BILLY ELLIOT, the Musical, “Very Fokken Special” Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin
For over a decade, I’ve had a love/like relationship with director Donna Feore. The lady’s background is classical dance and occasionally she allows her dedication to the art get the best of her. It happened with her work on ‘Oklahoma’, (OAR July ’07) and it’s the only flaw in Stratford’s amazing Billy Elliot, the Musical. Feore utilizes every inch of the Festival’s thrust stage with chorus numbers that are outstanding and definitively bear her imprimatur.
The play has two plots, the first deals with a pre-teen male who decides that he’d like to learn ballet; the other deals with the tragic U.K.’s miners’ strike.     Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann

Nolen Dubuc (Billy) leading the miners; cops & ballerinas in a big chorus number

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“Brigadoon” an old favourite, renewed & improved Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin
July. 9th,’19

First off; let’s deal with the elephant in the room. This scribe has read Gerstacker’s Germelhausen and it’s the antithesis of Lerner & Lowe’s terrific musical – BRIGADOON! One is a depressing tale of a curse; negativism and a depressing ending; the other is about hopes and miracles! I’ve seen Brigadoon numerous since 1957’s road company performances and loved every version. From the exciting opening number to the quotable last line (“ye must love her very much…Ye WOKE ME UP” and then the line about anything being possible if one believes in miracles). This scribe actually applauds WHEN Peter Pan needs support to revive Tinker Bell. Imagine how I respond to such an affirmative ending! Yup –teary-eyed.  Photo courtesy of ShawFest

Matt Nethersole telling his townsfolk about his feelings for ‘Bonnie Jean’

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“Ravel & Stravinsky; + Bartok, Prokofiev, & ballet” Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin, Apr. 28, ‘19

Under the vision of maestra Gemma New , executive director Diana Weir and the HPO Board, the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra has evolved into something far more eclectic and audience attractive than we saw under previous administrations. This is obvious from the increase of ‘sold out’ concert situations and also from the noticeable atmosphere emanating from the musicians themselves. Last evening’s event under guest conductor Nathan Brock featured the HPO’s concertmaster Stephen Sitarski performing the violin concerto No. 2 by Sergei Prokofiev. This piece is far less known than the composer’s ‘Peter & the Wolf’ or his opera ‘Alexander Nevsky.

Sitarski under guest HPO conductor Nathan Brocki

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“KIVIUQ” returns, Inuit epic stories come to life in drama dance & music 1

Review by Ellen S. Jaffe
Kiviuq Returns: An Inuit Epic, created by the Qaggiq Collective (a non-profit society dedicated to
strengthening Inuit performing arts in Nunavut) and currently playing at the Tarragon, is a wonderful, unique
theatrical experience – performed entirely in the Inuktitut language. If you are interested in theatre, or in Inuit
culture, or simply want to enjoy some unusual entertainment, you should not miss this production!
“I don’t know Inuktitut,” you say. “How can I enjoy it?”
Surprisingly (or maybe not) the play is very accessible. There is a detailed scene by scene guide in English in
the program, also available on line so you can read it before attending.

cast scene – “KIVIUQ

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“CHICAGO, the Musical”; much better than the movie! Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin
We watched the 2002 movie version of the Kander & Ebb musical for one reason only, it was shot in Toronto using the Distillery District, City Hall; Casa Loma ; Osgoode & Canada Life among others. As for the Gere/Zellweger/Zeta-Jones performances, we thought that they were not only two-dimentional, but it wasn’t just the singing that was dubbed – so was their portrayals. Last night we saw Theatre Ancaster’s version and had decided , even by intermission that this is a surefire O.A.R. ‘Top Ten for this year!
Everything about ‘Chicago’ is first rate…the direction; the stage method; the cutaways; costuming and especially the faultless chorus numbers that are an intrinsic part of the show.

Lapsley prepping Pike for her day in court, while chorus & Press folks look on

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Retelling “The Ethel and Julius Rosenberg Story” Reply

Review by Ellen S. Jaffe

In reviewing a play about historical events, we can ask: 1) what is the play’s relationship to historical events: how ‘accurate” is it? (2) what is its point of view? (3) how well does it work as a play onstage? I put “accurate” in quotes because “history” changes depending on who is writing it, and also in the face of changing information . These questions come to mind after seeing The Story of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, produced by Teatron Jewish Theatre and playing at the Toronto Centre for the Arts. I recommend this play as an opportunity to see the human side of a historical and political situation * The events took place in 1950-53 during the fear-laden atmosphere of the Cold War, with the investigation of suspected Communists by the House Un-American Activities Committee and Senator Joseph McCarthy. The episode still has repercussions today.

Actual booking photos of the Rosenbergs

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