Grand Theatre Announces 2022/23 Season

10 productions. 4 world premieres. All Live! And, In Person.
 

LONDON, ON, April 19, 2022 – Following two seasons of darkened stages, restricted interactions, and limited live theatre, London’s Grand Theatre is proud to lift the curtain on its 2022/23 season - unveiling a full return to the stage with ten powerful productions, four world premieres, and an exhilarating five-concert series from Jeans ’n Classics.

“This year, for our 2022/23 Season, we’re going to do something bold,” announces Grand Theatre Artistic Director, Dennis Garnhum. “We are going to come together and experience extraordinary theatre…LIVE! And, In Person.”

With a renewed commitment to staging original, inclusive, and provocative theatre, while fostering inter-community connectedness, the Grand’s new season will celebrate one simple – but powerful – phrase: Live! And In Person. Running September 2022 through May 2023, the momentous season is comprised of four world premieres, a historic partnership of five Canadian theatres, the return of the most popular holiday show in Grand Theatre history, and a playbill that is rife with musical content honouring London’s new designation as a UNESCO City of Music.

In honour of one of Broadway’s greatest composers, the late Stephen Sondheim, the Grand’s renowned youth mentorship program, the High School Project (HSP) proudly opens the season’s playbill on the Spriet Stage with Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s Tony Award-winning musical, Into the Woods. Notable Canadian actor (last seen in Mirvish’s hit musical Come From Away), creator, and director, Saccha Dennis takes on the role of director for this beloved production that reminds audiences to “be careful what you wish for.”

Creaking open the door to the subscription series on the Spriet Stage, just in time for Halloween, is the world premiere of Grand GhostsThe music-filled play is written by award-winning Canadian writer, Trina Davies (Silence 2018) and directed by notable Canadian Director, Jillian Keiley. Developed through the Grand’s COMPASS New Play Development Program, this haunting, immersive, and vaudeville-inspired piece endeavours to answer one of London’s – and Canada’s – biggest unsolved mysteries: what really happened to Ambrose J. Small?

“The Grand Theatre is known to be one of the most beautiful theatres in our country. But, what many people don’t know is the extraordinary history, and the eerie story, that lives within the walls of the theatre. It’s a story of intrigue, uncanny mystery, and – of course – ghosts,” remarks playwright Trina Davies.

Back by overwhelming demand is the most popular holiday show in Grand history: ELF – The Musical.  Directed by Dennis Garnhum, this new interpretation of a beloved holiday classic is sure to uplift and delight audiences, while continuing the tradition of many families who make an annual pilgrimage to the Grand during the holiday season. For the sixth consecutive year, in conjunction with the holiday production, the Grand will be asking its audiences to help raise funds to support the Business Cares program of the London Food Bank.

The Grand rings in the New Year with a celebration of one of Canada’s most influential Civil Right’s Activists in Andrea Scott’s award-winning play, Controlled Damage – directed by critically-acclaimed Canadian director and choreographer, Ray Hogg. The play was originally scheduled to premiere during the Grand’s 2021/22 season, but was postponed to January 2023 in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Following a sold-out run at the Neptune Theatre in Halifax in 2020, the Grand will be the second theatre in the country, the first in Ontario, to stage this powerful production by the London-born, Scott.

“The Grand was the theatre where I saw my first play,” fondly recalls Scott. “When Controlled Damage was invited to be a part of the Grand’s season, it felt like a real homecoming for me. I couldn’t be prouder.”

Following the success of BOOM, the award-winning, multi-talented Rick Miller returns to the Grand in February as writer, director, and actor in BOOM X. In an explosive solo performance, Miller utilizes a variety of multi-media elements to bring the music, culture, and politics of Generation X to life – in a way you have never seen it before. Called “one of the 100 most creative people alive today” by Entertainment Weekly, Miller’s time capsule performance offers a blast from the past for audiences of all ages to enjoy.

The Grand welcomes the season of spring with a show that honours the elements of the earth and the universal themes that weave us together in Rubaboo, written by Andrea Menard, with music by Andrea Menard and Robert Walsh. Co-produced with the Arts Club Theatre Company (Vancouver, BC), Rubaboo will take audiences on an intimate, moving, and joyous musical journey – guided by the powerhouse, Métis performer, Andrea Menard. Following its world premiere on the Spriet Stage, it will then travel to the Arts Club Theatre in Vancouver, BC.

