Nestruck on Theatre: As Toronto displays hold extending, must theatregoers be suspicious?

Nestruck on Theatre: As Toronto displays hold extending, must theatregoers be suspicious?
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The Lehman Trilogy was 1 of numerous Canadian plays that have been prolonged.DAHLIA KATZ/Canadian Stage

Toronto theatre has been on hearth at the box business office this drop, with extensions of exhibits declared remaining, ideal and centre.

This morning, I obtained an e-mail about the most recent: Natasha, Pierre and the Wonderful Comet of 1812, a the latest Broadway musical favourite of mine now obtaining its Canadian premiere in a co-production involving Crow’s Theatre and Musical Stage Firm. The theatre enterprise e-blast announced a two-7 days extension, due to preferred desire, via to Jan. 21.

The Excellent Comet is not the first exhibit in Crow’s 2023-2024 season to extend. The Grasp Plan was the to start with – and it gained so many extensions, in truth, that there are rumours it could return this winter season to a unique venue. Crow’s likewise prolonged its co-productions of Heroes of the Fourth Turning with the Howland Corporation its off-web site co-manufacturing with VideoCabaret of Cliff Cardinal’s (Every person I Like Has) A Awful Fate (Befall Them) and even the Ukrainian war drama Poor Roads.

Canadian Phase, a single of the greatest not-for-income theatres in Toronto, also declared extensions for the two its plays this drop, extending Topdog/Underdog in Oct and then The Lehman Trilogy to December 2.

Withrow Park at Tarragon Theatre was similarly extended (and is nonetheless onstage to Dec. 10), though Mirvish Productions, unable to lengthen its presentation of the Broadway tour of To Kill a Mockingbird, is bringing it again in the spring. I’m confident I’m missing many others.

The impression still left by all this is that theatregoers are flocking to see performs in Canada’s biggest city at a time when we hear a large amount of article-pandemic doom and gloom about audiences in other theatre scenes – specifically in the United States, and particularly concerning drama.

Before we all jump up and down to rejoice bucking the theatrical pattern, even so, it is really worth currently being a small bit skeptical.

Although I have no doubt that Toronto theatre is on a robust operate artistically – a handful of of the demonstrates stated above will be on The Globe and Mail’s once-a-year prime 10 record when it will come out later on this thirty day period – some of this is about rejigged sales and marketing approaches coming out of the pandemic.

It is very long been the situation that theatres locate it best to fill their seats in a show’s final 7 days. And it has been generally noticed across the field that audiences are shopping for tickets even more very last minute since COVID-19 came a-calling.

Presented that trend, it just will make superior business sense to announce a three-week operate of a clearly show and then add a fourth at the time the initially months fill up. You get the excitement raise that comes from extending, alternatively than putting a full thirty day period of seats on sale at after.

Only very long-time Toronto theatregoers will notice that some of the shows owning extended operates are essentially having shorter runs over-all than related unextended productions made use of to have at the exact theatre companies a decade back.

That does not imply any of these extensions are phony it is solely likely lots of of these demonstrates would have shut down as initially introduced if ticket desire hadn’t materialized. Though I can say with self-assurance that 1 of the reveals shown earlier mentioned experienced usually prepared to operate lengthier than what was 1st place on sale.

Hey, that is theatre: illusion and reality, combined with each other. Personally, I’m totally on board with a theatre scene discovering each individual way possible to generate buzz these days. It is just my occupation to at times pull back again the curtain.

Polytechnique perform

This week in December brings back again awful reminiscences of the 1989 École Polytechnique anti-feminist massacre for many Quebeckers and Canadians – and it is an opportunity to renew our collective motivation to combatting gender-dependent violence throughout the nation.

At Montreal’s Théâtre du Nouveau Monde, the Porte Parole documentary theatre corporation has been presenting a important new present known as Projet Polytechnique – on right until Dec. 13 right before heading on tour future yr – that will also have a live audio broadcast (in French) on Dec. 6, the anniversary of the mass killing.

What is opening and closing this 7 days

  • Mirvish Productions is bringing again the biographical musical Ain’t Far too Very pleased: The Daily life and Situations of the Temptations for a short run this thirty day period, from Dec. 7 to 17. I talked to director Des McAnuff and choreographer Sergio Trujillo, who had been both of those lifted in Toronto, when this demonstrate very first appeared right here on its way to a Broadway operate. I loved it very a little bit then – even though I repost my 2018 overview with the typical disclaimer that the solid (and maybe even the written content) will have adjusted since then.
  • The Mom’s the Word collective (Jill Daum, Alison Kelly, Robin Nichol, Barbara Pollard and Deborah Williams) is back again at the Arts Club in Vancouver with Mom’s the Word: Talkin’ Turkey (to Dec 31). This team of performers have been creating merry with tales of motherhood for more than 30 a long time now. Remarkable!
  • Speedy Fireplace Theatre, Edmonton’s venerable improvised comedy theatre, moved into the Immediate Hearth Exchange –its new “endlessly dwelling” – this time. Its holiday break custom, a exhibit referred to as The Blank Who Stole Christmas! with a unique villain each and every time, has adopted them there, with “nice,” “naughty” and “nasty” performances scheduled via Dec. 23.
  • Earning Spirits Brighter, a getaway exhibit at the Globe Theatre in Regina, has something for everybody, combining stories by W.O. Mitchell and Thomas King with The Night Prior to Christmas and the Ukrainian folks tale The Mitten. Jennifer Brewin’s manufacturing is on by way of Dec. 23.
  • Sweeter, a show for young audiences published by Alicia Richardson, is at Toronto’s Aki Studio in a Cahoots Theatre creation (in association with Roseneath Theatre) until eventually Dec. 17. Established 20 several years right after the American Civil War, it’s about a chatting mango tree. The director is Tanisha Taitt, who has evinced outstanding flavor in new performs because having above Cahoots.
  • Past week’s publication went above a lot of of the first musicals premiering in Canada about the holidays, which include a couple of that are opening this week. I won’t rehash them here, but will observe that I’m off to see the independently developed Chris, Mrs (to Dec. 31) at the Wintertime Backyard in Toronto on Thursday. Look for my evaluation on-line in advance of the weekend.