LSM Newswire

Monday, April 6, 2009

Le Spotlight is back!/Le Spotlight est de retour


Get ready for the city's most exciting night of musical theatre on Tuesday evening, May 5 at the Gesù in downtown Montreal. Le Spotlight: Montreal's Musical Theatre Challenge is the third edition of this celebration of local performing excellence, sponsored by the Centre for Education and Theatre in Montreal (CETM)


Ten Montrealers were selected during a round of preliminary auditions held recently at CETM. The judging panel included noted stage director Corey Castle, speech and accent coach Julia Lenardon, and drama educator Cathy Burns. "The quality of this year's talented contestants is positively amazing," said Stephen Pietrantoni of CETM. "Montreal has a lot to be proud of, and we will spend the evening celebrating that reality."

This year's Le Spotlight finalists are: Shayne Devouges, Katia DiPerna, Braulio Elicer, Lisa Ashley Gontovnick, Kayla Grunfeld, Shannon Hamilton, Coralie Heiler, Julie Lapierre, Stephanie Lessard and Heather White. Each will have just four minutes alone on stage to demonstrate acting, singing and movement skills before a panel of professional judges and a live audience. The winner will receive free tuition for a two-day musical theatre master class with Group Theatre Musical Montreal a guaranteed featured part in the Next Wave Festival of New Musicals coming to the McCord Museum and the Gesù in August.


Numerous special guests will add their own special lustre to this annual celebration of musical theatre in La Grande Métropole. Leading the way will be Montreal-based Broadway star Robert Marien, who will perform a specially-orchestrated medley of hit songs from musical theatre. Eighty-one year old local legend Geraldine Doucet will add her grace and experience to a quartet of Broadway Babies, and Tocadéo, (Montreal's answer to Il Divo), will be among the special performers to display their musical theatre artistry.

All performers will appear with a live 10-piece orchestra under the direction of Chris Barillaro. The show will be directed by Patrick Olafson and hosted by Le Spotlight creator, Stephen Pietrantoni. A partial list of judges for the finals includes radio personality and musical theatre enthusiast Sharman Yarnell of CJAD radio, Kevin John Saylor, Artistic Director of the Kateri Performing Arts centre in Kahnawake, and Sergine Dumais from the faculty at LAMDA, with three others to be revealed at a later time.


For the first time this year, those present in the audience will be given the opportunity to vote for their favorite performer. "We'll see if the judges and the public choose the same contestant," said Pietrantoni, "but it's the evaluation of the judges that will decide who we ultimately will see on stage in August."

Tickets are $25 (all taxes and facility fees included), and may be obtained at the Gesù box office (Tues. – Sat., noon to 6 p.m.). Student/senior rates are available.

Venue: Amphithéâtre du Gesù, - Centre de créativité, 1200 Bleury (between Ste-Catherine and René-Lévesque) Montreal. Metro: Place des Arts. buses: 15, 80 or 150.

More information about the competition is available from Le Spotlight's official website:

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Shaw Festival Presents Follies: In Concert

Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, August 26, 2008 … Final rehearsals are underway for the Shaw Festival’s concert production of Stephen Sondheim’s legendary Follies. Follies: In Concert is presented for a limited engagement in the Festival Theatre, with performances on August 29, September 12 and 27, and October 4.

Follies, with almost 50 actors, singers and dancers in the original cast, is rarely staged. The Shaw’s Concert, featuring full orchestration, minimal staging and a highly abridged book, is a great fit with the skills of the Company’s actors, singers and musicians and includes 21 of the 45 musical Ensemble members cast for the 2008 Season.

With a book by James Goldman, the original Follies production won seven Tony Awards. “Broadway Baby”, “I’m Still Here”, “In Buddy’s Eyes” and “Losing My Mind” are Follies songs that have become celebrated Broadway standards. Set in the early ’70s, the piece explores the time between the World Wars in the American musical, juxtaposing the romanticism of the past with the cynicism of the present, and ultimately revealing the foolishness of living in the past.

Two unhappily married couples, Buddy (Jay Turvey) and Sally (Glynis Ranney) Plummer and Ben (George Masswohl) and Phyllis (Melanie Janzen) Stone, are the focus of the story. Sally and Phyllis were showgirls together thirty years earlier, as were many of the other guests at a party. As characters begin to relive their lives and careers, the past seems to seep into the present as ghosts of their former selves appear.