The season ends with a bang as the Grand presents Neptune Theatre’s production of East Coast Kitchen Party. In this musical celebration, audiences will be transported to the shores of eastern Canada, where they will be invited to join an evening of brilliant, traditional, East Coast music. In each performance, a new, local band will join the cast to perform a set on stage, as well as immediately following the show in the Drewlo Lounge.

Christening the Grand’s newly-renovated Auburn Stage is writer, performer, and musician, Zorana Sadiq’s one-person show, MixTape – presented by Crow’s Theatre. This audio-intensive experience, directed by Crow’s Theatre Artistic and General Director Chris Abraham, will be followed by the world premiere of Homes: A Refugee Story. Written by Winnie Yeung and Haysam Kadri, and based on the award-winning book by the same name, this solo show tells the remarkable true story of Abu Bakr al-Rabeeah. Presented under the COMPASS New Play Development Program, Homes presents audiences with an intimate look, and first-hand account, of what it is like to live through a Civil War through the eyes of a young, Syrian boy.

Marking a historic first for the Grand, the Theatre will partner with four theatre companies across the country – National Arts Centre English Theatre, Vita Brevis Arts, Canadian Stage (Toronto), and Neptune Theatre (Halifax) – to bring the world premiere of the stage adaptation of Fall On Your Knees to four cities. Based on the beloved novel by internationally-acclaimed Canadian writer, Ann-Marie MacDonald, the epic play will be presented in two parts.

On this collaboration and world premiere, Garnhum remarks: “We are proud to be partnering with four extraordinary theatre organizations to bring Fall on Your Knees to the stage – finishing right here at the Grand! This highly original experience will break MacDonald’s beloved story into two separate performances to chronicle the full lifespan of the novel. Whether you see the first part, second part, or both, it will be an experience to remember.”

Other 2022/23 Season Highlights include:

  • Following a condensed previous season, Jeans ‘n Classics is back at the Grand for a fifth year with five new and exhilarating concerts.
  • Educators Night (formerly Teachers Club) and Students Club return with a six-show package and will include special post-show events.
  • The Grand’s Wednesday speak easy series returns for the season, now rebranded as AfterWORDS. On Wednesday evenings, immediately after the performance, patrons are invited to stay for a guided discussion with guest artists, creative team members, and Grand staff in the newly renovated Drewlo Lounge.
  • For the 2022/23 season, patrons can also enjoy stimulating discussion and hear insights into Grand productions with host James Stewart Reaney and special guests at Creative Conversations, offered pre-show on select matinees.
  • In a continued commitment to arts accessibility, the Grand offers Open Captioned performances throughout the season for select Spriet Stage productions.
  • The Grand Theatre would like to extend its appreciation to all funding partners, with special thanks to Season Sponsor, BMO Financial Group and Production Title Sponsors: Ahria Consulting, BlueStone Properties, Canada Life, McCormick Canada, Selectpath, and Western Fair District.
  • Additional funding support from Libro Credit Union, Tourism London, Thames Valley District School Board, and London District Catholic School Board is also gratefully acknowledged, along with many other community partners and donors.

“The playbill is set. Our company is energized. Now all we need is our audience,” remarks Garnhum. “After two challenging years, it’s time for us all to heal and come together again to celebrate the stories that inspire us, delight us, and unite us.”

2022/23 Season subscriptions, with savings of up to 25% off the regular single ticket price, are now on sale to 2019/2020 subscribers at grandtheatre.com, by phone at 519-672-8800, or at the Box Office, 471 Richmond Street. New subscribers may purchase packages as of May 19th, 2022. Single tickets go on sale to the general public as of June 30th, 2022.  

To learn more about the Grand’s 2022-23 Season, please visit: grandtheatre.com.  Additional facts, photos, and updates can also be found by following @thegrandlondon and #LIVEattheGRAND on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

About the Grand Theatre  – World Curious. London Proud.
Under the leadership of Artistic Director Dennis Garnhum and Executive Director Deb Harvey, the Grand is a leading cultural hub located in the heart of downtown London, Ontario. The Grand offers diverse, relevant, and original stories from around the globe through collaborations with national and international performing arts organizations and is committed to developing, producing, and premiering original stories through its COMPASS New Play Development program. The Grand supports educational programming through initiatives like the High School Project and Subsidized Student Matinees. The Grand completed a $9.5 million renovation to its lobby spaces and backstage areas in Fall 2021. After the cancellation of its 2020-21 Season in June 2020 due to the global pandemic, the Grand officially reopened its doors in November 2021.
 

