Mirvish Announces New Productions and Castings for 2015-16 Season

Photo of cast members from A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder photo by Samantha Wu

What do Alliser Thorne from Game of Thrones, Oscar Wilde, a glass slipper, a Roald Dahl classic, Elvis, and Prince Charming from Shrek have in common? They’ll all be making appearances during the upcoming Mirvish season. On Monday, ticket holders and subscribers filled the Royal Alexandra Theatre for a sneak peek hosted by Luke Kempner from Upside Downton — and to be treated to a few select performances as well.

Take a look under the cut to see what the new season has in store.

From press release

Mirvish Announces New Productions & Casting for 2015-16 Season

18 Shows, including MOTOWN THE MUSICAL, A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE & MURDER, MATILDA, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, DIRTY DANCING and more

 Season Celebrates The Audience

David Mirvish announces additional shows and new details about his 2015-16 theatre season. Consisting of seven shows in the Main Subscription and three shows in the Off-Mirvish Subscription, the season also has eight shows that will be presented outside of subscription. In total, Mirvish will produce and/or present 18 shows in four different theatres – The Royal Alexandra, The Princess of Wales, The Ed Mirvish and The Panasonic.

“The focus for our new season is The Audience,” explains Mirvish. “No, not the play that starred Dame Helen Mirren in London’s West End and on Broadway, although that is an excellent play for which I was a producer. When I say The Audience I mean the actual group of people who attend theatre.

“Our belief is that theatre without an audience is not theatre; it’s just a rehearsal. The reason theatre has survived more than 2,500 years is because something magical happens when, in one space, you put together a group of people performing a story to another group of people listening and looking. That exchange of energy between the live performers and the live audience is something that cannot be replicated by any film, TV show, Webisode, video game or any other kind of technical entertainment that may be invented in the future. Theatre will endure for another 2,500 years.

“The Audience is as important a component of theatre as the actors, the playwright, director, backstage crew and everyone else that is involved; that’s why we capitalize the noun Audience. Without the audience, there is nothing.

“And what’s the best way for The Audience to play its part? The answer is simple: Subscribe!

“Subscribers receive a myriad of benefits, but most importantly they play a starring role in making theatre happen. It is their commitment and loyalty that have created the vibrant and growing artistic community in Toronto and beyond.”

The Main Subscription Season, which begins on September 22 and concludes in July 2016, consists of, in chronological order: MOTOWN, THE MUSICAL; RODGERS AND HAMMERSTEIN’S CINDERELLA; GASLIGHT; THE JUDAS KISS; IF/THEN; A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE & MURDER and MATILDA, THE MUSICAL. (Full description of each show is below.)

The casting of GASLIGHT, a 1938 mystery thriller that has become a classic of the genre but has not been seen in North America for quite some time, offers two exciting actors. Owen Tealeand Ian McElhinney are two acclaimed stage actors who have also found great success on screen. Most recently they have been two of the stars of the international phenomenon, Game of Thrones, which has revolutionized television and created legions of fans that have made the series among the most popular of all time.

Owen Teale plays Alliser Thorne on Game of Thrones. On stage he has appeared in many West End and Broadway productions, winning a Tony Award in 1997 for his performance as Torvald opposite Janet McTeer in Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, a part for which he also won a Laurence Olivier Award nomination. He has performed with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre of Great Britain, among many others.

Ian McElhinney is a Northern Irish actor and director. He has appeared in many television series in a career spanning more than thirty years, including Taggart, Hornblower and The Tudors. In Game of Thrones he starred as Barristan Selmy. He has performed with the Abbey Theatre, the Gate Theatre, the Royal Court, the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre of Great Britain. He directed the Olivier Award-winning Stones in his Pockets in London, Toronto and on Broadway, for which he was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Director.

The Off-Mirvish Subscription consists of three plays, in chronological order: SEMINAR, BIGMOUTH and DISGRACED.

SEMINAR will star one of Canada’s finest and most versatile actors with a 30-year career on stage and screen, Tom McCamus. Also starring will be Nathan Howe, Andrea Houssin, Grace Lynn Kung and Ryan James Miller.

