Come from Away, which played to sold-out, standing-room-only audiences before heading to Broadway this spring, is returning for the 2017-2018 Mirvish theatre season.
The surprise hit musical by Irene Sankoff and David Hein looks at how Gander, N.L., responded to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks after the town was inundated with unexpected visitors.
“We didn’t expect the emotional reaction that Come from Away received when it first ran; it took us totally by surprise,” says Mirvish Productions spokesperson John Karastamatis. “In the 26 years I’ve been here I haven’t seen this kind of audience response to a show.”
Come from Away is in some ways a safe bet for Mirvish because of the reaction here, but it’s also a gamble. The show’s Broadway debut is in March and critical reviews could deflate the hype surrounding the show when it returns in February 2018.
“I think David Mirvish’s reasoning was that we’re not going to wait to see what New York thinks. The audiences in Toronto have already said they love it,” said Karastamatis. “I think it also did well because of the political climate. It’s a show about acceptance and welcoming people from all over the world when there is talk about building walls and closing off borders.”
Theatre impresario Mirvish announced six other main subscription shows, for a total of five musicals and two plays, including the North American premiere of Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest, the Canadian premiere of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, the Old Vic production of Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, Australian musical Muriel’s Wedding, the Lincoln Center revival of The King and I and the Tony Award-winning An American in Paris.
- North by Northwest, adapted by Carolyn Burns and directed by Simon Phillips, is based on the 1959 film that starred Cary Grant as an advertising executive pursued by sinister men who think he is someone else. It runs Sept. 19 to Oct. 29 at the Royal Alexandra Theatre
- Curious Incident, adapted by Simon Stephens from the novel by Mark Haddon about a 15-year-old math whiz with behavioural difficulties, will be directed by Marianne Elliott, who won a Tony for War Horse. It’s at the Princess of Wales Theatre Oct. 10 to Nov. 19.
- Muriel’s Wedding is another film-to-stage adaptation, with songs by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus of ABBA and the band’s former manager, Stig Anderson. Writer-director P.J. Hogan has adapted his 1994 film, which launched the career of actress Toni Collette. The show has its world premiere in Sydney, Australia, in November before playing the Ed Mirvish Theatre April 3 to May 28, 2018.
- An American in Paris, inspired by the 1951 film of the same name, won the Best Choreography Tony for ballet dancemaker Christopher Wheeldon. National Ballet of Canada principal dancer McGee Maddox will star as Jerry Mulligan, the role played by Gene Kelly in the movie. It’s at the Princess of Wales March 27 to April 29.
“It’s an eclectic season. In addition to Broadway productions we have shows originating from Australia and England. We are appealing to everyone from people who love plays, to those who love musicals, to audiences who are looking for challenging work,” Karastamatis said.
Mirvish will present another nine shows in 2017-18.
Those include three Off-Mirvish productions, David French’s Salt-Water Moon, the Olivier Award-winning King Charles III and the Tony-winning musical Fun Home.
Six bonus shows include Bat Out of Hell — The Musical, The Sound of Music, Showstopper! The Improvised Musical, Disgraced, The Illusionists — Live From Broadway and Rain: A Tribute to the Beatles.
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