The Lower Ossington Theatre recently announced the arrival of their upcoming Spring Season with a variety of both new and revived shows to grace the Toronto theatre scene. The Theatre Reader was invited to attend the first of their spring launch previews, and needless to say, there’s a lot happening at the LOT!
Here are our top three reasons you must attend:
1. Scandalous Puppets
If you couldn’t get enough quirky foam and fur scenarios this winter, Avenue Q is here to stay! The sweet, charming, and delightful director, Seanna Kennedy, was proud to announce the return of this vivacious show, deeming it an audience favourite. Try mastering a group of puppets to sing and dance together while keeping your composure during the brilliantly hilarious lyrics. It ain’t easy, but they excel. The puppets were built by Andy Hayward, a fantastic puppeteer and puppet maker, whose resume includes work onSesame Street. Audiences are pulled into a whirlwind of daily situations, all leading up to a comedic spin. If the lack of censorship isn’t enough, there’s the lack of technology — all actors are mic-less! The live singing fosters a fetching atmosphere for audiences to witness part of Toronto’s best talent right before their eyes. If you missed it last season, don’t miss it now!
2. Striped Heels
Looking for a wholesome community environment this spring? RENT IS BACK! Jonathan Larson’s musical sensation will have audiences lined up for what is to be, once more, an exuberantly phenomenal production. Based on Puccini’s opera, La Bohème, Rent narrates the struggle of friends and artists living in the lower east side of New York City among the catastrophic shadow of the HIV/AIDS crisis in the early 1990s. Accompanied by the epic narrative, the LOT has a creative ensemble aimed at bringing the performance directly from the stage into our hearts. With a cast and crew of exemplary talent, the connection between Angel (Andrew Soutter) and Collins (Isaac Bell) will have audiences compelled by the overwhelming emotion felt for these characters. Soutter and Bell’s performance of “I’ll Cover You,” thoroughly displayed each character’s dedication not only to the song, but towards the couple’s romantic embrace. The vocal talents of both Sami Solloway (Mimi) and Andrew Ball (Roger) are both inspiring and enticing; this is a standalone reason to purchase your tickets in advance. Along with the special performances, we also received a special preview of the costume design: Angel’s six-inch striped heels. Need I say more?
The LOT is proud to continue their dedication of family-friendly productions this season with Roger’s and Hammerstein’s classic, The Sound of Music. Based on a true story, The Sound of Music portrays the life of Maria Rainer, a nun acting as governess to the Von Trapp children. The play takes place in Austria, prior to World War Two, and chronicles the life and journey that this family undertakes. The LOT must be applauded for casting Michelle Nash in the role of Maria, as her vocal strength is not only powerful, but has the ability to empower audiences alike. The children are simply adorable — a complete selling point for the production. Within three weeks of rehearsals, the group of children already resemble a close-knit family with Nash as their mentor and role model. Director Jeremy Hutton heralds the production as a beautiful show with a tremendous educational opportunity. Both child and adult actors are encouraged to experiment with the characters, create a sense of identity, and become confident in their achievements. Based on the productions special preview, I have total confidence in recommending this production to all families, young and old.
Directed by Seanna Kennedy
April 10 - June 1
Lower Ossington Theatre, Studio Space
Directed by Seanna Kennedy
April 3-May 25
Lower Ossington Theatre, Mainstage
The Sound of Music
Directed by Jeremy Hutton
April 10-May 4
The Randolph Theatre
Tickets range from $49 to $59 for premium seating. For tickets to either productions, contact the box office at (416) 915-6747 or online atwww.lowerossingtontheatre.com.