Mark Andrew Lawrence began his broadcasting career as music director for St. Catharines radio station CHRE. After six years there and eight years at classical station CFMX, he created FRONT ROW CENTRE to supply theatre reviews and articles to magazines, newspapers, and broadcasters across the greater Toronto area. Mark Andrew Lawrence maintains an extensive collection of over 3,500 Broadway show recordings in all formats (78 RPM singles, 45 RPM album, 10 & 12-inch Lps, and Compact discs) dating back to the early years of the 20th century.
GUYS AND DOLLS, the mainstage musical at the Shaw Festival this summer offers an enjoyable, tightly paced staging that gives audiences a chance to revisit one of Frank Loesser's most sparking scores. Of the four leading players, two give well-developed performances but are unbalanced by the other coupel who lack the necessary 'chemistry.'
* * * 1/2 (OUT OF 5)BWW Reviews: I LOVE YOU, YOU'RE PERFECT, NOW CHANGE Touches on Human Truths May 21, 2013
Angelwalk Theatre, joining forces with the Koogle Theatre Company of Burlington, is reviving I LOVE YOU, YOU'RE PERFECT, NOW CHANGE at the Toronto Centre for the Arts. It remains a crowd-pleasing delight thanks to the four vibrant performers who take us on a tour of the little moments in life to which we can all relate. In a series of vignettes we follow couples through the trials and tribulations of dating, marriage, raising a family and growing older.BWW Reviews: THE SOUND OF MUSIC - Finnie Jesson leads a fine cast in this reproduction of the original 1959 version. December 11, 2012
Rodgers & Hammerstein's final show, The Sound of Music, has always had a reputation for being overly sentimental and unbearably sweet. Yet, as originally written, the show has much more of an edge. The Civic Light Opera Company has gone back to the original script by Howard Lindsay and Russell Crouse and it is very effective when done with straight-forward sincerity, as it is here.
* * * * 1/2 (OUT OF 5)
BWW Reviews: ORDINARY DAYS December 5, 2012
Angelwalk Theatre in association with Winnipeg Studio Theatre are presenting the Canadian premiere of Adam Gwon's musical ORDINARY DAYS. After a successful run in Winnipeg the show has opened at the Toronto Centre for the Arts. With a terrific cast and excellent musical direction this should be on your must-see list!BWW Reviews: Shaw Festival's RAGTIME Dazzles June 5, 2012
Although they created many popular comic operas, the backstage relationship of W.S.Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan was anything but light-hearted merriment. The story of their tumultuous partnership is the focus of Ian Taylor's play Tarantara! Tarantara!, currently being presented by Stage Centre Productions at Fairview Library Theatre until May 19.BWW Reviews: MAN OF LA MANCHA - An Imaginative Staging from The Alexander Singers May 8, 2012
There was almost as much drama involved in getting Curtain Call Players' spring production of the musical MISS SAIGON to opening night as there is in the show itself. The recent strike by Toronto Public Library staff locked the company out of their usual venue Fairview Library Theatre. Fortunately, at the very last minute the troupe was able to make arrangements to present the show at Glen Rhodes United Church. For the run of this show teh venue has been dubbed the Rhodes Avenue Theatre.
BWW Reviews: SONGS IN THE KEY OF STEPHEN - A Feast for Fans of Sondheim and Schwartz April 2, 2012
Angelwalk Theater has come up with a real gem with the romantic musical comedy I Love You Because. The show, playing in the cozy Studio Theater in the Toronto Center for the Arts boasts a top-notch cast, fluid direction, a tuneful score and clever, insightful lyrics. BWW Reviews: SHREK = derivative drek at Toronto Center for the Arts March 27, 2012
Three items to note about Encore Entertainment's production of The Laramie Project:
1. Arrive early - evening performances begin a 7:30 and matinees at 1:30.
2. Plan to stay after the show for the talk-back with cast members.
3. Bring lots of Kleenexyou will need it!
* * * * * (out of 5)
BWW Reviews: Not Your Typical HAIRSPRAY at Fairview Library Theatre November 9, 2011
It is always great when the performers on stage are having such a good time that those watching can't help but get swept up in the fun, and that is exactly what happens in Curtain Call Players' tightly-paced production of Hairspray, making it a joy from start to finish.
* * * * 1/2 (out of 5)
BWW Reviews: TWO PIANOS, FOUR HANDS - Touching and Screamingly Funny November 1, 2011
When Two Pianos Four Hands premiered at Toronto's Tarragon Theater in 1996 it struck an immediate chord with critics and audiences that still resonates in this latest remount, which opened at the Panasonic Theatre for a limited engagement playing until November 20.
BWW Reviews: LOVE AND OTHER STRESSES at Toronto Centre for the Arts November 1, 2011
Encore Entertainment presents an original revue built around a variety of show tunes and exploring the modern day stresses of love, marriage and family life. Featuring songs the scores of HAIR, WICKED, GUYS AND DOLLS, COMPANY and many other shows, LOVE AND OTHER STRESSES offers a program of sparkling entertainment.BWW Interviews: Sahr Ngaujah talks about bringing FELA! to Toronto October 25, 2011
Tony nominated for his performance in FELA! Sahr Ngaujah stars in the touring production, which will play at the Canon Theatre October 25 to November 6.