Thursday, March 29, 2012

News: (Montreal) Segal Announces adventurous and audacious 2012-13 season

John Gilbert, Musical director of Guys and Dolls (via: frog)

Segal Centre Announces It’s 2012 – 13 Season
joel fishbane
“Paul Flicker, this is your baby this year,” said the Segal Centre’s Executive Director, Manon Gauthier at today’s press conference to announce their 2012 – 13 artistic season. Flicker, who took over for former Artistic Director Bryna Wasserman, is the driving force behind this new season – and if it’s a baby then its one that’s going to keep a lot of Montrealers up late at night. With four world premières, three musicals, a Hollywood star, the first lady of Canadian theatre, an  international co-production and a slew of multi-racial shows, the Segal has announced its boldest season in years.
...adventurous and more then a little audacious...

Although there are two shows clearly designed to please the subscribers – the classic musical Guys and Dolls and Josh Logan’s Tony Award winning Red – the remainder of the season is adventurous and more then a little audacious. And as explained by actress / singer / jazz sensation Ranee Lee, it’s also a season devoted to exploring “the future of artistic diversity.”
In a co-production with Maurice Podbrey and South Africa’s Baxter Theatre Centre, J.M. Coetzee’s Nobel-prize winning Waiting for the Barbarians is being adapted by Montreal wunderkind Alexander Marine. Marine is also writing the script for a new musical for the Dora Wasserman Yiddish Theatre’s annual production, this one based on Isaak Babel’s Tales from OdessaThe show will feature music by Josh “Socalled” Dolgin. “I don’t know what it is yet,” said Socalled. “It’s terrifying!”. 
The third musical of the season is the world première of Roger Peace’s The Mahalia Jackson MusicalAlong with being the Queen of Gospel, its titular character was also a civil rights activist who performed at Martin Luther King’s historic march on Washington. Played by the aforementioned Ranee Lee, the show will also feature Tristan D. Lalla and an immense gospel choir that, according to Peace, may just cause the roof of the theatre to migrate to places unknown.
“We’re going to kill it next spring – lock up your daughters!”

Hollywood comes to Montreal in the form of rising star Jay Baruchel (Goon, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice). Baruchel has been uniquely cast as Sherlock Holmes in Greg Kramer’s new adaptation of the famous stories. Little is known of the project – given Baruchel’s age, it will presumably chart Holmes’ early years – but in an email statement, the star warned “We’re going to kill it next spring – lock up your daughters!”. The production will be directed by Andrew Shaver, the famed head cashier at Sidemart Theatrical Grocery.
Segal’s studio space, devoted to guest productions, will also be busy, housing productions from Black Theatre Workshop (Djanet Sears’ Harlem Duet), Les Productions Pas de Panique (L’Augmentation by Georges Perec) and new work from Youththeatre and Scapegoat Carnivale. But the show that gave me a small thrill is the one from a new company called Metachroma Theatre, which will launch the season with a multi-racial production of Richard III – featuring the likes of Glenda Braganza, Tamara Brown and BTW’s artistic director Quincy Armorer.
Three women will don the Director’s hat, including Diana Leblanc (Guys and Dolls) and Audrey Finklestein (Tales from Odessa), but expect the pomp and circumstance to surround Martha Henry when she helms Red in the Fall. Henry is the grand dame of Canadian theatre and will be directing actors Randy Highson and Jesse Aaron Dwyre in Josh Logan’s exploration of artist Mark Rothko and the meaning of art in society.
The Segal Centre is now the second largest multi-lingual cultural space in Canada, with programming in theatre, dance, music and cinema. In previous years, their focus has been on conservative classics of the (mostly) American stage but under Paul Flicker’s guidance, they seem to be moving towards more innovative, contemporary work that embraces both Montreal’s diversity and its wealth of talent. It’s a bold and vital step - if this season truly is Paul Flicker’s baby, let’s hope more children are on their way.

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