Toronto Fringe FestivalOur last show of THE TALE OF PIGLING BLAND at the Toronto Fringe Festival was on Saturday July 15 at 4pm.

It was another sold out show (we actually turned away 25 people, regrettably) and another terrific show thanks to the cast, musicians and crew (although some of the Fringe personnel can get a bit testy at times — I guess it must be a stressful job.).

Doing a kid’s show was really a new experience for me. Watching (and hearing) kids watch the show was an amazing experience. We got a real variety of ages. A lot in our “target” age group of 3 to 9, but also a lot of 1.5 to 2 year olds and surprisingly, a lot of young adults who saw it more than once!

Everyone seemed to enjoy the traditional musical structure, and the classic Beatrix Potter story. We didn’t try to dumb down the form for kids — we just took a kids story and created a regular musical out of it. One of the most engaging aspects of the show was the music and the orchestrations: Accordian, euphonium, and clarinet. For a lot of kids this really was the first time they had seen and or heard live instruments and it really added to the magic of the story telling. Of course it didn’t hurt that the musicians wore pig noses!

It was sad to say goodbye to everyone as we loaded up the car with the set and costume pieces. (Now I have the revolving sign, “to market’ or “Piperson’s”, under my dining room table!). A big thank you to my family, Mitch, Marc, Michael K., the cast, the crew, the band, and the Toronto Fringe Festival!

Lots of good stuff will be happening in the not-so-distant future for THE TALE OF PIGLING BLAND, so stay tuned, and stay vegetarian!

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THE TALE OF PIGLING BLANDToday’s the final show for THE TALE OF PIGLING BLAND. I can’t believe it! The time has flown by!

I’ll do a wrap-up post in a few days, but I want to thank our wonderful and dedicated cast, our fantastic Director Marc Richard, and my gifted collaborator (and Musical Director) Mitchell Kitz for turning this into such a creative and energizing experience.

I’m so proud of everyone involved in the show — we’ve done a great job, and our sell-out audiences are a great testament to what we’ve created.

I’ve talked to a bunch of people who have seen the show again and again — thank you to all you honorary PIGLETS.

It looks like you’ll need to be at the Palmerston Library at least an hour before showtime today to get a ticket. Don’t miss it!

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I never read reviews; I just post them on my blog!I never read reviews…I just post them on my blog!

Well it’s been a crazy week of sold-out shows for THE TALE OF PIGLING BLAND down at the Palmerston Library Theatre! I wish the theatre were bigger, ‘cuz I hate it when we have to turn away parents with kids!

Check out our nifty reviews! Congrats to the cast and musicians and crew!

From NOW Magazine’s “Best and Worst of the Fringe” issue July 13 -19 page 75:

Rated: NNNN [Ed: Yeah! We rock!]Adapted from a Beatrix Potter tale, this bright and entertaining kids’ musical follows the adventures of an innocent pig sent to market. Marc Richard’s sharp direction enlivens the production, as do the talents of a group of committed young performers, including Daniel Greenberg in the title role. You have to love a show that opens and closes with a chorus about stinky pigs, features a chorus line of cleaver waving butchers and gives the three piece orchestra porcine snouts.

From EYE WEEKLY Best of The Fringe edidition July 13, 2006 page 44:

Rated: *** [Ed: Hmmm…]

Daniel Greenberg is fabulous as the very personable Pigling Bland in this solid musical adaptation of the Beatrix Potter classic…the piggy behaviour is well-rendered and the portrayals of (and costumes for) the other animals are brilliant. Farmer Piperson…is not overly scary for young children. Well-sung, and with live instrumentation from the side of the stage, the production’s music contributes well to the tale.

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I guess I'm just a party animal.I guess I’m just a party animal…

Whew, what a weekend. We started off on Saturday with a 12:45pm show of THE TALE OF PIGLING BLAND at the Palmerston Library Theatre. We had a really good crowd, with lots of kids. What a thrill to see the kids get so involved with the show. One little girl said out loud for everyone to hear “He’s the bad guy” as grizzled old Piperson walked out. And when Pigling said “look at that farm over there” in the direction of the back of the theatre, all the kids heads turned to look for thismysterious farm! What fun!

Then off to the Fringe Club tent where we checked our stock of postcards and of course, had a beer in the Fringe tent (the kids had a coke of course…). Then, it was off to the Tarragon Theatre Mainspace to see “WELCOME TO EDEN, POPULATION 2″, with music by the wonderful Mark Selby! My husband Grad worked the lines masterfully convincing everybody to see THE TALE OF PIGLING BLAND and take a postcard! Props to Grad!

Then, it was dinner at the Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar where

we actually got a table right away! It’s actually a fun place to take kids cuz they always have French fries on the menu!

We got an early start on Sunday because we had to get to the Performing Arts Stage at Dundas Square at 11am for the Celebrate Toronto Street Festival! No rain, but about 150 degrees in the shade! W00h00! The cast arrived in costume at 11:45am (pretty brave I must say to walk through the Eaton Centre dressed as a pig…) and we did a sound check at noon. We even got buzzed by three F-18 fighter jets who were (I hope) flying in an air show!

