New artist collective devoted to Canadian musicals launches

New artist collective devoted to Canadian musicals launches

Colm Wilkinson, founding member of Theatre 20 (Image: Rosita Wolfe) 

While Toronto is the undisputed hotbed of Canadian theatre, we wouldn’t be the first to point out that there’s a shortage of homegrown musical theatre. Recognizing the need for a serious Toronto company devoted to producing Canadian musicals, a group of theatre professionals has created Theatre 20. The artist-run collective, modelled on the successful Soulpepper Theatre Company, will use Mirvish’s Panasonic Theatre for its shows.

The new company boasts some pretty big names on its roster of volunteer staff, including Louise Pitre (Mamma Mia!), Colm Wilkinson (Les Misérables), Ma-Anne Dionisio (Miss Saigon) and associate producer Michael Rubinstein. Actor Adam Brazier (Mamma Mia!, The Rocky Horror Picture Show) was voted artistic director. In addition to providing access to the Panasonic Theatre, Mirvish Productions will also help out with marketing and logistics, although it’s not directly financing the enterprise.

Theatre 20’s mandate is to produce Canadian musicals that would likely be passed over by bigger companies. With that in mind, the company is currently workshopping Sisters, the English language version of the Quebec musical Belles-Soeurs its first production will be the English language version of the Quebec musical Belles-Soeurs. The first full-scale production show won’t hit the stage until 2012, but the company will be presenting a series of concerts between now and then to generate interest and maintain the buzz. Fingers crossed for some sort of Rob Ford–themed pink-feathered can-can number.

• Toronto artists start new musical theatre company [CBC]
Actors create Theatre 20 to foster Canadian musicals [Globe and Mail]