DISGRACED will star Raoul Bhaneja, Karen Glave, Ali Momen, Michael Rubenfeld and Birgitte Solem.

The shows that will be presented outside of subscription are

in chronological order:

  • UPSIDE DOWNTON • Sept 30 to Oct 18 • Panasonic Theatre

A hilarious parody of Downton Abbey, this acclaimed one-man comedy stars Luke Kempner, who plays more than 30 characters, including every single recurring character from the beloved TV series. Kempner is a master mimic and a brilliant voice artist. Close your eyes and you would swear you were hearing Dame Maggie Smith as the Dowager Countess of Grantham.

  • DIRTY DANCING • Nov 24 to 29 • Ed Mirvish Theatre

The classic story on stage, DIRTY DANCING returns to Toronto after launching its North American life here and playing for 19 months. An audience favourite, exploding with heart-pounding music, passionate romance and sensational dancing, DIRTY DANCING is a global phenomenon, setting box office records around the world.

  • THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA • Dec 8 to Jan 23, 2016 • Princess of Wales Theatre

Cameron Mackintosh’s spectacular new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s phenomenal musical success, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, will come to Toronto as part of a brand new North American Tour. Hailed by critics as “bigger and better than ever before,” this production boasts exciting new special effects, scenic and lighting designs, staging and choreography.

  • TRACES • Dec 15 to 27 • Panasonic Theatre

Created in 2006 by the Quebec-based company 7 Fingers, TRACES has been presented more than 1700 times in 200 cities around the world. The show has been invited to America’s Got Talent twice, was on TIME’s top 10 list in 2011, performed at the Royal Variety Performance in London and was featured at the Union Square Theater in NYC for a whole year. Combining traditional acrobatic forms with street elements such as skateboarding and basketball, mixed in with some theatre and contemporary dance, it surprises, awes and delights at every turn.

  • Disney’s BEAUTY AND THE BEAST • March 1 to 6, 2016 • Princess of Wales Theatre

Disney’s BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, the smash hit Broadway musical, is coming back to Toronto, where it had its Canadian premiere in 1995 and played for two years! Based on the Academy Award-winning animated feature film, this eye-popping spectacle has won the hearts of over 35 million people worldwide. This classic musical love story is filled with unforgettable characters, lavish sets and costumes, and dazzling production numbers including “Be Our Guest” and the beloved title song.

  • RAIN • March 15 to 20, 2016 • Princess of Wales Theatre

RAIN: A TRIBUTE TO THE BEATLES is a live multi-media spectacular that takes you on a musical journey through the life and times of the world’s most celebrated band. Featuring new songs & high definition imagery, this expanded RAIN adds even more hits that you know and love from the vast anthology of Beatles classics such as “I Want To Hold Your Hand,” “Hard Day’s Night,” “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” “Let It Be,” “Come Together” and “Hey Jude.”

This stunning concert event takes you back in time with the legendary foursome delivering a note-for-note theatrical event that is the next best thing to the Beatles. Don’t miss the Broadway smash that’s taking the world by storm…RAIN: A TRIBUTE TO THE BEATLES.

  • RIVERDANCE • May 17 to 29, 2016 • Princess of Wales Theatre

The international Irish dance phenomenon is back by popular demand in RIVERDANCE – The 20th Anniversary World Tour. Drawing on Irish traditions, the combined talents of the performers propel Irish dancing and music into the present day, capturing the imagination of audiences across all ages and cultures in an innovative and exciting blend of dance, music and song. Of all the performances to emerge from Ireland – in rock, music, theatre and film – nothing has carried the energy, the sensuality and the spectacle of Riverdance.

  • RETURN TO GRACE • May 31 to June 12, 2016 • Ed Mirvish Theatre

Following its hugely successful 2014 run at Toronto’s majestic Ed Mirvish Theatre, RETURN TO GRACE returns as part of its 2016 Canadian National Tour! A glorious, heartfelt tribute to a music icon, RETURN TO GRACE traces the greatest musical moments of a generation with song favourites that include “Heartbreak Hotel”, “Suspicious Minds”, “Love Me Tender”, and more! From the King’s beginnings in Memphis, to the amazing ’68 Comeback Special, to the historical Aloha from Hawaii concert, experience RETURN TO GRACE to re-live the music that changed rock and roll forever!