In Follies, the past and present collide in the music as well as the story. Its score encapsulates the history of musical theatre. Characters in the present express themselves in what was a contemporary musical style. Characters reminiscing about the past or suffering psychological breakdown sing “pastiche” songs that represent musical theatre styles through time.

Follies: In Concert is the second Sondheim musical to be presented by the Shaw Festival this season. The sophisticated A Little Night Music, directed by Morris Panych, continues to run in the Court House Theatre until October 4.

The cast of Follies: In Concert also includes Thom Allison, Neil Barclay, Donna Belleville, Carol Forte, Deborah Hay, Patty Jamieson, Gabrielle Jones, Chilina Kennedy, Lorne Kennedy, Julie Martell, Mike Nadajewski, Melanie Phillipson, Kiera Sangster, Goldie Semple, Jacqueline Thair and Mark Uhre.

Follies: In Concert is directed by Valerie Moore, with musical direction by Paul Sportelli, design by William Schmuck, lighting design by Kevin Lamotte, and sound design by John Lott. The stage management team includes Stage Manager Judy Farthing and Assistant Stage Manager Amy Jewell.

For tickets and information, visit or call 1-800-511-7429 or 905-468-2172 (local).

Follies: In Concert is sponsored by Paradigm Capital Inc.

The 2008 season is proudly presented by HSBC Bank Canada/HSBC Bank USA, N.A.

Follies: In Concert

book by James Goldman

music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim

Produced originally on Broadway by Harold Prince

By special arrangement with Cameron Mackintosh

Follies concert version is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI.

421 West 54th Street, New York, NY 10019

Phone: 212-541-4684 Fax: 212-397-4684

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

"We are castaways" The Backyardigans


"We're stuck where we are/With no house, no car/Castaways ahoy/
We are castaways Š" - The Backyardigans, "Castaways"

After nearly four days stuck in Sydney Harbour aboard an ice-trapped ferry, with little more than granola bars and their indomitbale spirits to sustain them, The Backyardigans are back on land and headed to Fredricton for their re-scheduled show.

This recent real-life adventure is only one of a series of calamities that The Backyardigans have had to overcome since they first set out on their cross-Canada tour. They began the national tour of their stage show, QUEST FOR THE EXTRA ORDINARY ALIENS, last January in British Columbia. The tour quickly became a hot ticket, selling out major venues and delighting kids and parents alike.

As the tour progressed, it became clear The Backyardigans would need their sunny attitudes, unshakeable optimism and vivid imaginations more than ever! Snow-bound in Thunder Bay, they were forced to re-schedule their show in Sault Ste. Marie. Their fully-loaded equipment truck was then stolen in Montreal (later recovered but missing three high-end projectors) but a massive snow storm kept them in Montreal, forcing them to re-schedule their show in Saint John.

Another major blizzard held our intrepid friends captive in Windsor, which forced them to re-schedule their show in Gander. This past Monday, they were trapped on board a ferry firmly stuck in Sydney's ice-packed harbour, forcing them to re-schedule shows in Charlottetown and Fredericton.

On March 20, Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Louis St. Laurent, Canada's largest icebreaker, rescued The Backyardigans from the ice-bound boat after nearly four days and helped deliver them to Fredericton in time for their show, re-scheduled for March 21.

Patrons with tickets for shows that have been postponed are encouraged to use their tickets for
re-scheduled dates. Those unable to attend re-scheduled shows are asked to contact the venue box office for a full refund.

They've scaled the heights of Mt. Olympus, faced the notorious tickle-monster and protected the world from nasty evil-doers; they've survived the ice age, raging high seas, a blistering volcano and a dangerous mission to Mars Š but nothing compares to the real-life adventures The Backyardigans have faced during their current cross-Canada tour!
KOBA Family Entertainment presents

Book by Patti Caplette and Rodney Stringfellow
Directed and Choreographed by Patti Caplette
Music Composed by Evan Lurie
Set Design and Video by Beth Kates
Executive Producer Gilles Paquin

Media Contact:
Carrie Sager, President
FLIP Publicity & Promotions Inc.
416.533.7710 X224 fax 416.533.7797

