London’s Grand Theatre reveals 2019-20 season lineup

Grand Theatre artistic director Dennis Garnhum unveiled the 2019-20 season on March 26, 2019. Jaime McKee/980 CFPL

The Grand Theatre’s 2019-2020 lineup aims to keep the “world curious, London proud” with lots of local talent taking the stage.

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The production of Room and the High School Project’s Titanic: the Musical, are just two of the 11 productions coming to Spriet and McManus stages that heavily involve Londoners.

Emma Donoghue, a resident of London for the past 20 years, is the author of the world-famous novel Room, which follows a mother and her young son, who believe the shed they live in is the entire world, and the mother realizes the time has come to escape. Donoghue looks to bring her novel to life on the Spriet Stage as she will direct the production.

Grand Theatre artistic director Dennis Garnhum says Room is a production that embodies our commitment to being “World Curious and London Proud.”

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After an exciting 2018 fall production of Prom Queen, 50 high school students are soon to be auditioning for the production of Titanic: the Musical.

“In order to present this musical properly, you need an enormous ensemble of artists with powerful voices — and our High School Project students are the perfect fit,” says Garnhum.

The Grand is looking to celebrate London in “many ways” this season says Garnhum.

Jaime McKee/980 CFPL. Jaime McKee/980 CFPL

The first of the 11 productions — the comedy This London Life — plays with the confusion between London, Ont. and London, England.

“We are going to see London, Ont. live on stage. More than anything we are trying to celebrate our city and our story as much as we can,” explains Garnhum.

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According to the playbill, This London Life “is a story about identity — mistaken and otherwise — and how sometimes, the worst of mistakes can lead to the best of outcomes. Set in London, Ont., a young British man wakes up and assumes he has landed home in England.”

He ends up at the London, Ont. airport where he meets a British woman who thinks he is coming to live with her while he is in school.

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Each of the 11 productions is very unique. Garnhum hopes this will attract a wide variety of audiences.

“You don’t need to know anything about theatre, just show up. The mix of shows is so vital to me so that you are always surprised.”

Garnhum’s hope of having A Christmas Carol become a tradition in London has seemingly been put on hold. Instead, Mary Poppins will be on Spriet Stage from November 26 to December 29. Stratford, Ont. native Deborah Hay will play the lead role in the musical.

“I want the holiday show to be a celebration of great stories that are family-oriented,” says Garnhum.

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The 2018-19 season has been “an epic season but a very serious season,” says Garnhum. The new lineup is lighter, with Garnhum saying it is important for people to have a place to laugh.

“If I was a Londoner, I would think this is a season for me. Londoners are going to have a lot of fun this season.”

More information about the Grand Theatre’s 2019-20 season can be found on the theatre’s website.

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