Canada Day, almost always on July 1st, is special this year for two reasons: 2017 marks Canada’s 150th anniversary. And it’s the first day of Soulpepper on 42nd Street.
Starting today through July 29, Soulpepper, a 20-year-old theater company company based in Toronto, is taking over the Signature Theater Center and presenting 65 Canadian artists (63 of whom are making their New York stage debuts) in 10 shows — plays, musicals and cabarets. (see schedule below)
The kickoff event this afternoon was entitled True North: A Concert of Canada (which will be repeated tonight and Sunday), and featured 90 minutes of Canadian songs, starting with “Heave Away,” the kind of traditional uptempo Celtic-flavored melody from Newfoundland that obviously influenced the score for “Come From Away,” the current Broadway hit that is the pride of Canada.
The toe-tapping Newfoundland music not of course the Sound of Canada. The Sound of Canada, judging from the Soulpepper concert, ranges from “The Hockey Song,” a folksy singalong about the national sport to The Africville Suite, a classical jazz composition that pays homage to Africville, a black settlement near the final stop on the Underground Railroad for escaped American slaves before the Civil War. that the City of Halifax demolished in 1960s. Also included in the concerts are songs by Leonard Cohen, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Gordon Lightfoot, Joni Mitchell and The Tragically Hip — yes, Canadians all. A slot was given to J.S. Bach, who was not in fact Canadian, but Bach’s Prelude in C was sung in a mashup with After With Goldrush by Neil Young, who is.
Soulpepper on 42nd Street
W. Somerset Maugham’s epic tale of lustful obsession and the pursuit of art is adapted for the stage for the first time anywhere.
The most successful new Canadian play of the last decade, Ins Choi’s “Kim’s Convenience” is set in a family-run Korean variety store. An ode to generations of immigrants who have made Canada the country that it is.
Dennis Lee is called “Canada’s Father Goose”(also known for his lyrics to Jim Henson’s Fraggle Rock). Five who grew up on his stories have made a musical out of them.
A whimsical musical celebration of the works of one of America’s great 20th century poets.
Written and performed by Pamela Mala Sinha.
After the loss of a loved one, a woman must face the shattering memories of a past trauma. Written and performed by Pamela Mala Sinha.
A Brimful of Ashes
Ravi and Asha Jain
Ravi Jain shares the stage with his real life non-actor mother, Asha, to tell each other’s side of Asha’s attempt to arrange Ravi’s marriage.
TRUE NORTH: A CONCERT OF CANADA
NEW YORK – THE MELTING POT
A love letter from Toronto’s artists to the city of New York, it traces the contributions of immigrant cultures to the creation of the soundtrack of the 20th century right here in Manhattan.