With a seating capacity of 1497, the Royal Alex is noted for its large proscenium stage, excellent acoustics and intimacy between performers and audience. Although the theatre has staged a few Canadian works, including John WEINZWEIG's ballet Red Ear of Corn, the revues My Fur Lady and Spring Thaw, John GRAY's Billy Bishop Goes to War and Linda Griffiths's Maggie and Pierre, the theatre for most of its history has been a touring house for drama, musicals, opera and dance, particularly from Britain and the US.
In 1986 David Mirvish became executive producer and initiated a policy of coproducing with major Canadian national arts organizations such as the Canadian Opera Company, the Stratford and Shaw festivals and regional theatres such as the Manitoba Theatre Centre and Citadel Theatre. In 1989, Tomson Highway's drama Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing became the first native Canadian play to receive a major commercial production in Canada. Although its Royal Alex production was a critical success, the Mirvishes initiated a policy of coproducing large-scale hit musicals with producers in London and New York but using mostly Canadian casts. Alain Boublil's and Claude-Michel Schönberg's Les Misérables ran for several years after its 1989 opening and also toured nationally. In order to accommodate still larger scale productions, the Mirvishes opened the adjoining $25 million Princess of Wales Theatre with a $12 million production of Miss Saigon in 1993. A regular subscription series was reinstated at the Royal Alex in 1996.
See also TORONTO FEATURE: ROYAL ALEXANDRA THEATRE.
Author ANTON WAGNER
Links to Other Sites
See the latest news about current and future stage productions as well as illustrated histories of each of the Mirvish theatres in Toronto: the Royal Alexandra, the Princess of Wales, the Ed Mirvish (formerly the Canon), and the Panasonic.
A day in the life of a theatre
Catch a glimpse of a typical daily routine at the Royal Alex theatre in Toronto. From thestar.com.