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The Next Stage Festival: "Don't Look" & "The Rake's Progress"

Tonight, the Next Stage Festival launches at the Factory Theatre. The festival has already done a terrific job of getting the word out there about their hand picked slate of proven shows/companies (and their heated beer tent); both of Toronto’s weekly papers, and at least one reputable theatre blog, has already profiled the festival’s offerings. But let’s see if I can’t contribute a little something more to that coverage…

<i>Daniel Sadavoy & Rebecca Applebaum in "Don't Look" (photo by Bryanna Reilly)</i>

Daniel Sadavoy & Rebecca Applebaum in "Don't Look" (photo by Bryanna Reilly)

While the criteria for selection is open to productions created and produced outside of the Fringe Festival circuit, Next Stage originated primarily to give past standout Fringe shows another chance to flourish. The first play to open at the Factory Studio for this year’s Next Stage is “Don’t Look“, a comedic two hander about kissing cousins, that was a standout of the 20077 Toronto Fringe.

(Much more after the break – including a tasty MP3!)

Writers/performers Daniel Sadavoy & Rebecca Applebaum have kept busy this past year with other festivals; Sadavoy wrote and performed a solo piece in the carpentry shop for Lab Cab, and Applebaum co-starred in busy playwright Tara Beagan’s short play “Foundlings“‘ for this past Summerworks Performance Gallery series. Applebaum is also known in Toronto’s music scene as a member of the band Europe in Colour, who recorded a terrific remix of Radiohead’s “Reckoner this past year.

Radiohead – Reckoner (Europe in Colour remix)

Another company with a proven record at the Toronto Fringe, MackenzieRo made a name for themselves with a series of plays steeped in the pub-theatre tradition, staged at The Rower’s Pub on Harbord St. (now reopened as Harbord House). For the past four years at the Fringe, Torontonians have been able to enjoy a pint and a British play courtesy of this company, many of them (“Disco Pigs”, “Marlboro Man“, & “Talking Heads“) Toronto premieres.

<i>Cathy Murphy, David Christo, & Viv Moore in "The Rake's Progress: Do You Know Where Tom Rakewell Is?"</i>

Cathy Murphy, David Christo, & Viv Moore in "The Rake's Progress: Do You Know Where Tom Rakewell Is?"

With their new work, “The Rake’s Progress: Do You Know Where Tom Rakewell Is?“, a dramatic adaptation of  Igor Stravinsky’s opera and its source material (a series of William Hogarth engravings), founding members Autumn Smith & Cathy Murphy have assembled a large cast of Fringe and NextStage favourites. The ensemble includes Julie Tepperman (who’s also a writer and performer in “Yichud/Seclusion“, which you’ll be able to read about on this blog later in the week), David Christo (who was an original cast member of “Humans Anonymous“, which you’ll ALSO be reading about here very soon), and Chris Stanton, who was the busiest man at last year’s inaugeral Next Stage festival, starring in “A Quiet Place” and “Don’t Wake Me“.

Both “Don’t Look” and “The Rake’s Progress” open tonight, at the Factory Theatre Studio and Factory Theatre Mainspace, respectively; tickets can be had for between $12-$15 online, by phone (416-966-1062), or in person at the Factory Theatre (125 Bathurst St.).

More Next Stage previews to come!

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