Toronto Operetta Theatre’s Thirtieth Season
EARNEST, THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING
By Victor Davies and Eugene Benson
Starring Jean Stilwell as Lady Bracknell
Toronto, 23 March 2015… The Toronto Operetta Theatre’s 30th Season closes with a Spring production of Davies’ and Benson’s delightful operetta, EARNEST, THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING. The musical, based on Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, plays at the St. Lawrence Centre on April 29, May 1, 2, 3 (mat), 2015, directed by Guillermo Silva-Marin, with Larry Beckwith conducting the orchestra. Realizing a long-held dream to present a totally new work in the operetta format, Toronto Operetta Theatre gave the world premiere in 2008. “I’m delighted that we are bringing this wonderful Canadian musical back to our stage”, said TOT’s Silva-Marin. “It’s Oscar Wilde as you never imagined before. The work is an amazing crowd-pleaser and I know that with Jean Stilwell as Lady Bracknell audiences are in for a special treat.”
World-renowned Jean Stilwell was last seen with TOT as Ruth in THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE. Her fans from Classical 96.3 FM’s Good Day GTA can ‘get live and up close’ with Jean at the St. Lawrence Centre, experiencing her wit and exuberant personality as the formidable Lady Bracknell, a character she will inhabit with much gusto. Her daughter Gwendolen will be played by newcomer Michelle Garlough, just one of three debuts in the coming production. The other two are COC alumnus Cameron McPhail appearing as Jack Worthing, the infamous foundling in a handbag and Thomas Macleay, as Algernon Moncrief, equally infamous as Bunbury. Most recently Macleay was featured by Opera Atelier. TOT’s all-Canadian cast includes Charlotte Knight as Cecily, Gregory Finney as Dr. Chasuble, Sean Curran as Lane and Roz McArthur as Ms. Prism. Davies has written a new scene especially for Stilwell as Lady Bracknell in a score filled with lively tangos, marches, waltzes and heart-tugging ballads, all superbly balanced by Benson’s distillation of Wilde’s matchless wit and acerbic observations.
Composer Victor Davies and librettist Eugene Benson are two of Canada’s most esteemed creative minds. Davies’ compositions encompass a number of musical genres including jazz, chamber music, opera, film and television and symphonic works, a number of which have been premiered by the Winnipeg Symphony. His opera Transit of Venus premiered in 2010 at Manitoba Opera. Dr. Eugene Benson, Professor Emeritus – University of Guelph, is a noted novelist, playwright and librettist. In addition to EARNEST, THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING, his librettos include those for Eloise and Abelard (premiered by the Canadian Opera Company) and most recently The Auction (composer John Burge) for the Westben Festival. Both are Members of the Order of Canada.
The Toronto Operetta Theatre is generously supported by the Jackman Foundation, the Dalglish Family Foundation, Bedolfe Foundation, Canada Council for the Arts, the Toronto Arts Council, the Ontario Arts Council, and supporters who wish to remain anonymous. TOT is also indebted to The Co-operators, HotHouse Restaurant and Bar, and Classical 96.3 FM. All performances are at the St. Lawrence Centre’s splendidly refurbished Jane Mallett Theatre which is wheelchair accessible and close to public parking and transit. For tickets and information call the Box Office at 416-366-7723 or 1-800-708-6754 or online at www.stlc.com. Family Night Out Special discounts are available as well as Group rates for 20 or more.