Category: Producing Notes

What I Learned From Reframed

Last week, a crazy idea that began 18 months ago came to fruition as we performed three new musicals, inspired by paintings in the permanent collection at the AGO, in the gallery where the works are hung.


Has the Internet killed my love of musicals?

Over the thanksgiving weekend, I took a road trip to Montreal with my parents in their mini-van. One of the things that I love about this minivan (are there things to love about minivans?) is the subscription to Sirius XM Radio. Why? Because it means that I can enjoy a 6 hour drive to Montreal, listening to Seth Rudetsky’s “Big Fat Broadway.”

Producing Notes - Gimme a T-O-N-Y!

Tony night is my favourite television night of the year. It is my Super Bowl. As someone who almost never turns on the television, it is the time when I surround myself with people who will silently revel in the performances and speeches and promise only to talk during commercials – I just don’t want to miss any of it.

Last Sunday’s awards were no exception, and I loved getting to watch them. Here are my highlights and lowlights:

Highlight: Oh Canada!!!!

I absolutely love Jake Epstein. Seeing him on TV on the Tonys was pretty special. While I don’t know them well, seeing Ramin Karimloo, Samantha Hill, Cliff Saunders, and Nick Cordero (possibly Melissa O’Neil too… not sure if she was in that Les Mis number) reinforced what we all know already – we have the best musical theatre talent anywhere.

Lowlight: B list movie stars

Ok… I am bad with pop culture. I don’t watch TV and I don’t get to see many movies. But honestly, who were all those people?!?! Am I the only person who didn’t know Emmy Rossum, Kate Mara, Zachary Quinto, Zachary Levi, Leighton Meester, Matt Bomer, Anna Gunn, Vera Farmiga and Alessandro Nivola? Ok… I probably am the only one who doesn’t know who they are. But really, I want to see Mandy Patinkin, Bernadette Peters, Patti LuPone, Angela Lansbury, Nathan Lane, etc. Give me more of them please.

Highlight: Gentleman’s Guide

I saw the show one week before the Tonys. I liked it, but didn’t love it. The number they performed (“I’ve Decided To Marry You”) was a winner in the show and translated even better on TV. It made me want to go back and see it again. Well done team GG! (Side note, it wasn’t until the next day that I realized that our very own Chilina Kennedy had played Phoebe D’Ysquith in early pre-Broadway productions. Man, I would have liked to see her in that role. She’d be terrific.)

Lowlight: Finding Neverland

Finding Neverland is one of my favourite movies. Jennifer Hudson is a singer that I really admire. But mix these two together and I get confused. What the heck was going on? Hudson in a ball gown performing as if it was American Idol. A bunch of costumed kids propped up on a bed as if Julie Andrews was professing love for whiskers on kittens. A Peter Pan ballet. Huh?

Highlight: Audra McDonald

Rare are the moments where you watch history happen. How lucky musical theatre fans are to still have many years with the performer who holds the most Tony Awards. She is just amazing.

Lowlight: Clint Eastwood

He’s a wonderful actor and director. Maybe he shouldn’t be presenting two awards at the Tonys.

Highlight: Chris O’Dowd

If I ever am lucky enough to get Tony nominated and lose, this guy really showed me how to take it standing up:

Those are my hits and misses. What were yours?




Producing Notes - A 5, 6, 7, 8!

I hope that all Toronto musical theatre fans have Tuesday, April 29 blocked off in their calendars. That evening, from 8:30PM-11:30PM at the Drake Underground (1150 Queen Street West) we are co-hosting – along with Theatre20 and Angelwalk Theatre – And 5, 6, 7, 8: A Musical Theatre Dance Party.

Over the last few years, whenever I have gone to New York, I have tried to make sure that I was in town on a Monday night so I could go to “Musical Mondays” at Splash Bar. DJ John Bantay would curate an impressive video party of showtunes – clips from the Tony Awards, talk show clips, old movie musicals. Beyond getting to watch a fantastic archive of performances in a jam packed bar filled with shirtless bartenders, it was incredible to see the crowd dancing. And I mean DANCING. People who knew every step to “One” from A Chorus Line. A perfectly replicated “Dance At The Gym”. Trios who could perform the infamous “Turkey Lurkey Time” step by step. It was amazing. Splash Bar is no longer unfortunately. Musical Mondays has been sort of reinvented as “Monday Musicals” at XL Nightclub and the incredible DJ John Bantay has moved on.

When we were thinking up And 5, 6, 7, 8: A Musical Theatre Dance Party, we weren’t exactly attempting to replicate Musical Mondays in Toronto. But we were hoping that we could recreate some of its incredible energy and community building.

We decided to band together with Theatre20 and Angelwalk to put this event on to give musical theatre lovers in this city a chance to gather, meet and celebrate. We are always out in the market place fundraising, or selling tickets. What a refreshing joy to offer a fun night out (and who doesn’t need a little spring fun after THAT winter), without cover or ticket cost, and without any goal other than to see colleagues and audiences kick up their heels and enjoy some great music chosen by some pretty awesome guest DJs.

I hope to see you there. I promise you a dream ballet, a little Shipoopi and a fouette of a good time.

Producing Notes - Like It Was

I have a confession to make. As a young teenager, I idolized Stephen Sondheim. Let’s be honest, when you are a 13 year old with pimples, a 64 year-old musical theatre writer is probably not the best choice to increase your popularity status.

But I loved him.