Grand Theatre announces the 2020/21 season
TWELVE PRODUCTIONS/TEN STAGES/A GRAND RENOVATION
CAROUSEL ROOM, WESTERN FAIR DISTRICT
LONDON, ON, March 9, 2020 – The Grand Theatre is thrilled to announce its 2020/2021 Season. Running from September 2020 to May 2021, it is a season that includes a grand re-opening of refreshed and updated lobby spaces, performances in ten venues that span both our city and the country, partnerships with Neptune Theatre and Shaw Festival, and the return of a record-breaking, made-in-London production. It will be a season of what Artistic Director Dennis Garnhum describes as “a highly-eclectic journey to unexpected and unexplored territory. The Grand will be in ten different venues across the country. You will see us in places you would never expect—from a circus tent, to a coffee shop, from intimate studio theatres, to the largest national stages—it is a season of bold and exciting theatre that we are proud to present.”
With an epic renovation that launches following the closing of GROW in May of 2020, the Grand’s upcoming season will offer an enhanced audience experience. From the moment patrons enter the front doors, they will be welcomed into the vibrant and updated spaces. The timeline for this renovation prompted a need for added creativity in presenting the annual HIGH SCHOOL PROJECT. “Our 2020/2021 season was designed around this renovation, knowing that it would have an impact on how we opened our season” said Dennis Garnhum. “Because we required time into September to complete it, we were able to think outside the traditional theatre box and move our first production offsite and into our community. We are so thrilled and excited to partner with Western Fair to bring the wonder and amazement of the musical BARNUM to London. What could be a more authentic way to experience this spectacular production—a musical about a circus--staged in a 400-seat tent during the duration of the Western Fair.” BARNUM, will be directed and choreographed by High School Project alumnus Cameron Carver, with musical direction by Andrew Petrasiunas.
Kicking off the season on the Grand’s Spriet Stage is Neptune Theatre’s thoroughly entertaining EAST COAST KITCHEN PARTY. An evening of brilliant, traditional, East Coast music will also feature the performances by various local musicians both on stage and immediately following, in the newly-renovated Drewlo Lounge on the Grand’s fourth floor.
The first show in the newly-renovated Auburn Stage will bring Gavin Crawford back to the Grand, in a one-person, multi-character show, WHAT’S UP DAD? AND OTHER DANGEROUS QUESTIONS. This limited run with five performances only, will be workshopped as part of the Grand’s COMPASS New Play Development Program.
Dante or Die’s incredibly original USER NOT FOUND, will make its Canadian Premiere with the Grand Theatre. This production, performed only in coffee shops, will be presented across the street from the Grand Theatre, at CommonWealth Coffee Co., in a unique partnership that provides an entirely new dimension to immersive theatre.
The holiday season will bring great joy and fun to the Spriet Stage as Dennis Garnhum directs the much-loved musical ANNIE. Garnhum’s re-imagining of this Broadway classic is sure to delight audiences and continue family traditions of coming to the Grand during the holidays. For the fourth consecutive year, in conjunction with the holiday production, the Grand will be raising funds to support the London Food Bank through the ANNIE- inspired name of “The Tomorrow Campaign.”
Canadian television, stage, and film star, R.H. Thomson, makes his return to the Grand in the dramatic play, IN THE WAKE OF WETTLAUFER. This bold and thought-provoking production about the tragedy that occurred in Southwestern Ontario nursing homes was written by Kelly McIntosh and Gil Garratt, and will be directed by the Grand Theatre’s Artistic Associate, Megan Watson. The Shaw Festival’s production of CYRANO DE BERGERAC, starring Tom Rooney, will make its way to the Grand in February, bringing Kate Hennig’s contemporary translation of this romantic story to life.
From Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of HAMILTON, comes the uplifting Grammy and Tony Award-winning musical IN THE HEIGHTS, bringing lively and refreshing musical theatre to the Grand. Following a successful premiere at the Tarragon Theatre, award-winning Canadian playwright Hannah Moscovitch’s powerful piece, SEXUAL MISCONDUCT OF THE MIDDLE CLASSES, directed by Diana Donnelly, will be presented on the Auburn Stage. The season will close with the return of Rick Miller and his highly-energetic production BOOM X—a follow-up to BOOM.
