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CITS’ new season reflects economic times

Recognizing the economic realities, the Centre In The Square has pared back its offerings in the 2009-2010 season, details of which were announced this week.

Having expanded into double-digits, this coming year’s series have been reduced to seven, billed as The Magnificent 7.

“We’ve recognized that people still need entertainment, but they’re more price conscious – that’s why we’ve reduced the number of shows in the series, to make them more affordable,” said general manager Jamie Grant at Wednesday’s launch. “We’ve made them more bite size.”

Next season’s schedule at the Centre In The Square will offer a variety of performances, including The Wizard of Oz.
Next season’s schedule at the Centre In The Square will offer a variety of performances, including The Wizard of Oz.

Though fewer in number, the series will continue to offer a range of entertainment, from surefire family offerings to performances out on the edge.

“Playing it safe guarantees you death,” he said in an interview.

For the next season, the seven series will be: Broadway, Comedy, Edge of Broadway, Encore, Electric Thursdays, Great Canadian Play and On Stage. CITS will also continue the popular Songwriters’ Circle.

The current economy means finding just the right blend of value and the kind of entertainment people need to provide a diversion such as a good laugh or poignant family experience.

“The world changed last fall, but one thing that has stayed the same is the power of connecting to a live performance and in turbulent economic times we need these experiences more than ever.”

The presentations on tap for next season are diverse, including the likes of Cabaret, comedians Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood and Downchild Blues Band.

Among the offerings, the Broadway Series this season will feature two musicals – The Wizard of Oz (three shows Dec. 29 and 30) and Beauty and the Beast (three shows Mar. 16 and 17, 2010).

Both are scheduled on school holidays – Christmas and March Break, respectively – to allow for these classics to be enjoyed by the whole family, Grant explained.

The Comedy Series will feature three performances: Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood (Oct. 17), stars of the Emmy nominated Who’s Line Is It Anyway? and masters of improv; The Blackpack Sellout (Feb. 20), four young African-American comics essentially demystifying the black experience, stressing individuality and lots of laughs; and The Just for Laughs Road Show (Apr. 30).

The Edge of Broadway takes conventional theatre a few extra steps away from the mainstream.

Altar Boyz (Oct. 7) is a parody full of irreverent humour in telling the story of five small-town boys – Matthew, Mark, Luke, Juan and Abraham – trying to save the world one screaming fan at a time. They’re a pious pop act with songs that include lyrics like “Girl You Make Me Wanna Wait” and “Jesus Called Me On My Cell Phone.”

Avenue Q (Nov. 24-26) is a musical featuring actors and puppets, but it’s definitely not for young kids, touching on subjects such as sex, drinking, and surfing the web for porn. But with a building superintendent by the name of Gary Coleman (yes, that Gary Coleman), humour is the order of the day. “It’s kinda like the Muppets meet Rent,” said Grant.

The series concludes with Cabaret (May 6), taking the audience back to the Kit Kat Club in the Berlin of 1929. The story is familiar, but Grant has sought out the edgiest version he could find.

“The Edge of Broadway Series is raw, naughty and fun.  We are so jazzed to be bringing this new kind of Broadway to The Centre. This ain’t Oklahoma, and is designed for a younger crowd!”

The Great Canadian Play Series presents two plays, Jake’s Gift (Nov. 3), about a reluctant veteran’s return to Juno Beach, and Summer of My Amazing Luck (Feb. 24), the stage adaptation of a novel by Governor General Award-winning author Miriam Toews about two moms who are out to change their luck.

Information and tickets for the complete 2009-2010 series are now available from the Centre In The Square box office at 578-1570 or toll-free 1-800-265-8977, or online at www.centre-square.com.

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