Much has been written in London's theatrical press recently about the threatened demise of Dress Circle, a shop that is a second home for connoisseurs of musical theatre. Some artists have come forward with offers to do benefits to support the shop. Others have countered that it's a business, not a charity and should rise or fall on its own. While the latter is technically true, Dress Circle is not just a shop -- it is a vital part of London's theatrical infrastructure, and its loss would deal a body blow to the hopes of developing the musicals of the future. When you shop on line, you don't get your questions answered by knowledgeable staff. Nor are you likely to hear new work you've never heard before or to find the thing you didn't know you were looking for. By whatever means, Dress Circle must be supported by those who have profited from it. I mean not just the customers and the artistes whose work they promote, but by producers and agents as well. A way must be found.
Saturday, 12 February 2011
There is a very good magazine published in the UK called Musical Stages. (www.musicalstages.co.uk) I have subscribed to it -- and occasionally contributed articles -- for many years. Like me, they treat musical theatre as an international form, and have subscribers and correspondents all over the world -- except, apparently, in my native Canada. Even though Toronto is arguably the world's third largest centre for commercial theatre and has given the world shows like The Drowsy Chaperone and The Story of My Life, they don't cover it, while they do cover such other centres as Melbourne, Tokyo and Amsterdam. I suggested that they ought to do an article on Theatre Twenty, the new artist-led company that has started in Toronto with Colm Wilkinson, Louise Pitre and Bret Carver (and seventeen others). But I haven't won them over yet. Maybe you can help me.
Posted by Mel Atkey at 16:58
Monday, 10 January 2011
January 20th looks to be an auspicious date, at least for Canadian musical theatre. On that date, Theatre Twenty will be launched in Toronto. A collective of twenty of Canada's top musical theatre artists, including Louise Pitre and with support from no less a figure than Jean Valjean himself -- Colm Wilkinson, it would appear that Toronto's march toward becoming a major world centre for musicals is taking another bold step. Of course, we've been here before, and the unfortunate demise of Australia's Kookaburra should serve as a cautionary tale, but I'm hoping they'll get it right this time. They are beginning with a workshop of a musical based on Michel Tremblay's Les Belles Soeurs. Let's hope that it's the first of many, and that it will give me a cause (and a means) to come home at last.
Posted by Mel Atkey at 16:55