When I first went Into the Woods

Once upon a time….

In 1995, I was taking musical theatre dance classes at the Beverly Segal School of Dance in Richmond Hill. Every couple of weeks we’d learn a new routine to a different showtune; one week the song was called “Giants In the Sky” from a musical called Into the Woods. The dance teacher (her name was Honey) explained to the class that the musical was all about fairy-tales and that this particular song was sung by Jack, all about his experiences involving the beanstalk. I was instantly obsessed. More

Art Spiegelman Talks The Wild Party

On Wednesday, we had the pleasure of attending the preview of a brilliant new exhibit on now at the Art Gallery of Ontario showcasing the work of one of the world’s most renowned comic artists Art Spiegelman entitled Art Spiegelman’s CO-MIX: A Retrospective. On the walls of the AGO is a lifetime’s work of an artist who was instrumental in bringing comics and graphic magazines into the mainstream art world and destroying the barrier between high and low art.

Best known for the Pulitzer Prize-winning Maus (which spawned a sequel Maus II and the making-of novel MetaMaus), a sprawling comic book about his parents’ experience in Auschwitz during the second world war, one of Spiegelman’s lesser-known works is one directly connected with Acting Up Stage. Following the success of Maus, Spiegelman published an illustrated version of Joseph Moncure March’s long-forgotten poem The Wild Party (about 70 years after it was originally written). The new spotlight on the poem was surely an inspiration for the two musicals that premiered only six years after the reissue based on the same poem. Acting Up Stage’s next production is one of those two musicals - Michael John LaChiusa’s The Wild Party. (Between this AGO exhibit, The Wild Party, and an upcoming lecture with Spiegelman presented by the Koffler Centre of the Arts in January, there is definitely an Art-istic moment happening in Toronto.) More

The death of the “serious musical”

At the end of last week, it was announced that the revival of Side Show would be closing on Broadway after 77 performances. Shows close all the time, of course, but this musical about conjoined twins received some of the best reviews of the season, hailed as “thrilling” and “electrifying” by The New York Times, and The Washington Post declared “Anyone not knocked out by this ravishing musical is hereby ordered to have their vital signs checked.”

Apparently, this acclaimed musical had been suffering from low sales. Even though the investors were prepared to continue running the show until Tony Award season (where they hoped it would pick up enough nods to boost demand), the musical’s landlord (Jujamcyn Theaters) threatened to invoke a “stop clause” in their rental agreement – reserved for situations where a show is not generating enough revenue, and the venue wants to make room for a new production. More

What is the Acting Up Stage Theatre Creators’ Reserve?

December 29 is an important date - not only because you only have two more days to hammer out your New Year’s Eve plans (before ultimately deciding to stay in with a stack of Broadway Cast Recordings and some champagne). It’s also the submission deadline for the first ever Acting Up Stage Company Creators’ Reserve, through the Ontario Arts Council! We’re currently accepting proposals or artistic statements from composers, lyricists, and bookwriters (preferably teams consisting of all these roles) and requests for funding between $1,000 and $4,000 to develop their new musical theatre work.
We can’t wait to read all the submissions! In the meantime, we chatted with Acting Up’s Artistic & Managing Director to get a bit of insight into the new program. More

5 Unexpectedly Awesome Things in the Into the Woods Movie

WARNING - SPOILERS AHEAD! Be careful if you’re not familiar with the story of Into the Woods.

Last week the team at Acting Up Stage had the pleasure - nay, the honour - to watch a preview of Disney’s movie version of Into the Woods, which will be widely released this Christmas Day. In case you’ve been living with your head under a rock, or at least been ignoring this blog and Acting Up Stage’s Twitter feed for the past few weeks, Into the Woods features a cast full of real nobodies - Anne Kendrick as Cinderella, Meryl Streep as The Witch, Johnny Depp as The Wolf, James Corden as The Baker and Emily Blunt as The Baker’s Wife. Yawn, right? More

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