Then at 12:30pm the party started with FLAMENCO CONFUSION, a really cool Spanish guitar with flamenco and hip hop dancing. Then came THREE BILLY GOATS GRUFF, and finally THE TALE OF PIGLING BLAND. The whole gang did “We’re Pigs” and then Daniel soloed on “Little Patch of Potatoes”. Of course Grad and I were pounding the pavement accosting people with postcards!

Then off to see GIANT KILLER SHARKS THE MUSICAL at 3:30pm and work the lines. What a hilarious musical! Perfect Fringe Fare!

Then back to the Fringe Club tent to re-stock our cards, and of course, have a beer in the Fringe tent! It really is fun to hang out there and talk to other fringers.

Finally, we headed over to the Palmerston Library Theatre for our 6:15pm show of THE TALE OF PIGLING BLAND. Another great show!

Suntanned and bleery-eyed, we headed home for Sunday sushi!

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Give my regards to Broadway, Remember me to Dundas Square!Give my regards to Broadway, Remember me to Dundas Square!

THE TALE OF PIGLING BLAND was one of four Toronto Fringe shows asked to perform at the City of Toronto’s Celebrate Toronto Street Festival on Sunday, July 9!

That’s right — on Sunday July 9 between 12:30pm and 1:00pm the cast of THE TALE OF PIGLING BLAND will be performing a short segment from the show on the Performing Arts Stage (located in the heart of the Festival, on Yonge St. just south of Dundas Square on the west side of the street). We promise to sing loud enough to drown out the Indy cars, and the World Cup parties. OK — let’s be realistic — we’ll drown out the Indy cars, but we may have a challenge with the Italian soccer fans.

Come on down — it’s free and promises to be a piggy good time!

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THE TALE OF PIGLING BLANDCongratulations to Marc Richard, our fantastic director and the wonderful cast of THE TALE OF PIGLING BLAND which got Now Magazine’s highest rating: “NNNN” from a review of yesterday’s opening. And hey — that was our FIRST SHOW — it’s only going to get better!

Here’s the capsule review by Jon Kaplan:

THE TALE OF PIGLING BLAND
Presented by: M Kitz Productions
Rating: NNNN
Venue: KidsVenue — Palmerston Library Theatre

Reviewed by: Jon Kaplan

Adapted from a Beatrix Potter tale, this bright and entertaining kids’ musical by Suzy Conn and Mitchell Kitz follows the adventures of a young pig sent to market. Marc Richard’s sharp direction enlivens the production, as do the talents of a group of committed performers.

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This little Piggy is a hit at the Toronto Fringe Festival!This little Piggy is a hit at the Toronto Fringe Festival!

We had our Fringe debut yesterday afternoon at the Palmerston Library Theatre. How exciting! We had done our tech rehearsal about a week ago, and had done some re-writing over the course of the week, so I didn’t know what to expect!

The cast and crew were like a well-oiled machine! By the time I got there with my youngest daughter everone had unloaded my husband’s car and they were warming up, waiting to get into the theatre. My husband and oldest daughter were there with 100 beautifully designed and folded “PIGBILL” programmes (thank you Michael Karst!), ready to hand out.

Once the doors opened everything went like clockwork — the backdrop was hung, the set pieces arranged on the spiked floor and everyone in make up and costume. The cast then came out into the audience in costume and chatted with the kids, warming up the crowd with piggy hijinks!

At exactly 3:45pm the house lights went down and the show began! Fortunately, the band (accordian, clarinet and baritone) had stand lights so they were able to read their music (always handy!).

What an amazing first show. Everybody hit their marks, props, notes, cues, quick changes, lighting and lines! And the magic that happens when everything pulls together with everybody together — cast/crew/band/audience — began. I like to sit at the back and watch the audience. The kids were mesmerized! What a great show (if I do say so myself!).

We have shows coming up this weekend, all next week, and next Saturday. Tickets are going fast — we’ve sold out most of our pre-sells but there are still 50% of the tickets held for day-of-show sales so come and drop by!

Oink!

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Boing Boing put upBoing Boing put up this nice post about the opening of THE TALE OF PIGLING BLAND. Thanks Cory!

Beatrix Potter musical opens at Toronto Fringe Fest today

My friend Suzy Conn is opening her new children’s musical called THE TALE OF PIGLING BLAND today at the Toronto Fringe Festival. It’s based on the classic Beatrix Potter story of the same name, and it’s a good example of why copyright needs to revert back to the public domain.

Beatrix Potter herself was able to make a great living off her books, and she provided for a number of charities after her death. However, now that the stories have reverted to the public domain, Suzy has been able to add her own art to the stories, and bring an entirely new dimension (music and choreography) to Beatrix Potter’s original creation. Link (Thanks, Grad!)

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THE TALE OF PIGLING BLANDTHE TALE OF PIGLING BLAND opens TODAY at the Toronto Fringe Festival!!

We’ve been working hard to bring everyone a great show! It’s a big cast (8) with full costumes, sets, and band. Everyone will be guaranteed to have a GREAT time.

Just in case you need the details — here’s a reminder of when we’re playing and the ridiculously low ticket price. And remember, the Fringe only allows 50% of a show to be pre-sold, so if you don’t have time to buy ahead — show up!

