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Aubrey Dan tries Garth Drabinsky's shoes on for size Add to ...



We had a news story today about Toronto producer Dancap organising an industry reading of the Neil Simon/Marvin Hamlisch/Carole Bayer Sager musical, They're Playing Our Song, in New York on October 23. Tony winner Kathleen Marshall directed, while Broadway stars Christian Borle (Legally Blonde, Spamalot) and Sherie Rene Scott (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels) played the leads.

Given that a Broadway revival of Simon's Brighton Beach Memoirs has since belly-flopped - closing a week after it opened - investors will probably shy away from another Simon project in New York for a good, long while.

But things were looking different at the start of last week. On October 26, Playbill reported on Dancap's reading and noted that "plans are in the works for a late 2010 Toronto bow, with a future eye toward Broadway."

Dancap head honcho Aubrey Dan does appear to have ambitions beyond presenting tours, opening Toronto franchises of New York hits (Jersey Boys, The Toxic Avenger) and co-producing shows on Broadway (Memphis, the upcoming Addams Family musical) and the West End (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof), then. Dan would like to follow in Livent's footsteps, opening productions in Toronto then taking them down to New York the way Garth Drabinsky's and company used to do.

They're Playing Our Song may or may not be the project Dan first tries this with, but I don't think there's any doubt that he will eventually try it with something.

On the subject of Broadway, glad to see Canadian Alison Pill is headed back there in the new year. She'll be starring in a revival of The Miracle Worker with Little Miss Sunshine's Abigail Breslin . Breslin will play Helen Keller, while Pill will play her teacher, Annie Sullivan - that is if the Alliance for Inclusion for the Arts doesn't get the show recast.They would like to see an actress who shares Keller's disabilities cast in the main role.

How wonderful to see Ronnie Burkett snatch up the $100,000 Siminovitch Prize for theatre designers last night. Well deserved. Whatever you may think of the content of Burkett's puppet plays, the craft that goes into their physical production has justly made him a theatrical sensation around the world, as admired in the UK and Australia as he is here.

I must admit to being particularly tickled that Burkett named Clea Minaker as his $25,000 protege. I saw some of Minaker's very first work when she ran the Puppet Project while a student at McGill University. I've since caught her offbeat, outside-the-box puppetry at the Rhubarb festival and when she was "mistress of shadows" on Feist's recent tour, creating live visuals to accompany the songs. Here's one of Minaker's most recent projects, a video for klezmer/hip-hop artist Socalled aka Josh Dolgin:



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