The Hamilton Spectator

Musicals dominate new Mirvish season

Seven-show lineup includes return of ‘Mamma Mia!’

- JOSHUA CHONG

A pair of blockbuste­r shows that previously enjoyed multi-year runs in Toronto will return to the city as part of Mirvish’s 2024-25 season, a musical-heavy, seven-show lineup also featuring three recent Broadway hits and an award-winning play based on a beloved Canadian novel.

“Mamma Mia!,” the jukebox musical with songs by the Swedish pop supergroup ABBA, will return to Toronto for the fifth time from October to November 2024. Directed by Phyllida Lloyd, the show originally made its North American premiere in 2000 at Mirvish’s Royal Alexandra Theatre, where it was embraced by local audiences and received an extended five-year run.

The musical, which closed on Broadway in 2015 but is currently touring across North America, is one of several major titles slated for Mirvish’s main subscripti­on season, set to begin in September 2024 and run through August 2025.

David Mirvish, head of Mirvish Production­s, told the Star he feels “very optimistic” about the upcoming programmin­g, which he said includes a diverse mix of shows that will appeal to a wide range of audiences, particular­ly young theatregoe­rs.

“There’s a new generation coming to the theatre that it has a health and strength to it right now that I’m encouraged by,” said Mirvish.

The season will begin with the Canadian premiere of “Life of Pi,” the 2022 Olivier Award-winning play based on the bestsellin­g book of the same name by Canadian author Yann Martel. The show, which has been praised for its visual designs and puppetry, follows an Indian boy who is stranded on a lifeboat in the Pacific Ocean with a Bengal tiger.

Martel’s novel has sold more than 15 million copies worldwide and won the prestigiou­s Man Booker Prize. Though a North American tour of “Life of Pi” is to launch this fall, Toronto will receive the British production of the play.

Later in the fall, the zoo animals in “Life of Pi” will give way to the subSaharan creatures of “The Lion King” when it opens at the Princess of Wales Theatre in November for an open-ended run. As previously announced, the new Toronto production of the acclaimed Disney musical will anchor Mirvish’s upcoming season.

Also scheduled to open in November and run through the holidays is “Moulin Rouge! The Musical,” based on the 2001 Baz Luhrmann film and featuring a jukebox mashup of pop songs by artists like Katy Perry, Sia and Lady Gaga.

Directed by Alex Timbers, the musical opened on Broadway in 2019 and won 10 Tony Awards, including best musical. It follows the story of an English poet, Christian, who meets and falls in love with Satine, star of the Moulin Rouge cabaret in Paris.

Two other production­s this upcoming season also draw inspiratio­n from crowd-pleasing movies.

“Beetlejuic­e,” a musical adaptation of the classic Tim Burton film, will arrive in May 2025. Featuring new music by Australian composer Eddie Perfect, the production is also directed by Timbers.

Rounding out the main subscripti­on season in the summer of 2025 will be “Back to the Future: The Musical,” inspired by the time-travelling, sci-fi film from 1985 that starred Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly.

The musical, which won top honours at the 2022 Olivier Awards in London, is written by Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis, who penned the original film.

Mirvish said his company is still negotiatin­g the seventh show of the season, which has yet to be announced.

Besides those seven, the hit Canadian musical “Come From Away” will return to Toronto in September for an open-ended run at the Royal Alexandra Theatre.

The return of “The Lion King” and “Come From Away” marks the first time since the pandemic that two open-ended, local production­s will run simultaneo­usly at Mirvish theatres. With both shows set to occupy Mirvish’s King Street West venues, the other production­s will play at the CAA Ed Mirvish Theatre on Yonge Street. Mirvish’s off-Mirvish season, which typically runs out of the 700-seat CAA Theatre, will be announced in April.

 ?? JOAN MARCUS MIRVISH PRODUCTION­S ?? Jukebox musical “Mamma Mia!” will return to Toronto for the fifth time this fall as part of Mirvish’s 2024-25 season.
JOAN MARCUS MIRVISH PRODUCTION­S Jukebox musical “Mamma Mia!” will return to Toronto for the fifth time this fall as part of Mirvish’s 2024-25 season.

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