Canadian musical theatre is alive, damn it!!!

Hi there friends,

So I rarely have big causes or projects I believe in enough to write a blog about them.  But this one is so worth it.

I think many of you know… or maybe you don’t….  I shouldn’t assume that people keep up with my comings and goings…. who do I think I am???   But you peeps in the business of “show” know this; and in case you DIDN’T know, I’m on the board of directors of an extraordinary company called The Musical Stage Company.

This year, we’re taking on a really exciting challenge that will “take a village” and we’re looking for people who believe in musical theatre to help get us to our goal.

You may have seen my postings about singing in their concert UNCOVERED: STEVIE WONDER & PRINCE a couple of weeks ago.  It was an amazing night.  Well that was one of the many fabulous projects The Musical Stage Company has going on.

Well, I’m the first artist they have ever had on their board and I’m going into my 3rd year.  I have been a fan of Mitchell Marcus, who created the company and is its Artistic Director, since it’s 3rd year – 2006 (originally Acting Up Stage). They (we) are now in the 15th year of this extraordinary organization.

Mitchell Marcus had a passion and a vision.  He had a passion for musicals and the power they have to move the spirit and open the heart.  And he took that passion and acted on his vision to create a company solely dedicated to producing musicals.  And over the years, that vision has expanded to the creation of new musicals. And through that, he has been on the front lines of the revitalization of Canadian Musical Theatre.

But that has not been enough, his passion expanded to include giving new generations of young people the opportunity to experience the joy, creativity and camaraderie of creating and performing musical theatre.  These kids would seldom, if ever, have the chance to be exposed to theatre and all that is offers.

And the best part of that is that he was determined that cost should not be a deterrent so, you guessed it, he made access to his workshops and classes free to the young participants.  

Mitchell and his team have put their money where their mouths are time and time again.  The company’s motto is “It’s Better With Music” and he stands behind that at every turn. How many companies can truly claim that?

Because of their reputation, Musical Stage Company is able to hire the best musical theatre performers in the country because they all want to work with the company and do the great material they produce.

Musical Stage Company has been expanding by leaps and bounds. And this season is our most ambitious to date. The company is branching out to try and leap into the big pool by doing our yearly big production which, this year, is CAROLINE, OR CHANGE, co-produced with Obsidian Theatre and starring Canadian superstar, Jully Black, at the Winter Garden, Jan. 30 – Feb. 15, 2020.  The historic Winter Garden is the largest venue in which we have produced work in the company’s 15 year history.

And the free programs have now grown to include all of the below:

ONE SONG GLORY
A free musical theatre training program for youth from across Ontario ages 13-19, including a final performance in a professional venue downtown Toronto.

THE BANKS PRIZE
A year-long mentorship and training program with a cash prize and curated showcase opportunities for two emerging musical theatre performers.

RBC APPRENTICE PROGRAM
Six emerging artists working in different areas of musical theatre receive mentorship and support in residency with The Musical Stage Company for one season.

MAKE ME A SONG
In partnership with The Regent Park School of Music, we connect professional composers to youth from Toronto’s priority neighbourhoods helping kids to share their stories through song.

STUDENT MATINEES
We offer subsidized student ticket prices for all performances, as well as weekly student performances on wednesday afternoons.

The Musical Stage Company is a homegrown Canadian success story of unparalleled heart and excellence.  And its success is because of the people who believe in it. The company can only make all this magic happen with the financial help of donors, big and small.

To that end, the board of directors have joyfully taken on the task of raising money for this company that the whole country gains from believing in.  The initiative is called ANOTHER HUNDRED PEOPLE (thank you Stephen Sondheim). And the idea is to gain 100 more supporters in the combined 4 different tiers for this amazing company this season

The four tiers are:

VIRTUOSO $1500+ /year commitment for 3 years
LEAD PLAYER $750-$1,499 /year commitment for 3 years
FEATURED PLAYER $350-$749 /year commitment for 3 years
ENSEMBLE $150-$349 /year commitment for 3 years

The idea is to gain donors of every level through this campaign. You can see the breakdown of what each level offers here:

ANOTHER HUNDRED PEOPLE TIER INFO

Now I’m not a person who knows people with the kind of money who might be able to afford the top 2 tiers or even the 3rd tier.  But at $150 for the ENSEMBLE, it’s not a lot of money but it makes a world of difference to the lives of these young people and the state of Canadian theatre.  AAAAAND you get a tax receipt so it’s the gift that keeps on giving!!!

As you can see, whether you’re able to attend the thrilling productions and the heart-warming youth presentations or not, this company is doing the most extraordinary work and I couldn’t be prouder to stand beside them and put my name and reputation on the line for them.

And to all of the arts workers out there (actors, creators, directors, designers, crew, front of house, etc.), not all artists or arts workers have the money to give but those that do and are having some good years, I hope you’ll consider contributing to The Musical Stage Company.  If anyone knows the amazing work they’re doing, its people in the biz.

I wouldn’t be making this ask if I didn’t believe in what Mitchell Marcus has done, is doing and wants to do for Canadian theatre.  So those of you who can, please consider becoming at least an ENSEMBLE member of this amazing company.   That’s just a commitment of $150/year for 3 years. That’s all it takes to allow this company to keep changing the lives of our underprivileged youth and kids, keep bringing us fantastic theatre and keep creating new Canadian musical we can all be proud of on the world stage.

My goal is to bring 8 – 10 ENSEMBLE members into the fold so I feel like I’m actually doing something meaningful for this amazing company.  I invite you to take a three year journey with me and The Musical Stage Company.  It would mean the world to them and to me.

Again, you can make your donations HERE.  And be sure to type my name in the message box so they know I sent you!  I want them to know I’m willing to go to the mat for them.

I know we all get asked for a lot these days – time, energy, money.  And it’s hard to know what is truly worth it.  But The Musical Stage Company is following through on every promise time and time again.  If you love musicals and want them to thrive , if you want to foster our own Canadian musical theatre creative talents, if you are excited to have our country represented on the world stage for original work, if you want to see generations of young people encouraged to become loving, creative, self-confident adults and possible future artists… you need look no further than this extraordinary company. Plus you get a tax receipt – come on! It’s a win-win-win-win-win-win-win-win situation, people.  I whole-heartedly ask and encourage you to get on board The Musical Stage Company train.  You will never regret it.


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