Travel Blog

12 Oct

English theatre shines in Montréal this fall

Theatre goers will enjoy Rodgers and Hammerstein’s blockbuster Broadway musical Cinderella and the red-carpet world premiere of Prom Queen: The Musical, as well as plays based on the novels of Ray Bradbury and Stephen King, produced by some of Montréal’s most exciting professional and independent English-language theatre companies this autumn.

One of the Canadian theatre scene’s most-anticipated new productions of the year is Prom Queen: The Musical, based on the true story of Marc Hall, the Ontario teenager who made international headlines when he took his Catholic school board to court in 2002 when they refused to let him attend his prom with his boyfriend.

“I think this musical is a celebration, but is also a timely reminder of how far we have come,” says Hall. “We must still fight discrimination and celebrate diversity. It is important to love and accept who you are, and love and accept others. We have come a long way, but people still need to hear those messages.”

Prom Queen: The Musical world premieres at the Segal Centre for Performing Arts from Oct. 27 to Nov. 20.

One of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s most popular titles, Cinderella, was originally written for television, debuting in 1957 starring Julie Andrews. The show made its long-overdue Tony-winning Broadway debut in 2013, and it is this version that will play the Salle Wildfrid-Pelletier at Place des Arts for a limited engagement from Oct.18 to 23. There will be eight performances in all, including matinees on Oct. 22 and 23.

In addition to the musicals Prom Queen and Cinderella, there are several dramas of note playing in Montreal, such as the Teesri Duniya Theatre production The Refugee Hotel by award-winning writer Carmen Aguirre who crafts a poignant dark comedy about a group of Chilean refugees who resettle in Vancouver following the brutal coup d’état of 1973. The play runs at the Segal Centre for Performing Arts from Oct. 26 to Nov. 13.

The Centaur Theatre in Old Montréal launches its 48th season with a couple of intriguing productions. First, there is Constellations by Nick Payne, the London West End and Broadway smash (in which Jake Gyllenhaal made his Broadway debut in 2015), an emotional and thoughtful look at one romance as it might exist across parallel universes. Directed by Canadian theatre legend Peter Hinton, Constellations runs from Oct. 4 to 30.

The other Centaur play of note is The Watershed by award-winning Montreal playwright Annabel Soutar who applies her documentary theatre approach to explore the complex environmental and economic issues surrounding Alberta’s oil sands and Ontario’s Experimental Lakes Area. The Watershed plays at Centaur from Nov. 8 to Dec. 4 as part of a national tour and features a stellar cast, including actors Bruce Dinsmore and Eric Peterson.

Montreal theatre veteran Amanda Kellock adapted and directs The Halloween Tree, based on the fantasy novel by Ray Bradbury, about several friends who go trick-or-treating on Halloween night, and cross time and space to find out the hidden secrets of Halloween to save their friend Joe Pipkin. The Geordie Productions play features a great ensemble cast – Eloi ArchamBaudoin, Trevor Barrette, Jimmy Blais, Davide Chiazzese, Lucinda Davis, Tristan D. Lalla and Charlotte Rogers – and runs at Montreal’s gorgeous downtown D.B. Clarke Theatre from Oct. 21 to 30.

Over on The Main – Montréal’s historic Boulevard St-Laurent – the city’s uber-cool indie Mainline Theatre (also headquarters of the Montreal Fringe Festival) – presents the musical Hair (from Nov. 23 to 26) and their hugely-popular annual run of The Rocky Horror Show, complete with live band (Oct. 19 to 29). Mainline will also present the adaptation of Stephen King’s novel Misery, from Nov. 9 to 13.

Three student productions worth the admission are Virginia Woolf’s Orlando produced by the John Abbott College Department of Theatre Music at the Casgrain Theatre from Oct. 20 to 29; Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing produced by the top-notch Dawson Professional Theatre Program in their state-of-the-art Dawson Theatre from Nov. 14 to 26; and the National Theatre School of Canada production of Moisés Kaufman’s The Laramie Project directed by theatre legend Djanet Sears, from Dec. 12 to 17, at the historic Monument National.

Last but not least, the renowned Hudson Players Club presents Simon Levy’s superb adaptation of  F. Scott Fitzgerald’s iconic 1925 novel The Great Gatsby at the Hudson Village Theatre from Nov. 3 to 13.


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