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CHOIR BOY Comes to Canadian Stage in November

The production begins November 8th and runs to November 19th.

CHOIR BOY Comes to Canadian Stage in November

Canadian Stage has shared details of the upcoming Toronto premiere production of MOONLIGHT co-writer and Academy Award-winner Tarell Alvin McCraney's CHOIR BOY - set to light up the big stage of the Bluma Appel Theatre beginning November 8th and running to November 19th.

A coming-of-age play woven through with rapturous gospel hymns, CHOIR BOY follows the story of prep school senior Pharus, the leader of the school's celebrated gospel choir, as he wrestles with his masculinity and sexuality. An unmissable theatrical event this fall, CHOIR BOY is a love letter to the healing power of music.

"We are incredibly excited to finally be returning to the big Bluma Stage with this exquisitely crafted story interwoven with exhilarating gospel music," says Canadian Stage Artistic Director Brendan Healy. "CHOIR BOY presents a thoughtful examination of Black masculinity and the search for identity from one of the best playwrights in the US right now. Joyously entertaining and emotionally poignant- it's a perfect show for the Bluma Stage. We are equally excited to have Mike Payette bringing his vision and leadership to what will undoubtedly be a breathtaking production."

This inspiring theatrical work will be directed for Canadian Stage by two-time Montreal English Theatre Award (META) recipient and current Artistic Director of the Tarragon Theatre, Mike Payette, who previously directed a celebrated production of CHOIR BOY for Montreal's Centaur Theatre in 2018.

Speaking of returning to this material, Payette says, "Tarell Alvin McCraney's text is so rich, vibrant, and urgent and champions a deeply personal lived experience as a Black queer man within the scope of captivating theatre. His gifted balance of poetry and prose is rhythmic and pulsing, supported by the piece's discourse of Blackness, masculinity, and spirituality. His skilled nuance from these conversations is highly compelling and urges the artist to seek vulnerability and honesty in the process. CHOIR BOY embraces the complexities of this uniquely human experience and, knowing how much our humanity has been in question over the past years, it is a gift to dive back into McCraney's oeuvre and dream all over again with new perspectives that celebrate where theatre and society intersect today. It's a very exciting opportunity."

Payette leads a distinguished company of performers lead by Andrew Broderick (YOU'RE A GOOD MAN CHARLIE BROWN/Stratford; SWEENEY TODD/Shaw Festival) as Pharus, joined by Scott Bellis, Daren A. Herbert (THE BROTHER'S SIZE/Soulpepper, THE MUSIC MAN/Stratford, PRETTY HARD CASES/CBC), Clarence 'CJ' Jura (IN THE DARKNESS SHOW ME THE STARS, ALMOST A FULL MOON/Theatre Sheridan), Kwaku Okyere (MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM/Theatre Rusticle, THE SEAT NEXT TO THE KING/Minmar Gaslight Productions), David Andrew Reid (CHITRA, DAMN YANKEES, HOLIDAY INN/Shaw Festival), and Savion Roach (IS GOD IS/Canadian Stage, GLORIA/ARC).

CHOIR BOY first premiered in September 2012 at The Royal Court Theatre in London, before arriving in New York City, first at the Manhattan Theatre Club in 2013, then making its Broadway premiere at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre. The 2019 Broadway production of the play was nominated for four Tony Awards, including the Tony Award for Best Play. CHOIR BOY was also produced earlier this year by the prestigious Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago where McCraney has been an ensemble member since 2010. Critics have lauded the play's singular and nuanced representation of a young Black gay man, the New York Times saying, "you haven't seen a character like Pharus before."

Vocalist and choir director Dawn Pemberton provides Music Direction with music director and composer Floydd Ricketts acting as Co-Musical Director, Composer, and Arranger. The creative team also includes Set and Costume Design by Rachel Forbes, Lighting Design by Sophie Tang, Movement Direction by Natasha Powell, Sound Design by Kate DeLorme, Vocal Coaching by Kirsten Catriona Hawson, and Assistant Direction by K.P. Dennis.

Tickets for CHOIR BOY range from $29-$109. Single tickets are now available at canadianstage.com. This production runs from November 8th - November 18th, 2022, with performances at 8:00pm Tuesday - Saturday, 2:00pm matinees Saturdays and Sundays and a 1:00PM matinee on Wednesday November 16th. For more information and tickets visit www.canadianstage.com.

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