By Mike Cohen
The Segal Centre for Performing Arts has announced its lineup of programming for its 2019-2020 season that is filled with new adventures, new stories, and new worlds to discover. Driven to bring Segal Centre audiences first-rate theatre that is both entertaining and transformative with the power to strengthen and connect communities, Artistic and Executive Director Lisa Rubin has planned a theatre season that features six must-see productions that will take audiences on astonishing and emotional inspiring journeys.
“The Segal Centre’s 2019-2020 season has been carefully curated and is brimming with raw emotions, dynamic performances, and robust storytelling. Bringing together established smash hits and exhilarating new works, this season embodies the magical and unpredictable spirit of theatre. Great theatre can move you, transport you, and immerse you in a world entirely different from your own. It’s an escape from the everyday, and we can’t wait to share this journey with you,” says Artistic and Executive Director Lisa Rubin.
Six must-see productions that will take you out of the ordinary
The season starts off with The Pianist of Willesden Lane, based on the incredible true story of Lisa Jura, a young Jewish piano prodigy whose talent proves to be the key to her survival during World War II. This inspiring story of hope and endurance is told by her daughter Mona Golabek, a piano virtuoso herself, as she performs some of the world’s greatest classical music from composers such as Bach, Beethoven, and Chopin live on a Steinway concert piano. This production, adapted and directed by Hershey Felder, will be in the Sylvan Adams Theatre from September 8 to 29, 2019.
From October 27 to November 17, 2019, the Segal Centre produces the North-American premiere of a new musical Mythic by Marcus Stevens and Oran Eldor (orchestrator for The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz: The Musical and The Hockey Sweater: A Musical) and directed by Brian Hill (Segal Centre audiences loved his adaptation of Belles Soeurs: The Musical) that takes audiences to hell and back, literally. Inspired by the Greek myth of Persephone, Queen of the Underworld, and her goddess mother Demeter, this Broadway-bound pop/rock musical explores mother-daughter relationships, finding your place, and being true to yourself. With a cast of characters that presents each god as a different pop-culture celebrity, Mythic is an epic and rocking good time.
From February 9 to March 1, 2020, Small Mouth Sounds turns the Studio into a wellness centre as six ordinary people seeking a break from city life go on a silent retreat in the middle of the woods. Directed by Segal Centre Artistic Associate Caitlin Murphy, this awkwardly and absurdly funny new play is a theatre experience unlike any other. Told largely without words, this play is a poignant reminder to put the phone down once in a while and be ‘in the moment’.
Next up audiences are invited on a groovy trip down memory lane in The Times They Are a Changin’ starring Louise Pitre and W. Joseph Matheson. Following their success in the Segal Centre’s 2018 production of The Angel and the Sparrow, the pair is back for a concert celebration of the Jewish artists of the 1960s. From March 1 to March 22, 2020, the Segal Centre will be filled with the beloved music of Bob Dylan, Mama Cass, Simon and Garfunkel, Leonard Cohen, Carole King, and many more.
From April 19 to May 10, 2020, Marcia Kash (who last wowed Segal audiences with her staging of Prom Queen) directs Oslo. Few are aware of what led up to the iconic photo of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat shaking hands on the White House lawn after signing the historic Oslo Accords. This edge-of-your-seat political thriller dramatizes the secret behind-the-scenes negotiations that took place in a castle tucked away in a Norwegian forest. Gripping, vivid, and incredibly witty, this play swept every 2017 ‘Best Play’ award, including at the Tony Awards.
The 2019-2020 Segal Centre theatre season wraps up with the world premiere of Siberian Summer by Paul Van Dyck (When Memories Have Us, Paradise Lost) and directed by the incomparable Ellen David. From May 31 to June 21, 2020, three women “of a certain age” embark on the adventure of a lifetime as they board the Trans-Siberian Railway from St. Petersburg to Beijing with one of their begrudging sons and a no-nonsense Russian tour guide in tow. Brimming with humour and heart, this extraordinary journey of self-discovery is sure to be the laugh-out-loud, feel-good hit of the summer.
Celebrating and Exploring Jewish Culture through the Arts
In addition, the Segal Centre continues to highlight Jewish arts and culture through A Jewish Film Series, the Jewish Arts Mentorship, and other programming and partnerships. The Dora Wasserman Yiddish Theatre the Segal Centre’s resident community theatre company, will be producing several exciting events such as a play reading of Di Komedyantn (The Sunshine Boys), a production of The Sages of Chelm, and their beloved Lyrics and Latkes: A Chanukah Sing-Along which will be moving into the Sylvan Adams Theatre.
For the first time, the DWYT season will be available as a 3-event package add-on to the Segal Centre theatre subscription.
Go Beyond the Stage
Providing a rich, engaging cultural experience plays a vital role in the Segal Centre’s mission. To complement the productions on stage, the Segal continues to offer the illuminating Sunday @ The Segal pre-show lecture series, an opportunity to explore the history, themes, and ideas behind each production, and the stimulatingMonday Night Talkbacks, post-show conversations with the creators and actors of the plays.
Celebrating a Diverse Theatre Community
In addition to our regular season programming, the Segal is a proud artistic resource and hub for Montreal’s diverse theatre community, providing space for independent and emerging artists from among Montreal’s many cultural communities to create, explore, and grow.
The Segal Centre is thrilled to be welcoming back Guest Theatre companies Teesri Dunya Theatre, who will be producing Rahul Varma’s Counter Offense directed by Liz Valdez, Tableau D’Hôte Theatre, who will present Jesse Stong’s The Peddlers Daughter, and Porte Parole, who will be presenting their critically-acclaimed documentary play The Assembly. In addition, Black Theatre Workshop will be holding their Artist Mentorship Program (A.M.P.) final presentations in the Segal Studio. More Guest Theatre Programming will be announced throughout the 2019-2010 season.
Both Broadway Café, the Segal’s incredibly popular live karaoke night for musical theatre buffs, and Big Broadway Sing-Along with Nick Burgess also return and will feature many entertaining special guest hosts from the Montreal musical theatre community. Patrons under 30 can take advantage of getting half off the price of admission by becoming Class Act Cardholders.
The Segal’s Academy continues to offer unique after-school courses for aspiring performers, running from October to May. Ped Day programs, performing arts camps, workshops and special events are back to entertain and educate students from grade 2 to 11 when school’s out.
Individual tickets go on sale July 29, 2019.