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La Scena Musicale - Vol. 16, No. 7

Springtime for Theatre

by Jessica B. Hill / April 1, 2011

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No one celebrates spring better than Montrealers. A hint of longer daylight hours and warmer weather generates pure euphoria within us…maybe even enough to burst into song? At least it seems so on stage. Musicals set in Montreal and plays celebrating Canadian culture flood the theatres this season. What better way to rejoice in the coming of spring than by catching one of these entertaining shows that will have you cheering and toe-tapping in no time.

The Centaur sets the tone this spring with Schwartz's: the Musical. Montreal’s comedy duo Bowser and Blue bring us this tasty treat inspired by Bill Brownstein’s book: “Schwartz's Hebrew Delicatessen: The Story.” Hilarious and witty with a vibrant cast of comical characters, this musical has that distinct Montreal flavor…or is that smoked meat? It’s likely that Schwartz tickets will be as in demand as their sandwiches, so get ‘em while they’re hot! Schwartz's: the Musical runs from March 29th to April 24th.

A Beautiful View, by Canadian playwright Daniel MacIvor, is the Centaur’s next offering. This serio-comic play chronicles a long-term, enigmatic and intense friendship between two women. Their intimate connection spans the entire spectrum of emotions and invariably influences their life and their choices. Tragicomedy at its most subtle, A Beautiful View plays from April 19th to May 22nd.

The Segal Centre anchors itself in Canadian culture this season, bringing in La Sagouine, Viola Léger’s unforgettable solo show about an Acadian washerwoman. The wonderful Ms. Léger has performed this tour de force across Canada and internationally over 1400 times, in both English and French. An experience not to be missed, La Sagouine runs from March 20th to April 10th.

Keeping with the theme, the Segal follows up with Lies my Father Told Me, May 1st to the 23rd. This iconic Montreal musical by Ted Allen tells the story of the loving relationship between a six-year-old boy and his grandfather. Every Sunday, the grandfather teaches the boy about life and its many wonders and makes him discover the hidden sides of the city. Their bond grows stronger until the day the boy learns from his father that his grandfather is gone, never to return.

Music is also present in Geordie Productions' season closer, Beethoven Lives Upstairs. This new theatrical production based on the Classical Kids compact disk by the same name recounts the tale of a young boy whose life is turned upside down when an eccentric boarder moves upstairs. The play features most of Beethoven’s most memorable works, including Fur Elise, Moonlight Sonata and the magnificent 5th and 9th Symphonies. This engaging family show runs from May 13th to the 22nd and plays at the Centaur Theatre.

Springtime, when love is in the air, is the right time for Persephone Productions to present Mary’s Wedding, a tender and poetic wartime romance, by Canadian playwright Stephen Massicotte. Two teenagers, filled with the passion, vulnerability and impulsiveness of youth meet unexpectedly in a barn as they shelter themselves from a thunderstorm. A tentative love develops. However, the year is 1914, and the new couple must surrender their love and their fate when they become victims of their time. Mary’s Wedding plays from April 28th to May 7th.

A fledgling company, Processed Theatre, puts on a musical of their own as their third production. Edges: A Song Cycle is an unconventional musical telling the story of four burgeoning adults that ask themselves typical coming-of-age questions. Catch this show from April 6th to the 16th at the Freestanding Room, 4324 St-Laurent.

Village Scene Productions delves into the darker side of things, bringing us Peter Shaffer’s Equus this spring. This powerful and provocative play tells the story of a psychiatrist who seeks to unravel the mystery that pushed a teenage boy to violently blind six horses. A disconcerting dip into psychodrama, Equus plays at the Rialto Theatre from April 13th to the 24th. Warning: 18+ coarse language, adult content and nudity.

Concordia’s Theatre program presents Wajdi Mouawad’s Scorched at the D.B. Clarke Theatre. The story follows immigrant twins as they journey back to the Middle East to fulfill their mother’s dying requests. As they search for their father, whom they thought had died and a brother that they never knew they had, the twins begin to uncover their mother’s unknown earlier life as a refugee and resistance fighter. Playing from April 14th to April 17th.

Dawson College’s Theatre program puts on The Coronation Voyage, on April 19th and 20th. It is the story of the voyage of the Empress of France. Setting sail from Montreal, she heads to England for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II; however, there is an important Montreal crime boss on board. Finally, John Abbott College’s Theatre program brings us Shakespeare’s classic crowd-pleaser A Midsummer Night’s Dream from May 5th to the 14th.

(c) La Scena Musicale