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News Release

The Segal Centre for Performing Arts Announces the 2008-09 Season of First Class Theatre
April 2008

Download the 2008-09 Subscription Order Form here    

Click here to view the First Class Plays of the 2008-09 Season   

Sizzling season includes completion of Tennesse Williams trilogy
New pricing structure in place to attract subscribers under 30

Montreal, April 2008 - Sensuality , seduction and romance are at the heart of the 08-09 season of First Class Theatre at the Segal Centre, proudly unveiled today by Artistic Director Bryna Wasserman. “We are pleased that over the years we have been able to offer a hot ticket to Theatre in Montreal,” Wasserman said. “Ours is a theatre for artists to interpret and reinterpret the classical canon for today’s audiences,” she continued. “We have in the past presented plays by such playwrights as Ibsen, Wilde and Shakespeare. And this year we are delighted to present works by Tennessee Williams, Sam Shepard, Christopher Hampton, interpreted by this city’s, and country’s, finest artists.”

The season begins in September with Alexandre Marine directing a cast of 14 in Dangerous Liaisons, Christopher Hampton’s adaptation of Choderlos de Laclos’ 1782 French novel about lust, greed, deception, and romance. The Marquise de Merteuil and the Vicomte de Valmont are a pair of schemers (and former lovers) who take pleasure in coolly manipulating and seducing those around them. The Marquise challenges the Vicomte to seduce the virtuous Madame de Tourvel, but when the latter finds himself genuinely falling in love with his intended prey, the game quickly turns fatal--with devastating consequences for everyone involved.

“Sasha’s most recent production at the Segal, the Prix de la Critique award winning Amadeus, was an unqualified success and demonstrated his unique creativity in staging large scale period plays,” Wasserman said. “Dangerous Liaisons will offer audiences another opportunity to experience Sasha’s directorial talent.”

In October, Greg Kramer will direct Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Tennessee Williams’s iconic tale of passion and dispassion in the heat of a 1950’s Southern night. “One of the key aspects of our theatre’s mandate is to produce classics that remain socially relevant today,” Wasserman added. “From Tennesse Williams to Arthur Miller, it is vital that today’s audiences as well as the audience we’re developing for the future are exposed to the great playwrights of the theatre.”

This production marks the third chapter of the Segal’s efforts to produce the great plays of Tennessee Williams, which began with A Streetcar Named Desire, a historic first co-production with Soulpepper Theatre Company, and continued on with Chris Abraham’s award-winning production of The Glass Menagerie.

One of the greatest plays of the Twentieth Century. This is Tennessee Williams’s iconic tale of passion and dispassion in the heat of a 1950s Southern night. Brick and Maggie “The Cat” have returned to his father’s Mississippi plantation to celebrate the ailing Big Daddy’s birthday. Rivalry and intrigue abound as everyone fights over who will succeed the old man and assume control over the property. Through all the bickering and fighting, everyone tries desperately to hold onto whatever happiness and dignity the family still possesses. But a storm is brewing, and they are powerless to stop it.

The second half of the 08-09 season will begin in February with National Arts Centre Artistic Director, Peter Hinton, directing Sam Shepard’s Pulitzer Prize winning drama, Buried Child. Set on a run down farm in the US Midwest, Buried Child revolves around the unannounced homecoming of a long lost grandson. Vincent brings his girlfriend home to meet his folks – the only problem is the Norman Rockwell exterior of his grandparents’ farmhouse belies the disintegration of the family within and the terrible secret they’re hiding. Considered to be among America’s finest living playwrights, Buried Child is the play that launched Shepard’s fame and the tale, a funny yet scathing commentary on the dysfunctional American family, remains powerful to this day.

In March, Diana Leblanc, the director of such Segal Theatre productions as the award winning, Rose (starring Martha Henry), Fallen Angels and A Streetcar Named Desire, returns to direct Karoline Leach’s psychological thriller, Tryst, about a homely seamstress consigned to the backroom of a Victorian London hat shop. With a dismal home life, no prospects for advancement in the shop and virtually no hope of escape through marriage, Adelaide Pinchon has no options. George Love is smooth and attractive. He has occupied himself with marrying desperate women, stealing what little they possess and abandoning them after consummating the marriage. “ This is an undeniably entertaining mystery in which opposites attract and then the twists and turns begin,” Wasserman gleamed. “This is as entertaining a story as you’ll encounter.”

The English language portion of the season culminates in April when Manitoba Theatre Centre Artistic Director, Stephen Schipper, who last directed the Segal’s award winning production of Cabaret, returns to direct Joe Dipietro’s endearing, warm-hearted comedy Over the River and Through the Woods. Love of family is the central theme of this comedy. The play takes us on a sweet and sentimental journey as Nick, a dutiful, young marketing executive, goes to visit his grandparents to give them some exciting news: He’s moving away. Thus ensues a familiar, tragi-comic dialogue between the generations, one that transcends ethnicity and cultural background. Says Schipper, “Dipietro wants to know why each generation makes sacrifices for the next; why no future generation can ever fully appreciate those sacrifices; and how both generations can find a balance between holding on and letting go.”

Celebrating 50 years of Yiddish Theatre in Montreal

“My mother founded a Yiddish Theatre in Montreal 50 years ago this year and a festival is an opportunity to celebrate this historic milestone,” said an emotional Wasserman in announcing that in June, 2009 the Segal Centre will host the first ever international festival of Yiddish Theatre. “We are inviting the remaining Yiddish theatres from around the world to come to Montreal next spring to present a wide variety of productions that we hope will leave a lasting impression,” she concluded, adding that The Dora Wasserman Yiddish Theatre will itself present a Yiddish version of The Pirates of Penzance by W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan.

The Studio

Among the new attractions at The Segal Centre for Performing Arts is The Studio, a multi disciplinary performance space with 177 flexible seats. This past season, the Studio became the home of the Segal Centre’s new resident company, Sidemart Theatrical Grocery, who will present two productions next season. Moreover, the Studio will also host productions by Montreal’s own Black Theatre Workshop, The Other Theatre, as well as numerous other productions and events presented by various community groups and companies.

Building Audiences for the Future

“Over the last number of years our theatre has been privileged to enjoy growth in various areas,” Wasserman added. “Yet all of us in this field know full well that what matters most is the creation and fostering of new audiences.”

To this extent, the Segal Centre has an exciting new subscription package on offer for those under 30. “The most anyone under the age of 30 will pay to for a whole season at the Segal is less than the price of a ticket to a concert or great seats to a hockey game at the Bell Centre,” Wasserman said. “It’s one of the ways we’re looking to ensure that culture can be accessible to all. We hope to see a lot of people take advantage of it from the full time college and university student to the young professional just starting out.”

Audience Interaction key to Sunday @ the Segal and Monday Night Talkbacks

As always, the Centre’s beloved Sunday @ the Segal lecture series, presented by CBC Radio One, will once again provide audiences with a behind the scenes look at forthcoming productions and Monday Night Talkbacks presented by Pratt and Whitney will continue to allow patrons an opportunity for one on one conversation with the actors and designers who bring the productions to life on stage.

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“In looking back on this inaugural year at the Segal Centre we believe we are making great strides in solidifying the future of our performing arts community in Montreal,” Wasserman concluded. “It is our sincere hope that our Academy will give rise to both the new generation of theatre performers and theatre goers; that the Studio will continue to provide an intimate venue for young, up and coming talent and that an ever growing, diverse, number of Montrealers will recognize the Segal Centre as a place for First Class performing arts in our great city. Our doors are open, join us.”