Celebrated New Musical LIFE AFTER Announces Extension
Following an overwhelmingly well received opening in September, Canadian Stage, The Musical Stage Company, and Yonge Street Theatricals are thrilled to announce that their acclaimed presentation of Toronto lyricist and composer Britta's Johnson's extraordinary new musical Life After, on stage now at the Berkeley Street Theatre, has been extended by a week due to popular demand.
This newly announced block of tickets, which adds 8 new performances to the schedule, are available for purchase online or through the Canadian Stage box office now.
A funny and frank story of love, loss and vivid imagination, Life After follows sixteen-year old Alice, left to navigate life after her father, a superstar self-help guru, dies in a car accident. The audience is plunged into Alice's overactive inner world as she tries to decipher the events that led to that fateful day.
The Musical Stage Company Artistic & Managing Director Mitchell Marcus notes, "In our company's quest to advance musical theatre in Canada, Britta is a profoundly important voice with an innate ability to use music to reveal the heart and soul of her characters. We could not be more proud to have Britta associated with our organization through The Crescendo Series, and to bring Life After to the stage as the first of three new musicals written or co-written by Britta that we will produce in the next three years. She is truly gifted, and Life After exemplifies why she might be the future of musical theatre in Canada."
The presentation is the first Canadian musical to be programmed at Canadian Stage under Artistic and General Director Matthew Jocelyn's tenure. Jocelyn, whose family origins trace back to Johnson's hometown Stratford, Ontario, caught early student productions of Johnson and was immediately struck by the mature, insightful voice in her work, both as a librettist and as a composer.
"Life After is a searingly beautiful piece of music theatre that we are honoured to have opening our 30th anniversary season," says Jocelyn. "The sheer poetry and depth of feeling in Britta's work is remarkable - it advances the emotional terrain and possibility of the musical genre. We are also thrilled to be entering into our first partnerships with The Musical Stage Company and Yonge Street Theatricals, who are working at the forefront of an exciting new era for original musicals, in this season in which we are honouring collaboration as the bedrock of our company's history."
As previously announced, Life After marks the beginning of The Musical Stage Company's CRESCENDO SERIES - an unprecedented breakthrough for a composer of musical theatre in Canada through a three-year residency and commitment to produce three of their new musicals. Britta Johnson is the inaugural Crescendo artist and she will receive an annual residency fee as well as a commitment from The Musical Stage Company to produce one of her works in development each year for the next three years.
Linda Barnett and Natalie Bartello of Yonge Street Theatricals gratefully acknowledge their not-for-profit partners: "We are thrilled to be enhancing this very important developmental production, produced in collaboration with Canadian Stage and The Musical Stage Company. The result of this unique partnership is that Torontonians will have the chance to see this show first and play an exciting part in its evolution. We are truly honoured to be shepherding this musical by a very special artist and look forward to what the future holds for Life After."
The exciting new principal cast will be led by emerging star Ellen Denny who was recently seen on stage as the iconic Anne Shirley in the National Arts Centre presentation of Anne & Gilbert and understudy for the role of Young Victoria for Mirvish's presentation of The Audience.
Denny is joined by 2017 Toronto Theatre Critics Award-winner Dan Chameroy (Matilda), Rielle Braid (Ride The Cyclone), Tracy Michailidis (currently in the US Fun Home touring production), Kelsey Verzotti (CBC's "Over the Rainbow"), and Trish Lindström (The Wedding Party), with Johnson's sister Anika Johnson joining the production's ensemble along with Neema Bickersteth (Century Song) and Barbara Fulton (The Sound of Music).
Backstage, Robert McQueen, who directed the Fringe production, returns to the helm; longtime Musical Stage Company collaborator Reza Jacobs provides music direction; Linda Garneau choreographs, while orchestrations, arrangements and music supervision are by Lynne Shankel; set design is by Brandon Kleiman; lighting design is by Kimberley Purtell; costumes are designed by Ming Wong, and sound design is by Peter McBoyle.
Life After will be on stage at the Berkeley Street Theatre, from September 23rd - October 22nd (Media night: September 28). Performances run Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday at 8:00pm, Fridays at 7:00pm, and matinees on Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday at 1:00pm (the October 14 matinee is a relaxed performance). Tickets from $39 to $69 are available online, by phone at 416.368.3110, or in person at the Berkeley Street box office. For details visit www.canadianstage.com.