Toronto Operetta Theatre announces live season

StLawrenceCentre4So the latest Toronto organisation to announce a return to “live” is Toronto Operetta Theatre.  There are three shows:

  • Oscar Straus’ A Waltz Dream will play December 29th, and 31st and January 2nd and 4th.  The cast includes Andrea Nuñez, Scott Rumble, Elizabeth Beeler, Keith Klassen and Greg Finney.  Derek Bates conducts.
  • Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld will be presented on February 16th, 18th, 19th and 20th.  The cast includes Vania Chan, Tonatiuh Abrego, Ryan Downey and Rosalind McArthur with Derek Bates again conducting.
  • Finally, there’ll be the premiere of Michael Rose’s musical, A Northern Lights Dream.  This will play May 5th, 6th and 7th with Natalya Gennadi, Karen Bojti, Ian Backstrom, Daniela Agostino and Stephanie O’Leary.in the cast.  Suzy Smith conducts.

All three shows will play at the St. Lawrence Centre.  At time of writing two shows in each run will be restricted to 50% capacity though I imagine that could change before May.

The Chocolate Soldier on TV

Sometimes curiosity just gets the better of me.  I rather enjoyed Toronto Operetta Theatre’s production of Oscar Straus’ The Chocolate Soldier so I was prepared to take a look at the 1955 made for TV version directed by Max Liebman.  I probably shouldn’t have bothered.  There’s so much weird here.  First off the plot is changed out of all recognition, besides being cut down to 77 minutes.  Nothing much is left apart from the basic idea of the heroine Nadine falling for the Swiss soldier who is chased into her bedroom rather than her bumptious fiancé Alexius.  His escape and return are replaced with a silly impersonation of a visiting general and a farcical court martial.  In mucking about with the plot most of the humour and essentially all the satire is lost leaving just a very silly and dated Broadway style romcom.

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The Chocolate Soldier

Toronto Operetta Theatre’s current production is Oscar Straus’ The Chocolate Soldier in the English version.  It’s based on Shaw’s Arms and the Man but, as is usually the case with musical adaptations of Shaw, it’s rather less acerbic than the original.  In fact, it comes over as a somewhat farcical love story with a few gentle pot shots at the military and militarism.  There are some good comic lines and the music is tuneful and well crafted.

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