As part of an exciting six-city, cross-country tour Dennis Garnhum’s daring and immersive production of CABARET will once again transform the intimate Auburn Stage into the Kit Kat Club. Announced to date are performances in London and at Alberta Theatre Projects, Calgary, and today the Grand proudly announces that the National Arts Centre in Ottawa will be a stop on this national tour.
After becoming an audience favourite during the 2019/2020 season, the Grand Theatre’s production of FULLY COMMITTED, directed by Steven Gallagher and starring Gavin Crawford, will move to the Neptune Theatre in Halifax in the summer of 2021.
COMPASS New Play Development
Currently in development with the Grand’s COMPASS New Play Development program, is GRAND GHOSTS: a site-specific, vaudeville-inspired haunting that explores entitlement, and the startling ending to the life of theatre tycoon, Ambrose Small, Trina Davies, who also penned SILENCE: MABEL AND ALEXANDER GRAHAM BELL, that held its world premiere at the Grand in January 2018, and then headed to the National Arts Centre in Ottawa to open its 50th Anniversary Season, has been commissioned to work on this unique, and absolutely immersive production. With GRAND GHOSTS, audiences will be invited on a ghost hunt to experience the Grand in a way they never have before.
Other 2020/2021 Season Highlights include:
- After another sell-out season, Jeans ‘n Classics, presented by VersaBank, is back at the Grand with five new concerts.
- In the theatre’s continued collaboration with Western University, The Walrus Talks returns to the Spriet Stage on November 10, 2020.
- Teachers Club and Students Club return with a 6-show package and will include special post-show events.
- Continuing for next season is the Wednesday talk back series, After Words. Every Wednesday after the performance, patrons are invited to stay for a post-show talk. The bar will be open and the conversation lively.
- Join host James Stewart Reaney before select Wednesday matinees as he sparks creative conversations about the production.
- In their commitment to arts accessibility, the Grand continues to offer Open Captioned performances throughout the season for their Spriet Stage productions.
The Grand Theatre would like to extend its appreciation to all funding partners with special thanks to Season Sponsor, BMO Financial Group and Production Title Sponsors Western Fair District, BlueStone Properties, Canada Life, Carlyle Peterson LLP, BRON Media Corp., W4W, Tricar, MNP, VersaBank, and YOVU Office Phone.
Additional funding support from Libro Credit Union, Voices.com, Thames Valley District School Board, and London Catholic District School Board is also gratefully acknowledged, along with many other community partners and donors.
Season subscriptions, with savings of up to 25% off the regular single ticket price, are now on sale at grandtheatre.com, by phone at 519-672-8800, or at the Box Office, 471 Richmond Street.
About the Grand Theatre
Under the leadership of Artistic Director Dennis Garnhum and Executive Director Deb Harvey, the Grand is a leading cultural hub located in the heart of downtown London, Ontario. The Grand offers diverse, relevant, and original stories from around the globe through collaborations with national and international performing arts organizations and is committed to developing, producing, and premiering original stories through COMPASS New Play Development program. The Grand’s season runs from September to May.
For more information, contact:
Jennifer Matthews, Communications Manager, Grand Theatre
519-672-9030 ext. 411 | jmatthews [at] grandtheatre.com (jmatthews[at]grandtheatre[dot]com)
Music by Cy Coleman
Lyrics by Michael Stewart
Book by Mark Bramble
Directed and Choreographed by Cameron Carver
Musical Direction by Andrew Petrasiunas
SEPTEMBER 10 to 20, 2020 | Offsite at WESTERN FAIR
Opens September 11, 2020
“Barnum’s the name. P.T. Barnum. And I want to tell you that you are going to see-bar none—every sight, wonder, and miracle that name stands for!” Barnum traces the career of America’s greatest (and highly controversial) showman from 1835 to the year he joined with James A. Bailey to form The Greatest Show on Earth. Step right up to witness jugglers, clowns and all the spectacle of the circus including Jumbo, the largest elephant in the world as well as real life personalities including Jenny Lind and General Tom Thumb. Barnum’s his name, and miracles are his game!
