Western New York theater lovers have it made, really. We have the historic Shea’s Performing Arts Center and countless other quality theaters right in our own backyard, and downtown Toronto is just 90 minutes away — give or take, depending on bridge delays and traffic on the QEW.
Also nearby is the equally historic Grand Theatre in downtown London, Ontario. Local theater-goers might want to take note of their recently released 2012-13 Mainstage Theatre schedule.
Kicking things off is Calendar Girls, Oct. 16 through Nov. 10. Hilarious, fun and poignant, this revealing true story follows a courageous group of women as they bare all for a worthy cause. When the local hospital is in need of a new couch, Chris and her friends decide to do something about it. The women create a calendar filled with members of the local Women’s Institution discreetly posing nude while engaged in typical club activities.
Miracle on 34th Street: The Musical, takes over from Nov. 21 through Dec. 30. Could the department store Santa be the real thing? Kris Kringle takes on the cynics among us in this musical adaptation of the popular holiday favorite. A white-bearded gentleman claiming to be the real Santa Claus brings about a genuine miracle, spreading a wave of love throughout New York City, fostering camaraderie between Macy’s and Gimbel’s Department Stores and convincing a divorced, cynical single mother, her sombre daughter and the entire state of New York that Santa Claus is no myth. Filled with humor and spectacle, Miracle on 34th Street is a musical and joyful treat for families during the holiday season.
Running from Jan. 15 to Feb. 2, 2013, is Kim's Convenience. Appa opened his Korean convenience store years ago in Regent Park, Toronto, to support his wife and family. Now, as he prepares to retire, he wonders who will continue his legacy. Laugh along on the journey of his fractured but loving family as they confront the future and attempt to forgive the past. Kim’s Convenience was a smash hit at the 2011 Toronto Fringe Festival and sold out shows with Soulpepper Theatre in 2012.
Yankee Tavern takes the stage from Feb. 12 to March 2. Every bar has its regulars, and Yankee Tavern has Ray. Ray keeps things lively with his tall tales, strange encounters and surprisingly gripping conspiracy theories. Add to the mix the mysterious Palmer and bar owner, Adam, and you can’t help but wonder what is really going on. Could the unthinkable be true? This intriguing thriller is filled with surprising and dangerous revelations and things that will make you go “hmmm.”
Up next is Mom’s the Word — For Crying Out Loud, March 19 through April 6. The original “moms” are back in this latest installment in the hilarious Mom’s the Word series. From the terrible twos to the terrifying teens, experience the frustrations, embarrassments and dizzying joys of parenthood. Audiences around the world have roared with laughter and tears at these outrageously funny, poignant and true vignettes of motherhood.
Rounding out the 2012-13 season is Dance Legends, on stage April 16 through May 18. Dance Legends celebrates the art of dance with an energetic tribute to legendary dancers and choreographers. Get swept away by the soft shoe grace of Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers and Gene Kelly, the toe-tapping talent of Sammy Davis Jr., the elegance of Cyd Charisse and the iconic moves of Michael Jackson. Dance, music and comedy will leave you energized and inspired.
The Grand Theatre is located at 471 Richmond St. in downtown London. For more information, please visit www.grandtheatre.com. To view a brief video about the theater, visit http://www.londontourism.ca/Discover-Our-Spirit/Attractions/The-Grand-Theatre. And, for helpful information on planning a quick getaway to London, visit www.londontourism.ca.