Mirvish Productions is the only theatre company in Toronto that brings big-time Broadway and West End productions to the city.
While there’s plenty of great independent theatre happening everywhere, mainstream theatre crowds flock to one of Mirvish’s four grand theatres to catch the latest from New York and London.
Audiences currently have the opportunity to catch two of the latest productions that opened a week apart from each other. La Cage Aux Folles is a classic that’s been done many times over, both on stage and in film, and opened at the Royal Alexandra Theatre on October 10th, while Sister Act made its theatrical debut at the Ed Mirvish Theatre one week earlier on October 2nd.
La Cage arrives this time with George Hamilton playing the roles of Georges, the owner of a nightclub featuring outrageous female impersonators, and his partner Albin (Christopher Sieber), who moonlights as the aging, yet glamor¬ous chanteuse Zaza. The storyline falls within the boy-meets-girl, falls in love, and marries scenario, but with a gay ole twist. While the subject matter may have been somewhat ground breaking when it first premiered back in the mid 1970’s, it seems to have lost some of its edge over the years. The production moves along slowly with little amusement, with the exception of Sieber who camps his way through the two hours and thirty minute production flawlessly. Of course the backup "ladies" do their diligence as well, turning the stage into a outrageous cabaret, but the other actors, including George Hamilton, seemed to be injecting a great big yawn on stage.
Many know Sister Act as the comedy flick with Whoopi Goldberg playing the role of Deloris Van Cartier, a struggling songstress ends up hiding undercover as a nun in a convent. This rollicking romp touches on race, religion, and revelations. Tarea Campbell play Van Cartier beautifully, mixing one-liners, campy struts, and astounding vocals to keep this two-and-a-half hour show moving along with barely a lull. The rest of the cast help to create a smorgasbord of antics that liven up the stage, only heightened by the empowering set design of Klara Ziegeerova, and glittery costumes of Liz Brotherston. The audience seemed to remain in awe for the entire duration, leaving the theatre with wide grins.
While there are no big name stars in Sister Act (yet), perhaps it’s time to put George back in the cage, and let the sister whoop it up!
Sister Act runs until November 4th at the Ed Mirvish Theatre
La Cage Aux Folles runs until November 18th at the Royal Alexandra Theatre
Other Mirvish Productions on the horizon include The Book of Mormon, The Wizard of Oz, and Anything Goes. As well, this year sees the launch of Off-Mirvish Second Stage Series, a more adventurous series featuring Terminus, Without You, Clybourne Park, and Mary Walsh Dancing With Rage.
Show times and ticket information for all productions can be found here.