BUY TICKETS
Toronto Fringe Tickets
Call: 416.967.1528

Children: $5
Grown-ups: $10

PERFORMANCES
Thursday, July 6 @ 3:45pm
Saturday, July 8 @ 12:45pm
Sunday, July 9 @ 6:15pm
Monday, July 10 @ 2:15pm
Tuesday, July 11 @ 4:15pm
Thursday, July 13 @ 5:30pm
Friday, July 14 @ 12:45pm
Saturday, July 15 @ 4:00pm

LOCATION
Palmerston Library Theatre
560 Palmerston Avenue (Near Bathurst and Bloor)
Google Map

Please note that the Fringe is REALLY strict on latecomers. Even if you’re 10 seconds late, they won’t let you in once the door is closed, which happens promptly at start time. They have to do this because so many shows share the same space, so they have to rigidly adhere to start and stop times.

The show is directed by Marc Richard, who also directed our PLANE CRAZY production at Sheridan College.

This show fulfills a long-held theory of mine, backed up by years of experimentation on my own children, that in our society, too often, we subject our young ones to mindlessly simplistic “hop and skips”, when they are capable of understanding and enjoying more sophisticated fare.

And, the hard-rhyming convention of Broadway is a wonderful tool for teaching language skills.

See you there! Oink, oink…

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OK, today's the big day; the opening of the 2006OK, today’s the big day — the opening of the 2006 Toronto Fringe Festival!

I’m so excited to be participating in my first FRINGE, and I can’t wait to see THE TALE OF PIGLING BLAND up on stage. It’s going to be a ton of fun.

We’ve got some fun PR events lined up this week — tomorrow we’re going down to the CBC to record a “Fringe Flash” which is a 60-second promo for the show. We’ve got a 44-second duet between Pigling Bland and Pigwig that will be just perfect!

On Sunday, July 9 we’ll be performing at the “Celebrate Toronto Street Festival” down at Dundas Square. We’ll be performing at 12:30, with our flak jackets on…

If you need any instructions on how to see the show or how to buy tickets, visit the PIGLING Web site, or drop me a Comment.

Please note that the Fringe is REALLY strict on latecomers. Even if you’re 10 seconds late, they won’t let you in once the door is closed, which happens promptly at start time. They have to do this because so many shows share the same space, so they have to rigidly adhere to start and stop times.

All performances are at the Palmerston Library Theatre 560 Palmerston Avenue (Near Bathurst and Bloor).

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What Does $5 Buy You These Days?What Does $5 Buy You These Days? Or, “Gee Our Old Lasalle Ran Great, Those Were the Days…”

I remember when pop was ten cents a can (well, who would pay more than that for a can of Tahiti Treat for goodness sake!) and a bag of cheesecorn and a new Archie Comic would set you back about fifty cents! Ah the early ’70s…

But inflation has really eaten away at a kid’s buying power! I mean it’s hard for a kid to scrape together enough to buy a supersized extra large fries these days!

So what does a fiver get you?

1. One movie rental for which you get one highly scratched, virtually unwatchable DVD of HOOK — hmmm — or;

2. Two and a half supersized Mr. Big chocolate bars (ASIDE: Does anybody really need that much nougat?) — hmmm — or;

3. Forty-five fabulous minutes of the all singing’ and all dancin’ hot new kids live-on-air-conditioned-stage musical THE TALE OF PIGLING BLAND!

That’s right! For just $5 ($10 for young-at-heart grown-ups), a kid can come and see eight incredibly-talented actors and three incredibly-talented musicians bring the classic Beatrix Potter story to musical life! THE TALE OF PIGLING BLAND is the fun family musical story about a pig who is forced to find his way in the world — the perfect coming of age PIG story!

And here’s the closer — no tax! Just a crisp five bucks (or two toonies and a loony, or five loonies, or 20 quarters or … well, you get the picture!).

So kids, go bug your Mom or Dad or big sis or big bro’ to bring you to see THE TALE OF PIGLING BLAND. Your grown-up can buy tickets by calling 416.967.1528 or visiting fringetoronto.com.

Happy days are here again!

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Hey, these are cool!Hey, these are cool!

In keeping with the “children’s literature” theme of this musical, we are now producing THE TALE OF PIGLING BLAND bookmarks.

Now you can keep your place in your favorite book with your favorite musical! ;-)

Remember, Beatrix Potter is the most popular children’s author of ALL TIME. According to this entry on Wikipedia:

Beatrix Potter, or Helen Beatrix Potter (July 28, 1866 - December 22, 1943) was a British children’s book author and illustrator. Her most famous character is Peter Rabbit.Her father, Rupert Potter, although educated as a barrister, spent his days at Gentlemen’s clubs and rarely practised. Her mother spent her time visiting or receiving visitors. Both parents lived on incomes (inheritances) from their parents. Nannies and governesses raised Beatrix and her younger brother, Bertram. When she came of age, her parents appointed her their housekeeper and discouraged any intellectual development, instead requiring her to supervise the household. An uncle attempted to introduce her as a student at the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, but she was rejected because she was female.