For more information please contact:
Caitlin Core, Communications Manager
ccore [at] grandtheatre.com
519-672-9030 ext. 266

2022/23 SEASON

ON THE SPRIET STAGE

HIGH SCHOOL PROJECT – INTO THE WOODS

Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Book by James Lapine
Originally Directed on Broadway by James Lapine
Orchestrations by Jonathan Tunick
Directed by Saccha Dennis

September 20 to October 1, 2022 | SPRIET STAGE 
Opening September 23, 2022

In a quest to reverse a curse placed on them by the witch next door, and fulfill their deepest wish, the baker and his wife venture into the woods to find four magical ingredients. On their journey, they encounter Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and Jack, each on a quest to fulfill a wish of their own. Through peculiar paths and twisting trails, characters soon discover that not everything is as it seems, and that every story has more than one ending.

Title Sponsor: Western Fair District | Program Sponsors: Thames Valley District School Board & London District Catholic School Board | Make a Difference Youth Program Partner: Libro Credit Union

GRAND GHOSTS

By Trina Davies
Directed by Jillian Keiley

October 18 to November 5, 2022 | SPRIET STAGE
Opening October 21, 2022

On December 2, 1919, Ontario theatre magnate Ambrose Small sold all of his theatre holdings, including London’s Grand Theatre, for a record sum. That very day, he disappeared. In his wake, Ambrose left behind his enormous fortune, a jealous wife, a disgruntled employee, gambling buddies, a mistress, and a ghostly mystery waiting to be solved.

In this world premiere imagining, every Halloween, the ghosts who haunt the Grand return to relive what actually happened on that fateful day, a century ago. Through a ghostly, musical spectacle, audiences will be left to decide: what really happened to Ambrose Small?

Title Sponsor: BlueStone Properties | COMPASS Development Partner: Tourism London

ELF – THE MUSICAL

Book by Thomas Meehan and Bob Martin
Music by Matthew Sklar
Lyrics by Chad Beguelin
Directed by Dennis Garnhum
Based upon the New Line Cinema film written by David Berenbaum

November 22 to December 24, 2022 | SPRIET STAGE
Opening November 25, 2022

Based on the beloved holiday film, Elf tells the story of Buddy, an orphan who as an infant mistakenly crawls into Santa's bag of gifts and is accidently transported to the North Pole. Unaware that he is actually a human, Buddy is raised believing that he is a true elf of the North Pole. That is, until his massive size and poor toy-making abilities cause him to face the cold truth. Unable to shake the feeling that he doesn’t fit in, Buddy embarks on a journey of self-discovery to New York City to track down his birth father. After realizing that his father is on the naughty list and his half-brother doesn't even believe in Santa, Buddy becomes determined to uplift and joyously-bond with his new family – all the while reminding New York of the true meaning of Christmas.

Title Sponsor: McCormick Canada

CONTROLLED DAMAGE

By Andrea Scott
Directed by Ray Hogg

January 17 to 29, 2022 | SPRIET STAGE
Opening January 20, 2022

On November 8, 1946, Black Nova Scotian, Viola Desmond walked into the Whites-only section of the Roseland Theatre in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. Unaware that the theatre was segregated, Viola took a seat on the main floor, instead of in the balcony where Black patrons were expected to sit. She was eventually arrested and dragged from the theatre. In Controlled Damage, award-winning playwright Andrea Scott illuminates the story of Viola Desmond – a woman who took a stand against racial discrimination, by taking a seat at a theatre.

Title Sponsor: Selectpath

BOOM X

Written, Directed and Performed by Rick Miller

February 7 to 25, 2023 | SPRIET STAGE
Opening February 10, 2023

Picking up where Rick Millers original, hit show BOOM left off—at Woodstock in 1969—BOOM X tackles the music, culture, and politics of Generation X. Surrounded by stunning visuals, over the course of 100 minutes, Rick Miller plays more than 100 famous people—musicians, celebrities, politicians—in his own story of growing up and trying to navigate the tangled legacy of the Baby Boom.

