Smile – Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts

By Crystal Wood

Smile (presented this week by Randolph Academy) has all the elements of a good musical – impressive music, a good story, and meaty roles for triple threat performers. So why hasn’t this show by Marvin Hamlisch and Howard Ashman stood the test of time, like Phantom or West Side Story have?

I’m going to guess it’s the references to Gorbachev and Terri Garr. This show is pure 80’s, complete with rotary phones and Aqua Net hair. So maybe we had to wait for the 80’s to be retro cool again before dusting this dated musical off? In any case, I liked the show; it was toe-tapping and funny (and in some places, kind of sad.)

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The Harder They Come – Mirvish Productions

By Megan Mooney

Harder they come

The Harder They Come, being presented by Mirvish Productions at the Canon Theatre, is based on the Jamaican movie of the same title that became a huge cult hit in the UK and North America.  The movie, in turn, is based on the true story of Rhyging, a Jamaican singer cum folk hero.

Now, I haven’t seen the movie, so I can’t start pulling together comparisons, but what I can tell you is that the play, like the movie, is filled with fantastic music.  This would technically be a musical, but the story is not told in song, it’s more a play where there is a lot of singing.

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I’m helping to teach a publicity seminar at Second City in Toronto this weekend!

By Megan Mooney

Exciting news!  I’m joining forces with Sweat Equity Productions to teach a one-day seminar at Second City in Toronto this weekend.  It’s on how to effectively publicize yourself and your events.

I’m able to offer a discounted price for folks who book through Mooney on Theatre today (Thursday) and Friday, and would love to get lots of takers on the offer.  So, I’m looking for your help, hoping you might be willing to spread the word to folks you think might be interested in the seminar.

The teaser blurb is:

The Second City presents a revolutionary new seminar from the award-winning publicists of the 2008 SCTV reunion and the Canadian Comedy Awards…   Personal Publicity

The Shehori Brothers teach everything you’ll need to know about promoting your shows, events,– and most of all, your career –  like a professional publicist.  Full money-back guarantee if you are not satisfied with the value of this seminar.

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Romeo And Juliet – Canopy Theatre

By Adam Collier

After intermission, the Canopy Theatre’s production of Romeo And Juliet soared above a serviceable mounting of one Shakespeare’s most familiar texts, and was a tour de force of supple emotion.

It’s studded with strong actors in supporting roles: Juliet’s Nurse (played by Emily Andrews), Mercutio (Paul Kit) and Benvolio (Andrew Knowlton), and Friar Laurence (Thomas Gough). Mr. Kit, who was nominated for a Dora for his performance in Macbeth in the title role, and Mr. Gough, who played Polonius in the Hart House’s production of Hamlet in 2005, were in very high form the night I attended. As was Brendan May (playing an attendant to Ms. Andrews’ no-nonsense Nurse) and Brad Ingham imbuing Paris with poise and arrogance, lifting above a stock character of entitled aristocracy.

Mr. May and Mr. Ingham appear in the second-half of the play though; the first half is really owned by Ms. Andrews, Mr. Kit, and Mr. Knowlton.

Not until after the intermission though did it seem to me that the characters for which the play is named, emerge in full force.
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Just for Laughs – Sarah Silverman, David Cross and more – and then some Russel Peters just for fun

By Megan Mooney

It’s Just for Laughs time in Toronto. 

Last night I saw the gala hosted by Sarah Silverman.  It was a ‘star-studded affair’ and a great deal of fun.  Along with Silverman we had the comedy of John Mulaney, Todd GlassArj Baker, David Cross and Louis CK.

I fully expected Silverman to be far and away my favourite, but I have to say, it was Louis CK that blew me away.  Seriously, I was laughing so hard I had tears pouring down my face.  Why have I not heard more about this man?  Seriously.  I hurt from laughing so much, the man is *literally* painfully funny.

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Just For Laughs Festival: All-Star Gala

by Lucy Allen

Last night I had planned a fun-filled evening with my laundry, and suddenly found out last minute that there were tickets available to the Just For Laughs All-star Gala event at Massey Hall, just one of many events going on for the Just For Laughs Toronto Festival this week. Normally I hate to rush, but having grown up watching and loving Just for Laughs on television I couldn’t resist trying. After a lot of running and a talk with a very helpful and forgiving festival employee, I finally managed to get in with about two minutes to spare. And I can safely say it was well worth the effort.

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