Stage Door News
Toronto: Canadian Stage announces its 2023/24 season
Wednesday, April 12, 2023
Nearing the end of the company’s first full season since 2019 - a season that saw audiences eagerly returning to the joy and thrill of live theatre, bringing back pre-pandemic subscription levels, full houses, and sold-out shows – Canadian Stage is delighted to announce an ambitious 23.24 season defined by thrilling and urgently relevant contemporary theatre and performance work from Canada and around the world.
Continuing to strike a balance between large-scale, theatrical spectacle and intimate and provocative social commentary, the 23.24 season is full of heart, of joy, and of life changing stories, populated by Canadian premieres of hotly anticipated award-winners including the 2020 Tony-winner for Best Play, THE INHERITANCE, the 2022 Tony-winner for Best Play, THE LEHMAN TRILOGY, and World Premieres of new Canadian work from some of the most essential artists our country has to offer, such as Crystal Pite andJonathon Young and the creators of MOUTHPIECE, Norah Sadava and Amy Nostbakken.
“The 23.24 season speaks to the human experience as it is right now by addressing some of the most fundamental issues of our time: how capitalism has shaped society globally, the climate crisis, Blackness in North America, responsibilities of care, and more,” says Canadian Stage Artistic Director Brendan Healy. “We are thrilled to be bringing must-see works from Broadway and around the world to Toronto this season and presenting them alongside some of the most vital Canadian creators working today – this balance is the essence of what we always want to be doing at Canadian Stage.”
“We announce this season on the tail end of a milestone year for Canadian Stage and for the live performance sector as a whole,” adds Canadian Stage Executive Director Monica Esteves. “In the immediate throes of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the relevancy of live performance in an uncertain future felt existential to our sector. While the recovery is still in process, and greatly abetted by the steadfast support of Canadian Stage’s incredible donors and sponsors, our audiences made an exceptional declaration of support for live theatre through their strong attendance this season. Since re-opening in March 2022, Canadian Stage has welcomed both returning and brand-new audiences to our theatres. This has been unbelievably encouraging and has injected the organization with the confidence to put forward an even more ambitious and bold line-up for next season. So, for 23.24, we will meet this overwhelming audience support with new package offerings, easier purchase paths, increased flexibility, and our expanded loyalty programs.”
In addition to welcoming back pre-pandemic subscription levels in 22.23, amongst single ticket purchases, over 50% came from new patrons. Canadian Stage has continued to maintain a positive financial position during and post-pandemic.
ON THE BLUMA STAGE
Carrying this energy and optimism into 2023.24, Canadian Stage will light up the Bluma Appel Theatre, presenting four sweeping productions - including one in two parts - on the big stage. In October, the company welcomes internationally acclaimed dancer/choreographer Akram Khan for the fourth time, with JUNGLE BOOK REIMAGINED. A stunning piece of contemporary dance that the whole family will love, this theatrical adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s classic novel is rooted in today and threaded with the theme of climate change.
“We are thrilled to be welcoming Akram Khan to Canadian Stage for the fourth time, with this extraordinary new work,” says Healy. “With JUNGLE BOOK he takes a post-colonial perspective on this classic and beloved story and through it contemplates environmental crisis and our relationship to the land. It is a thrilling, large scale work featuring a big company of dancers in a narrative that sees the animals reclaiming the world. It’s visually spectacular, emotionally rewarding, and I love that families will really be able to enjoy this one together.”
In November Canadian Stage will present the hotly anticipated Canadian Premiere of THE LEHMAN TRILOGY. Written by Italian novelist and playwright Stefano Massini and adapted by Ben Power, the play first premiered in France and Italy before making its West End debut at the National Theatre in 2018 in a storied production directed by Sam Mendes. The National Theatre production eventually transferred to Broadway in 2020 (resuming in 2021 after a pandemic pause) and went on to win 5 Tony Awards in 2022 including Best Play, Best Director, and Best Actor. This epic theatrical event tells the story of nearly two centuries of family history, from the humble beginnings of Bavarian immigrants arriving in New York City in 1844, to the spectacular collapse into bankruptcy that triggered the largest financial crisis in history. The Canadian Stage production will be directed by the Canadian theatre powerhouse, Philip Akin and star Jordan Pettle, Graeme Somerville, and Ben Carlson.