The basis of her many projects and stories were the small animals that she smuggled into the house or observed during family holidays in Scotland and the Lake District.

Potter was one of the first to suggest that lichens were a symbiotic relationship between fungi and algae, but her one attempt to publish was thwarted. Her uncle had to read her paper at the scientific society because they did not admit females. At the time the only way to record microscopic images was by painting them; her pictures of fungi were widely admired.

She was encouraged to publish her story, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, but she struggled to find a publisher until it was accepted in 1902. The small book and her following works were extremely well received and she gained an independent income from the sales. She also became secretly engaged to the publisher, Norman Warne, but her parents were set against her marrying anyone who worked for a living. He died before the wedding, causing a breach between Beatrix and her parents.

From an early age, Potter was a writer. From the age of fifteen until she was past thirty, she recorded her everyday life in journals, using her own secret code-writing. Potter wrote 23 books. These were published in a small format, easy for a child to hold and read. Her writing efforts abated around 1920 due to poor eyesight, though her last major work, The Tale of Little Pig Robinson, was published in 1930.

In her later years she bought and ran a sheep farm in the English Lake District; she loved the landscape, and with the steady stream of royalties from her books, along with the inheritance from her parents, she bought up large areas of local land. She had been a friend of one of the founders of the National Trust, and in her will, much of the property was left to the Trust — cottages, 15 farms, 4000 acres (16 km²) of land — to ensure that its beauty could remain unspoiled. Her legacy is now part of the Lake District National Park. Her most famous books were published by Frederick Warne & Company since 1902.

At the age of 47, Beatrix Potter married her solicitor, William Heelis; they had no children. She died in Sawrey, Lancashire on December 22, 1943.

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I am quickly becoming intimately familiar with every single rehearsal room at Equity Showcase Theatre!I am quickly becoming intimately familiar with every single rehearsal room at Equity Showcase Theatre! And I’m on a first-name basis with Puck, the humungous white and black cat that lives there (I call it “get away from me you wretched animal” and it calls me “Suzy”).

We’ve been in the Apartment Studio, The Guild Room, The Lower Hall, and tonight it’s the Auditorium. What I like about the Lower Hall (aside from its football-field dimensions) are the yellow stacking chairs. These padded chairs are exactly the ones my dad bought for our kitchen back in the ’70s.

Back to rehearsals…we’ve already staged the first three scenes. The opening, “We’re Pigs” is going to be awesome!

The actors have all found their inner pigs and physically transform themselves with the first “we’re pigs”. Even without costumes you can really see it. And our wonderful set team — Shawndra and Don — have already provided us with the moveable picket fences that will have multiple uses throughout the show.

It’s also fun to watch Marc and the actors give the characters more dimension than just what is on the page (I think Aunt Pettitoes could use a glass of Sherry…). We’ve got a really great group and because they’ve worked together before with Marc at Sheridan, they share a real affection for each other, and also a shorthand language.

Tonight is another music-only rehearsal, and then tomorrow night Marc is going to choreograph the infamous “Door Song” between Pigling and Pigwig. Can’t wait!

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Yeah!Yeah!

NYMF (the New York Musical Theatre Festival) put this article on their homepage — featuring the continuing work of alumni.

Thanks Kris!

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I am very excited to start rehearsals this week.I am very excited to start rehearsals this week.

I enjoy working on shows for children — especially since I used to teach kindergarten (in another life) and I love creating theatre that that young kids will enjoy.

I am also a fan of Beatrix Potter and I used to read her books when I was a child. In fact, for my twenty-first birthday my mother gave me the entire Beatrix Potter collection of books!

I am happy to be working with Suzy again after such a great collaboration on PLANE CRAZY, and it’s also exciting to be working with Mitch for the first time.

I am also really looking forward to working with so many former students of mine from Sheridan College who are graduates from both this year and last year. It will be great to see them all again and work with them outside of the school setting. The key challenge with this show will be physicalizing these animal characters — that is, finding the animal that is that person or the person that is the animal.

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Broadwayworld.com ran our press releaseYeah!

Broadwayworld.com ran our press release in this article today:

Directed and choreographed by Marc Richard, THE TALE OF PIGLING BLAND “is a fun family musical about a pig who is forced to find his way in the world — the perfect coming-of-age PIG story! Beatrix Potter is the most popular children’s author of all time, so this musical is sure to be a hit with children aged 3 to 9 (and their parents). The running time of 45 minutes is perfect for a child’s first musical theatre experience!,” state press notes on the show, which is co-written by Suzy Conn and Mitchell Kitz.

Conn (book and lyrics) previously wrote PLANE CRAZY, which was honoured at last fall’s New York Musical Theatre Festival, while Kitz (music) is a respected Toronto-area composer, a graduate of the BMI Musical Theatre Workshop in New York, and the writer, arranger, and music director for the children’s show “4-SQUARE” on Treehouse TV.

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M. Kitz ProductionsTORONTO, June 19, 2006 — M. Kitz Productions is pleased to announce that Beatrix Potter’s beloved children’s story, THE TALE OF PIGLING BLAND, will come to musical life at this year’s Toronto Fringe Festival.

