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Bringing Broadway to the Segal
Article mis en ligne le jeudi 4 octobre 2012

Photo: Sarah Geledi

Actor Frank Moore portrays hapless gangster Nathan Detroit in the Segal Centre production of Guys and Dolls.

The Segal Centre for Performing Arts kicks off its 2012-2013 theatre season with the biggest production they’ve ever had: Guys and Dolls, a beloved Broadway classic musical about sex, love and redemption in 1940s New York.

“It’s an amazing opportunity for the centre. It’s absolutely the biggest production we’ve had, by any measure,” said Artistic Producer Paul Flicker at last week’s media event, where the cast played three musical scenes. “This is our first production of the season. It launches the year and I think it does it in style. I think it’s just going to be an amazing production.”

The Tony Award-winning musical Guys and Dolls first premiered in 1950 and was later dubbed “the greatest of all American musicals” by Time magazine. The original production, which ran for 1200 performances, was also turned into a Hollywood movie starring Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra.

Under the masterful direction of Diana Leblanc, the cherished Broadway classic is now revived in the up-close-and-personal setting of the Segal Theatre, right in the backyard of Côte-des-Neiges and NDG.

“I think it speaks to the commitment we want to make, to bring this calibre and level of theatre to our communities and make it accessible,” said John Rondeau, Director of Production and NDG resident. “I think to have a centre of creation and diffusion right in the heart of these communities is an amazing opportunity. It means that we can stay accessible.”

Accessibility is an important factor for the local performance centre, Rondeau explained. “At the end of the day, we don’t want to price ourselves away from the people who are around us and want to come and see us. We’re not at a Place des Arts price point, we’re affordable and that comes from the support we get from our patrons and our sponsors and the support we get from the community.”

For the first time, the Segal will be offering French supertitles for one of its productions on select showings. There will be French translation of the English dialogue projected above the stage. The songs, however, will speak for themselves.

“We want to be open to all communities,” Rondeau explained. “We welcome the francophone community. We want them to share in this dialogue that we’re trying to have with our community.”

Another local resident will take part in the lavish production. Maggie Owen has been cast as one of the Hot Box Girls in the massive 24-person ensemble cast. Her character is in many of the ensemble numbers at the beginning of the show.

Owen is no rookie when it comes to performing at the Segal, having played in Lies My Father Told Me and The Jazz Singer. Although she doesn’t have a leading role in Guys and Dolls, Owen is thrilled to be a part of this epic production and back on the local stage.

“There’s something for everyone in here. You have the big bouncy numbers with all the Hot Box Girls that are lots of fun. Then you have the ballads with Tracy Michailidis and Scott Wentworth. Then you have the comic relief with Susan Henley and Frank Moore. It’s a pleasure to watch them because I feel they also put a new spin on it. They created something new with a show that’s been around for so long.”

Guys and Dolls runs until Oct. º28 at the Segal Centre of Performing Arts, 5170 Côte Ste. Catherine Rd.

[ Sarah Geledi ]

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