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Style Parties of the Week: Dear Evan Hansen premiere and the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television’s awards gala

Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television Board Tribute Dinner

Each year the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television takes a week in March to hand out awards that celebrate the top work of this country’s screen-industry makers. This year’s splashy Sunday evening gala, held on March 30, was broadcast on the CBC. The night before, the Academy’s board gathered for an intimate dinner, hosted by actor Eric McCormack, that honoured this year’s special-awards recipients. Honourees on hand included Entertainment One CEO Darren Throop, Lifetime Achievement Award recipient filmmaker Deepa Mehta, sketch-comedy icons Kids in the Hall, producer Brad Wright and actor Mary Walsh. Out too, to cheer them on, was actor Emily Hampshire (nominated for best supporting or guest actress, comedy, for Schitt’s Creek) and her fiancée, music producer Teddy Geiger, producer Ivan Fecan, the Academy’s CEO Beth Janson and actor Sarah Gadon, who was a presenter the following evening. The soirée, this year co-chaired by producers Neishaw Ali, Martin Katz and Pinewood Toronto Studios Inc. chairman Paul Bronfman, acts as a fundraiser too – raising money for the Academy’s programming initiatives, which aim to increase public awareness of Canadian screen content, provide year-round professional development opportunities for its legion of members and create mentorship opportunities for up-and-coming and underrepresented creators.

Dear Evan Hansen premiere, Toronto

A couple of nights earlier, Dear Evan Hansen had its Canadian premiere at the Royal Alexandra Theatre in Toronto on March 28. The contemporary musical, which won best musical at the 2017 Tony Awards, centres on an “invisible” high-school outsider longing for acceptance. It has garnered a kind of cult following, adored especially by millennial and postmillennial theatregoers. The music and lyric duo behind the hit, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, and book writer Steven Levenson, were all in attendance for opening night. After curtain call they joined producers David Mirvish and Stacey Mindich, and a couple of hundred guests, off-site for a celebration. As I departed the gathering, the fantastic cast, including lead Robert Markus, Stephanie La Rochelle and Jessica Sherman were on their way in, all dressed-up and ready for a night, filled, I’m sure, with well-earned adulation.

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