Title Sponsor: Western Fair District
Partners: Libro, TVDSB, LDCSB
Neptune Theatre’s Production of
THE EAST COAST KITCHEN PARTY
Conceived and created by Jeremy Webb and Ian Sherwood
Directed by Laura Caswell
OCTOBER 13 to 31, 2020 | SPRIET STAGE
Opens October 16, 2020
Celebrate a Maritime tradition! The East Coast Kitchen Party offers an authentically Nova Scotian experience— set in an East coast kitchen, the instruments come out, and the friends start to play. It’s a concert celebration - kick back as we toast some of the best music that the East Coast has to offer. Each performance will see the stunning cast of Maritimers joined by our very own local London, Ontario musicians, who will drop into the kitchen to give it a very local flavour. It’s the perfect opportunity to grab your friends and family, raise a glass, and celebrate a new season in our fantastic newly renovated theatre.
Title Sponsor: BlueStone Properties
Kitchen Party Post-Show Sponsor: Voices.com
WHAT’S UP DAD? AND OTHER DANGEROUS QUESTIONS
OCTOBER 27, 28, 30,31 | AUBURN STAGE
Join Gavin Crawford, host of CBC Radio’s Because News, as he takes on this one-person, multi-character show about living in these divisive times—from the standpoint of a gay lefty and his redneck, Wexit father. This production, workshopped through the Grand’s COMPASS New Play Development, will open the Auburn Stage in this limited five-show engagement.
USER NOT FOUND
By Dante or Die
Written by Chris Goode
Directed by Daphna Attias
NOVEMBER 17 to DECEMBER 5, 2020 | Offsite at Commonwealth Coffee
Opens November 18, 2020
You enter Commonwealth Coffee Co, and receive a set of headphones and a smartphone. Several tables away, a man is grappling in real time with something deeply private. The questions arise: what happens to your online presence after you’re gone? If there were a magic button, would you choose to delete your online history? User Not Found is about our digital lives after we die. Become a fly-on-the-wall to peer into the life of a man in this intimate and funny live performance about a stranger’s profound experience. This is a story that gently interrogates our emotional dependence on our screens.
Title Sponsor: YoVu Office Phone
Book by Thomas Meehan
Music by Charles Strouse
Lyrics by Martin Charnin
Directed by Dennis Garnhum
NOVEMBER 24 TO DECEMBER 27, 2020 | SPRIET STAGE
Opens November 27, 2020
Leapin' lizards! The world's best-loved musical is coming to London for the holidays!
With equal measures of pluck and positivity, little orphan Annie charms everyone's hearts despite her next-to-nothing start in Depression-era New York City. Forced to live in an orphanage run by the embittered and tyrannical Miss Hannigan, Annie’s hard knock life is turned upside-down when she escapes to the wondrous world of NYC—and to a fairy tale holiday with famous billionaire industrialist, Oliver Warbucks. Featuring fun-filled adventures, Annie is the perfect family-friendly musical for the holidays.
Title Sponsor: Canada Life
IN THE WAKE OF WETTLAUFER
By Kelly McIntosh and Gil Garratt
Directed by Megan Watson
Featuring R. H. Thompson
JANUARY 19 to 31, 2021| SPRIET STAGE
Opens January 22, 2021
Set in London, Ontario, this play centers around a group of siblings who realizes that the care home where their father has been placed is the same one where Nurse Elizabeth Wettlaufer committed multiple murders. Troubled by the court’s findings, but galvanized by the love of family, the siblings try to understand how all of this could happen. Created with compassion from interviews with some of those most closely affected, this play asks: can our community can ever be the same? A hard-hitting, but life-affirming story of compassion, family, and hope for change.
