Tonight would have been a date to remember on our 2020 Calendar and undoubtedly the history of the Grand.
April 17, 2020 would have marked the official Opening Night of GROW and the last production on our Spriet Stage for the 2019/20 Season.
Last March, when we announced that this beautiful new Canadian musical would be closing out our season, we could never have predicted that the theatre would be dark and our celebrations would be cancelled.
On the brighter side, we could also not have predicted the extraordinary journey that the GROW creative team has taken over the past 12 months. So today, we want to acknowledge that journey and the many talented people who travelled that road alongside us.
We applaud the following members of our creative team:
Composer: Colleen Dauncey
Lyricist: Akiva Romer-Segal
Book Writer: Matt Murray
Music Supervisor and Orchestrations: Wayne Gwillim
Set and Costume Design: Bretta Gerecke
Lighting Design: Kevin Fraser
Sound Design: William Fallon
Choreographer: Linda Garneau
Music Director: Andrew Petrasiunas
Stage Manager: Kelly Luft
Assistant Stage Manager: Andrea Baggs
Apprentice Stage Manager: Darius Hahn
Cultural Consultant: Larry Cornies
We acknowledge our talented cast members:
Ann Paula Bautista, Izad Etemadi, Christina Gordon, Arinea Hermans, Sweeney MacArthur, Andrew McAllister, Clea McAffrey, Masini McDermott, Gray Monczka, Adam Sanders, Jan Alexandra Smith, Jenny Weisz
And we thank the Grand Theatre staff teams who had already put such tremendous work toward the production of GROW.
More About the Journey of GROW
In October 2019, GROW had an unprecedented second workshop opportunity at the Canadian Music Theatre Project''s (CMTP) Festival of New Musicals. Talented graduating students from the celebrated Sheridan College Musical Theatre Program rehearsed with me (Dennis) and our writers for 3 weeks and presented 45 minutes of the production to packed houses at Sheridan College and the Winter Garden Theatre in Toronto. As many of you know, the CMTP was the launching pad for that little global sensation we know as COME FROM AWAY.
(pictured above are the Sheridan College students performing GROW at CMTP - photo credit John Jones)
Soon after, we heard the incredible news that GROW had been selected as one of three new musicals to be showcased at the prestigious Goodspeed Festival of New Musicals in East Haddam Connecticut. Goodspeed was also part of the pathway for COME FROM AWAY and many other incredible musicals that have moved to Broadway and other stages across North America. Like the CMTP, student actors from the Hartt School at the University of Hartford and the Boston Conservatory at Berklee worked with me and our creative team to present a sold out presentation of GROW to an audience filled with theatre producers, creative directors and passionate theatre goers in January.
(pictured above are the students from Goodspeed Festival presentation of GROW)
Needless to say, we were charting a strong course for this wonderful, touching, and funny musical.
Well, the course may be different from what we had planned but we''re theatre folk - strong, resilient, visionary and flexible!! We may not have any definitive news on the future of GROW to share with you right now, but rest assured, there will be a future. Not unlike COME FROM AWAY, the message of hope, community and the unbreakable bond of family is what we all need now and in the future.
Our composer Colleen Dauncey recorded a video of her performing one of the new songs from GROW, "The One I Choose". The video has been shared on several platforms in Canada and abroad. It is stunning. Have a listen - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eQLA4soFTXI
You should also know that the writers have also launched an initiative for the public to be part of a music video for the title song, "Grow". If you or someone you know wants to be a part of this video, all the information is here https://colleenandakiva.com/grow-music-video-submissions/. We can''t wait to share the finished video with all of you.
Michael Rubinoff, the creative producer behind COME FROM AWAY and GROW, asked us to share this message with you: "I was really boosted by a feature in the New York Times last weekend titled, ''In Ohio, the Amish Take On the Coronavirus'' https://nyti.ms/34nFnVr
. I encourage your wonderful patrons to read it as it embodies the spirit of our show, the message of community. A message that is so important now."
And so - we again wish good health for you all. We look forward to a time when we can again safely gather, celebrate and enjoy the magic of live theatre and say to you all in person "Happy Opening!"
Dennis and Deb