So Much is Happening!

IANA has a big meeting tonight, and as I sit in my office, reviewing things to go over, I realize that because they may not constitute a whole blog post, there are a huge number of things that I have not talked about!  So, heres whats been going on!!!

First off, we were so excited to learn earlier this month that IANA Theatre Company had won the Best Independent Production of 2011 at the BroadwayWorld.com awards!  We are incredibly honoured to have won, and would like to thank everyone who came out and supported original Canadian Theatre this year, and we would also like to thank our fantastic sponsors who made all of this possible.  We couldn’t have done it without you!  Thank you so much! (Music starts playing, Tim is ushered offstage).  And congratulations to all the other winners, especially former IANA performers Melissa O’Neil for her Jesus Christ Superstar win, and David Light for his nomination as part of Billy Elliot.

The award has helped us get a lot of press coverage, you can read some of the articles here, and here, or you can check out the Municipality of Tweed’s website here, where we are currently the homepage story!

We are getting ever closer to our production of STALKYARD HURTS, and preparations are well underway.  Starting soon we will be looking for willing participants from Hastings County to be a part of the audio-visual elements of this production, watch out for that!  We are going to be including a lot of local talent in these videos, so watch out for your favorite area celebrities!

We will also be holding auditions in the next couple of months for our upcoming season.  We are always thrilled to meet and work with new talent, and we are so excited to add even more fantastic performers to our already incredible ensemble.  Here’s to 2012!

I also have a meeting tomorrow with our ALECK BELL set designer, the amazing David Butler, who has some colour renderings for me that I can’t wait to check out!  Maybe he’ll let me take a teaser photo…who knows.

And coming very soon we will be announcing our final production dates and venue for ALECK BELL in Toronto!  We are so excited to be bringing this show around the province.  If you are in any of the cities we are coming to, let us hear from you!  We are going to be doing quite a bit of promotion in Brockville, Stirling, Brantford and Toronto, and would love for you to be involved.  There are lots of great surprises in store for this year’s tour, it’s gonna be the best!

IANA will also be taking over the Canadians for Canadian Musical site on facebook and carrying on the great work that Robert Missen started over there.  Robert has been growing busier and busier (which is fantastic considering he represents all Canadian work!) and we are very excited to be continuing this great group.  Watch for lots more to come with that!

It is a great time for theatre in Ontario right now, with a tonne of shows extending and selling out, theatres announcing their very exciting seasons, and people gearing up for a great summer of theatre adventure!  And on that note, we are also incredibly excited to be members of ASTRO for the first time in 2012!  ASTRO is the Association of Summer Theatres Round Ontario and they do amazing work to promote regional theatre in the province.  We could not be more excited to be joining them.

What else, what else…I’m sure there is so much more, but it will have to wait for another time!  I’ve got to get back to work, and this is getting long-winded!  Check in at our website for loads more info about our upcoming season, and be sure to head out and take in some Canadian Theatre this month!

See you at the show!

Tim

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IANA on Tour: ALECK BELL Takes to the Road

In 2012, ALECK BELL: A Canadian Pop Rock Musical is going on tour.  Here’s where it all began…

At the end of 2010, when I sat down to plan our next season, I knew it had to be big.  We were coming off a really amazing year, with our first full season of production in Tweed, and our first full-scale original Canadian Musical.  We had already decided that we would be bringing our musical ‘TWEED!’ to Toronto, and we wanted to create another new show for our season in Tweed.

I had been wanting to do a musical using Canadian pop rock music, but as of yet had not found the right subject.  As it got closer and closer to the time to settle on a season, I still hadn’t really come up with much.  I was scanning through a list of famous Canadians one afternoon, and stumbled upon Alexander Graham Bell.  For some reason, out of all of the amazing people on that list, Aleck Bell jumped out at me.  The next day I went out and bought a biography of Mr. Bell.  What I found there was amazing.

Alexander Graham Bell led a fascinating and incredible life.  He was an incredible man with a brilliant mind, and his story was meant to be told.  I decided that this was the show I wanted to do.  I began to make notes about what we would want in the production, and almost immediately approached my good friend Joel MacMeekin to help me write the show.  We sat down shortly after and started to figure out a plot line, and choose music from the huge Canadian Pop Rock Cannon.  Before we knew it we had a solid story line, some great tunes, and a beautiful story.

Joel took that away, and over the course of the next couple months wrote a brilliant show.  We sat down a few more times, figured out some details, polished the show, and finally had something that we were ready to put on stage.  We had our auditions, we booked our dates, we rented the instruments, and we were ready to start.

How we found the cast that we did, and how they all agreed to do the production will forever be beyond me.  This group of people is really better than we could have ever imagined, and we were instantly, and continue to be, in love with them.  They took every little bit of this story to heart, and told it with a truth, talent and integrity like I have never seen before.  The brilliant Emilee Nimetz agreed to choreograph the show, and exceeded our expectations.  All around, this production is my proudest moment to date.  The show came together like magic, and blew Joel and I away.  We knew instantly that this show would be going places.

