THE MUSICAL OF MUSICALS: THE MUSICAL, an affectionate spoof of the musical genre, is one of the hits of the 2013 Toronto Fringe Festival.
The show began a seven-performance run on July 3 to an ecstatic crowd at the Factory Theatre that greeted it with a rousing standing ovation.
Critic Glenn Sumi of Now Magazine was in the opening crowd and declared the show the festival's first hit of 2013. He gave it a 4-star review, predicting that the show would quickly sell out -- which it did on its second showing on July 6.
The show's third performance was on Monday, July 8 at 10:15 PM. It too was sold out, but the apocalyptic storm that visited the city and caused floods and blackouts meant that the audience had to be turned away at the last minute.
The fourth performance on Tuesday, July 9 at 6:30 PM looked like it also had to be cancelled at the very last moment due to the roving blackouts that the City of Toronto had to imposed to deal with increased electrical demand.
A crowd of 200 people had gathered outside Factory Theatre, anxious to see the show that was already creating such hot buzz.
Not wanting to disappoint theatregoers, the cast, creative team and producers made a few phone calls and quickly improvised a solution.
Everyone who had gathered was welcome to see the show in a stripped down version at the Mirvish Rehearsal Hall/Yoga Studio, located on the fifth floor of the building adjacent to the Princess of Wales Theatre. The cast would perform in their regular clothes, singing to an upright piano, without stage lights and scenery.
This decision follows in the tradition of such impromptu performances as the world premiere of the musical The Cradle Will Rock in New York in 1937, when the theatre the show was to be performed in was suddenly shut down.
Not deterred and determined not to bow to outside pressure, director Orson Welles famously marched the opening night audience from the shut theatre to another a few blocks on Broadway where he had the actors perform the show in the auditorium front seats, with composer Marc Blitzstein accompanying on piano.
In the Toronto Fringe instance, the crowd that had gathered for THE MUSICAL OF MUSICALS: THE MUSICAL marched from Bathurst and Adelaide Streets, down King Street to John Street. A variety of seats were quickly borrowed from neighbouring offices and set up in the Mirvish Rehearsal Hall/Yoga Studio, which had generously and kindly been lent by David Mirvish.
By 7:30 PM, the hall was full, the actors were in their places and the show began. Those who had endured the initial disappointment, were treated to a once-in-a-lifetime behind-the-scenes showbiz experience -- an intimate and powerful performance they won't salon forget.
That's the spirit of the Fringe and that's the spirit of theatre-going in Toronto.
THE MUSICAL OF MUSICALS: THE MUSICALS!
5 Musicals for the Price of 1 ... Because Sometimes One Musical Just isn't Enough
Music by Eric Rockwell • Lyrics by Joanne Bogart • Book by Eric Rockwell & Joanne Bogart
Starring Mark Cassius • Adrian Marchuk • Dana Jean Phoenix • Paula Wolfson
Directed by Vinetta Strombergs • Musical Direction by Michael Mulrooney
Costumes by Melanie McNeill • Projections by Blair Francey • Stage Management by Dylan Wales • Produced by Jim Aldridge
Factory Theatre Mainspace 125 Bathurst St.
Wed. July 10 – 5:15 pm • Fri. July 12 – 12 noon • Sun. July 14 – 7:00 pm
Length: 90 minutes, no intermission.
Tickets $10 • Available in advance through www.fringetoronto.com at by phone at 416-966-1062