It's official. George F. Walker has taken over the city's theatres. While his Better Living continues its worthy revival over at the Factory Theatre, its sequel, Escape From Happiness, also a revival, opens tonight (Thursday, May 31) at the same theatre.
All cast members perform in repertoire in both works, including the luminous, subtle Clare Coulter , the tough-as-nails Irene Poole and that scruffy Walker regular, Ron White , seldom better than he is here. A bonus will be seeing Theatre Passe Muraille's outgoing artistic director, Layne Coleman , as the patriarch Tom.
Opening the next day (Friday, June 1) is Walker's short play Tough! , a piece written specifically for teens. This gritty love story deals with kids on the edge of adulthood who are forced to make life-changing decisions. It features a young, ethnically diverse cast and travels from the Factory Studio Theatre to Rose Avenue Public School and Stephen Leacock C.I. Take note of the four free outdoor performances, Saturday (June 2) at 1 and 4 pm, and June 9 at 1 and 4 pm.
Finally, if you're curious how Walker holds up in another culture, check out Grzegorz Jarzyna 's Polish-language multimedia version of Risk Everything , which premiered at the Factory exactly 10 years ago as part of Walker's Suburban Motel series.
Jarzyna's version of the script, full of film and TV clips and pop music, is performed in the Junction area.
For details on all shows, see Opening, page 183.
The best in T.O.'s indie theatre and dance scenes got Harolded last Monday (May 28).
Some of NOW's favourite people are on the list, including Bill Stahl (Harolded by last year's Haroldee, Trevor Schwellnus), Satori Shakoor (Amina Alfred), Erika Hennebury (Canadia dell'Arte), Clinton Walker (Moynan King) , Angela Rebiero (Leonard McHardy and John Harvey), Lucy Rupert (Mimi Beck), Jonathan Monro (Larissa Mair), Eric Steiner (in memory) and Vikki Anderson (in person, chosen by Shawn Kerwin), Nan Shepherd (Arwen MacDonell), Heather Kent (David Rayfield), Daryl Cloran (Claire Sakaki), Ted Johns and Janet Amos (Anne Anglin and Paul Thompson), and John Alcorn and David Ferry (Paul Ledoux). The Ken MacDougall Award went to Beatriz Pizano .
First comics standing
We've just learned that two of Toronto's best stand-ups made the "final 10" performers in NBC's Last Comic Standing .
A big shout-out goes to Debra DiGiovanni and Gerry Dee . The series premieres June 13. In the meantime, check out the show's website (www.nbc.com/Last_Comic_Standing) for a good clip of DiGiovanni's act.
You can also catch DiGiovanni, whose current act is smokin' (we just saw it a couple of weeks ago), at the Funny Girls And Dynamic Divas cabaret show. She's joined by 'Da Kink In My Hair's Trey Anthony , stand-up Shannon Laverty , musicians Faith Nolan , Shakura S'Aida and Diana Braithwaite , and host Kate Rigg (we're just waiting for her to break out big time).
The annual event raises funds for Sistering , which helps support homeless, underhoused and low-income Toronto women.
See Comedy Listings, page 187, for details.