Over the course of our run, several members of the Stirling Festival Theatre’s board and staff came to see the production.  We are lucky to count Stirling Theatre as our friends, and shortly after our production had closed, Stirling approached us to include BELL as part of their 2012 season.  We were honoured and excited and of course ecstatically agreed!

We then began the process of booking other venues and planning where else we would like to take the show.  We already knew we wanted to bring the show to Toronto after our success there with TWEED, so that was an easy one.  We then sat down to think where else the show would fit, and where else we would like to take it.

The next easiest choice was the beautiful city of Brockville.  Joel and I both attended St. Lawrence College and had done all of our productions there at the Brockville Arts Centre.  The BAC was like a second home to us, and we were so excited when the whole team there jumped on board with us.  We are thrilled to be spending four days at the beautifully renovated Brockville Arts Centre.  I think this show is really going to hit home there, and I literally can’t wait to show it to them.

Next, came our last stop, and again, a fairly obvious choice.  When the Bell’s first crossed the Atlantic and came to Canada, they settled in a beautiful little town in regional Ontario.  That town was Brantford.  I have performed at the Sanderson Centre in Brantford on numerous occasions, and it has got to be one of the most stunning, well maintained, kindest venues in the country.  We pitched the show to them, and again, they were very excited to welcome us in.  We set the dates, and confirmed the production there.  I can’t wait to bring this show to the city of Brantford, and tell the story of this remarkable man in his Ontario home.  I think it is going to be a really magical experience.

So the tour was set, and now it’s time to get the show ready!  We are incredibly lucky and excited to be welcoming back most of our original cast, with a few new people who are sure to blow your mind.  We also have a really exciting new set designed by Mr. David Butler.  Dave has created something that is really going to be the perfect home for this production, with lots of surprises and stunning inclusions.

And there’s lots more in store as well.  We have already purchased our first beautiful antique piano that will be touring with us, we have our wicked new drum kit, and there is loads more in the works!  New lighting effects, microphones, additional costumes, this show is going to be huge!  The biggest we have ever produced!

We are so excited about everything that is happening this season, and we are insanely excited for this tour.  We are going to four theatres that we love, four towns that we love, with a show that we couldn’t love more.  This production means the world to me, and hopefully you will have an opportunity to come and experience it with us.  See you at the show!!

Excited about theatre!!

I’m excited about theatre!  More specifically, there are several shows playing right now, and coming in the near future that I am incredibly excited for.  Yay!!!

I am getting back into Toronto for a few days on Sunday, and one of the first things on my list is to check out three great shows that are running there right now.  First, I have been dying to see MARY POPPINS.  It’s been a long while since I’ve seen a big broadway show, and I have only heard good things.  Not to mention the fact that I get to see several friends in the show, as a large part of this American tour cast is actually Canadian!  Go Canadian talent!  Next on my Toronto hit list is TWO PIANOS FOUR HANDS.  This original Canadian Musical has been one of the most successful across the continent, and I have never had the opportunity to see it.  Luckily the current production with original cast members got extended, so I will be able to catch it while I am there, or if not, when I am back again later.  Congrats to Ted Dykstra and Richard Greenblatt on this huge success.  And last but definitely not least will be Soulpepper’s (My favorite company in the city) production of PARFUMERIE. Who can resist the theatrical charms of Oliver Dennis?  Certainly not me, and certainly not my partner in crime who shall remain nameless.  Wink Wink.

Then it’s back to Hastings County for PANTO TIME!!  To start it off mom and I will be hitting up the Stirling Festival’s production of PUSS IN BOOTS followed closely by the brilliant Caroline Smith’s PANTO OF THE OPERA.  Naughty Panto has become a personal tradition of mine (And of most everyone else in the Quinte Region) and I can’t wait for these two apparently terrific offerings.

Then, in the new year, something I’m really excited for…WAR HORSE!!  I honestly can’t wait for this show.  I look at the brochure every day.  Haha.  I am becoming mildly obsessed.  But I’m okay with it.  And to top it all off (And most likely a large part of the reason I am so excited) is the entire Canadian Cast.  Amazing.  Can’t wait.

And then of course, I am so excited for IANA’s upcoming season!  It’s going to be a really amazing year, and I can’t wait to get down to business!!  Woohoo!

Now, the very last piece of theatre I am excited about, is happening within mere hours!  IANA’s traveling office is in Brockville for the day, and tonight, I will be attending the St. Lawrence College Musical Theatre Performance Program’s production of GREASE! (My old alma mater).  I haven’t seen one of their productions for two years now, and after getting a little taste of their Grease at the Premier’s awards, I am very excited to see the full production.  Go college!

And now I guess it’s time to get back to work.  So, if you’re looking for something to do in the coming months, go and check out one of these amazing productions, and maybe I’ll see you there!

Have Fun!

Tim