Title Sponsor: Ahria Consulting

RUBABOO

Written by Andrea Menard
Music by Andrea Menard and Robert Walsh
Co-produced with Arts Club Theatre Company, Vancouver

March 7 to 25, 2023 | SPRIET STAGE
Opening March 10, 2023

Derived from the Michif word for ‘leftovers stew’ or ‘big pot,’ Rubaboo will take audiences on an intimate, moving, and joyous journey – guided by powerhouse, Métis performer, Andrea Menard.

An award-winning, singer-songwriter, and actor, Andrea’s lyrical voice and masterful storytelling will envelop you into the beauty of Métis culture. Featuring the sounds of drums and guitar, this grand musical feast will include songs of reconciliation, unity, love, frustration, and resilience.

Title Sponsor: Canada Life

Neptune Theatre presents the National Arts Centre, Vita Brevis Arts, Canadian Stage Company, Neptune Theatre, Grand Theatre production of

FALL ON YOUR KNEES

Adaptation for the stage by Hannah Moscovitch and Alisa Palmer
Production Dramaturgy by Mel Hague
Based on the Novel by Ann-Marie MacDonald

Limited Engagement: March 29 to April 2, 2023 | SPRIET STAGE
Opening March 29

Written by the internationally-acclaimed Canadian writer, Ann-Marie MacDonald, Fall on Your Knees chronicles three generations of Cape Breton Island’s Piper family. The story moves from the battlefields of the First World War, to the emerging jazz scene in Harlem, NY, and into the lives of four unforgettable sisters.

Neptune Theatre’s Production of

EAST COAST KITCHEN PARTY

Conceived and created by Jeremy Webb and Ian Sherwood

April 18 to May 6, 2023 | SPRIET STAGE
Opening April 21, 2023

Celebrate a Maritime tradition! East Coast Kitchen Party offers an authentically Nova Scotian experience: a concert celebration set in a kitchen, where instruments come out, and friends start to play. Kick back as we toast some of the best music that the East Coast has to offer. Each performance will see the stunning cast of Maritimers joined by talented musicians from Southwestern Ontario, who will drop in to add some local flavour to the party. This is the perfect opportunity to grab your friends and family, raise a glass, and celebrate!

ON THE AUBURN STAGE

MIXTAPE

By Zorana Sadiq
Directed by Chris Abraham
Presented by Crow’s Theatre

November 8 to 20, 2022 | AUBURN STAGE
Opening November 9, 2022

For writer, performer, and musician Zorana Sadiq, she believes that sound is our first, last, and most influential sense. After all, the first thing we do in life is make sound. In this solo show, Sadiq invites audience members into a personal exploration of her life experienced through sound. From Barbra Streisand to George Michael, from Sondheim to Mozart, and from squeaky oven doors to the thwap of a heartbeat, multidisciplinary artist of Pakistanis descent, Sadiq has curated the ultimate mixtape for life: part memoir, part scientific inquiry, and part love affair with listening.

HOMES: A REFUGEE STORY

Written by Winnie Yeung and Haysam Kadri
Adapted from the book by Abu Bakr Al-Rabeeah and Winnie Yeung

February 21 to March 5, 2023 | AUBURN STAGE
Opening February 24, 2023

Based on the award-winning novel by the same name, the stage adaptation of Homes: A Refugee Story features the remarkable true story of Abu Bakr Al-Rabeeah’s life and how, as a young boy, he emerged from a war zone with a passion for sharing his story and telling the world what is truly happening in Syria. Homes depicts the juxtapositions of growing up in a war zone: horrific, unimaginable events punctuated by soccer, cousins, video games, and the love of friends and family.

 

JEANS ‘N CLASSICS

Peter Brennan’s Jeans ’n Classics returns to the Grand’s Spriet stage with a brand-new five-concert series – performing the best of rock and pop.

TIME WARP: THE MUSIC OF ROCK HORROR – October 6, 2022

TEARS FOR FEARS & THE ALLAN PARSONS PROJECT – November 10, 2022

DANCING QUEEN: THE MUSIC OF ABBA – February 2, 2023

BOWIE – April 6, 2022

BACK TO BACK: ELTON JOHN AND BILLY JOEL – May 18, 2023