Meanwhile over the last decade...
Ten years ago you may have been eagerly awaiting a performance of My Mother’s Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding at the (then) Panasonic Theatre. Anyone who saw that show could tell how talented David Hein and Irene Sankoff even if we couldn’t have predicted the masterpiece that is Come From Away. (By the way, don’t miss the return of their first hit. For one night on January 21. The gala fundraiser is in support of Planned Parenthood). Maybe Stuff Happens at the Royal Alexandra Theatre was more to your taste. An examination of presidential proportions. I wonder if David Hare is busily penning a play about the current stuff that is happening south of the border. Or maybe the classic Fiddler on the Roof was your musical choice for holiday 2009. It seems like so much has happened since those productions graced our stages. As the decade is winding down it is the perfect time to take a look at some of the best moments of the last ten years. Researching this list has taken me down many a rabbit hole! I hope you fall into some of the same ones, they are pretty delightful. You’re welcome.
March 19, 2014.
We’ll start with a fun moment from our fashion archives. I wouldn’t have guessed that David Mirvish could pull off a pair or ruby red, thigh-high, bedazzled high-heeled boots, but one look at him rocking these kicks proves that the man can do anything!
The charm offensive.
July 5-17, 2011.
The once sexiest man alive and perpetually most entertaining human Hugh Jackman took Toronto by storm. For two weeks Jackman enthralled everyone who managed to get a ticket. I have never seen an audience collectively swoon but that is the only word that can describe what happened when he took the stage. He took us on a journey from X-Men to Peter Allen to how he wooed his wife away from an evening with Mick Jagger! He high-fived me, twice. I’m just saying. Twice.
And now for something completely different
September 24, 2012.
Our stages have always been associated with big name musicals- the best that Broadway and the world has to offer. That is why it was so exciting when David Mirvish announced the Off-Mirvish Subscription Series. It gave us the opportunity to bring more plays and comedies to our stages, to support some new and exciting theatre and just gave us another outlet for the boundless creativity that is on display in our city. It started as an experiment, but the monumental productions Terminus, Without You, Clybourne Park and Dancing With Rage in the first Off-Mirvish season cemented its role in our vibrant theatre scene.
July 23, 2012.
War Horse is the kind of show that moves you with its story and its innovation. There were so many incredible moments around that show. The idea that three puppeteers maneuvering a life-size horse will fade into the background until all you see is the horse is a feat that must be seen to be believed. We took the show’s equine stars Joey and Topthorn to the street to meet their adoring fans. Included in the group was my very own three-year-old daughter who got up close and personal with Joey. So now I have to pony up the dough for horseback riding lessons. Thanks a lot Joey.
One night only
December 6, 2010.
Octogenarian Stephen Sondheim took the stage to discuss his decades-long career, his writing philosophy, his triumphs and the stuff he didn’t quite get right. (Hard to imagine as he is one of the most brilliant theatrical minds, but he is quick to point out the mistakes he’s made over his career). In the way that only a master can, he shared his insight on the Musical in all its glory.
To give is better than to receive
December 7, 2019.
A memory from the very recent past: There really is nothing like the feeling of watching Come From Away. It is so joyful and exuberant and deeply moving that I never would have guessed those feelings could be intensified. But all it took was a concert. The cast performed a benefit concert at the Daily Bread Food Bank raising over $100,000. For a show whose heart resides in the generosity of spirit of a community, there is no more fitting way to celebrate the holidays than to help make sure everyone in our community has enough to eat. It was fun and heartwarming and I get teary just thinking about it!
The stars among us
March 11, 2011.
So many celebs have visited our theatres. We’ve hosted Prime Ministers, movie stars, musicians, athletes. In short, we are no stranger to the glitterati. (And I’m not just bragging here, stick with me). They were all outstripped by the presence of an honest-to-goodness superstar. When Elton John appeared on our red carpet at the opening night of Billy Elliot everything became a blur- at least it did for me! In the video below, that is my hand holding his mic. If you look closely it may be a little shaky. The show was amazing and I am still in awe of all the boys who performed as Billy and Michael. The four Billys had a special curtain call and they were joined by Sir Elton- in a tutu no less!
Jean to Jean
January 11, 2014.
Two legends, one stage. Colm Wilkinson and Ramin Karimloo are both icons of the stage, and they happen to be two of the most iconic Jean Valjeans. Colm was the original London & Broadway Valjean and Karimloo starred in the extraordinary 2013 production. They came together on stage one night to raise money for five charities. Wilkinson performed the role of Bishop Digne and at the end of the show the two sang a duet. There were tears and chills and the special kind of magic that is so rare. Just go- watch the video, my words don’t do it justice.
Honouring a legend
May 3, 2012.
It was a long time coming. In one of the most fitting moments of the last decade the theatre formerly known as the Canon or the Pantages was renamed the Ed Mirvish Theatre. Ed Mirvish, his wife Anne and his son David (aka my boss) have done so much for the Toronto theatre community that it was inevitable that we commemorated him in this fashion. But if you knew Ed (I never had the pleasure but I have heard from my coworkers) you knew he would not have allowed this in his lifetime. To see the sign with his name light up for the fist time just felt right. He is where he belongs and will always be a larger-than-life presence on the streets of Toronto. Literally.
Sharing the music
April 23, 2015.
Theatre has the power to bring people together in unique ways. The number one spot goes to one of the most exceptional experiences at our theatres. There is nothing else like it which is very fitting as the show behind this experience was Once. For a special event we invited an audience of guitarists to bring their guitars and play the hauntingly beautiful song “Falling Slowly”. Part singalong, part jam session, it was entirely spine-tingling. We expected 100 guitars, we ended up with 926! They raised their hopeful voices (and guitars) together as one. It is evidence of the power of music and theatre. The magic that can happen when we all work together.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my top-ten theatrical moments of the last decade! The next decade is starting with a bang (or a shot, as the case may be). I look forward to making more beautiful, theatrical memories with all of you!