Theatre Calgary to Present the World Premiere of MARY & MAX As Part of 2018-19 Season
Theatre Calgary 2018-19 season is highlighted by three world premieres, which includes Theatre Calgary, in association with Cyndi and Matt Crandell presenting MARY AND MAX - A NEW MUSICAL, with music & lyrics by Bobby Cronin, book by Crystal Skillman, directed by the organization's new artistic director, Stafford Arima, and orchestrations and music supervision by Anna Ebbesen.
The musical will premiere at Theatre Calgary from October 14 through November 10, 2018.
Based on an Australian claymation film by Adam Elliot about two unlikely pen pals, Mary and Max - A New Musical is a hilarious and heartening tale that proves friendship can be found in the most unexpected of places.
The musical recently received a staged reading at Pace Performing Arts (under the umbrella of Pace New Musicals), directed by Amy Rogers and musical direction by Angie Benson. It also had a workshop and staged reading in Atlanta, by Broadway Dreams, in June 2017.
"I love musicals - especially original works that have never been seen before. Mary and Max is a story of unpredictable friendship, self-awareness, and happy accidents. This new musical brings a smile to my face and warms my heart," remarks Arima.
The remainder of the 2018-19 season features the world premiere of playwright Tara Beagan's HONOUR BEAT.
Two grown sisters face off over their mother's deathbed. Together, they confront one another, their own identities, and what will remain when their mom leaves this world. Internationally acclaimed Canadian playwright Tara Beagan brings her distinct voice to Theatre Calgary for the first time, directed by Michelle Thrush.
"Family is universal, and the complex stories of family have been told by generations throughout the decades. Honour Beat is a touching and humorous play that reminds us that relationships within families are fragile, forgiving, and most importantly, resilient," says Arima.
Next, Theatre Calgary celebrates 32 years of spirited tradition in their city with their annual production of A CHRISTMAS CAROL by Charles Dickens and adapted by Dennis Garnhum.
This telling of Dickens' classic tale remains a favourite holiday tradition in Calgary. And this year, the incomparable Stephen Hair returns for his 25th Anniversary performance as Ebenezer Scrooge.
Says Arima, "Keeping the 'Christmas Carol' tradition alive was deeply important to me. When I discovered that this would be Stephen's 25th year playing Scrooge, I knew we had to celebrate his legendary performance in Charles Dickens' timeless tale."
January 2018 will bring yet another world premiere, as Rick Miller returns to Theatre Calgary with BOOM X.
Picking up where BOOM left off at Woodstock in '69, Rick time travels by way of multimedia up to 1995. Some classic BOOM characters reappear, but the focus moves from his mother to his own story. The production follows Generation X as they navigate the tangled legacy of the baby boom. "
I invited Rick Miller to return to Calgary so he could premiere his 'Act 2' of the immensely popular BOOM. Thankfully, he accepted my invitation and has created a brand new piece entitled BOOM X - a multimedia, one-man show that takes us into the fascinating world of Generation X," says Arima.
It is 1642 and Hester Prynne has been branded an adulterer by her Puritan village and forced to wear the titular scarlet letter as repentance. However, in this modern adaptation, Hester is unashamed of her actions and proudly subverts society's rigid standards put upon women to be virtuous and "good."
"This adaptation of Nathaniel Hawthorne's classic novel is a breathtaking piece of playwriting. I love Academy Award nominee Phyllis Nagy's interpretation of this universal tale of Hester Prynne and her red letter 'A.' As female morality is sadly still questioned in certain parts of the world, I find this play to be strikingly relevant," says Arima.
The Scarlet Letter will be directed by Micheline Chevrier.
The 2018-19 season will close out with Theatre Calgary's production of BILLY ELLIOT THE MUSICAL, with book & lyrics by Lee Hall, music by Elton John, and directed by Stafford Arima. This Tony Award-winning musical is an inspiring and moving tale about the importance of following your heart. Set in working-class England, young Billy dreams of trading in his boxing gloves for ballet slippers, but his widowed father cannot understand his passion.
A celebration of Calgary's local talent, this rendition of Billy Elliot The Musical will be choreographed by former Alberta Ballet principal dancer Yukichi Hattori, and will feature the best and brightest of Calgary's dance community.
"Billy Elliot The Musical is pure magic. This heartfelt and undeniably entertaining musical, by music legend Elton John, makes me laugh, cry, and beam with joy. Billy is a courageous young boy who takes a leap of faith and, against all odds, defies expectations. This tale is a compelling reminder to live one's dream and be proud of who you are," says Arima.
Theatre Calgary is also pleased to continue the tradition of Shakespeare by the Bow, as we officially kick-off our 2018-19 season this summer with THE TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA, directed by Dean Paul Gibson, and adapted by Gibson and Jenna Turk. Known as Shakespeare's first comedy, The Two Gentlemen of Verona tells the tale of friendship between best pals Proteus and Valentine who fall in and out of bromance over and over again. Join us in idyllic Prince's Island Park for this silly comedy featuring adventure, outlaws, and even a dog. The show will once again feature a company of Alberta's up-and-coming actors and every performance is pay-what-you-will. "How fitting for a talented group of emerging artists to take on Shakespeare's earliest comedy - for he too was once an emerging artist - about mistaken identities, loyalty, and friendship between best friends," says Arima.
"This lineup marks my first offering of plays and musicals, and as such is truly a season of new beginnings. With 50 extraordinary years in the community, Theatre Calgary is a leader in the field of storytelling, and I am honoured to be the Artistic Director of this institution of theatrical excellence," says Arima."This season is a collection of plays that I feel will point our way to an inspiring and engaging future. I want to showcase new and emerging stories and playwrights, while continuing to present the most creative and entertaining productions available. I feel it is important to be bold and adventurous in our programming, to seek and discover the voices in theatre that will carry us over the next half-century. These works resonate strongly with me, and I hope they do with our audiences."
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