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Wednesday, February 6, 2008

NACO, Feb. 14-16: Jack Everly presents "A Cole Porter Valentine" with Broadway stars including Louise Pitre

National Arts Centre Orchestra / News Release

February 6, 2008

For immediate release

Jack Everly brings “A Cole Porter Valentine” to the NAC Orchestra Feb. 14-16 with Broadway stars including Louise Pitre and Mark Nadler

Ottawa, Canada Principal Pops Conductor Jack Everly returns to the National Arts Centre Orchestra to bring the wit, romance and sophistication of Cole Porter’s music to CTV Pops audiences just in time for Valentine’s Day. A Cole Porter Valentine stars Canadian Broadway diva Louise Pitre and five other Broadway stars – Ted Keegan, Mark Nadler, André McRae, David Krohn and Sarah Hagstrom – together with the Ewashko Singers – in Southam Hall from Thursday, February 14 to Saturday, February 16 at 20:00.

In addition, concert-goers have the option of continuing the love affair with Cole Porter cabaret-style in the NAC Salon following each concert. Singer-pianist Mark Nadler presents Café Cole in the intimate 120-seat venue. The $15 ticket for this post-concert cabaret includes a glass of champagne.

A Cole Porter Valentine looks at the many sides of love through the stylish words and clever music of this American music icon. You’ll enjoy ballads like “True Love” and “I’ve Got You Under my Skin”, urbane classics like “My Heart Belongs to Daddy”, and “I Get a Kick Out of You”, and just plain fun tunes like “You’re the Top”, “Always True to You in My Fashion”, “Let’s Do It” and “Blow Gabriel Blow”.

Louise Pitre is best known for her Tony-nominated performance singing the songs of ABBA in the wildly popular hit musical Mamma Mia which she performed on Broadway, in Toronto and on tour across the U.S. She has also played leading roles in Les Misérables, Annie Get Your Gun, Piaf and many other musicals. Her TV roles include Taff Baron in the new series MVP and Celine’s mother in the upcoming mini-series on Celine Dion.

Mark Nadler, who will also perform at the piano in the post-concert Café Cole, is a multi-award winning entertainer, arranger and director. Aside from appearing regularly at New York’s famed Algonquin Hotel, he has played principal roles on Broadway and TV. He has a new one-man show, Russian on the Side, opening on Broadway in the 2008-09 season.

Ted Keegan, who starred in The Phantom of the Opera on its National Tour and on television, has the distinction of being the actor who has sung the role of the Phantom in front of the largest audience ever. He made his debut with the NAC performing in Broadway goes British.

Andre McRae has toured Europe and Japan in Porgy and Bess and performed in New York in Encore’s Kismet. He is currently singing with the Soldier’s Chorus and US Army Field Band.

David Krohn joined Jack Everly last October at the NAC in the hit On The Air! Music of the Fabulous 40s. He has recently performed the roles of Count Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro and Carl-Magnus Malcom in A Little Night Music.

Sarah Hagstrom has received enthusiastic praise for recent performances as Emily Webb in the world premiere of Ned Rorem’s Our Town, Micaëla in Carmen, and as Abigail and Mary Warren Robert Ward’s The Crucible.

Patrons attending A Cole Porter Valentine will have the opportunity to win a trip for two to Paris, compliments of CAA Travel – a holiday package valued at up to $5,000 CDN.

Tickets for A Cole Porter Valentine with the NAC Orchestra February 14 to 16 at 20:00 are on sale now at $29.00, $34.00, $39.00, $49.00, $59.00, $69.00 with box seats at $86.00 (GST and Facility Fee included) at the NAC Box Office (Monday to Saturday from 10:00 to 21:00), and through Ticketmaster (with surcharges) at 613-755-1111. Ticketmaster may also be accessed through the NAC’s website at Subscriptions for the season are also still available by calling the Subscription Office at 613-947-7000, ext. 620.

Half-price tickets for students in all sections of the hall are on sale in person at the NAC Box Office upon presentation of a valid student ID card. Same-day Live Rush tickets (subject to availability) for full-time students (aged 13 to 29) are $10 at the NAC Box Office between 14:00 and 18:00 on the day of performance only, upon presentation of a valid Live Rush card.