Directed and choreographed by Marc Richard, THE TALE OF PIGLING BLAND is a fun family musical about a pig who is forced to find his way in the world — the perfect coming-of-age PIG story! Beatrix Potter is the most popular children’s author of all time, so this musical is sure to be a hit with children aged 3 to 9 (and their parents). The running time of 45 minutes is perfect for a child’s first musical theatre experience!

The show is co-written by Suzy Conn and Mitchell Kitz.

Suzy is well known for her musical PLANE CRAZY, which was honoured at last fall’s New York Musical Theatre Festival, while Mitchell is a highly respected Toronto-area composer, a graduate of the BMI Musical Theatre Workshop in New York, and the writer, arranger, and music director for the children’s show 4-SQUARE on Treehouse TV.

According to Suzy Conn (Book and Lyrics): “This is a children’s musical with a classic show tune structure. I would describe it as ’sophisticated yet accessible’. This musical features interesting rhymes and new memorable melodies, with more story, more action, and more heart.”

Mitchell Kitz (Composer) says: “Musically, I wanted the world of Pigling Bland to have adventure, marvel, energy and modern humour. Relying on traditional Broadway, jazz, and music hall styles, the music has energy, heart and a sense of fun and adventure both for the pigs and for kids.”

Performances feature singing and dancing from a cast of graduates from Sheridan College’s Music Theatre Performance Program, including Daniel Greenberg as Pigling Bland; Lana Sugarman as PigWig; Rachel Brittain as Alexander; Rebecca Stewart as Aunt Pettitoes; Janna Polzin as Cat; Trevor Campbell as Dog; Trevor Williams as Piperson; and Andrew Chandler as Policeman. Other members of the creative team include Shawndra White (Stage Manager); Melissa Joakim (Costume Designer); and Don McMahon (ASM).

The orchestra features a strolling band playing a fun combination of instruments — with Heather Amyot on Accordian, Julia Hambleton on Clarinet, and Mitchell Kitz on Baritone.

THE TALE OF PIGLING BLAND is available for a limited run of eight shows only, from July 6 to 15. All performances are at the Toronto Fringe Festival KidsVenue space at the Palmerston Library Theatre at 560 Palmerston Avenue (near Bathurst and Bloor). For tickets call 416.966.1062 or visit fringetoronto.com. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children.

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The countdown to our FRINGE opening begins!The countdown to our FRINGE opening begins!

We had our first rehearsal on June 14 at Equity Showcase. It was great to get the whole cast together (and yes, they are as cute in person as they are on the Web site!).

Joining us was Shawndra, our Stage Manager, and our new Assistant Stage Manager/Props guy, Don McMahon — welcome aboard!

Also, our accordian player, Heather Amyot (yes I said accordian!) was playing piano. While I’m on the subject, our band will be composed of Heather on accordian, Julia Hambleton on clarinet, and our composer Mitch on baritone (which is sort of like a small tuba). I can’t wait to see our roving band of musicians in action! Mitch was running the show as we focused all on running through all the music.

It’s always great to hear your songs performed, and it helps me as the lyricist to hear how the words sound when they are sung by somebody else. The group stuff sounds great, and the cast are very quick when it comes to harmony. Then we went through the solo songs, and Lana and Daniel really sound great together in their duets. Our director, Marc, was furiously making notes and already came up with great suggestions and I have started writing new stuff already!

We had our venue walkthrough last week and it was really exciting to see the theatre, and imagine our actors in the space, singing and dancing up a piggy storm!

Stay tuned for more rehearsal news!

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Hey kids,Hey kids, download our great PIGLING BLAND coloring page, color it in, and get into THE TALE OF PIGLING BLAND for FREE!!

That’s right, we’ll pay for any child that shows up to the show with a colored poster.

Click here to download the coloring poster.

No rules for the coloring — use any color scheme you want, in any media you desire.

Coloring outside the lines is highly recommended — both for this contest, and for life itself…

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Now that I've gotten y'all excitedNow that I’ve gotten y’all excited about having some down home farm fun, here’s some official info from the Toronto Fringe Festival about purchasing tickets!

Fringe Ticket Passes
Part of the fun of Fringing is sampling as many plays as possible. In order to encourage patrons to take a few risks when picking their plays — and to help save some money at the same time — the Festival offers three discount ticket passes that we hope you’ll consider purchasing.

FRINGE 5-PLAY PASS: $40.00
This pass was a huge hit at last year’s Fringe! It gives anyone the chance to check out 5 shows of their choice. Maximum one ticket per play per pass.

FREQUENT FRINGER PASS: $70.00
This popular pass gives you the chance to check out 10 shows for the price of seven. Maximum one ticket per play per pass.

BUDDY PASS: $90.00
For people who Fringe in pairs. This 14-show pass allows you to see and share with another for the price of 9 shows. Up to two tickets per play per pass.

Passes can be ordered in advance by calling 416-966-1062, by faxing the order form to 416-966-5072, or can be purchased in person at the TO TIX booth at Yonge-Dundas Square.

