It’s an all-alumni season coming up at Phoenix Theatre this year, with three alumni directors returning to lead the mainstage productions!
First up is Oscar Wilde’s comic masterpiece, The Importance of Being Earnest, running November 9-25. Although it debuted in 1895, it’s hard to believe that this is the first time it will be produced here at the Phoenix!
This famed classic remains one of the best loved and most frequently revived comedies in Western theatre. Although its radically and socially daring author was ultimately too much for Victorian Britain, Wilde’s comic masterpiece of identity, transition and transformation continues to delight audiences to this day.
Guest director for this production is Alistair Newton (BFA 2004). Now a Toronto-based director and co-founder of Ecce Homo Theatre, Newton has produced for Fringe Festivals, indie festivals and has worked on such mainstages as Canadian Stage, the Shaw Festival, Buddies in Bad Times and the Canadian Opera Company. Most recently, he has expanded the range of his theatre practice by creating boutique adaptations of ‘classical’ work for educational institutions.
This fall, he’ll also be teaching a special Theatre department course called “Drag U” focusing on the history of drag from the ancient times to RuPaul’s Drag Race.
All that jazz
Following that, get your toes tapping for 100 Years of Broadway, running February 15-24. You’ll be in safe (jazz) hands with guest director Pia Wyatt, who celebrates the history of musical theatre with this playlist of Broadway classics.
Like a night of speed-dating for musical theatre lovers, this high-energy revue will take audiences of all ages through a century of Broadway in one fun, crowd-pleasing, magical evening. From Carousel to Cabaret, Gypsy to Grease and Peter Pan to The Phantom of the Opera, get ready to revisit the musical theatre songs you know and love while discovering some new favourites. Discover how the Broadway legacy grew from its roots to the multimillion-dollar powerhouse it remains today, with this collection of timeless musical treasures.
Pia Wyatt (BFA ’92, MFA ’94) has a wide-ranging background, including seven seasons producing original musicals for Fort Steele Heritage Town, being the co-artistic director of the local KIDCO Dance Company, working in film and television, and being one of the regional chairs for the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. Currently head of performance and directing at Louisiana’s Northwestern State University, her students are performing on Broadway, in tours that extend all over the world, on cruise lines, regional theatres, and a variety of amusement parks.
“I look forward to breathing new life into each theatrical production, helping create a masterpiece that entices the hearts and minds of the audience,” she says. “Theatre and dance provide freedom of expression and the power to communicate, to educate, and to entertain—this outreach is what makes it exciting for me to create theatre.”
An American classic
The final show of the season is the American classic THE HOT L BALTIMORE, running March 14-23.
Winner of multiple awards — including the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best American Play — this classic comedy by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lanford Wilson is set in the lobby of the formerly grand Hotel Baltimore, where a community of outcasts make the now-rundown hotel their home . . . despite a looming eviction crisis and threatened demolition.
During a single day in 1972, we meet an eccentric group of residents, waitresses, students, prostitutes, hotel clerks and cab drivers who create a rich mosaic of human experiences. Humour and compassion highlight Wilson’s celebration of resilience, stifled dreams, past glories and the sheer stubbornness to carry on.
THE HOT L BALTIMORE is directed by award-winning Theatre professor and alum Peter McGuire, whose most recent Phoenix shows include Picnic, Wild Honey, Crimes of the Heart and The Children’s Hour. McGuire has enjoyed a 40-year career in the professional theatre that has included stage management, production management, talent management, administration, producing and directing.
He has worked at several major regional theatres including long-term residencies at the National Arts Centre, the Charlottetown Festival and the Stratford Festival. He has toured regionally, nationally and internationally, and worked for the Maybox Group of theatres in London’s West End and as the Associate Conservatory Director at the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco.
More than just entertainment
Remember, Phoenix Theatre productions are an integral part of the academic requirements for our BFA and MFA students. When you attend the Phoenix Theatre, you experience some of this city’s most exciting and eclectic theatre—while also participating in the education of our students. They are involved in every aspect of these productions, from acting to the design, creation and management of sets, costumes, props, sound and lighting.
Discover the difference that the youth, talent and energy of our students can make and get a preview of Canada’s next generation of theatre artists!
A three-show subscription package is just $48, offering up to 50 percent off single ticket costs!