Groups of 10 and more save 15% to 20% off the regular price of tickets to NAC Music, Theatre and Dance performances. To reserve your seats call 613-947-7000 ext. 384 or email


Jane Morris

Communications Officer/Agente de communication

National Arts Centre Orchestra/Orchestre du Centre national des Arts

Telephone/Téléphone: 613-947-7000 x 335

Fax: 613-996-2828

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Monday, January 28, 2008

Houdini, The Leanor and Alvin Segal Theatre- February 10-March 2

Press Release

For Immediate Release

First Class Theatre

The Leanor and Alvin Segal Theatre,

The Montreal Highlights Festival and Ernst & Young



Book by Ben Gonshor

Music and Lyrics by Elan Kunin

Directed by Bryna Wasserman

February 10 - March 2, 2008

"We are in an age of wonder, there is magic in the air…."
From Houdini

MONTREAL January 2008- The Leanor and Alvin Segal Theatre, in association with The Montreal Highlights Festival and Ernst & Young, proudly presents Houdini – a world premiere musical about the life and magic of America's first great popular entertainer. For the first time in the Festival's nine-year history, a Segal Theatre production will be one of the showcased productions.

Houdini features some of the legendary escape artist's most famous routines. Don't miss this entertaining, musical ride through Houdini's life- from his humble vaudeville beginnings to the heights of his fame.

Director Bryna Wasserman, recognized for her staging of large-scale musicals, was eager to bring Harry Houdini's story to a bigger audience after the success of the Dora Wasserman Yiddish Theatre's The Great Houdini in 2000. The book for this all-new production is by Ben Gonshor, with music and lyrics by Elan Kunin. For Wasserman, the story speaks to modern audiences: "This is a throwback to the turn of the twentieth century, a time when theatre was there to involve and engage the public." She continues, "The idea of the world and technologies changing and moving forward was also prevalent at that time. People were moving away from live entertainment and seeking out the newer inventions, like movies." Playwright Ben Gonshor understands the complexities of mounting a musical of this scale: "It's one hell of a challenge but we're committed to making magic happen for you on stage. In a sense, we're "pulling a Houdini!"

For this very physical production, Wasserman is joined by a dazzling cast comprising Kevin Kraft in the title role, along with Valerie Boyle, Rod Campbell, Gab Desmond, Gabrielle Maes, Paul McQuillan, Christopher Ryan and Lauren Stanford. The ensemble features Paul Cagelet, Francois Dagenais, Claire Duncan, Rachel Gauthier, Holly Gauthier-Frankel, Alison Gelinas, Jason Noel, Brad Picken, Holly Raye, Lauren Roy and Jake Smith.

This production will present a live, six-piece band with such well-known Montreal musicians as Chet Doxas, Jim Doxas, Dave Martin, Morgan Moore and bandleader, John Roney. Albin Konopka is the music supervisor and John Gilbert is the music consultant.

The creative design team includes Yannik Larivée, set; Luc Prairie, lighting; Sara Brians, choreography; Sarah Armstrong, costumes and Rob Denton, sound. The magic consultant is Greg Kramer and Yves Nevue is the artistic/circus consultant. Lorna Wayne is the assistant director, Merissa Tordjman is the stage manager and Melanie St-Jacques completes the team as assistant stage manager.

"What does he mean, "be careful?!" I hang myself upside down in straight jackets

one hundred feet in the air and he's telling me to be careful!" - Houdini

88.5 CBC Radio One proudly presents Sunday-@-the-Segal with Dr. Joe Schwarcz

Sunday, November 18th, 11am. Admission is free.

Join us for another season of intimate conversation and riveting lectures. Dr. Joe will be sharing his insight and passion about Houdini in his lecture, Houdini: The Man and the Myth.

Monday Night Talkbacks presented by Pratt and Whitney Canada

As usual following the play, some of the actors and/or designers will remain on stage to take questions from the audience. Monday Night Talkbacks provides an intimate opportunity for audiences to engage up close and personal with the personalities bringing first class professional English language theatre to Montreal.

