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A Year In Theatre 2022



I am so excited and grateful to be back for another Year in Theatre post on the blog!

I had so many opportunities to see some truly wonderful theatre this year, and I had the best time on all my theatre adventures!


Below is a list of every show I saw this year, with some of my thoughts, and the ones I reviewed have the links below if you want more details!


Thank you for spending 2022 with me!


AUDIENCE


Chicago



In the Roaring Twenties, aspiring chorus girl Roxie Hart and fading vaudeville star Velma Kelly each face trial for murder. Both as cynical as they are sexy, the two women compete for the services of shady lawyer Billy Flynn, who promises to make them media celebrities and win them acquittals.



There’s nothing quite like a musical at The Stratford Festival, and their production of Chicago was true perfection. It was glitzy, glamorous, and full of razzle-dazzle!

It was so amazing, I made the trip back to Stratford to see it twice. I truly think this is how this musical was meant to be presented and performed.


https://www.bothsidesofthecurtain.com/post/stratford-rocks-chicago


Carrie



Adapted from Stephen King's 1974 novel Carrie, it focuses on an awkward teenage girl with telekinetic powers whose lonely life is dominated by an oppressive religious fanatic mother. When she is humiliated by her classmates at the high school prom, she unleashes chaos on everyone and everything in her path.


I had such a great time tuning in to this production of Carrie! EZT did a wonderful job creating a full performance over Zoom and explored many different tech options within this format. I also got to see my best friend perform in her dream show as Ms. Gardner!


Sweeney Todd



Sweeney Todd, whose real name is Benjamin Barker, uses his new alias to resume work in his barber shop above Mrs. Lovett’s struggling pie shop after being wrongfully sentenced to life imprisonment by the corrupt Judge Turpin. After swearing vengeance against the judge that tore his family apart, Todd and Lovett plot a unique plan that helps them both and leads them down a dangerous, thrilling path with deadly consequences.


Of all the productions I saw this year, I think this is my favourite. Talk Is Free Theatre created a clever, immersive take on this classic, and I had the best time following the performers from room to room and being part of the story. The performances were mesmerising, especially being in such close proximity to the actors.

I genuinely wish I had seen this more than once.


https://www.bothsidesofthecurtain.com/post/talk-is-free-theatre-mesmerizes-with-immersive-sweeney-todd


&Juliet



On the opening night of Romeo & Juliet, William Shakespeare’s wife, Anne Hathaway suggests a re-write: What if Juliet didn’t kill herself?

What if the tragic ending was just the beginning?


This musical is epic. I’m a jukebox musical kind of gal, so I knew I was going to love this show and have a great time. But I ended up falling in love with the story and its characters! I even saw it twice before it went to Broadway, because I had the best time! I laughed, cried, and sang along. It was f*cking perfect (if you know, you know).

https://www.bothsidesofthecurtain.com/post/broadway-bound-juliet-is-making-toronto-audiences-roar-with-delight


Gabs Sings Babs



In this intimate show, multi-award winning stage and cabaret performer Gabi Epstein (“Gabs”) shares her own journey of self-discovery using reimagined rearranged versions of Barbra Striesand’s greatest hits. Gabi honours her favourite performer in this part life story, part musical tribute by addressing themes of person vs persona and influence vs imitation as she explores the impact of “Babs”’s life on her own career.



The only thing better than attending a great show is seeing one of your friends perform in it. In this case, said friend had also written the show. Gabi is someone I’ve admired for a long time as a performer, and she is also a mentor and coach to me. I loved getting to see her tell her own story, and of course, belt out some incredible tunes.


https://www.bothsidesofthecurtain.com/post/gabs-sings-babs


9-5


9 - 5 is based on the 1980 movie of the same name. It centres on the downtrodden working lives of three women, Violet, Judy, and Doralee. They all work at Consolidated Industries, which is presided over by the misogynistic Franklin Hart. The three women band together to take down their boss, and of course become close friends on the way.



9-5 is one of the first musicals I saw and loved, who doesn’t love a story about three powerhouse women taking down their assh*le boss? And set to the tunes of Dolly Parton? It’s iconic. I loved The Capitol Theatre’s production, and also got to cheer on some friends. Stealing the show however, was Gabi Epstein’s Heart to Hart.


Heathers



Westerberg High’s Veronica Sawyer is just another nobody dreaming of a better day. But when she joins the beautiful and impossibly cruel Heathers, her dreams of popularity may finally come true. Mysterious teen rebel JD teaches her that it might kill to be a nobody, but it is murder being a somebody.


