All posts by Wayne Leung

Wayne Leung (1981-2019)

Wayne was the Managing Editor of Mooney on Theatre from 2012 - 2019 and will be sorely missed. His death from an apparent heart attack was a loss not just to Mooney on Theatre, but also to the Toronto Theatre Community at large. You can read our publisher Megan Mooney's tribute to him here here.

Wayne was a writer, editor and corporate communications professional who was thrilled to be a part of the Mooney on Theatre team. Wayne 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 ran the gamut from opera, ballet and Shakespeare to Broadway musicals, circus and Fringe theatre. Outside of the theatre Wayne’s interests included travel, technology and food.

Review: Ghost Stories (Mirvish)

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)

Review: Songs for a New World (Angelwalk Theatre)

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)

Review: paper SERIES (Cahoots Theatre Company)

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)

Review: Yellow Face (Hart House Theatre and fu-GEN Asian Canadian 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)

Announcement: Dancap Productions to bring Donny & Marie Osmond, Colm Wilkinson and Green Day musical, American Idiot to Toronto in 2011

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

Review: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Soulpepper)

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)

Review: South Pacific (Dancap)

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)

Review: The Secret Garden (Mirvish)

By Wayne Leung

Mirvish is presenting the Edinburgh Festival Theatre’s new production of the musical, The Secret Garden by Marsha Norman and Lucy Simon at Toronto’s Royal Alexandra Theatre through March 20, 2011.

The play is based on the novel, The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. First published in 1911, the novel has become an enduring classic in children’s literature.

The Secret Garden tells the story of a young British girl, Mary Lennox, who is orphaned after her parents die of a cholera epidemic in India and sent to live in the large, gloomy estate of her uncle Archibald Craven in Yorkshire.

Continue reading Review: The Secret Garden (Mirvish)

Review: The Fantasticks (Soulpepper)

By Wayne Leung

Toronto’s Soulpepper Theatre Company premiered its newest production, The Fantasticks, on Valentine’s Day.

If you were asked to guess what the longest-running show in American history was you’d likely go with a safe bet like Cats, A Chorus Line, The Phantom of The Opera, Les Misérables or some other similar big-production musical.

In fact, with an uninterrupted Off-Broadway run of 17,162 performances across 42 years, the distinction belongs to a simple yet charming little musical, The Fantasticks. It’s not hard to see why Soulpepper chose to open their 2011 Family Series with a new production of this winsome show.

Continue reading Review: The Fantasticks (Soulpepper)

Announcement: Mirvish to bring Mary Poppins, Chess, Hair and others to Toronto theatres in their 2011/12 season

by Wayne Leung

Mirvish has been the dominant presenter of commercial theatre in Toronto for decades. Indeed, before the arrival of Aubrey Dan’s upstart Dancap onto the scene a few years ago Mirvish was the only major presenter of big broadway-style shows in Toronto.

The healthy competition from Dancap has forced Mirvish to up their game; their past couple seasons have arguably been their strongest in years.

The Mirvish 2011/12 season seems to continue the upward trend. It features an exciting and eclectic mix of musicals and plays. Continue reading Announcement: Mirvish to bring Mary Poppins, Chess, Hair and others to Toronto theatres in their 2011/12 season