CHICAGO, WE WILL ROCK YOU, THE TWO WORLDS OF CHARLIE F and More Among Mirvish's New 2013-14 Season Additions
Last February, BWW announced that Les Miserables would be kicking off Mirvish Productions exciting 50th Anniversary season in Toronto! Also announced at that time were Aladdin, Once, Arrabal, Metamorphosis, Heartbeat of Home and The Last Confession, as well as Dead Metaphor and God of Carnage as part of the Off-Mirvish season.
This morning, Torontonians were treated to a very special media event which both celebrated the Mirvish family's commitment to Toronto theatre over the past fifty years, and also announced exciting new additions to the milestone season, effectively making it the largest season the company has ever mounted.
It was in September of 1963 that Mirvish presented their first commercial theatre endeavour at The Royal Alex, the comedy 'Never Too Late' by George Abbott. Ed Mirvish had bought The Royal Alex because it was a 'bargain' and found himself thrust into the world of Live Theatre - a world he would end up dominating for the better part of four decades. Ed's son David recalls the decision by saying '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."
Thankfully for the city of Toronto, Ed was bitten hard by the theatre bug, and went on to have an outstanding career presenting theatre in Toronto which included highlights such as building The Princess of Wales Theatre to house the Canadian Premiere of Miss Saigon and bringing many world premieres and Canadian companies to Toronto. Last year his son David renamed The Canon Theatre the "Ed Mirvish Theatre" and preserved his father's legacy for generations to come.
Media and theatre fans alike gathered in The Royal Alex to witness the announcement, which was hosted by Dan Chameroy who got big laughs telling tales of his days in the original Canadian Company of Les Miserables. He went on to announce many exciting additions to the 50th Anniversary Season, including touring productions of American Idiot, Chicago, Rain, and We Will Rock You as well as 'festival pick' The Two Worlds of Charlie F from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. They also announced that Stratford veteran and Canadian theatre legend Brian Bedford would be playing opposite previously announced David Suchet in The Last Confession, and that hometown boy and Olympic medalist Elvis Stojko would tackle the role of Billy Flynn in Chicago.
Carrying on the Mirvish tradition of taking shows that were well received at the Toronto Fringe, they also announced a presentation of the sold-out hit The Musicals of Musicals: The Musical which received raves from critics at this year's Fringe Festival. Finally, The Panasonic Theatre will be taken over by the zany folks at The Henson Company who will present 'Puppet Up!' an uncensored, partly improvised theatrical event that features the more naughty side of the Henson organization.
At the end of the event, staff passed around mimosas for the entire audience to join in a toast with David Mirvish and the various presenters in celebrating the Mirvish organization and the 50th Anniversary season. With various 'Programmes' from the last fifty years splashed on the projection behind them, we raised our glasses and toasted to fifty more years of commercial theatre in Toronto.
For more details on the Mirvish 50th Anniversary Season or to purchase tickets, please call 416-872-1212 or visit their website at www.mirvish.com.