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The cast of Titanique at Daryl Roth TheatreChad David Kraus/Supplied

My heart! It looks like Titanique, a parody of Titanic featuring the songs of Céline Dion, will go on in Canada this fall.

The Canadian premiere production of this cult off-Broadway hit is set to first be staged -- naturally -- in Céline’s home province of Québec, at the Segal Centre in Montreal. It will then transfer to Toronto for a run at the CAA Theatre, produced by Mirvish Productions, according to audition notices circulating.

Not only is Céline’s music a big part of this jukebox musical created by Tye Blue, Marla Mindelle, and Constantine Rousouli, the singer herself is a character in it.

As I wrote after seeing Titanique in New York, in the opening scene, “the Québécoise superstar emerges from under a hooded cloak to take over a tour of the Titanic Museum – announcing that she is, impossibly, the last living survivor of the passenger line that infamously sank in 1912.

“She has somehow come to believe that she not only sang the theme song for James Cameron’s 1997 blockbuster-buster, but was actually on the ill-fated ship itself.”

While neither the Segal Centre nor Mirvish Productions has announced Titanique yet, the cat was let out of the bag after an audition notice was recently posted online.

Another audition notice emailed out to members of the Canadian Actors Equity Association notes that rehearsals will begin in Montreal on September 30, 2024. I suspect that means a late October opening in Montreal and then a Toronto transfer just in time for the holiday season - where this hilarious show would fill the gap left by the end of Ross Petty’s annual panto tradition pretty perfectly. Well, for adults, anyway.

Titanique parts up for grabs at auditions taking place later this month in Toronto and Montreal include Jack and Rose, of course, but also Victor Garber, the Unsinkable Molly Brown and a multi-part role that includes characters called Iceberg Bitch, Seaman and, spoiler alert, Peabo Bryson.

Yes, Titanique is a very silly, campy show - designed to be watched with a custom cocktail in hand - and as many of its jokes are pitched at fans of RuPaul’s Drag Race as those of Céline and Titanic.

The audition notices say nothing about the part of Céline Dion - which suggests that the Segal Centre and Mirvish already have someone lined up for the plum part. Perhaps one of the actors who has already incarnated Céline in New York, such as co-creator Marla Mindelle, will be coming up. Or perhaps one of Canada’s many great Céline impersonators already been cast. (What’s Jessica Holmes up to these days?)

Or maybe, just maybe, Taylor Swift will come up to Canada to play the part of Céline as penance for ignoring Our Lady of Charlemagne at the 2024 Grammy Awards.

Anything is possible at this point. Titanique - which features songs such as Tell Him, Because You Loved Me, If You Asked Me To - is currently booking off-Broadway at the Daryl Roth Theatre until September 30. You can read more about the show in this article I wrote about it last year.

Olivier Awards

Now that the Oscars are over, we can start talking about all the theatre awards that take place in the spring.

Right on cue, the Olivier Awards, honouring the best of London (England, not Ontario) theatre, announced their 2024 nominations today.

Among the nominees is Canadian theatre star Caissie Levy, who is nominated for best actress in a musical for her turn as Diana in Next to Normal last fall at the Donmar Warehouse; if you’re sorry you missed that, you haven’t: director Michael Longhurst’s production will be back on the West End starting in June for a 14-week run.

Congratulations to Levy, who I interviewed in 2022 after seeing her in Tom Stoppard’s Leopoldstadt on Broadway (on the same New York trip where I saw Titanique, as it happens).

Four to see this week

1. The Grand Theatre’s ex-artistic director Dennis Garnhum returns to that London, Ont., regional theatre company this week to direct Clue, based on the cult movie based on the classic murder-mystery board game. The cast of his production - which already played in Winnipeg at the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre this fall - includes Petrina Bromley of Come From Away fame and Alex Furber, who starred in Mirvish production of War Horse. It runs to March 30

2. Meanwhile, Rachel Peake, the new artistic director of the Grand, has opened The Sound of Music at the Citadel Theatre in Edmonton, running until March 30. Priya Narine stars as Maria. This production, too, has already played at the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre in Winnipeg.

3. Dana H, a true story told in a trailblazing fashion by American playwright Lucas Hnath (based around a recording of interviews with his mother, Dana Higginbotham), is opening as part of the Crow’s Theatre season at Factory Theatre this Friday. The original creative team that brought this unusual show to Broadway a couple of years ago is involved again here - and it’s a much talked-about piece that I’m very excited to finally see. It runs to April 7 - and has not previously played at the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre.

4. Deepwater, a new mystery play about a marine biologist by Dan Bray, has its world premiere at the Bus Stop theatre in Halifax this week, running March 13 to 17. This Villains Theatre production caught my eye because free childcare - a subject tackled in this newsletter just a couple of weeks ago - is available at all performances. Bravo.

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