“THE LEHMAN TRILOGY is essential viewing both for theatre lovers and for anyone who really wants to understand the story behind the financial crisis and of capitalism itself,” says Healy. “In this time of late capitalism where we are experiencing the problems inherent in these financial and political systems at their most extreme, this show offers deep insight into how we got here. We are honored to welcome Philip Akin to the company next year - he is the kind of director required for an epic story like THE LEHMAN TRILOGY.”
In December, the internationally acclaimed Kidd Pivot returns to Canadian Stage with the third collaboration between choreographer Crystal Pite and creator Jonathon Young - the illustrious duo behind the ground-breaking productions BETROFFENHEIT and REVISOR. Canadian Stage is proud to again be a co-commissioner of this dance/theatre hybrid which will assemble eight performers in a new piece that explores our need to congregate and belong, and that promises more of Kidd Pivot’s signature wit, invention, and spectacle.
In March 2024 Canadian Stage Artistic Director Brendan Healy makes his Bluma directing debut with the stunning two-part saga, THE INHERITANCE by Matthew Lopez. Lopez' epic play reimagines E.M. Forster's Howard's End as a contemporary portrait of the generation after the height of the AIDS crisis.
A wide-reaching examination of the ongoing impact of the AIDS crisis, THE INHERITANCE won 4 Oliver Awards including Best Play following its world premiere at the Young Vic, and 4 Tony Awards including Best Play for its Broadway premiere at the Ethel Barrymore. This new production will feature a distinguished Canadian cast lead by Qasim Khan, Stephen Jackman-Torkoff, Antoine Yared, and Daniel MacIvor with Salvatore Antonio, Hollywood Jade, Aldrin Bundoc and Breton Lalama.
“I am excited to be directing THE INHERITANCE for the Bluma stage,” shares Healy. “This play considers the legacy of AIDS on society and the profound impact that the loss of a large portion of a generation of gay men had on the generation that followed them. It means a great deal to me to bring this story to Toronto.”
AT THE BERKELEY
The 23.24 Berkeley Street Theatre season is equally thrilling. Getting underway in September, the Berkeley will open with the revival of a Pulitzer Prize-winning American classic, Suzan-Lori Parks’ TOPDOG/UNDERDOG. Called the best American play in 25 years by the New York Times, TOGDOG/UNDERDOG is a darkly comic fable of brotherly love and sibling rivalry that sharply exposes the experience of Black men in America. Director Tawiah M’Carthy returns to Canadian Stage, after his recent production of FAIRVIEW, to helm the production of this contemporary masterwork, which was revived on Broadway in 2022.
In January 2024, Canadian Stage will present an unforgettable play from Australia’s acclaimed Back To Back Theatre, THE SHADOW WHOSE PREY THE HUNTER BECOMES. Created intermittently over many months, through conversations and improvisation, the play is written and performed by a company of neurodivergent creators, weaving an unforgettable narrative through human rights, sexual politics, and the projected dominance of artificial intelligence.
In February, the creators of the breakaway success MOUTHPIECE, Norah Sadava and Amy Nostbakken, will share the World Premiere of a virtuosic new work on the Berkeley Street Theatre stage, UNIVERSAL CHILDCARE. Looking at five different families around the world and their experience with universal childcare the play blends physical theatre and music and is entirely sung acapella by an international cast of performers.
Red Sky Performance returns to Canadian Stage after a sold-out run of MIIGIS in 22.23 with RED SKY AT NIGHT. An evening of celebration featuring thrilling excerpts of Red Sky Performance’s work and showcasing a spectacular evening of dance, live music, and theatre from a line-up of outstanding Indigenous performers and special guests, RED SKY AT NIGHT brings together artists at the intersection of new and electrifying performances.
40 YEARS OF DREAMING
Getting the season underway, this summer Canadian Stage celebrates 40 years of presenting Shakespeare in the park by bringing back one of Shakespeare’s most beloved plays, A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM, for this year’s Dream in High Park. The first Shakespeare ever presented in High Park in 1983, and a summer favourite for all ages, A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM has long been associated with the time-held tradition of Shakespeare under the stars.
Dream in High Park veteran performer, Jamie Robinson, directs what is sure to be a magical in High Park Amphitheatre from July 21 to September 3.
Before the curtain raises on this special anniversary production, Canadian Stage is delighted to welcome dance Immersion back to Dream in High Park for YOUNG, GIFTED, & JAZZ. A Legacy Series presentation for three nights only, YOUNG, GIFTED, & JAZZ is an electrifying immersive experience of true jazz culture, from fashion to dance with live music.
Following the success of the 22.23 presentations of HUMAN MEASURE and CABARET NOIR, CS Platform is back for the 23.24 season with vanguard works pushing at the boundaries of the art form.
