CHICAGO, AMERICAN IDIOT, Brian Bedford-Led THE LAST CONFESSION & More Added to Mirvish's 50th Anniversary Season
David Mirvish celebrates 50 years of his family producing and presenting theatre by announcing a busy new season of shows for 2013-14. In total, Mirvish Productions will present 18 shows and employ over 500 artists on its four stages in Toronto - the Royal Alexandra, Princess of Wales, Ed Mirvish and Panasonic theatres. This is the largest season Mirvish has ever presented.
"If you had been in this theatre 50 years ago, in September 1963, you would have been settling into your seats for a new comedy called NEVER TOO LATE, directed by the famous George Abbott. This was our first venture into theatre. Dad always insisted that he bought the Royal Alexandra Theatre because it was too good a bargain to pass by. And it was a bargain. The price was almost too low to be believed -- $215,000, which, compared to the $750,000 in construction costs alone in 1907, was an unbelievable bargain. But there was a catch: Whoever bought the theatre had to promise to keep it running as a theatre for at least five more years.
"That clause was enough to drive most purchasers away. Back in 1963, everyone assumed that 'theatre' was dead - mortally wounded by the movies and laid in its coffin by television. No one expected that Ed Mirvish could make a go of theatre. I remember that there was even some speculation that Dad had planned all along to renege on his promise before those five years were up - but that wasn't true; they didn't call him 'Honest Ed' for nothing. Besides, making a go of a business everyone said was doomed was just the sort of challenge to get Dad interested.
"Just before the curtain went up on NEVER TOO LATE, my Dad confessed his nervousness to William Bendix, the show's star. 'I don't know anything about running a theatre,' he said. Bendix kindly replied, 'Ed, I think you're doing just fine.' And William Bendix was right: we did just fine. Audiences loved the show. It closed in the black, and we were all suddenly hooked on this theatre business... and now, those five years my Dad promised have turned into 50. Those 50 years have gone by so quickly, it's hard for me to believe. I have so many wonderful memories.
"But one thing I've learned in 50 years of theatre is that people are far less interested in what you've done, than in what you're going to do next. It's fun to talk about the past, but it's the future that's really exciting."
The upcoming Mirvish season for 2013-14 is divided into two subscription series - the Mirvish Theatre Subscription and the Off-Mirvish Subscription - and eight additional shows not on subscription.
The Mirvish Theatre Subscription has already been announced. It consists of seven shows: LES MISERABLES, Disney's ALADDIN, ONCE, HEARTBEAT OF HOME, ARRABAL, METAMORPHOSIS and THE LAST CONFESSION.
Newly announced is casting for THE LAST CONFESSION. Already announced was that this mystery thriller set in the Vatican would star David Suchet, who has famously played Agatha Christie's Poirot on the long-running TV series seen around the world and who here will play a crusading Cardinal trying to uncover murderous plots in the Vatican. The acclaimed and brilliant Brian Bedford will co-star, a star of the Stratford Festival, Broadway and London's West End. Bedford will play the Pope in THE LAST CONFESSION. This Chichester Festival production, which has already had smash-hit seasons in Chichester and in London's West End, will begin an international tour at the Royal Alexandra Theatre and then go on to Los Angeles and to various cities in Australia and New Zealand.
There is also casting news about the shows in the Off-Mirvish Subscription:
The hilarious, Olivier and Tony Award-winning comedy GOD OF CARNAGE will star four superb Canadian actors: John Bourgeois, Linda Kash, Tony Nappo & Sarah Orenstein.