Buddies in Bad Times Theatre in association with The National Arts Centre presents the return Toronto engagement of Waawaate Fobister’s poetic, inspiring and timely play, Agokwe.
In the past year the issues around bullying and gay teen suicide have come to a head in the mainstream media and great strides have been made in raising the profile of the issues of the GLBT community.
However, what’s still often missing from the conversation between the mainstream gay culture and the media are the voices of queer people of colour. The issues and experiences of the “gay community” are, more often than not, presented as a unified monolith and since the mainstream gay culture is predominantly a White culture, it rarely acknowledges the greater diversity within the community. Continue reading Review: Agokwe (Buddies in Bad Times Theatre and The National Arts Centre)
By Wayne Leung
Toronto’s fu-GEN Asian Canadian Theatre Company presents Brown Balls, Byron Abalos’ irreverent play examining Asian male stereotypes, from May 3 to May 15, at the Factory Studio Theatre.
Brown Balls is an edgy, satirical play that tackles Asian male stereotypes. Being an Asian-American male myself (technically, I’m Canadian but I’m going to use “American” in the broader sense to mean North American), I’m something of an expert on Asian male stereotypes in Western culture.
I’m all too aware of the general (mis-) perceptions of Asian males among Westerners: that we are short, scrawny, effete, bookish, timid, subordinate, asexual, small-dicked, mamma’s boys. For the record, I’m none of the above.
Brown Balls is a long-overdue cri de coeur for the Asian-American male. It explodes the numerous stereotypes and misperceptions and exposes them for what they are: ignorance.
Continue reading Review: Brown Balls (fu-GEN Asian Canadian Theatre Company)
Canadian Stage presents the Canadian premiere of Scottish playwright David Greig’s The cosmonaut’s last message to the woman he once loved in the former Soviet Union from April 16 to May 14, 2011 at the Bluma Appel Theatre
The Canadian Stage premiere of The cosmonaut’s last message to the woman he once loved in the former Soviet Union seemed appropriately timed to coincide with the recent 50th anniversary of the first manned space flight, made by Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin in 1961.
Continue reading Review: The cosmonaut’s last message to the woman he once loved in the former Soviet Union (Canadian Stage)
Lyric Hammersmith, Phil Mcintyre Entertainments and David Mirvish present the North American premiere of Ghost Stories by Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman at Toronto’s Panasonic Theatre. Now booking through May 8, 2011.
For the past few weeks I’ve watched with “morbid” curiosity as, seemingly from way out of left field, Mirvish announced that it would present a North American premiere production of Ghost Stories, a quirky show from the UK, and then rolled it out complete with a horror movie-style ad campaign.
Continue reading Review: Ghost Stories (Mirvish)
By Wayne Leung
Angelwalk Theatre presents Jason Robert Brown’s Songs for a New World at the Toronto Centre for the Arts Studio Theatre through April 23, 2011.
Angelwalk is a relatively new player on the Toronto theatre scene. Focusing on intimate musical theatre productions, this small company already punches well above its weight.
To finish off its second season, Angelwalk chose to present Songs for a New World by Jason Robert Brown. Brown is also the composer and lyricist for Parade which had its Toronto premiere earlier this year.
Songs for a New World is a musical performance but it isn’t a musical per se. Nor is it a revue of songs culled from other works. The show is a “song cycle”; a collection of stand-alone, original songs loosely related to a central theme.
Continue reading Review: Songs for a New World (Angelwalk Theatre)
By Wayne Leung
Toronto’s Cahoots Theatre Company presents the world première of paper SERIES by Governor General’s Literary Award nominee David Yee at the Tank House Theatre, Young Centre for the Performing Arts through April 9, 2011.
paper SERIES by David Yee, is a cycle of six short plays which are unrelated except for the fact that they share a central theme. The plays are packaged together in an intermission-less 90-minute production; it’s the theatrical equivalent of an anthology of short stories.
Continue reading Review: paper SERIES (Cahoots Theatre Company)
By Wayne Leung
Toronto’s Hart House Theatre in partnership with fu-GEN Asian Canadian Theatre Company presents Tony Award-winner David Henry Hwang’s semi-autobiographical play Yellow Face at the Hart House Theatre through March 12, 2011.
Playwright David Henry Hwang, winner of the 1988 Tony Award for Best Play for M. Butterfly, is no stranger to race and identity politics.
As is the case with many people of colour who succeed in a field where visible minorities are few and far between, Hwang has become a prominent, if sometimes unwitting, champion for equal opportunity as chronicled in his semi-autobiographical satire Yellow Face.
The play opens with the character of David Henry Hwang organizing a protest in response to the casting of Caucasian actor, Jonathan Pryce, in a lead Asian role in the musical Miss Saigon. Later in the play, Hwang himself mistakenly casts a Caucasian actor as the lead Asian character in his own play and tries to cover up his blunder by passing the actor off as “Eurasian.” Hilarity ensues.
Continue reading Review: Yellow Face (Hart House Theatre and fu-GEN Asian Canadian Theatre Company)
By Wayne Leung
Dancap Productions announced today that it will bring three additional shows to Toronto for its 2011 line-up along with a new way to purchase tickets, the FLEXI-Subscription.
Donny & Marie Live
Donny Osmond was on hand to announce a 2-week engagement of his and his sister Marie’s show Donny & Marie Live.
Donny Osmond said that performing in Toronto feels like a homecoming of sorts; he refers to the city as his “second home.” Toronto audiences will likely remember Mr. Osmond from his run as the lead in the Canadian production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
Continue reading Announcement: Dancap Productions to bring Donny & Marie Osmond, Colm Wilkinson and Green Day musical, American Idiot to Toronto in 2011
By Wayne Leung
Toronto’s Soulpepper Theatre Company stages its production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at The Young Centre for the Performing Arts through April 23, 2011.
I was both amused and bewildered when I read a letter that Globe and Mail theatre critic J. Kelly Nestruck posted on his blog. It was from a Stratford theatre-goer who was up in arms over the fact that a director had chosen to “update” a Shakespearean play.
I guess I’m very much a non-traditionalist. I believe that in order for a contemporary production of a Shakespearean play to be engaging and speak to today’s audiences it must be updated. After all, we’ve all read the likes of Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet in high school, and there have been thousands of traditional productions of these plays through the years. A new production should at least attempt to lend its own voice to the material and make it relevant to a contemporary audience.
Continue reading Review: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Soulpepper)
After a successful run last summer, Dancap brings the Lincoln Center Theater’s magnificent production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific back to Toronto for a return engagement at the Toronto Centre for the Arts.
Based on a collection of short stories, Tales of the South Pacific, written by James A. Michener immediately after World War II, South Pacific originally debuted on Broadway in 1949. The show is a staple of the American musical theatre canon and features recognizable songs like “Some Enchanted Evening” and “Bali Ha’i”.
Continue reading Review: South Pacific (Dancap)