With an abundance of caution, David Mirvish will begin the new subscription season in his Toronto theatres in January 2021.
He said: “Theatre is a collaborative art form and one that cannot exist without an audience. For the health and safety of all the artists, crew and staff working in our theatres, and for that of our audience, I think it is best to begin our new season — which traditionally has always started in September — in January of the new year.
This news means that the currently-scheduled engagement of Jesus Christ Superstar will be delayed from its original performances dates (September-October 2020). Whether the performance dates for the revival of Oklahoma! (May-June, 2021) will be revised is unknown at this point.
“I have every confidence in our leaders and in the hardworking, selfless people who are at the vanguard of finding medical and scientific solutions,” said Mr. Mirvish. “I truly believe they will succeed in getting our world back to health. I hope that this happens sooner than later.
“But an entire season of shows takes a lot of planning and coordination with hundreds and hundreds of theatre professionals from around the world, so I believe it is to everyone’s benefit to make this change at this time.
“Of course, should the public health officials deem that it is safe to reopen theatres sooner than January, we are poised to be able to resume performances of our long-running show, the smash-hit Come From Away, at the Royal Alexandra Theatre. It had just begun its third sensational year when the Covid-19 crisis abruptly forced it to suspend performances. In the 113-year history of the Royal Alex, it is among the theatre’s most popular and beloved shows, and we believe its popularity has not diminished. There is still a large audience for it. Furthermore, its message of overcoming adversity through community involvement and genuine kindness will resonate more than ever once the pandemic has been contained.
“However, we will not resume performances until we have been given clear directions from the public health authorities that it is safe to do so. If that should mean we won’t be able to open until later than January, we will delay longer. We will not do anything that will jeopardize anyone’s health and safety.
“We are extremely grateful and appreciative of the loyalty of the thousands of subscribers who have always been the backbone of our theatres. This coming season won’t begin for a few more months later than originally intended; we thank them for their patience and understanding. The playbill of terrific plays and musicals will remain the same, as will the amazing value that subscription offers of up to 50% off regular ticket prices.
“When the time is right, our theatres will be there to once again connect artists and audiences.”
The six-show line-up of the Mirvish 2021 main subscription season is:
• The Canadian premiere of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Love Never Dies, the highly anticipated sequel to the world’s most popular musical, The Phantom of the Oper.
• Pressure, the new drama by David Haig, which began at the Chichester Festival and subsequently played London and toured throughout the UK. This will be the play’s North American premiere.
• The smash-hit new musical & Juliet, which had just received nine Olivier Award nominations, including Best Musical, before having to suspend performances at the Shaftesbury Theatre in London. (The Oliviers have also been delayed this year.) Written by Canadian, David West Read (Schitt’s Creek) and based on the songs of mega-hit songwriter/producer Max Martin, this will be the show’s North American premiere.
• The Tony Award-winning revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!. This radical reimagining of this most revered of American musicals will have its Canadian premiere in the Mirvish season.
• The new stage adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express, which will arrive in Toronto directly from the Chichester Festival Theatre. Adapted by two-time Tony-nominated playwright Ken Ludwig, with design by Rob Jones and directed by multi-award-winning director Jonathan Church, this will be a Canadian premiere.
• The Canadian premiere of the award-winning new production of Jesus Christ Superstar that originated at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre in London and went on to win the Olivier for Best Musical Revival.