Starting July 5, passes can be purchased at the Advance Ticket Box Office, 292 Brunswick Ave., from Noon to 8pm daily. Passes will also be available during the festival at Fringe venues 1 to 11 (cash sales only).

All Fringe passes may only be used for “at the door” tickets and are non-transferable. The Buddy Pass can have one or two names listed on the pass. ID must be shown when using your pass.

Advance Ticket Sales
If you prefer not to stand in line to purchase a ticket, or if you want to make sure you get a ticket to that “Fringe Hit”, we’ve provided you with three advance ticket options.

Advance Tickets By Phone:
June 20 to July 4, 10am – 5pm (Mon-Fri)
July 5 to July 16, 10am – 7pm daily

Call (416) 967-1528
Payment options: Visa, Mastercard, Amex

Advance Tickets In Person:
July 5 to July 16, Noon – 8pm

Fringe Club, 292 Brunswick Ave. (South of Bloor St.)
Payment options: Cash, Interac, Visa, Mastercard, Amex

Advance Tickets On-Line:
June 20 to July 16

For online sales go to the Fringe Web site. Advance Tickets can be purchased up to 3 hours prior to the start of a performance. Only 50% of the tickets to any performance are available for advance purchase. There is a $2 surcharge included in each $10 advance ticket.

Children’s advance tickets for the KidsVenue will be $5, the same as the “at the door” ticket price.

Advance ticket services are provided by the Toronto International Film Festival Group (TIFFG). All credit card sales will be processed by TIFFG on behalf of the Fringe. All privacy regulations will be followed.

***For on-line sales only, there will also be an additional $4.50 order fee for this service charged by TIFFG***

“At The Door” Ticket Sales
“At The Door” tickets for the first performance of the day at all venues (including BYOV’s) will go on sale 30 minutes prior to showtime.

“At The Door” tickets for all other performances in the day will go on sale one hour prior to showtime.

So what are y’all waiting for?

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Was it for the fame? Was it for the money?Was it for the fame? Was it for the money? Was it to get free pork products?

No, not entirely. The reason I wrote (actually co-wrote — Mitchell Kitz wrote the music) this particular musical is that I wanted to write a show for young kids. More specifically I wanted to write the type of show to which I would want to take my kids (when they were aged 3 to 9).

If kids are going to appreciate and go to live theatre when they are adults, they need to appreciate and go to live theatre when they are children. Just like we train kids to go to the movies, we need to make live theatre a regular part of their lives.

Don’t get me wrong, I love movies…but there ain’t nothin’ like live theatre. There’s a saying, when you are blown away by something in a film you lean back in your seat. When you are compelled by something in theatre, you lean forward in your seat. It’s true.

So Mitch and I wanted to write a kids musical with classic showtune structure. Sophisticated yet accessible. Nursery rhymes are great but kids are also up for more — more interesting rhymes, new memorable melodies, more story, more action, and more heart.

And we think 45 minutes for $5.00 (the KidsVenue Fringe price) is a great first taste before you invest in a $100 ticket for 3 hours of THE LION KING or TARZAN!

And I have first-hand experience of how musical theatre is an incredible tool for teaching.

My kids have always loved the melodic music and strong word play of show tunes. They may not always understand the joke or meaning of every lyric but if overall it is engaging, they fully enjoy it and can learn from it. You don’t always have to talk down to them. And asking questions (ideally after the show is done) is a good thing because it opens a dialogue between parent and child, providing additional opportunities for learning.

We chose a Beatrix Potter story because they are timeless and both Mitch and I loved them as kids. THE TALE OF PIGLING BLAND is a classic coming of age story — every kid can relate to being bossed around and learning to stand on their own two feet and really figuring out what they want to do.

I was also hoping to attract parents who had fond memories of Beatrix Potter stories. This way, the parents and the kids can have a common experience that is enjoyable for both of them. No offense to Arthur the Aardvark, but after I sat through the ARTHUR LIVE! Karoke-merchandise-fest at the Hummingbird Centre a few years back, I vowed I would never sit through one of those shows again.

Another positive by-product of producing THE TALE OF PIGLING BLAND at the Toronto Fringe is giving some of the most talented young performers a chance to stretch as performers (okay, you’re half pig half man…now sing!), and a chance to work with a top notch director, Marc Richard.

As we all know, theatre in Toronto is a bit “soft” right now, so it’s great that these graduates of Canada’s premier musical theatre school can strut their stuff!

Actually forget everything I just said, we really wrote it for the free pork products.

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OK, come and get ‘em!OK, come and get 'em!

The fabulous marketing materials for THE TALE OF PIGLING BLAND are beginning to roll off the line.

Postcards are currently available at the world’s best children’s bookstore: The Flying Dragon.

Stay tuned for more co-promotion announcements with The Flying Dragon.

Next up: Posters and our exciting postering campaign. We want EVERY KID IN TORONTO to see this show!

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We had our first Production meeting earlier this week and I met our new tech team!We had our first Production meeting earlier this week and I met our new tech team!

Shawndra White will be our stage manager and scenic designer, Melissa Joakim will be our costume designer, and Mark Lavell will be our assistant stage manager and props person.

