Canadian productions may not be storming Broadway at the moment – but off-beat, independent productions from Vancouver to Edmonton to Toronto are capturing big attention off the main stem this winter.
Winners and Losers
Marcus Youssef and James Long's staged conversation about dividing the world (and themselves) into "winners" and "losers" has had a great reception at Soho Rep, a hip off-Broadway hub. The New Yorker called the show, directed by Chris Abraham, "a sly theatrical microcosm of how people [particularly men reaching middle age] compete" – and Time Out New York gave it four out of five stars. Closed Feb 1.
Nevermore: The Imaginary Life & Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe
From Catalyst Theatre in Edmonton, this musical biography of American poet Poe has settled in to a commercial run at New World Stages on West 50th street. The New York reviewers have had praise for Bretta Gerecke's Gothic designs – but have not otherwise been kind to this well-travelled show. "Quoth the raven: Lighten up," wrote the Times critic. The Huffington Post was harsher: "Neveragain." Booking to May 1.
The Rap Guide to Religion
Vancouver's Baba Brinkman has been touring his one-man "peer-reviewed rap" shows around the world for more than a decade, tackling subjects from The Canterbury Tales to evolution. His latest hip-hop/stand-up/TED-talk hybrid was recently extended at the Soho Playhouse – this idiosyncratic artist has clearly found a niche. Booking to March 1.
All Our Happy Days Are Stupid
Sheila Heti's attempts to write this play formed the backdrop for her novel How Should a Person Be? Crafty director Jordan Tannahill finally found a way to bring it to the stage in 2013 with an eclectic group of local performers – and, after a victory lap at Toronto's World Stage, they are all heading down to venerable performance space The Kitchen in Chelsea. Running from Feb. 19 to 28.