The MEDIA CALL for Houdini will be held on Wednesday, February 6 at 12:30 pm. This is an occasion for camera footage, interviews and still photography. Please confirm by Monday, February 4

Janis Kirshner, Publicist (514) 287-8912

Tickets and Media Information


February 10-March 2, 2008


February 10 1:30 pm

February 11-18 8:00 pm (Feb. 16 at 8:30 pm)


February 10 11:00 am

Media Opening Night:

Tuesday, February 19 8:00 pm


Monday - Thursday, 8:00 pm

Saturday 8:30 pm

Sunday 7:00 pm


Wednesdays 1:00 pm

Sundays 2:00 pm

Box Office:

(514) 739-7944


(514) 790-1245

Segal Centre for Performing Arts at the Saidye

5170 cote St. Catherine Rd.

Bryna Wasserman- Director

Bryna is Artistic and Executive Director of The Leanor and Alvin Segal Theatre. A graduate of New York University's prestigious Tisch School of Fine Arts, her extensive career includes work at the American Place Theatre, The Vivian Beaumont Theatre at Lincoln Centre, the Mercer Street Theatre, the Vancouver Opera Company and the Folksbiene Playhouse. Recent credits with the Dora Wasserman Yiddish Theatre include God of Vengeance, Lies My Father Told Me, Fiddler on The Roof, The Golden Land, Double Identity, The Dybbuk, On Second Avenue (the Drama Desk Award-nominated, historic co-production with New York's Folksbiene Yiddish Theatre) and most recently Those Were The Days. In 2000 she was awarded the Montreal English Critics Circle Award (MECCA) of Distinction for her contribution to the development of the Montreal theatre scene.

Ben Gonshor – Playwright

Ben Gonshor is a writer, actor and musician. A native Montrealer, he has performed bass guitar with various local artists for over fifteen years and been a contributing writer to numerous local publications. A lifelong member of The Dora Wasserman Yiddish Theatre, he most recently starred in the company's original musical production of Lies My Father Told Me and performed in the orchestra for Those Were The Days. He holds an M.F.A. in Motion Picture Producing from the prestigious Peter Stark Producing Program of the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California. He currently serves as Director of Marketing and Communications & Executive Producer of Online and New Media for the Segal Centre. Houdini is his first play.

Elan Kunin- Music and lyrics

Elan Kunin began his professional musical career as the star and orchestrator in The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz for the Dora Wasserman Yiddish Theatre. He subsequently went on to become the lead actor, music director, composer and arranger for numerous plays including On Second Avenue, Old Wicked Songs, The Threepenny Opera, Double Identity, Fiddler on the Roof, Lies My Father Told Me (music and lyrics) and The Great Houdini which won the Masque award for best semi-professional production. Elan was last seen in the Drama Desk nominated On Second Avenue Off-Broadway in New York and later in Los Angeles.

Kevin Kraft- Houdini

Kevin has performed extensively across the U.S. and has appeared on Broadway in Forum and off-Broadway in Johnny Guitar, American Dreams and The Fartiste. Other theatre credits include She Loves Me (Arena Stage), Floyd Collins (Actors Theatre of Louisville), As You Like It (The Acting Company) and The Full Monty (West Virginia Public). TV and film credits include: The Nanny Diaries, All My Children, Ed and Duston Checks In.


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Monday, January 14, 2008

[Montreal] Hold the dates: Houdini, The Leanor and Alvin Segal Theatre- February 10-March 2

Hold the Dates!

The Leanor and Alvin Segal Theatre,

The Montreal Highlights Festival and Ernst & Young



Book by Ben Gonshor

Music and Lyrics by Elan Kunin

Directed by Bryna Wasserman

Mark these dates in your winter calendar

Sunday, February 10 – Sunday, March 2, 2008

An all-new, Montreal-created, musical production.

This exciting show is part of the Sun Life Financial performing arts section of the Montreal Highlights Festival.

88.5 CBC Radio One presents the Sunday-@-the-Segal lecture for Houdini on Sunday, February 10, 11 a.m. With Dr. Joe Schwarcz.


The Leanor and Alvin Segal Theatre

At The Segal Centre for the Performing Arts at the Saidye

5170 Cote St. Catherine Rd.

Monday to Thursday at 8:00 p.m.

Saturday at 8:30 p.m.

Sunday at 7:00 p.m.

Matinées: Wednesdays, 1:00pm and Sundays, 2:00 pm

Reservations: (514) 739-7944

Press release to follow.

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