Popular season to be at heart of new Segal Centre for the Performing Arts @ the Saidye
Montreal, April 2007 – An all new season of First Class Theatre comes to Montreal next year as Segal Theatre Artistic Director & Executive Bryna Wasserman proudly announced the 2007-08 lineup today. The new season will include the beloved story of Anne Frank, the popular Neil Simon comedy, The Odd Couple, and an all new musical on the life of Harry Houdini. "It is my hope that next season's program will attract record numbers to the Leanor and Alvin Segal Theatre, which will form the core of the all new Segal Centre for the Performing Arts," Wasserman said.
The Segal Centre for the Performing Arts @ the Saidye is a new vision for the Saidye Bronfman Centre. Following forty years as a multidisciplinary arts centre, the new Segal Centre for the Performing Arts is being launched with a major commitment by Leanor and Alvin Segal, in partnership with the Bronfman family and other corporate and private partners. "We look forward to the Centre being dedicated to excellence in creating, presenting and educating through the performing arts," said the Segals. "We hope that the Centre will continue being a vibrant cultural force in our city and strengthen its national reputation for excellence."
At the heart of this new centre will be The Leanor and Alvin Segal Theatre, an award winning company, most recently honored by the Academie Quebecoise de Theatre with the Best English Language Production award for last season's production of Cabaret.
The season will open in October with the Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize winning play, The Diary of Anne Frank, by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, adapted by Wendy Kesselman. sponsored by BMO Bank of Montreal. This is the iconic dramatization of the legendary journals of a Jewish girl hiding from the Nazis in Amsterdam during World War II. It is the world renowned play that movingly details the inhuman darkness waiting to claim its incandescently human heroine.
It will be followed later in the fall by the Segal Theatre's first "green" production, An Enemy of The People, by Henrik Ibsen, adapted by Arthur Miller, directed by Miles Potter. In An Enemy of The People, Dr. Stockmann exposes pollution that's fouling the waters of a spa, threatening the health of its guests. Instead of receiving gratitude, he is taunted and denounced as a lunatic, an "Enemy of the People" by the fellow townspeople (including his brother the mayor), who are getting rich from the spa and want to sweep the problem under the rug. This is the story of a man who will sacrifice all – his standing, his reputation, his wealth, and the security of his family and person – in order for the truth to prevail. Ric Reid, most recently at the Segal in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, will star as Stockman. This "green" production is an effort by the Segal Theatre to look for new means and materials in set and costumes that are more environmentally friendly and sustainable.
The second half of the Segal Theatre season will begin with an all new, Canadian musical production on the life of Harry Houdini - book by Ben Gonshor, music\lyrics by Elan Kunin and directed by Bryna Wasserman, sponsored by Ernst & Young. Featuring some of Houdini's most legendary routines, an all Montreal creative team will endeavour to create a thrilling, entertaining ride through his life - from his humble vaudeville beginnings; to the heights of his fame; and eventually to his fierce, highly publicized battle against mediums, Spiritualists and their growing popularity.
In March, 2008 a production of Kristin Thomson's I Claudia, by Kristin Thomson, starring Michelle Polak and directed by Leah Cherniak , will inaugurate the new Studio B space at the Segal Centre. Studio B is a multi-purpose space that can morph from a 150-seat theatre to a dance studio, lecture hall, cabaret or jazz bar. It will give small, innovative theatre companies an opportunity to create and present exciting new works. In I Claudia, the title character is a pre-teen, still reeling from her parents' divorce. Her father is getting re-married, she has a science fair project coming due, and she is in the physical and emotional throes of puberty. Claudia speaks to us from inside the boiler room of her school where she stores all the things that are secret and dear to her.
The English language portion of the 07-08 season will conclude in the spring with Diana Leblanc (Fallen Angels, Rose) returning to direct Neil Simon's beloved comedy, The Odd Couple, starring Rod Beattie and John Evans in their Segal Theatre debuts. The Odd Couple tells the story of Felix Ungar, a neurotic, neat-freak newswriter, who is thrown out by his wife and moves in with Oscar Madison, a slovenly sportswriter. Simon based the play on his brother Danny's true-life experience and described it as: "Two men--one divorced and one estranged and neither quite sure why their marriages fell apart—who move in together to save money for alimony and suddenly discover they're having the same conflicts and fights they had in their marriages."
The 2007-08 season culminates with Yiddish Theatre at its best: The Dora Wasserman Yiddish Theatre production of the beloved musical, The Wise Men of Chelm, by Abraham Shulman, Music by Eli Rubinstein, sponsored by Reitmans (Canada) Limited. It is said that after God made the world, he filled it with people. He sent off an angel with two sacks, one full of wisdom and one full of foolishness. The second sack was much heavier and, after getting caught on a mountaintop, all the foolishness spilled out and fell into Chelm. Created by the legendary duo of Dora Wasserman and composer, Eli Rubinstein, The Wise Men of Chelm is a loving tribute to one of the most enduring icons of Eastern European folklore – the town and people of Chelm.
The wildly popular Sunday-@-the Segal lecture series will once again be presented by CBC Radio One. Wasserman: "S@ts is a truly remarkable program. It began with a handful of people sitting in the audience and grew to become our most popular program. We are always delighted to welcome the public to these programs to learn about the plays we will be presenting as well as some of the ideas and themes that enhance the play going experience."
Another program gaining in popularity with each passing season is Monday Night Talkbacks. The Segal Theatre is proud once again to be partnered with Pratt and Whitney Canada in presenting this opportunity for audiences and artists to talk about their shared theatrical experience. Monday Night Talkbacks are a reflection of the drama, emotion, the here and now of live theatre. Wasserman adds: "The success of Monday Night Talkbacks and Sunday-@-the Segal are perhaps a reflection of a need for people in this age of virtual relationships to participate in actual relationships. We couldn't be more delighted to provide that to our audience."
As part of its mandate to support Canadian artists and the Canadian theatre community, the Segal Theatre, in addition to its main stage programming, will be hosting and supporting numerous independent presentations. These will include two productions by SideMart Theatre, a new company founded by Sabooge regulars, Andrew Shaver, Graham Cuthbertson, Patrick Costello and Trend Pardy, as well as an all new Story Telling Festival for children.
Wasserman concluded: "The 07-08 season marks a new beginning for all of us at the Segal Theatre. The creation of the new Segal Centre for the Performing Arts is truly precious gift to the arts community that we look forward to sharing with our audience for many years to come. Join us as we embark on a wonderful new chapter in the performing arts in Montreal."
The Segal Theatre thanks its partners in helping to bring First Class Theatre to Montreal: KPMG (Corporate Season Sponsor), Hydro Quebec (Season Sponsor), BMO Bank of Montreal, Ernst & Young, TD Bank Financial Group, Reitmans (Canada) Limited Canadian Heritage, The Canada Council for the Arts, The Conseil des Arts de Montreal, The Conseil des arts et des letters du Quebec, the City of Montreal, The Gazette, CJAD\Mix 96, Alstom Telecite, CBC Radio One, CBC Television, Les Nettoyeurs Astra, Peerless Clothing, Le Cantlie Suites Hotel, Pratt & Whitney Canada.