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Ed Mirvish Theatre

Hot Date: Andrew Lloyd Webber Takes Us Back to Oz

The Wizard of Oz cast welcomes you to the Emerald City (photo: Keith Pattison)

STARTS DECEMBER 20  Don your ruby slippers and follow the yellow brick road to see the great and powerful Andrew Lloyd Webber’s adaptation of The Wizard of Oz! Featuring all the beloved songs of the original film, plus new music by Webber and Tim Rice, the lavish production follows Dorothy and her dog, Toto, as they wander through a colourful land that is definitely not Kansas. The blockbuster show also introduces a new star to the city’s stage, with the lead role being cast as part of a TV reality program, Over the Rainbow. Ed Mirvish Theatre, $35 to $175; call 416-872-1212 or click here for more information and tickets.  —Ana Taveira

Hot Date: Jekyll & Hyde Offers a Tale of Two Men

Deborah Cox and Constantine Maroulis star in Jekyll & Hyde the Musical (photo: Smallz and Raskind)

NOVEMBER 14 TO 18  A dangerous love story is at the dark heart of Jekyll & Hyde the Musical, which gives the Broadway treatment to Robert Louis Stevenson’s chilling parable of alter egos and mental torment. Starring Tony nominee Constantine Maroulis as the titular split personality, and Grammy-nominated singer Deborah Cox, the gothic tale featuring bold, passionate songs is sure to be a crowd-pleaser in Toronto before moving on to New York next spring. Ed Mirvish Theatre, $29 to $150; call 416-872-1212 or visit here for showtimes and to buy.  —Ana Taveira

Hot Date: Canada’s Walk of Fame Puts New Stars on the Street

Sarah McLachlan is one of the 2012 inductees to Canada’s Walk of Fame

SEPTEMBER 22  First we rolled out the red carpet for the Toronto International Film Festival, then we’re doing it again for the Canada’s Walk of Fame Awards Show, which pays tribute to musicians, writers and other icons who have made lifelong contributions to Canadian culture. This year’s inductees include Grammy-winning singer and songwriter Sarah McLachlan, rock legend Randy Bachman, renowned quarterback Russ Jackson, prima ballerina Sonia Rodriguez, the late comedian and actor Phil Hartman, and the entire 1972 Team Canada hockey squad. Ed Mirvish Theatre, 5 p.m., $29 to $49; call 416-872-1212 or visit here to purchase tickets.

Hot Date: Bring on a Cheery Premiere

photo by Joan Marcus

MAY 2 TO JUNE 3 It’s hip hip hooray for the fiercely funny, over-the-top high school rivalries at the heart of Bring It On: the Musical. Some of the most creative minds in theatre, including Jeff Whitty of Avenue Q fame, adapted the cult-favourite Kirsten Dunst film as a live—and very lively—look at the world of competitive cheerleading. Gravity-defying choreography, catchy hip-hop beats, colourful characters—there’s much to applaud in this collage of song, dance and pom-poms. Ed Mirvish Theatre, Tuesday to Saturday
8 p.m., Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday 2 p.m., $35 to $130; call 416-872-1212 or click here to purchase tickets.

Dispatch: A Standing Tribute to Ed Mirvish

Blocks of cardboard and sheets of brown paper plastered the Canon Theatre’s facade this morning as dignitaries, actors, singers, members of the media and theatre fans all converged on the hall for a surprise announcement from producer David Mirvish. While the theatre’s exterior had an “under construction” vibe, the lobby, mezzanine, and boxes retained the venue’s elegant art deco opulence.

The audience was treated to a performance from Ted Dykstra and Richard Greenblatt, the artists behind the comedy Two Pianos Four Hands, before Mirvish took to the podium for the announcement that explained all that brown paper—as of today the venue shall be known as the Ed Mirvish Theatre.

Ed Mirvish, father to David, made his name in Toronto as a businessman and theatre impresario before his death in 2007. He opened the city’s most famous discount store, Honest Ed’s, in 1948 and went on to buy and refurbish the Royal Alexandra Theatre in 1962. The purchase of the Royal Alex marked his, and Toronto’s, presence in the world of theatre. (Mirvish Productions also operates the Princess of Wales and Panasonic theatres.)

A line of singers, actors and even politicians expressed their gratitude for the senior Mirvish’s patronage of the arts, and congratulated his family for establishing a landmark that will serves as an enduring tribute to his legacy.

Michael Burgess, Shirley Douglas and Molly Johnson showed their thanks through on-stage performances, while Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty addressed the crowd via video messages. The event concluded as Mayor Rob Ford unveiled the Ed Mirvish Theatre’s glowing new marquee—a fitting homage to the man who energized Toronto’s theatre scene.

—Rasheed Clarke