Two premieres, two Governor General’s award winners, new plays and lots of laughs are on the bill of the Grand Theatre’s 2019-20 season.
Passion for his home town and new creations were centre stage as artistic director Dennis Garnhum announced the 2019-20 season saying, “a major thread throughout my career has been a focus on developing new work. This season we are staging new works, which allow us to reflect our city, and our community—to show who we are and who we want to be.”
Writer Emma Donoghue and producer Michael Rubinoff were among the luminaries attending the launch which was also live-streamed.
Emma Donoghue got the biggest laugh of the event as she discussed the trials and tribulations of writing her award-winning novel “Room” in the community. Donoghue said that she wrote part of “Room” at the downtown London YMCA with a young child in tow, while trying to find someone to “look after my child so I could write something about motherhood.”
Donoghue’s “Room” is making it’s much anticipated North American debut in London as a co-production with Covent Garden Productions and David Mirvish.
The 2019-20 season begins with a world premiere of a comedy by Governor General’s Award-winning playwright Morris Panych “This London Life.” The other Governor General’s Award-winning playwright on the playbill is Robert Chafe, whose newest work “Between Breaths” will be directed by Jillian Keiley. Keiley and Chafe are the team behind the hit shows “Tempting Providence,” and “The Colony of Unrequited Dreams,” so plan now to see “Between Breaths” before it transfers from the Grand to The National Arts Centre in Ottawa.
London born Deborah Hay, the critically acclaimed actor with multiple appearances at the Shaw and Stratford Festivals, will star in the holiday production of “Mary Poppins.” Megan Watson directs.
There are plenty of laughs on the bill.
CBC fans will recognize Gavin Crawford from his work on “This Hour Has 22 Minutes” and the comedy news quiz “Because News.” Crawford is starring in “Fully Committed.” It’s Crawford’s debut performance in the play, a one-man show that began off-Broadway before moving to the Lyceum Theatre with Jesse Tyler Ferguson of TV’s “Modern Family.”
Rebecca Northan, of the international hit “Blind Date,” makes her debut appearance in “Every Brilliant Thing.” The one-woman show, features improvisation, with the audience playing a key roll in unravelling the story about family and mental illness. Now Magazine called the 2018 Canadian Stage production of “Every Brilliant Thing,” “one of the best plays of the year.”
Speaking by video from Boston where she’s teaching, Northan said “I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard at a play about suicide… I know it’s going to be a career highlight for me.”
Garnhum will be directing “Grow” a big-hearted musical set at the intersection of agrarian Amish culture and the legalization of marijuana. The book is by Matt Murray with music by Colleen Dauncey and lyrics by Akiva Romer-Segal. The creative trio met at the Canadian Music Theatre Project at Sheridan and are behind some of the most exciting new works in Canadian musical theatre.
“Come From Away” producer Michael Rubinoff was on stage to once again offer Sheridan college’s support to the Grand’s high school project which will see 50 area students in a production of “Titanic: The Musical.”
At the helm is Andrew Tribe, artistic director of Original Kids Theatre where he’s done very innovative work with young actors. Speaking at the event, Tribe noted that it was 14 years ago that he performed in the high school project, under the musical direction of Andrew Petrasiunas, whom he’s thrilled to be working with again.
Here’s the full season:
TITANIC: THE MUSICAL (HIGH SCHOOL PROJECT)
Directed by Andrew Tribe | Spriet Stage
September 17 – 28
THIS LONDON LIFE
Directed by Morris Panych | Spriet Stage
October 15 – November 2
Presented by Human Cargo Theatre
Directed by Daniel Brooks | McManus Stage
November 5 – 16
Directed by Megan Watson | Spriet Stage
November 26 – December 29
Directed by Steven Gallagher | Spriet Stage
January 14 – 26
EVERY BRILLIANT THING
Directed by Liza Balkan | McManus Stage
January 21 to February 2
Directed by Falen Johns | Spriet Stage
February 4 – 22
Directed by Jillian Keiley | McManus Stage
February 25 – March 7
North American Premiere
Directed by Cora Bissett | Spriet Stage
March 10 – 28
JUNO’S REWARD (100 SCHOOLS PRODUCTION)
Directed by Megan Watson | McManus Stage
March 16 -21
Directed by Dennis Garnhum
April 14 – May 2
For complete details and ticketing information visit grandtheatre.com