Month: January 2013

Creating an Online Hub for Musical Theatre

In September, we launched a brand New Blog called Musical Notes. Together with Mitchell, I as the new Audience Engagement Manager, crafted a vision for the blog as a hub for all things musical theatre—not necessarily focused on Acting Up Stage, but certainly incorporating all of our interests and passions. There is no real Toronto based hub for musical theatre news, development and gossip—and this is what Musical Notes aims to be.

However, in an increasingly saturated market, it’s hard to gain much traction. Every day, more and more blogs pop up online, detailing every possible topic imaginable. From cars to candy, you can find someone in the online stratosphere who wants to tell you their opinion about it. As the old saying goes, how do you find something new to say which hasn’t already been said? So, we’ve been offering a taste of ourselves within Toronto Musical Theatre!

Every week, Mitchell writes a blog about raising a non-traditional family, in conjunction with the themes of Falsettos. We have a regular interview with Canadian music theatre stars called “Triple Threat,” in which they talk about their favourite memories of musicals. Our semi-regular MT Scavenger Hunt brings us photos from other great musicals being produced around town; while our Banks Prize Winners, Alexis Gordon and Andres Sierra chronicle their journey with us throughout this season in bi-weekly video blogs. And lastly, I keep my eye out on what’s happening in the larger world of musical theatre, with a column called Out There.

Our readership is certainly growing, and it’s a lot of fun to curate all of this content. Moreover, it allows us to interact with the world of musicals in a way which most theatre companies can’t—granting us some exciting exposure as well as a sense of privilege to really get to delve in there. As we move forward, we’re constantly readjusting to what our readers want, so the Musical Notes you saw last September may be very different from what we’ll be publishing in May!

Have you check out Musical Notes yet? I’d love to hear what you have to say!

Acting Up Stage Picks – January 2013

Robin Hood: The Legendary Musical Comedy Robin Hood: The Legendary Musical Comedy

This Canadian-made musical features clever, biting and amusing twists on the familiar legends of Robin Hood and his Merry Men. With fast-paced, witty lyrics and a polished, sophisticated score, this show is sure to have you singing “The Evil Song”, “Undercover Lover” and “After Intermission” long after the curtain has come down.

Until January 26 – Hart House Theatre, University of Toronto – or 416-978-8849

The Wizard of Oz The Wizard of Oz

Starring Acting Up past performers: Lee MacDougall from Light in the Piazza, and Jordan Bell from Edges! Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new production of The Wizard of Oz is an enchanting adaptation of the all-time classic, totally reconceived for the stage by the award-winning creative team that recently delighted Toronto audiences of all ages with the revival of The Sound of Music

Now On Stage – The Ed Mirvish Theatre, Toronto – or 416-872-1212

Clybourne Park Clybourne Park

A non-musical pick, but from our co-producers of Parade! Also stars the Dora-award winning actor, Sterling Jarvis, seen as the Bus in Caroline, or Change! The most-acclaimed new play of this century gets a remount at the Panasonic Theatre; the winner of the Tony, Olivier, Evening Standard and the Pulitzer Prize, Clybourne Park is a hilarious look at race and real estate that asks questions many of us may not want to confront.

February 12 – March 3 – Panasonic Theatre, Toronto – or 416-872-1212

Out There – Les Mis Reviewed Take 2

This week, Mitchell takes a night off from fathering to go to the movies. Here’s his opinion on Les Mis!

Wait a minute… another posting about Les Mis on the “Musical Notes” blog? Well… given that it’s the most popular movie musical to come out in recent years, I think it’s worth the space!

While I had quibbles with the film, for me this was the most successful movie musical that has come out in my lifetime (I still like many of the ‘oldies’ best including Fiddler On The Roof, Cabaret, Oliver, etc.). I believe that this is all because the actors were singing live and not recorded to track like all of the other movie musicals of recent year.

One of the things that moves me most about musical theatre is that when emotion becomes too intense, song allows it to be expressed in a way that words cannot. The power of song enables complete suspension of disbelief so that I never once think “Why did they just start singing?”. However in musical films, I constantly think “STOP SINGING!” “Why are you singing?” “What the heck is going on?”. More

MT Scavenger Hunt: Robin Hood

As great advocates of new Canadian musicals, we’re very excited for Hart House Theatre’s opening of its 2012/2013 marquee show, Robin Hood: The Legendary Musical Comedy, tonight at 8PM. This Canadian-made musical is a witty and amusing twist on one of the most famous legends in the English language: that of the dashing, daring and handsome man in tights, Robin of Locksley, who steals from the rich and gives to the poor. So in the stealth spirit of the Merry Men, we sent actor Luke LaRocque, on an MT Scavenger Hunt: 


The Year of The Child – Paging Dr. Google

Everyone wants a doctor in their family right? We crave the ability to be at a holiday dinner and casually say “by the way, would you mind looking at this rash?” There is something safe about knowing you have the private cellphone of a doctor who you can reach 24/7.

There is no doctor in my family, but I have found an alternative for this ideal situation.

Dr. Google.

I use Dr. Google constantly with the babies. Every cough, red mark or funny sound has me running to my computer and typing the symptoms into Dr. Google only to have a million possible diagnoses come up. Everything from “Don’t worry about it” to “Rush your baby to the hospital NOW”. In addition to this spectrum of diagnoses from the ‘reputable’ sites, there is also a smattering of message boards, filled with helpful moms who each think they have their own medical degree and are equipped to tell you exactly what’s wrong with your baby and how to fix it.

You would think that with such a range of advice, I would give up on Dr. Google, realizing that he is completely useless. And yet, I can’t stop that itching in my fingers that begins the minute I see something that looks suspicious in the babies. Once it starts, I just can’t wait to get online and start finding the answers to our problems.

This morning I googled “Baby won’t take bottle” and have narrowed down our problem to ‘reflux’, ‘teething’, ‘milk allergy’, ‘constipation’, ‘normal development’, ‘feeding aversion’, ‘throat infection’, ‘thrush’, or ‘distraction’.

Phew! I feel so much better now that I know what the problem is. Thanks Dr. Google for continuing to make me an obsessed parent while offering no real information or comfort.

Maybe my cousin could marry a pediatrician…