With good weather and 121 shows, the 14th annual Fringe of Toronto drew record crowds this year -- over 40,000 audience members who brought in more than $250,000, all of which goes to the companies. Here's NOW's list of Fringe highlights.
OUTSTANDING NEW PLAYS: Breaking Character; Fish/Wife
OUTSTANDING PRODUCTIONS: Job: The Hiphop Musical; Fish/Wife; Nymphomania
OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCES: Marie Beath Badian (Novena); Gina Clayton (Breaking Character); T.J. Dawe (Tracks); Roxanne Deans (Cloud Tectonics); Ryan Eggensperger (We Is All Of Us Wanting); Jennifer Gauthier and Melissa Haller (Will); Nicola Gunn (The Elephant Club); Lisa Merchant (Tale Of The Scorpion); Charles Ross (One Man Star Wars Trilogy); Laryssa Yanchak (Life & How To Avoid It); Patricia Yeatman (The Terrible False Deception)
OUTSTANDING ENSEMBLES: Top Gun! The Musical; Be A Man; Envy; Escher's Hands
MOST ENERGETIC PRODUCTION: Shakespeare's World Cup
BEST USE OF AN UNUSUAL PERFORMING SPACE: Louis And Dave (a Buick station wagon) TOP TRANSFER?
There might be more life for Top Gun! The Musical, which lays claim to being the biggest Toronto Fringe moneymaker ever.
It was producer city at last Thursday's performance, with Mirvish Productions' David Mirvish, Canadian Stage's Martin Bragg and independent producer Jeffrey Latimer all scoping out the show.
So what could happen? Well, remember back several Fringes ago to The Drowsy Chaperone, which gave its first public performances to sold-out, enthusiastic houses. After several rewrites, it ended up at the Winter Garden as a Mirvish production. And Top Gun! is the Fringe's most successful musical since Drowsy.
Mirvish must've had a chuckle or two over some of the lines in the show, like the reference to viewers flocking to Mamma Mia, and the exchange about a musical version of Gorillas In The Mist that played in Toronto. "Mirvish?" asks one of the characters. "No," a second answers with a dismissive shrug, "Drabinsky."
Later, another character, going through a mini nervous breakdown, refers sneeringly to another fictional Mirvish production in the works -- an all-singing version of Independence Day, starring Gregory Hines and Cher.
Spare us those, please, but we think Toronto audiences could handle more Top Gun! The Musical.