Those of us in Toronto can finally enjoy live/musical theatre again! The new Canadian musical BLACKOUT opens at High Park Amphitheatre as part of Canadian Stage’s Dream in High Park 2021 programming this week. The Musical Stage Company (MSC) has supported the development of this in-development production over the past year.
BLACKOUT is set on the evening of the blackout of 2003 and while this happened nearly 20 years ago, a musical about how Torontonians came together and found connection in the dark feels quite relevant today when the city is slowly coming out of the darkness of the pandemic and trying to reconnect.
BLACKOUT was originally developed through The Musical Stage Company’s REPRINT, the inaugural production for Launch Pad – a musical development residency created by MSC, Yonge Street Theatricals, in association with the Globe and Mail.
Steven Gallagher wrote the book and Anton Lipovetsky wrote the music and lyrics for their original story, Cygnus as part of MSC’s Launch Pad residency. From there, MSC asked them to to expand on their concept. Instead of expanding on Cygnus, they opted to work on three stories of connection that unfolded when the city was dark, and strangers banded together to find the light. The stories to be featured in BLACKOUT are Cygnus, Gemini and Pandora.
Cygnus is a story about two gay men (Brandon Antonio and Michael De Rose), who meet by chance late at night in Riverdale Park. Gemini revolves around two sisters (Chilina Kennedy and Synthia Yusuf) in Little Italy who don’t get along. Pandora (Yemie Sonuga, Rami Khan, Germaine Konjih and Jonathan Winsby) is set in the middle of the night in a backyard in the Cabbagetown neighbourhood.
BLACKOUT is a story of hope, resilience, and community that is well-suited to a moment of reconnection for us in this city. After months of pandemic uncertainty, including lockdowns, returning to live art events is something I have been looking forward to with great excitement. I am looking forward to experiencing the show live and in real-time, while also supporting the team behind it.
I share with you my conversation with Steven Gallagher, Anton Lipovetsky, and Yemie Sunoga (Pandora) which took place before the show’s first preview. It was so great to hear more about the production and share in their excitement.
Full information on the show is available at musicalstagecompany.com.