In April of 2024, Canadian Stage will present two ground-breaking works from Canada back-to-back. First up, from poet, playwright, and essayist Charles Smith is SEARCHING FOR EASTMAN. Incorporating dance, poetry, and music, SEARCHING FOR EASTMAN tells a compelling story about American composer Julius Eastman - a Black, queer, musical minimalist who died of AIDS in 1990.
SEARCHING FOR EASTMAN is followed by NOMADA, a co-creation by Diana Lopez Soto and Alejandro Ronceria. A multidisciplinary solo work, NOMADA explores ritual as performance through aerial and contemporary dance, video projection, and art installation, in a work that seeks to connect audiences to a visceral experience through movement.
Subscriptions for the 23.24 season will go on sale to donors and members on April 11, 2023, and to the public on April 12, 2023. Single tickets will go on sale on May 29, 2023.
Canadian Stage 23.24 Season
A Canadian Stage production
September 22 – October 8 at the Berkeley Street Theatre
By Suzan-Lori Parks
Directed by Tawiah M’Carthy
Winner, Pulitzer Prize for Drama
New York Times Critics Pick
A darkly comic fable of brotherly love and sibling rivalry. Lincoln and Booth are brothers haunted by their past – as well as their names. When Lincoln gets a gig impersonating his namesake, Booth takes over his brother’s old racket as a three-card monte dealer. This beloved Pulitzer Prize-winning play is a tangle of secrets, lies, and one-upmanship, where the stakes get higher and higher, and someone’s bound to end up on top.
JUNGLE BOOK REIMAGINED
A Canadian Stage presentation of an Akram Khan Company production
October 12 – 14, 2023 at the Bluma Appel Theatre
Created by Akram Khan
Written by Tariq Jordan
Based on Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
With a new sense of urgency, the world-renowned Akram Khan has reinterpreted this known story from another perspective: through the lens through the lens of today’s children – those who will inherit our world and become our future storytellers. With spectacular technology that turns the stage into a mythical world, this Jungle Book reimagines the journey of Mowgli through the eyes of a refugee caught in a world devastated by the impact of climate change. This family-friendly epic dance work speaks to all generations as a step to remind, relearn, and reimagine a new world together. Suggested for children aged 8+ years.
THE LEHMAN TRILOGY (Canadian Premiere)
A Canadian Stage production
November 14 – 26 at the Bluma Appel Theatre
By Stefano Massini
Adapted by Ben Power
Directed by Philip Akin
With Jordan Pettle, Graeme Somerville, and Ben Carlson
On a cold September morning in 1844 a young man from Bavaria stands on a New York dockside, dreaming of a new life in the new world. He is joined by his two brothers and an American epic begins. 163 years later, the firm they establish – Lehman Brothers – spectacularly collapses into bankruptcy and triggers the largest financial crisis in history. Featuring a cast of three playing the Lehman brothers, their sons, and grandsons in an extraordinary feat of storytelling told in three parts on a single evening.
KIDD PIVOT: A NEW CREATION (Toronto Premiere)
A Kidd Pivot production presented by Canadian Stage
December 6 – 9 at the Bluma Appel Theatre
Co-created by Crystal Pite and Jonathon Young
Canadian Stage is proud to be a co-commissioner of Kidd Pivot’s highly anticipated new work by acclaimed choreographer Crystal Pite and co-creator Jonathon Young following the massive success of REVISOR and BETROFFENHEIT, which The Guardian called “the best dance work of the 21st century.” With a style that is brilliantly orchestrated, highly energetic, and an inventive hybrid of dance and theatre, Pite has been described by The Guardian as “the dance genius who stages the impossible.” In this newest work, Pite and Young explore our need to congregate and belong. In a gathering place that doubles as community hall and mythic realm, we witness the joys and dangers of devoted like-mindedness and the pain of exile. This breathtaking, moving, and inspiring new work is not to be missed!
THE SHADOW WHOSE PREY THE HUNTER BECOMES
A Back to Back Theatre production presented by Canadian Stage
January 18 – 28, 2024 at the Berkeley Street Theatre
With Simon Laherty, Sarah Mainwaring, Scott Price
Written by Mark Deans, Michael Chan, Bruce Gladwin, Simon Laherty, Sarah Mainwaring, Scott Price, and Sonia Teuben
Directed by Bruce Gladwin
Weaving a narrative through human rights, sexual politics, and the projected dominance of artificial intelligence, Shadow Whose Prey the Hunter Becomes is a sly theatrical revelation inspired by mistakes, mis-readings, mis-leadings and misunderstanding. Shadow reminds us that none of us are self-sufficient and all of us are responsible.