MAIN SUBSCRIPTION SEASON

The 7-show Subscription is priced from $145 to $679

MOTOWN THE MUSICAL 

Book by Berry Gordy
Directed by Charles Randolph-Wright
September 22 to November 1, 2015
Princess of Wales Theatre

It began as one man’s story… became everyone’s music… and is now Broadway’s musical. MOTOWN THE MUSICAL is the true American dream story of Motown founder Berry Gordy’sjourney from featherweight boxer to the heavyweight music mogul who launched the careers of Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Smokey Robinson and many more.

Motown shattered barriers, shaped our lives and made us all move to the same beat. Featuring classic songs such as “My Girl” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” experience the story behind the music in the record-breaking smash hit MOTOWN THE MUSICAL!

“THERE AIN’T NO MUSICAL MOUNTAIN HIGHER!

Motown is a thrill ride into pop music heaven.”

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES

“MORE THAN A BROADWAY SHOW.

A celebration of music that transformed America!”

CBS SUNDAY MORNING

***********

Rodgers + Hammerstein ’s

CINDERELLA

Music by by Richard Rodgers
Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
Book by Douglas Carter Beane
Original book by Oscar Hammerstein II
Directed by Mark Brokaw

December 1, 2015 to January 10, 2016
Ed Mirvish Theatre

Rodgers + Hammerstein’s CINDERELLA is the Tony Award®-winning Broadway musical from the creators of The Sound of Music and South Pacific that’s delighting audiences with its contemporary take on the classic tale.

This lush production features an incredible orchestra, jaw-dropping transformations and all the moments you love—the pumpkin, the glass slipper, the masked ball and more—plus some surprising new twists! Be transported back to your childhood as you rediscover some of Rodgers + Hammerstein’s most beloved songs, including “In My Own Little Corner,” “Impossible/It’s Possible” and “Ten Minutes Ago,” in this hilarious and romantic Broadway experience for anyone who’s ever had a wish, a dream…or a really great pair of shoes.

“PURE MAGIC!

Broadway’s new CINDERELLA

crackles with sweetness and freshness.”

ASSOCIATED PRESS

“EYE-POPPINGLY OPULENT!”

THE NEW YORKER

***********

GASLIGHT

By Patrick Hamilton
Directed by David Gilmore
Starring Ian McElhinney & Owen Teale

January 16 to February 28, 2016

“Suddenly, I’m beginning not to trust my memory at all.”

As the ghostly living room gaslight flickers and the floorboards creak around her, Bella Manningham becomes convinced that she is losing her mind, as her mother did before her. With her husband away on business, she loses all sense of reality. Does the terror exist in her imagination or are dark secrets living in her home? The surprise arrival of a retired detective leads to a shocking discovery that will shake her respectable Victorian marriage to its core. A powerful psychological drama.

Patrick Hamilton’s classic mystery thriller premiered in London in 1938 and immediately became an international success. In 1944, it was adapted into an iconic film starring Ingrid Bergman. Since then, the play has become a staple of theatre companies in Britain. This brand new production will be mounted in the U.K. before travelling across the Atlantic to the Royal Alexandra Theatre.

“A SUPERBLY GRIPPING PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER.”

DAILY TELEGRAPH

***********

THE JUDAS KISS

By David Hare
Directed by Neil Armfield
Starring Rupert Everett
A HAMPSTEAD THEATRE PRODUCTION

March 20 to May 1, 2016

Rupert Everett plays Oscar Wilde in David Hare’s THE JUDAS KISS —a compelling drama about the power of all consuming love and the cruelty of betrayal.

It is 1895 and Oscar Wilde’s masterpiece, The Importance of Being Earnest, is playing in the West End after a triumphant premiere, but already the wheels are in motion, which will lead to his imprisonment, downfall and vilification.

Forced to make a choice between his lover, Lord Alfred Douglas, and his freedom, the ever romantic Wilde embarks on a course towards self-destruction.

