Tuesday, April 19, 2011

New theatre season

I decided the time was nigh for a preview of the new theatre season with every major company already announcing.

Buddies in Bad Times is continuing their trend toward their new mandate of plays that will fuck you up, with the notable exception of The Normal Heart. A co-production with my favourite troupe, Studio 180, this play was written by Larry Kramer and originally produced in 1985 and is about the AIDS crisis in New York City at the time.  The play deserves a mainstream audience but I doubt Buddies agressive "fuck you" season will allow that to happen.

Also of note at Buddies is a super fucked up version of The Maids by Jean Genet and a dance/theatre combo from Sky Gilbert Dancing Queen starring the amazing Ryan Kelly and featuring cheorgraphy by the equally amazing Keith Cole. I'm less optomistic about Hallaj, the story of a 10th century Sufi mystic and Bliss about Céline Dion speaking through an oracle to a group of cashiers at Walmart and talking to her number one fan, who has spent most of her life chained to her bed by her family.

I'm okay with pushing the limits of theatre but who the Hell does this?  "Let's put a cow skull on the cover, and we can have psychic Céline and a 10th century mystic.  That will bring in the crowds!"  There's pushing the envelope and then there's tearing the envelope into pieces and setting the pieces on fire.

The University of Toronto's Hart House Theatre has announced a great new season today which I subscribed to already this afternoon.
Topping the list was Cabaret in January and Tennessee William's The Night of the Iguana.  I've never heard of Iguana but Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and A Streetcar Named Desire are two of my favourites. My third pick was The Great American Trailer Park Musical which sounds like a great companion piece to last seasons Jerry Springer: The Musical.  For $60 you get these three shows and a bonus ticket to Lysistrata - the sex strike, whatever that is.

Mirvish announced a while ago, the highlight being the Abba musical Chess. Other shows include Mary Poppins which I saw in London three years ago and fell asleep, and a pointless revival of Hair that no one was asking for.

Dancap announced for me a better season than Mirvish this year.  I've already bought a four-play flex pack with tickets for American Idiot, The Addams Family, 9 to 5, and Next to Normal.

Continuing with the "fuck you" theme, Canstage brings more nouveau European theatre no one wants. The sole standout is Studio 180's Clybourne Park, a modern retelling of A Raisin in the Sun.

Finally Soulpepper announces on the calendar year and are already halfway through their season. Upcoming highlights are Arthur Miller's The Price and Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie.

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