Theatre goers will enjoy blockbuster productions by Montréal’s professional and independent English-language theatre companies this winter and spring, as well as the Broadway production of Dirty Dancing.
Montréal’s venerable Centaur Theatre continues their 47th season with two major works: The English-language world premiere of Bus Stops, written, directed and choreographed by Théâtre I.N.K artistic director Marilyn Perreault, will run March 1 to 27. The much-buzzed about Bus Stops is about the hidden dreams, fears and secrets of a group of passengers riding a public bus when a catastrophic explosion stops the bus dead in its tracks. A coroner interviews the passengers to unravel the mystery behind the tragedy.
The Centaur will close their season with the world premiere of the Last Night at the Gayety, created by local legends Rick Blue and George Bowser. Directed by Roy Surette, Last Night at the Gayety, which opens on April 19, steps back in time to Montréal 1951 to chronicle crime-fighting lawyer Pax Plante’s moral crusade to eliminate vice from Montréal, while famed burlesque queen Lili St. Cyr held court at the Gayety.
“We did a lot of research about the real characters we use, like Lili St. Cyr who kept Montréal’s last vaudeville house The Gayety alive, while Pax Plante was trying to clean the city up,” says Blue. “It’s Lili versus Pax, and I think this story will be well-received by Montrealers who still celebrate this city’s storied Sin City past.”
Montréal’s other major English-language theatre, The Segal Centre for Performing Arts, presents the local premiere of the critically-acclaimed BOOM, the one-man stage documentary chronicling the post-war Baby Boom years, giving voice to over 100 influential politicians, activists and musicians from 1945 to 1969, in a work originally commissioned by the Stratford Festival and written, directed and performed by Rick Miller. The play runs March 20 to April 10.
The Segal will close its 2015 – 2016 season with a lavish production of Mel Brooks’ Tony Award-winning, laugh-out-loud musical The Producers, presented in Yiddish with projected English and French subtitles. This musical captures captures the Golden Age of Yiddish humour, and opens on June 19.
Other Montréal plays of note include Geordie Productions’ Beethoven Lives Upstairs, which runs April 29 to May 8 at the gorgeous D.B. Clarke Theatre. The play is about the arrival of an eccentric boarder – Ludwig van Beethoven – who turns a young boy’s life upside down. There will also be an American Sign Language (ASL) performance on April 30.
Persepĥone Productions presents Moby Dick, adapted for the stage by Montreal Gazette theatre critic Jim Burke from the book by Herman Melville. It runs at the Studio Jean-Valcourt du Conservatoire from Feb. 11 to 21.
Also, award-winning star director Alisa Palmer will direct the 2016 graduating class of the National Theatre School in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, at the Monument National from Feb. 23 to 27.
Lastly, Broadway fans will enjoy the critically-acclaimed touring production of the smash-hit Broadway dance musical Dirty Dancing at the 3,000-seat Salle Wilfred-Pelletier at Place des Arts. There will be eight performances in all, from May 31 to June 5, including matinees on June 4 and 5.