Title Sponsor: Carlyle Peterson LLP
SEXUAL MISCONDUCT OF THE MIDDLE CLASSES
by Hannah Moscovitch
Directed by Diana Donnelly
FEBRUARY 2 TO 13, 2021 | AUBURN STAGE
Opens February 4, 2021
An author and star professor, wracked with self-loathing after a third divorce, catches himself admiring a student—a girl in a red coat. It turns out that the girl is a huge fan of his work. She also lives just down the street and gets locked out one afternoon…
The latest work from acclaimed Canadian playwright Hannah Moscovitch, Sexual Misconduct of the Middle Classes takes an archetypal scenario, the “student-teacher romance”, and turns it on its head, re-envisioning it for our post-#MeToo era.
Title Sponsor: W4W
The Shaw Festival Production of
CYRANO DE BERGERAC
Translated and adapted by Kate Hennig
By Edmond Rostand
Starring Tom Rooney
Directed by Chris Abraham
FEBRUARY 16 TO MARCH 6, 2021 | SPRIET STAGE
Opens February 19, 2021
Cyrano de Bergerac is a swashbuckling 17th century swordsman who can do anything…except tell Roxane, the woman he loves, how he feels. He's just too self-conscious about his unusually large nose. Roxane is in love with words, so when Cyrano is offered the chance to ghostwrite love letters to her from an inarticulate, love-struck cadet, he takes it—but can he ever reveal himself? Could she ever love him for who he is? A breathtaking tale about the exquisite torture of loving from afar, for anyone who has ever stood beneath a window.
Book by Joe Masteroff
Based on the play by John Van Druten and stories by Christopher Isherwood
Music by John Kander
Lyrics by Fred Ebb
Directed by Dennis Garnhum
MARCH 17 TO APRIL 10, 2021 | AUBURN STAGE
Opens March 18, 2021
“Wilkommen, bienvenue, welcome.” Follow Sally Bowles downstairs once again as she navigates the nightclub underworld of Berlin on the edge of fascism. Be drawn into the excesses and decadence of a time where everything was possible—until it wasn't. Returning to the Grand Theatre after its sell-out run in 2019, Cabaret will see the Auburn Stage transformed once more into the gritty and intimate Kit Kat Club. "Come to the cabaret"—if you dare.
Title Sponsor: BRON Media Corp.
From the creator of HAMILTON
IN THE HEIGHTS
Music and Lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda
Book by Quiara Alegria Hudes
Conceived by Lin-Manuel Miranda
MARCH 23 TO APRIL 10, 2021 | SPRIET STAGE
Opens March 26, 2021
Before Hamilton took over the world, there was In the Heights, Lin-Manuel Miranda's exuberant portrait of Manhattan's Latinx community in the neighbourhood of Washington Heights. Winner of a Grammy and four Tony Awards, the musical follows a cast of characters from three generations, all of whom dream, hope and work for a bright future in changing times. Blending salsa, merengue, soul, hip-hop, and rap music, In the Heights is a dazzling display of Miranda's song writing talents that will win you over with its life-affirming story and hot tunes.
Title Sponsor: Tricar
Kidoons in association with Theatre Calgary and the 20K Collective presents
Written, Directed, and Performed by Rick Miller
APRIL 20 TO MAY 7, 2021 | SPRIET STAGE
Opens April 23, 2021
Picking up where Boom left off – at Woodstock in 1969 – Boom X tackles the music, culture, and politics of Generation X. Surrounded by stunning visuals, Rick Miller plays more than 100 famous people – musicians, celebrities, politicians – in his own story of growing up and trying to navigate the tangled legacy of the Baby Boom.
Title Sponsor: MNP
JEANS ‘N CLASSICS
Peter Brennan’s Jeans ’n Classics presented by VersaBank returns with a brand new five-concert series performing the best of rock and pop.
November 5 MADMEN ACROSS THE WATER-THE MUSIC OF SIR ELTON JOHN
January 7 SHE’S GOT IT-VOLUME 1
March 11 EVERY BREATH YOU TAKE-THE MUSIC OF STING AND THE POLICE
April 15 THE SONG REMAINS THE SAME-THE MUSIC OF LED ZEPPELIN
May 27 FREE FALLIN’-THE MUSIC OF TOM PETTY AND THE HEARTBREAKERS
Presenting Sponsor: VersaBank