All posts by Wayne Leung

Wayne is a writer, editor and corporate communications professional who is thrilled to be a part of the Mooney on Theatre team. Wayne has loved theatre ever since his aunt brought him to a production of Les Misérables at the tender age of ten . . . despite the fact that, at that age, the show’s plot was practically indiscernible and the battle scenes scared the bejeezus out of him. Wayne’s current list of likes runs the gamut from opera, ballet and Shakespeare to Broadway musicals, circus and Fringe theatre. Outside of the theatre Wayne’s interests include travel, technology and food.

Review: Trace (Red Sky Performance/Canadian Stage)

Photo of the company of Red Sky Performance's Trace by David HouCanadian Stage presents the premiere of Red Sky Performance’s new dance piece in Toronto

I only became aware of Red Sky Performance about a year ago when I saw them perform with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. I became an instant fan not only because of the company’s unique Indigenous approach to contemporary dance but also because of the breathtaking artistry and sheer physicality of their performance. 

I’ve sought out their performances ever since so when I learned Canadian Stage was presenting the world premiere of the company’s new show Trace, I jumped at the opportunity to see it. Continue reading Review: Trace (Red Sky Performance/Canadian Stage)

Review: Japanese Problem (Soulpepper/Universal Limited)

Photo of Yoshie Bancroft, left, and Nicole Yukiko by Mona Stilwell / Bob BakerA new play about the internment of Japanese-Canadians during WWII is presented in Toronto

Canadians are often guilty of a kind of smug, exceptionalism when it comes to issues of diversity and inclusion, especially when we compare ourselves to the giant dumpster fire that is the US. Rarely do we acknowledge or critically examine our own dark history. 

Events like our government’s forced internment of thousands of Canadians of Japanese heritage during World War II remain untaught or under-taught in our high school history classes. That’s why works like Japanese Problem are so vital if we are to truly understand who we are as a country.  Continue reading Review: Japanese Problem (Soulpepper/Universal Limited)

Review: The Children (Canadian Stage/Centaur Theatre)

Laurie Paton and Geordie Johnson in Canadian Stage's production of Lucy Kirkwood's The Children. Photo by Dahlia Katz.Canadian Stage presents the premiere of Lucy Kirkwood’s new play in Toronto

The Children is a new play by Lucy Kirkwood that has recently played both on Broadway and in London’s West End. The British playwright often takes a cerebral approach to her writing and tackles complex issues in her work. Canadian Stage previously produced her dazzling US-China political-thriller, Chimerica, in 2016. Continue reading Review: The Children (Canadian Stage/Centaur Theatre)

Review: Dr. Silver: A Celebration of Life (Outside the March/The Musical Stage Company)

Photo of Kira Guloien, Bruce Dow, Donna Garner and the Edge of the Sky Young Company of Dr. Silver: A Celebration of Life by Dahlia Katz.A cult leader’s funeral is the setting for a new musical by Toronto’s Anika and Britta Johnson

There’s definitely an air of mystery around Dr. Silver: A Celebration of Life; a new, immersively-staged musical taking over Heliconian Hall in the heart of Yorkville. The casual theatre-goer would be forgiven if they had no clue what Dr. Silver was about from the show’s deliberately sparse website which only hints that it centres on the funeral of a charismatic nouveau-spiritual leader and doesn’t really provide much more detail than that. Continue reading Review: Dr. Silver: A Celebration of Life (Outside the March/The Musical Stage Company)

Announcement: 2018 Dora Mavor Moore Award Winners (With Links to MOT Reviews)

Photo of Astrid Van WeirenJerusalem, Life After, and Orphée+ win big at the 39th Dora Awards

The Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts (TAPA) presented the 39th Annual Dora Mavor Moore Awards last night at a ceremony at the Winter Garden Theatre hosted by Astrid Van Wieren, currently starring in the Broadway run of the juggernaut Canadian musical, Come From Away.

Continue reading Announcement: 2018 Dora Mavor Moore Award Winners (With Links to MOT Reviews)

Review: Wicked (Mirvish)

Photo of Ginna Claire Mason & Mary Kate Morrissey in WickedThe hit Broadway musical Wicked returns to Toronto

Since it opened on Broadway in 2003, the musical Wicked has become an international phenomenon. It has played over 100 cities in 15 countries, raking in over $4.5 billion in global ticket sales and winning over millions of fans in the process. A touring production of the show has just touched down at Toronto’s Ed Mirvish Theatre for a fifth engagement and—as with any long-running show—the question is; does Wicked retain its magic or does it show its age? Continue reading Review: Wicked (Mirvish)

Announcement: 2018 Dora Mavor Moore Award Nominees (With Links to MOT Reviews)

Canadian Stage, The Musical Stage Company & Soulpepper lead noms for the 39th Dora Awards

The Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts (TAPA) revealed the nominations for the 39th Annual Dora Mavor Moore Awards at a press conference early this morning. The Dora Awards seek to recognize excellence in the Toronto performing arts community. This year’s ceremony will take place on Monday, June 25 at At the Winter Garden Theatre of the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre, and will be hosted by Astrid Van Wieren, currently starring in the Broadway run of the juggernaut Canadian musical, Come From Away.

Continue reading Announcement: 2018 Dora Mavor Moore Award Nominees (With Links to MOT Reviews)

Write for us! Coverage of the 2018 Toronto Fringe Festival

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Cover Toronto Fringe for Mooney on Theatre

Mooney on Theatre is looking for folks to review shows at the Toronto Fringe Festival, which runs from July 4 – 15, 2018.

In many ways, Fringe Festivals embody what Mooney on Theatre holds dear: making theatre more accessible. The Fringe features inexpensive shows attended by a wide range of people, many of whom are not theatregoers the rest of the year.

With this in mind, we put an intense amount of effort into providing as much coverage of the Toronto Fringe Festival as we can. To get an idea of what that coverage looks like, check out the Fringe Festival category on this site.

Among other things, this coverage includes reviewing each show in a relatively substantive way by the end of the first weekend. This task takes a lot of writers. Each year, to make it happen, we bring on additional contributors. Maybe this year that will be you.

Continue reading Write for us! Coverage of the 2018 Toronto Fringe Festival

Review: 食盡天下 (A Taste of Empire) (Cahoots Theatre/rice & beans theatre)

Toronto’s Cahoots Theatre presents Jovanni Sy’s cross between a play and a cooking demo

Something delicious is cooking on stage at the Factory Theatre where Cahoots Theatre is presenting a new Cantonese-language version of its 2010 show 食盡天下 (A Taste of Empire). The show is essentially a satirical, comedic play mixed with a live cooking demonstration mixed with a TED talk and somehow manages to pull off all three of those aspects well; the end result is funny, delicious and eye-opening. Continue reading Review: 食盡天下 (A Taste of Empire) (Cahoots Theatre/rice & beans theatre)

Review: Come From Away (Mirvish)

Photo of the cast of Come From Away in Toronto by Matthew MurphyMirvish opens a new Canadian production of the hit musical Come From Away in Toronto

It’s been about a year since the original production of Come From Away—a new musical by Canadian husband-and-wife writing team Irene Sankoff and David Hein—finished its limited, sold-out run in Toronto and transferred to Broadway.

In the intervening year, this little Canadian musical-that-could has taken the Great White Way by storm. It opened to a warm critical reception and earned a Tony Award nomination for Best Musical. To this day, it still regularly plays to sold out houses in New York and is one of only a handful of Broadway shows that consistently grosses over one million dollars in ticket sales each week. Continue reading Review: Come From Away (Mirvish)