am honoured that the London community will join us in making theatre history by being among the first to see GROW.”
GROW is on the Spriet Stage from April 19 - 30, 2022 for an estimated run time of 120 minutes (plus intermission). Tickets are $59.89 total for all seats and are available at www.grandtheatre.com, by phone at 519-672-8800, or at the Box Office, 471 Richmond Street.
The Grand Theatre gratefully acknowledges the continued support of the 2021/22 returning Season Sponsor BMO Financial Group, GROW Title Sponsors, Michael & Stephanie McDonald, and Hospitality Sponsor, Tourism London.
To learn more about GROW, please visit: www.grandtheatre.com.
On Wednesday evenings, immediately following the performance, audience members are invited to the Drewlo Lounge for a brief guided discussion with Grand staff members, guest artists, and creative team members. This unique opportunity provides patrons the informal chance to dive deeper into the show’s content while mingling with patrons and artists.
The Grand’s Wednesday AfterWORDS series for GROW will take place on April 20 and 27.
Photo: Jenny Weisz and Arena Hermans. © 2022 Mai Tilson.