Here we go again — It’s a Fringe Production so we have to be able to strike our set in 15 minutes! And, of course, store everything in my car. Our director, Marc Richard, and the tech team have some really cool ideas up their sleeves — I can’t wait!

I can already hear the sound of hammering and sewing machines…

Next up is our first read through with the cast next week! Oink!

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Miss Potter: to hit movie theaters in December 2006!“Miss Potter” to hit movie theaters in December 2006!

According to this article in Time Out London:

Renee Zellweger to play Beatrix Potter

The ‘Bridget Jones’ star will play the children’s author in a forthcoming period biopic.

Renee Zellweger currently riding high at the London box office in ‘Cinderella Man’, is to star in a biopic of legendary author Beatrix Potter, for ‘Babe’ director Chris Noonan. ‘Miss Potter’ will explore the life and times of the writer of such children’s classics as ‘The Tale of Peter Rabbit’ and ‘The Tale of Mrs Tiggy-Winkle’, and the film will mix live-action with several scenes of animation.

Following her struggle for independence in Victorian England, the film will also chart Potter’s romance with publisher Norman Warne, a role that Ewan McGregor is reportedly in talks with the film’s producers to play. If he does accept, ‘Miss Potter’ will mark the first time McGregor has acted opposite Zellweger since they teamed up for 2003 romantic comedy ‘Down With Love’.

Richard Maltby Jr, who directed the Broadway hit ‘Fosse’ and co-wrote the lyrics of ‘Miss Saigon’, is currently busy working on the script, with production set to start on location in the UK next March.

OK, OK, I know this isn’t hot off the press or anything (it’s dated September 2005) but now that I’m immersed in THE TALE OF PIGLING BLAND pre-production I’m more aware of Beatrix Potter news! And the fact that Ewan McGregor might (UPDATE: WILL!!!) be starring opposite Renee sends me swooning into nostalgic re-viewings of DOWN WITH LOVE!

I think Renee will be awesome as another Brit — I loved her in BRIDGET JONES DIARY!

Gee, I wonder if Beatrix is related to Harry?

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Well, we finished our auditions last week and a big thank you to everyone who came out!Well, we finished our auditions last week and a big thank you to everyone who came out!

We are thrilled to announce the final cast for the Toronto Fringe Festival production of THE TALE OF PIGLING BLAND:

Daniel Greenberg: Pigling Bland

Lana Sugarman: PigWig

Rachel Brittain: Alexander

Rebecca Stewart: Aunt Pettitoes

Janna Polzin: Cat

Trevor Campbell: Dog

Trevor Williams: Piperson

Andrew Chandler: Policeman

I can’t wait for rehearsals to begin…I’m sure our director Marc Richard will help everyone find their inner pig!

OINK!

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Note: Technical Staff RequiredNote: Technical Staff Required

THE TALE OF PIGLING BLAND
A New Musical Comedy based on the book by Beatrix Potter
Book and Lyrics by Suzy Conn
Music by Mitchell Kitz

Directed and Choreographed by Marc Richard

To be presented in The Toronto Fringe Festival July 5-16 (KidsVenue at the Palmerston Library)

Rehearsals will take place in Toronto during the last two weeks of June and first week of July (approx. 40 hours in total, spread out over three weeks).

Please note: this is a non-paying gig but there will be a $225 honorarium and the chance to perform in Toronto in a well-known Festival, with the opportunity to be seen by countless agents and other industry people.

THE TALE OF PIGLING BLAND is a brand new children’s musical based on the Beatrix Potter story of the same name.

It tells the story of the adventures of a young pig (Pigling Bland) who sets off to market with his younger brother, is interrogated by a policeman, pignapped by a farmer, teased and tormented by a cat and dog and eventually (7 songs later) falls in love with a beautiful female pig (also in captivity). The two escape and live happily every after.

We are looking for the following technical staff:

1. Stage Manager/Props Person

2. Set Designer/Builder

3. Costume Designer/Wardrobe Co-ordinator

If you are interested please contact Marc Richard at marc.richardo@sympatico.ca or drop of your resume and cover letter in Marc’s mailbox in E101 at Sheridan College.

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THE TALE OF PIGLING BLANDTHE TALE OF PIGLING BLAND
A New Musical Comedy based on the book by Beatrix Potter
Book and Lyrics by Suzy Conn
Music by Mitchell Kitz
Directed and Choreographed by Marc Richard

To be presented in The Toronto Fringe Festival July 5-16 (KidsVenue at the Palmerston Library)

Rehearsals will take place in Toronto during the last two weeks of June and first week of July (approx. 40 hours in total, spread out over three weeks).

Please note: this is a non-paying gig but there will be a $225 honorarium and the chance to perform in Toronto in a well-known Festival, with the opportunity to be seen by countless agents and other industry people.

THE TALE OF PIGLING BLAND is a brand new children’s musical based on the Beatrix Potter story of the same name.

It tells the story of the adventures of a young pig (Pigling Bland) who sets off to market with his younger brother, is interrogated by a policeman, pignapped by a farmer, teased and tormented by a cat and dog and eventually (7 songs later) falls in love with a beautiful female pig (also in captivity). The two escape and live happily every after (oops, we gave away the ending!).

