THE COMMON GROUND Set for Toronto Fringe Festival, 7/2-13
4 teens. 2 queer parents. 1 musical dissertation. Playwright, director, and performer Dr. Ken McNeilly has turned 4 years and 400 pages of doctoral research into a brand new one-hour musical featured at the 2014 Toronto Fringe Festival, running July 2-13 at the Randolph Theatre. Tickets are available beginning June 12 via www.fringetoronto.com, by telephone at 416.966.1062 (ext.1), or at the door. THE COMMON GROUND: You'll love it so much, you'll wish you had gay parents, too!
A clever hybrid of theatre and thesis, this witty and heartfelt musical comedy follows four teens that reveal their families' histories while exploring the advantages, pressures, and quirks of growing up in a queer-led family. Using verbatim quotes merged seamlessly with songs composed by the original researcher, THE COMMON GROUND is finally giving voice to a generation of young Canadian adults who have grown up often defined by their parents' LGBTQ identities.
"It's true, who knew? They're good parents, too. Those gays and those lesbians know what to do! They seem to excel at whatever they try, so what's with the great hue and cry?" - Lyrics from "The Lit Review Smackdown"
Upon completion of his Ph.D. at the University of Toronto in 2012, Ken McNeilly knew his 400-page dissertation was filled with rich stories that were calling out for life beyond the dusty shelves of an academic library. Identifying as a gay male with aspirations of becoming a parent himself, Ken is working closely with one of his "queerspawn" interviewees, Sadie Epstein-Fine, who is also the show's production manager and choreographer. This creative duo is excited to expose some hilarious, provocative, and profound truths through these research-inspired stories that promise to leave audience members with an appreciation of THE COMMON GROUND that unites us all.
Bringing these genuine tales to the stage are playwright/director/performer Ken McNeilly (A Bedfull of Foreigners & City of Angels, Pinnacle Playhouse; The Mousetrap, Lower Ossington Theatre), veteran singer/songwriter/actor Suzanne McKenney (It's All About You, Trailrunner Productions; HGTV's Toolbox Challenge), Julia Gartha (Finalist in CBC's Over the Rainbow), Fiona Sauder (Enough, Bad Hats Theatre Company; The Country Wife, George Brown College), Ben Chiasson (Rent, Etobicoke School of the Arts), and Tegan Macfarlane (Muse, Little Black Afro). The show is stage managed by Brenda Duran with set/costume designs by Luke Pieroni and graphic designs by Moe Waqas.
Phenomenon Theatrix is a grassroots Toronto-based theatre company dedicated to the production of research-informed shows that are both entertaining and accessible. THE COMMON GROUND is the company's inaugural production.