Written and performed by neuro-divergent actors, this is a funny and beautiful play unlike anything else that will be seen on stage.
UNIVERSAL CHILD CARE (World Premiere)
A Quote Unquote Collective, The Broad Collective, and Canadian Stage co-production
February 13 – 25, 2024 at the Berkeley Street Theatre
Created by Norah Sadava and Amy Nostbakken
“The combination of movement and brilliant voice work produced by Nostbakken and Sadava can be unforgettable; and at its best, seems to speak for a generation.” -The Scotsman (Review of Mouthpiece)
Witness the sheer power and force of the unaccompanied human voice in the newest work from Quote Unquote Collective. Part concert, part theatre play (and self-consciously neither of those things), the ensemble screams about the lack of affordable child care and growing inequalities while comparing different approaches to child care around the globe.
THE INHERITANCE PARTS 1 & 2
A Canadian Stage Production
March 22 – April 7, 2024, at the Bluma Appel Theatre
Winner of four Tony Awards including Best Play
Olivier Award Winner, Best Play
Written by Matthew Lopez
Directed by Brendan Healy
Featuring Qasim Khan, Stephen Jackman-Torkoff, Antoine Yared, and Daniel MacIvor with Salvatore Antonio, Hollywood Jade, Adrian Bolduc and Breton Lalama.
THE INHERITANCE reimagines E.M. Forster’s Howard’s End as a contemporary portrait of the generation after the height of the AIDS crisis. In contemporary Manhattan, Eric and Toby are 30-somethings who seem to be in love and thriving. But on the cusp of their engagement, they meet an older man haunted by the past and a younger man hungry for a future. Chance meetings lead to surprising choices as the lives of three generations collide—with explosive results. Sweeping the 2020 Tony Awards, THE INHERITANCE is a modern masterpiece presented in two parts.
RED SKY AT NIGHT
Canadian Stage presents a Red Sky Performance production
November 3 – 5, 2023 at the Berkeley Street Theatre
Directed and choreographed by Sandra Lalonde in collaboration with the performers
RED SKY AT NIGHT is an evening of celebration featuring thrilling excerpts of Red Sky Performance’s work and showcasing a spectacular evening of dance, live music, and theatre from a line-up of outstanding Indigenous performers and special guests. RED SKY AT NIGHT brings together artists at the intersection of new and electrifying performances.
CS PLATFORM – a vanguard performance series
SEARCHING FOR EASTMAN
Presented by Canadian Stage
April 4 – 7, 2024 at the Berkeley Street Theatre
By Charles Smith
Julius Eastman (1940-1990) was a Black and queer minimalist composer. Outspoken about his social identities, Eastman was a provocative character who infused his remarkable compositions with these sensibilities. Through music, poetry, theatre, dance, and video, SEARCHING FOR EASTMAN reveals the complexities of this extraordinary artist and his art.
Presented by Canadian Stage
April 18 – 20, 2024 at the Berkeley Street Theatre
Co-created by Diana Lopez and Alejandro Ronceria
Directed by Diego Marulanda
NOMADA blends aerial dance, installation art, and contemporary Mexican INDIGENOUS dance. Inspired by personal stories of displacement, dances, and stories from the P’urepecha and Otomi nations of Michoacan, and the relationship between our bodies and the earth, NOMADA is a visually stunning and visceral experience.
DREAM IN HIGH PARK 40th ANNIVERSARY EDITION
YOUNG, GIFTED, & JAZZ
Produced and presented by dance Immersion in association with Canadian Stage
July 6 – 8 in the High Park Amphitheatre
Concept and Choreography by Raoul Pillay
Musical Direction by Alexa Belgrave
Dramaturgy by Natasha Powell
Reaffirming the spirit of what was, is, and will continue to be, YOUNG, GIFTED & JAZZ is an electrifying immersive experience of true jazz culture, from fashion to dance with live music. Join us in keeping the legacy alive!
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM
A Canadian Stage Production
July 21 - Sept 3 in the High Park Amphitheatre
Directed by Jamie Robinson
Canadian Stage celebrates 40 years of Shakespeare in High Park by bringing the bard’s most beloved comedy back to the amphitheatre stage. The first Shakespeare play ever presented in High Park in 1983, and a summer favourite for all ages, A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM has long been associated with the time-held tradition of Shakespeare under the stars.