The characters are:

Pigling Bland: Our hero, he is young and naive, and should be someone of smaller build (Tenor)

Pigwig: Pigling’s love interest, she is young and beautiful with big dreams, and should be someone who is smaller in size (Soprano)

John Piperson: A grizzled old bacon-eater, the villain of the piece, should be tall and able to play mean-looking, haggard and scruffy (Bass/Baritone)

Aunt Pettitoes: Pigling’s aunt, she is busy and overbearing, a larger woman with a big heart and a big voice, she should be able to play older than her age (Alto)

Alexander: Pigling’s brother, he is younger and mischievous, should be smaller build (Baritone)

Cat: Piperson’s smart minion, this female should be able to move well (Alto)

Dog: Piperson’s dumb minion, this male should be cute, kinda dopey looking and move well (Baritone)

Mr. Policeman: The law in these parts, should be tall, able to play stern and kind of kookie (Baritone)

We are looking for a company of actors who are keen and eager to work on a new musical. All should move and sing well and be able to play character roles (most characters also play chorus roles such as pigs, hens, and butchers).

Auditions will be held at Sheridan College on Trafalgar Road in Oakville on Wednesday April 19 in the morning, and in Toronto (Location TBD) on Tuesday, April 18 between 7 pm and 10 pm.

If interested, please submit your picture and resume to Marc Richard (mailbox in E101 at Sheridan College) or e-mail it to marc.richardo@sympatico.ca

Deadline: April 13

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Pigling_Bland_Plush.jpgNOTE: No animals were harmed during the making of this musical…

Book and Lyrics by Suzy Conn
Music by Mitchell Kitz
Directed and Choreographed by Marc Richard

THE TALE OF PIGLING BLAND will premiere at The Toronto Fringe Festival at the Palmerston Library July 5 to July 16, 2006.

THE TALE OF PIGLING BLAND is a fun family musical based on the Beatrix Potter story of the same name.

Beatrix Potter is the most popular children’s author of all time, so this musical is sure to be a hit with kids age 3 to 9 (and their parents). The running time of 45 minutes is perfect for a child’s first musical theatre experience!

SYNOPSIS
The Tale of Pigling Bland is the story of a young pig who is forced to find his way in the world – a classic coming-of-age pig story.

STORYLINE
The show opens with WE’RE PIGS!, a song about pigs doing piggy things like rolling in mud, snorting, and of course, eating.

Over the course of the opening song we find out that it’s time for Pigling Bland and his brother Alexander to go out in the world and go to market to work. Aunt Pettitoes gives them two licenses so they can go alone and Pigling’s objections fall on deaf pig ears…

On the road, Alex starts carousing, and the licenses get mixed up. Pigling ends up with both of them by mistake. They come upon a Policeman who discovers that Alex doesn’t have a license. Alex must now go back to the farm and Pigling must go on to market alone. Again his objections are unheard. Pigling is left alone and finally realizes what he wants, singing A LITTLE PATCH OF POTATOES.

As he finishes he finds Alex’s license in his pocket and heads offstage to find Alex, but gets lost and ends up at a hen house at night where he falls asleep and is awakened by squawking hens singing WE’RE HENS!

Chaos ensues with much squawking and in comes John Piperson, a grizzled ugly old man who thinks a fox has gotten into the henhouse. Pigling tries to leave but Piperson grabs him and sings YOU’RE UNDER MY THUMB NOW!

Piperson leaves Pigling at his house with instructions to clean up and stay put. Pigling is intimidated enough to stay. Piperson’s minions, Cat and Dog, enter and menace Pigling. Pigling distracts them and they run off leaving Pigling alone, or so he thinks…

Pigling hears some noises coming from a locked cupboard. Who can it be? THE DOOR SONG starts, with Pigling and PigWig (a female pig who is locked in the cupboard) doing a dance number on either side of the cupboard door. Piperson returns, unlocks the cupboard door but neglects to relock it before going to bed. PigWig jumps out, Cat and Dog return, and Pigling learns the facts of life as Cat and Dog sing WAKE UP AND SMELL THE BACON.

This rousing number wakes up Piperson who throws Cat and Dog outside and goes back to bed.

PigWig admits to Pigling that all she wants is WIDE OPEN SPACES and the two pigs discover they have a love of the outdoors in common.

While looking for a tissue to dry PigWig’s tears, Pigling finds the two licenses and the pigs decide to escape.

A Keystone Cops-stlye CHASE starts as we hear the two pigs have run into Cat and Dog and Piperson discovers they’ve escaped. Finally the Policemen enters and blows his whistle: Stop!

Piperson tries to claim the pigs but the Policeman sees the licenses and hustles him off. The Policeman explains to the pigs that if they cross the bridge they won’t be protected by the licences. Together the two pigs decide to face the unknown and cross the bridge in search of WIDE OPEN SPACES and A LITTLE PATCH OF POTATOES.

All the pigs are reunited when Pigling Bland and Pigwig return to Aunt Pettitoes farm with potatoes. Piperson sheepishly shows up to buy potatoes from Pigling. Everybody sings a rousing reprise of WE’RE PIGS!

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