"Just East of Broadway" opens tonight in Toronto for a limited run at the Factory Theatre Main Stage. It's a musical comedy written by Nick Hune-Brown (from the band Hooded Fang) and Ben King. The music was written by Nick and Daniel Lee, also from Hooded Fang, with help from the Bicycles' Matt Beckett, Mika Posen (Forest City Lovers, Timber Timbre), Owen Norquay (Clouds that Look Like Things), and a bunch of other local musicians. The play was a hit at Toronto's 2009 Fringe Fest, and is now playing as part of the Next Stage Theatre Festival. It's on 6-17 January, with tickets costing $12 (for afternoon showings) or $15 (for evening).
From the press release:
International music theatre star Ma-Anne Dionisio and Dora Award-winning director Jordan Merkur have joined the Fringe Festival hit Just East of Broadway for its remount at the Next Stage Theatre Festival in January 2010. The screwball comedy is new territory for Dionisio, who has delivered critically acclaimed performances in Miss Saigon and Les Misérables from Hong Kong to the West End. For Merkur, the production represents a new opportunity. Merkur joined the creative team immediately after his home as Artistic Director for eight years, the Red Barn Theatre, burnt down this summer.For more information, visit the play's MySpace page.
Taking it’s cue from Mamma Mia!, Les Misérables and the other mega-musicals currently trying to cash-in on China’s new love of power ballads and jazz hands, Just East of Broadway tells the story of Rex Maverick, a has-been actor who tries to kick-start his career in the world’s “hottest new market” for musical theatre. Instead of bustling Beijing or Shanghai, Rex finds himself in a tiny farming community directing a cast of enthusiastic amateurs, including a shy love-struck writer, a censorious but ineffectual Mid-Level Official, and a strong-willed young woman contemptuous of the Hollywood star.
Featuring a hilarious script by Ben King and writer/journalist Nicholas Hune-Brown (Best Canadian Essays 2009), and music written and recorded by members of acclaimed Toronto indie pop band Hooded Fang, the show was a hit at the 2009 Toronto Fringe Festival, winning the Patron’s Pick award and garnering rave reviews. Dionisio will be joined on stage by Stratford actors Cory O’Brien, Sean Baek and Stephen Lilly, as well as Lorna Wright, Darrel Gamotin, and Lana Carillo, all returning from the original production. The creative team includes choreographer Neesa Kenemy, music director M.J. Johnson, set/prop designer Mary Spyrakis, and costume designer Alex Amini.