Month: June 2015


Acting Up Stage Picks: June 2015

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Kinky Boots

See 2015 Banks Prize winner Graham Scott Fleming in the lead role in this Toronto sit-down production. Also, Acting Up veterans Lisa Horner and David Lopez (both seen in The Wild Party) grace the Royal Alex stage. 

Inspired by true events, Kinky Boots takes you from a gentlemen’s shoe factory in Northampton to the glamorous catwalks of Milan. Charlie Price is struggling to live up to his father’s expectations and continue the family business of Price & Son. With the factory’s future hanging in the balance, help arrives in the unlikely but spectacular form of Lola, a fabulous performer in need of some sturdy new stilettos. 

Now on stage – The Royal Alexandra Theatre, Toronto – mirvish.com or 416-593-4142


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The Stratford Festival: Carousel and The Sound of Music

There is plenty of former Acting Up Stage talent in the musicals currently playing at the Stratford Festival: see 2013 Banks Prize winner Alexis Gordon as the lead in Carousel, as well as Glynis Ranney (Falsettos), and Alana Hibbert (Caroline, or Change), in both Carousel and The Sound of Music. 
Also, an honourable mention must go out to Sara Farb (UnCovered concerts and NoteWorthy book writer) for her starring role in The Diary of Anne Frank.

The Sound of Music: Overflowing with such beloved songs as “My Favorite Things” and “Climb Ev’ry Mountain,” this heart-warming family musical tells an inspiring story of the discovery of love – and a daring bid for freedom.

Carousel: Far ahead of its time in confronting the issues at the heart of a troubled relationship, this wrenching musical drama features a luscious score that includes “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” “If I Loved You” and “June Is Bustin’ Out All Over.”

Festival concludes November, 2015 – The Stratford Festival, Stratford – stratfordfestival.ca or 1.800.567.1600


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The Shaw Festival: Sweet Charity and Peter and the Starcatcher

Acting Up Stage’s Music Director from Parade, Paul Sportelli, shows off his musical prowess in Sweet Charity, and alumnus Shawn Wright (Caroline, or Change) acts his heart out in Peter and the Starcatcher.

Sweet Charity: Experience the bold and colourful world of 1960s New York through the eyes of Charity Hope Valentine. The dance hall hostess dreams of a brighter future but she can’t help but give her heart to all the wrong guys. Then she meets the meek but sweet Oscar Lindquist when they get trapped in an elevator. Could he be the man to change Charity’s luck and take her off the market as a heart-for-hire? Cy Coleman and Dorothy Fields’ bright music and dance numbers like ‘Big Spender’ and ‘If My Friends Could See Me Now,’ paired with a book by Neil Simon made this a Broadway hit when it premiered in 1966.

Peter and the Starcatcher: Imagine a creaking frigate with an orphan boy in its hold, a disguised pirate ship following in the distance and a trunk carrying stardust – the kind that could let a child float into the air or freeze him in time. A theatrical prequel to Peter Pan, this magical play takes you on a journey using the power of music and story-telling to chronicle the adventures of an orphan soon to be called Peter Pan, and Molly, a girl charged to protect a parcel of stardust from falling into the wrong hands. The Broadway production opened in 2012 and went on to win five Tony Awards delighting audiences young and old.

Festival concludes November, 2015 – The Shaw Festival, Niagara-on-the-Lake – shawfest.com or 1-800-511-SHAW



An Evening with the NoteWorthy Program

Many people know Acting Up Stage from the musical productions we stage every year – which is something we happen to enjoy very much. But another part of what we do at Acting Up Stage goes beyond promoting the art of musical theatre as it is today, and instead looks at the musical theatre creators of the future – especially those in Canada. It’s a void we’ve noticed in today’s artistic landscape, and one we’re very excited to help fill.

Our major initiative in this area is our annual NoteWorthy program, which has taught and trained 25 emerging composers and lyricists/book writers from across the country in its history. The focus of NoteWorthy is to allow possible partnerships to form between composers and lyricists, or as Mitchell Marcus explained to a crowd of Acting Up Stage friends and supporters on Monday, June 1, “for Rodgers to find his Hammerstein.” More


The 2nd annual Take The Stage was a hit!

The second annual Take The Stage event has come and gone in a blur for us at Acting Up Stage – but that’s nothing compared to the whirlwind day that our five competing teams had this past Sunday! In only four hours, these five teams – each from Etobicoke Musical Productions, Scarborough Music Theatre, Sheridan College, the R.A.T. (Really Amateur Theatre) Pack, and one made of individual participants known as the Public Team – learned a group song with four-part harmonies and even choreography. At the end of the day, each team did an amazing job performing their song for a panel of three judges: talent agent Daniel Birnbaum, producer Derrick Chua, and critic Carly Maga.

But before all this – these teams successfully raised over $10,000 in support of Acting Up Stage Company! We’re forever indebted to their enthusiasm and love for musical theatre in Toronto. And we feels o lucky they chose to spend a rainy Sunday with us! More