Directed by Neil Armfield, this critically acclaimed production arrives in Toronto after a sold-out run in London’s West End.

★★★★★

Rupert Everett carries Wilde tragedy to perfection.”

THE TIMES, London

“An intense, witty, and deeply humane play.”

TIME OUT, London

***********

IF/ THEN

Book & Lyrics By Brian Yorkey
Music by Tom Kit
Directed by Michael Greif

April 12 to May 8, 2016
Princess of Wales Theatre

IF/THEN is a contemporary Broadway musical about living in New York today— and all the possibilities of tomorrow.

With unforgettable songs and a deeply moving story by the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award®-winning creators of Next to Normal, this “fascinating, ambitious, and original new musical” (New York Post) simultaneously follows one woman’s two possible life paths, painting a deeply moving portrait of the lives we lead, as well as the lives we might have led.

“THRILLING! THE BEST MUSICAL OF THE YEAR.”

NEW YORK MAGAZINE

“THE BRAVEST NEW MUSICAL IN A LONG TIME.

Led by Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey’s dazzling score, it is one of the few Broadway shows that looks and sounds like the world of today.”

TORONTO STAR

***********

A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE & MURDER

Book by Robert L. Freedman
Lyrics by Robert L. Freedman and Steven Lutvak
Music by Steven Lutvak
Directed by Darko Tresnjak

May 25 to June 26, 2016
Princess of Wales Theatre

Getting away with murder can be so much fun… and there’s no better proof than the knock-‘em-dead hit show that’s earned unanimous raves and won the 2014 Tony Award® for BEST MUSICAL—A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE & MURDER!

Direct from New York, where a most gentlemanly NPR critic said he’d “NEVER LAUGHED SO HARD AT A BROADWAY MUSICAL,” GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE tells the uproarious story of Monty Navarro, a distant heir to a family fortune who sets out to jump the line of succession by—you guessed it—eliminating the eight pesky relatives (all played by one courageous man) who stand in his way. All the while, he’s got to juggle his mistress (she’s after more than just love), his fiancée (she’s his cousin but who’s keeping track?), and the constant threat of landing behind bars! Of course, it will all be worth it if he can slay his way to his inheritance… and be done in time for tea.

The Hollywood Reporter raves, GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE RESTORES OUR FAITH IN MUSICAL COMEDY” and The New York Times cheers, “IT WILL LIFT THE HEARTS OF ALL THOSE WHO’VE BEEN PINING FOR WHAT SOMETIMES SEEMS A LOST ART FORM.”

“It has one of the

MOST ACCOMPLISHED SCORES

to be heard in the past dozen years.”

THE NEW YORK TIMES

***********

MATILDA THE MUSICAL

Book by Dennis Kelly
Music by Tim Minchin
Directed by Matthew Warchus

Begins July 2016
Ed Mirvish Theatre

TIME Magazine’s #1 Show of the Year! Winner of 50 international awards, including four Tony Awards® and a record-breaking seven Olivier Awards®, MATILDA THE MUSICAL is the story of an extraordinary girl who, armed with a vivid imagination and a sharp mind, dares to take a stand and change her own destiny.

Based on the beloved novel by Roald Dahl, MATILDA continues to thrill sold-out audiences of all ages on Broadway and in London’s West End. The Wall Street Journal says, “The makers ofMATILDA have done the impossible— triumphantly! It is smart, sweet, zany and stupendous fun.”

“REJOICE.

It is even more glorious than promised.”

THE NEW YORK TIMES

“Easily the standout musical of the Decade.”

LONDON SUNDAY TIMES

 

AND FOR SOMETHING DIFFERENT…

OFF-MIRVISH SERIES at the Panasonic Theatre

3 CUTTING-EDGE SHOWS FROM ONLY $99 to $199.

SEMINAR

By Theresa Rebeck
Directed by Stewart Arnott
Starring Tom McCamus and Nathan Howe, Andrea Houssin, Grace Lynn Kung and Ryan James Miller.
Co-production with the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre

November 14 to December 6, 2015
Panasonic Theatre

Four aspiring young writers have paid big bucks to seek wisdom at the feet of the fearsome Leonard—once a celebrated novelist, now a cantankerous editor, teacher and grandstanding chronicler of third-world war zones.

