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From Gags to Riches!

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I’m-a be real with you, Scenesters. Musicals are generally not my area of expertise. My musical theatre resume (as an audience member) pretty much consists of three things.

A) A not-yet-fulfilled desire to see Mel Brooks’ The Producers live on Broadway. I mean, I’d settle for another cast here in Toronto. In fact, let’s just definitively say here in Toronto. I’ve always heard kind things about previous Toronto productions, and besides I really prefer not to leave the warm cocoon of my adopted home city unless someone pays me to.

B) Jersey Boys. Is that the Applebees of musical theatre? I feel like it might be the Applebees of musical theatre. I took my Mom to this show, in the sweltering summer of 2010. It was a belated Mother’s Day thing. Yeah, that’s right – cause I’m a good son! Oh right, did I mention it was the same weekend of the G20? It was the same weekend of the G20. The show was a good enough time I guess, once I pried my Mom away from the temporary totalitarian war zone that transformed Toronto’s downtown core. She kept snapping cell phone picks of anarchists trashing Startbucks storefronts and penned up hipsters behind chain link fences, like it was all some big tourist attraction. But once I got her uptown, where Frankie Valli and the  boys were singing their songs, and a Cancon Joe Pesci was playing the lovable comic relief and abstaining from his usual outbursts of savage violence… Escapism was exactly what the doctor ordered!

C) Book of Mormon. This I saw. Recently. It was fun. I mean, yes, it was in a lot of ways the standard “look mom, I farted” pastiche of Trey Parker and Matt Stone. It was fun, it was full-blown stupid and (in parts) bitingly ballsy at the same. It was fun. There were songs with lyrics about STDs and a bunch of things I probably can’t mention in this particular piece at this particular time, but it was fun. And I guess that’s to be expected in a musical that takes place in the poorest poor parts of rural Uganda, written by the two guys what do South Park. Out of the 3 musical things I’ve seen, I’d say this one would be the critics’ choice. I realize that probably says more about my unrefined palette at this point than it does about musicals in general…

Oh, I saw Grease on TV when I was a kid. I feel like that counts. So, let’s call it an even 3.5!

Here at the Scene Magazine Comedy Affairs Desk, I get a lot of invites to a lot of things sliding across my desk. (It’s a metaphorical desk. Its a Macbook air that follows me around to a lot of green rooms and radio studios, coffee shops. Let it be) Point is, I’m a busy guy, I’m a showbiz guy. I get invited to things.

This week, I was sent me an invitation to talk to Reid Janisse. Well-known on the Improv beat, he’s a veteran alumnus of Toronto’s hallowed Second City MainStage. He’s a Dora nominated, Canadian Comedy Award winning writer/performer (not too shabby! Hollywood North, eh?) and his mug has also graced the small-screen, appearing on Orphan Black and The Ron James Show. And now, he’s penned another T.O production. And yes, it’s a musical/comedy, go figure.



CINDERELLA: THE GAGS TO RICHES FAMILY MUSICAL is onstage with Ross Petty Productions at the Elgin Winter Garden Theatre through January 4th. Penned by a performer with a considerable comedy pedigree, the show promises gags and gimmicks, song & slapstick that’s family friendly - with enough tongue planted firmly in cheek to keep the adults happily planted in their seats.

Ross Petty Productions is no slouch either. A mainstay on the Toronto theatre beat, this mark’s Ross Petty’s 19th annual pantomime production. Even a Musical Comedy amateur like me can tell you, that’s a pretty tough bill to beat. But don’t just take our word for it, Scenesters. See Ross Petty’s CINDERELLA: THE GAGS TO RICHES FAMILY MUSICAL live onstage at the Elgin Theatre, through January 4th.

I’m never one to shy away from an education – we’ll be talking to Reid Janisse backstage at the Elgin Theatre, for his take on music & comedy, and the full Cinderella story on going from ‘Gags to Riches’!

Meantime, here’s where you can go for ticket info, cast bios and all-things ‘CINDERELLA’. Courtesy of Ross Petty Productions!


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