You all know I have been a Heathers fan from the very beginning, so I’m not exaggerating when I say that I have been waiting for this proshot for years! It was everything I wanted it to be and more. I adored the sets, costumes, and most of the changes/additions made. (Blue, I will always miss you.) The performances of the London cast are superb, and it was so much fun to see them shine without having to make the trans-Atlantic journey. I also got to cheer on the lovely Simon Gordon as JD, and friend of the blog, Maddison Firth as Heather Chandler!


https://www.bothsidesofthecurtain.com/post/heathers-the-musical-is-on-roku-and-it-s-beautiful

https://www.bothsidesofthecurtain.com/post/interview-with-maddison-firth-heather-chandler-at-the-other-palace


Mean Girls



Cady Heron may have grown up on an African savanna, but nothing prepared her for the vicious ways of her strange new home: suburban Illinois. Soon, this naïve newbie falls prey to a trio of lionized frenemies led by the charming but ruthless Regina George. But when Cady devises a plan to end Regina’s reign, she learns the hard way that you can’t cross a Queen Bee without getting stung.



I think of everything I saw this year, Mean Girls surprised me the most? Don’t get me wrong, the cast is phenomenal, the songs are catchy, and overall it was a great night out at the theatre. But there was something about the musical adaptation that didn’t draw me in the way I expected it to (the first act was a little long). It was laugh-out-loud funny, though!


https://www.bothsidesofthecurtain.com/post/mean-girls-the-musical-makes-fetch-happen


The Shark Is Broken



Martha’s Vineyard, 1974: shooting on ‘Jaws’ has stalled. The film’s lead actors – Robert Shaw, Roy Scheider and Richard Dreyfuss – are stuck on a boat, at the mercy of foul weather and a faulty mechanical co-star. Awash with alcohol and ambition, three hammered sharks start to bare their teeth…



I know nothing about Jaws. I had to watch the film for the first time as prep work to see this play. While the iconic film didn’t do much for me, this play was really beautiful. I can see why this was so popular in the West End, the characters are raw and well-rounded, the script is well-written, and it gives a unique behind the scenes look at a beloved movie. Ian Shaw has written an incredibly strong play, and along with Demetri Goritsas and Liam Murray Scott, gives a fabulous performance.

It was 90 perfect minutes of theatre that made you think, laugh, and feel.


Wicked



Wicked is a musical based off of Gregory Maguire’s novel of the same name and is a prequel to L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz. Elphaba, a social outcast due to her green skin, is paired to room with blonde society girl, Galinda. The two women go from disgruntled roommates to unlikely best friends. The story follows the two women as they reach adulthood while navigating Oz’s political climate; and eventually they grow into the iconic characters we recognize: The Wicked Witch of the West, and Glinda the Good.



Getting to see Wicked on Broadway was a huge check off my theatre bucket list! The Gershwin is gorgeous, the musical is as brilliant as it always has been, and the current cast is perfection. Being able to see the full set and beautiful costumes up close was a wonderful experience. I ugly-cried all the way through For Good.


Almost Famous



The year is 1973 and it’s all happening.

Led Zeppelin is king, Richard Nixon is President, and idealistic 15-year-old William Miller is an aspiring music journalist. When Rolling Stone magazine hires him to go on the road with an up-and-coming band, William is thrust into the rock-and-roll circus, where his love of music, his longing for friendship, and his integrity as a writer collide.



I am actually obsessed with everything about this show. The story, the music, the costumes and set, the performers… It’s all happening and it’s all perfect. I genuinely can’t believe it’s closing on January 8th (please go see it before then!), and am waiting impatiently for the cast recording.


https://www.bothsidesofthecurtain.com/post/it-s-all-happening-at-almost-famous-on-broadway


Moulin Rouge



Based on the 2001 film of the same name by Baz Luhrman, tells the love story between Satine, the star performer at the Moulin Rouge, and Christian, a young American songwriter. Meanwhile, the Duke, the show’s patron, has taken a special interest in Satine, forcing the lovers to keep their affair a secret to save the club.



You know I love a jukebox musical. I had some reservations, considering how much I love the original film. Which is why it took me so long to see the stage show despite my love for Aaron Tveit. But this did not disappoint. The set is iconic, it’s like stepping into the movie, and the tunes are fantastic. This is a great night out at the theatre!


MJ



Centred around the making of his 1992 Dangerous World Tour, MJ goes beyond the singular moves and signature sound of the star, offering a rare look at the creative mind and collaborative spirit that catapulted Michael Jackson into legendary status.



This was a very cool way to present a jukebox bio-musical! I’m not a huge Michael Jackson fan, and didn’t know much about him besides his music until seeing the show. I’d recommend this show to people who are bigger MJ fans than I am, but I did have a great time enjoying the music, choreography, and performances!


ON STAGE


I am so excited that this year I get to bring back the performance piece of my Year in Theatre!


The Last Resort



I got to return to the stage at South Simcoe Theatre to play the role of Julia/Jessica Youngstead in The Last Resort. Putting on a live musical during COVID was an experience, but we managed to get through our run without getting each other sick! This is probably the hardest score I’ve ever worked on, and I loved getting to learn and challenge myself vocally. I also got to fall in love with the thrill of being onstage all over again! I’m so grateful for this opportunity and can’t wait to be back on the boards again in 2023.



And so, that wraps up my Year in Theatre 2022!

I got to see some truly incredible shows, and even get onstage myself.

I am extremely grateful for every experience I’ve had this year!


What shows did you see in 2022?

What’s on your must-see list for 2023?

Leave a comment below letting me know!


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