Under Leonard’s recklessly brilliant but brutally unorthodox teaching style, competition for his approval is intense. Alliances are made and broken, tactical schemes are hatched—how far are the students willing to go to make it to the top?

Pulitzer Prize-nominee Theresa Rebeck’s comedy is a sparkling cocktail of ambition, power and lust—and one with an unexpected kick. Theresa is the creator of the hit television seriesSmash and her previous plays include Dead Accounts and Mauritius.

Stratford Festival star Tom McCamus plays Leonard in this new production.

“BIG LAUGHS!

AN AUTHENTIC RUSH OF PLEASURE.”

THE NEW YORK TIMES

“HITS PLENTY OF BULL’S-EYES!

So sit back and enjoy the ride.”

NEW YORK POST

“THE FUNNIEST SHOW ON BROADWAY!”

WOR RADIO, New York

***********

BIGMOUTH

Created, Directed & Performed by Valentijn Dhaenens
SKAGEN AND RICHARD JORDAN PRODUCTIONS LTD IN A CO-PRODUCTION WITH DE TIJD & STUK 

January 19 to February 7, 2016
Panasonic Theatre

The sell-out hit of the 2012 & 2014 Edinburgh Festivals and an acclaimed hit at festivals around the world, from one of Europe’s hottest theatre companies to explode out of Belgium,BIGMOUTH finally has its North American premiere.

In a tour de force performance, Belgian actor Valentijn Dhaenens pays tribute to 2,500 years of oration. Ingeniously weaving together fragments of seminal speeches from not only the Grand Inquisitor and Socrates to Mohammed Ali and Osama Bin Laden, BIGMOUTH shows that the tricks of rhetoric have hardly changed.

With five microphones on a bare set, his voice and indefatigable energy, Dhaenens traverses sermons, declarations of war, farewells, final arguments, victory speeches and eulogies from across time.

★★★★

If the Belgian Valentijn Dhaenens is new to you, take a drink in and brace yourself for an unnerving, technically risky and thought provoking show… I would hate to have missed it.”

THE TIMES, London

★★★★

Dhaenens’s writing is stark and poetic—a sensitive, thoughtful and often beautiful response to the continuing suffering caused by war.”

THE TELEGRAPH, London

★★★★

UNBEARABLY POIGNANT AND FASCINATING!

The piece is as effective in demonstrating what war does with the minds and hearts of those involved, as it is at showing us the devastating physical consequences.”

THE GUARDIAN, London

***********

DISGRACED

By Ahyad Akhtar
Directed by Robert Ross Parker
Starring Raoul Bhaneja, Karen Glave, Ali Momen, Michael Rubenfeld and Birgitte Solem.
Co-production with Hope and Hell Theatre Company

April 3 to 24, 2016
Panasonic Theatre

Following sold-out engagements in Chicago, London and New York, DISGRACED comes roaring to life in its Toronto premiere production for the Off-Mirvish series.

The winner of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize, DISGRACED is the “emotionally shattering” (Newsday) tale of the stories we tell our friends, the secrets we tell our lovers, and the lies we tell ourselves to find our place in the American Dream. “It’s terrific and turbulent.” (The New York Times).

Written by Ayad Akhtar—a new voice who “finds urgent dramatic connections that serious theatregoers crave” (The Washington Post)—this provocative tale of big city aspiration and cultural assimilation dares to face the truth hiding just below the deception.

“Terrific, turbulent, with fresh currents of dramatic electricity,

DISGRACED comes roaring to life on Broadway.”

THE NEW YORK TIMES

“Riveting!

Get ready to gasp!”

NY1, New York

“One of the Broadway season’s most engaging nights of theater.”

NBC TV, New York


For more information about subscriptions and the new season:

416-593-4225 • 1-800-771-3933

MIRVISH.COM/SUBSCRIPTIONS

To purchase non-subscription tickets:

416-872-12121-800-461-3333

MIRVISH.COM

Photo of cast members from A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder by Samantha Wu