Time Machine (2023)

March 1, 2023 (John Basset Theatre, Toronto)

Mashina Vremeni (Russian for Time Machine) is a Russian rock band founded in 1969. Mashina Vremeni was a pioneer of Soviet rock music, and remains one of the oldest still active rock bands in Russia. The band’s music incorporates elements of classic rock, blues, and Russian folk music. Mashina Vremeni’s best known members are Andrei Makarevich – the founder, principal singer-songwriter and the band’s public persona, Alexander Kutikov – the bass player and producer/sound engineer.

Other band members on this concert: Valeriy Efremov – drums; Alexandr Ditkovsky – trumpet; Igor Homich – guitar; Alexander Levochkin – keyboards; Kirill Ipatov – percussions, drums.

All pictures: flic.kr/s/aHBqjAuGiy

Nogu Svelo

The Axis Club, Toronto (12.02.2023)

Nogu Svelo! (lit. ’Cramp in the Leg!’) is a contemporary Russian rock band. The group was founded by Maxim Pokrovsky, the only consistent member and author of nearly all of the band’s work. The band’s work is diverse and influenced by a variety of styles, including alternative rock, pop punk, punk rock, art punk, experimental rock and others. Later works also include elements of electronic music. Lyrically, they are characterized by frequent use of humor and parody. While some of their albums include English lyrics, the majority of their work is in Russian. While originally from Moscow, the band relocated to the US in 2016 and for political reasons no longer performs in Russia.

Since April 2022, Nogu Svelo! has released a number of songs and videos against the Russian invasion of Ukraine, namely “Nam ne nuzhna voina!” (lit. ’We don’t need war!’), “Ukraine”, “Bukva zyu” (lit. ’The letter z’), “Pokolenie z” (lit. ’Generation z’), “Russia, Go Home!”, “Gimn obrechyonnykh” (lit. ’Hymn of the Doomed’), and “S novym godom, synok!” (lit. ’Happy new year, son!’).

The band: Max Pokrovsky, Matt Breuer, Dimitri Vishnepolsky, Graham Doby, Andrey Yarygin, Tatiana Pokrovskaya and Joey Lamb.
The song “Ukraine” at a concert in Toronto was performed together with Ukrainian musician Gregory Chebonenko.

All pictures: flic.kr/s/aHBqjArYm1

The Woodshed Orchestra

Moonshine Cafe, Oakville, Ontario (28.01.2023)

Band: Legendary Toronto drummer Dave Clark, Joe Lapinski – guitar & vocals, Rebecca Hennessy – trumpet & vocals, Julia Hambleton – clarinet & vocals, Michael Herring – bass, bass drum/cymbalist & vocals.
The Woodshed Orchestra mashes up classic dance styles from all over the world into a soulful celebration.
This band is a funky, uplifting and joyful ride every time it plays.

All pictures: flic.kr/s/aHBqjAqq5A

Orpheus by Chulpan Khamatova

John Bassett Theatre, Toronto (09.12.2022).

Musical Performance
Cast: Chulpan Khamatova and Alexander Boldachev (harp)

A small woman with a big heart, strong character and bright talent speaks from the stage about the unconditional goodness and the need for freedom, about the value of life and mercy, about peace and hope. A performance-confession, a performance-revelation, "Orpheus" is a duet in which the music complements the word, and the word complements the music. Khamatova’s partner in this performance was Alexander Boldachev, one of the leading harp players, a composer with an individual style, the founder of the Zurich Harp Festival and the initiator of the World Harp Day.

At a time when one can find consolation, hope, freedom only in the melody of words and the sounds of music, the performance “Orpheus” arose. The actress and musician chose the poems and music for their production with their hearts. This is a performance-monologue, a performance-soul: quiet, subtle, full of awe, music and poetry. In Orpheus, the actress will talk to everyone, but everyone will hear their own – the main thing that is necessary. For some, the performance will become an outlet, for others a manifesto. And someone will give hope for a world in which the harmony of words and music is more important than battles and struggle, and art is above any boundaries.

All pictures: flic.kr/s/aHBqjAjbnx

Noize MC

Ivan Alekseev (Noize MC) in Toronto. “Everything is like people” tour in North America
The Opera House, Toronto (26.11.2022)

Russian rapper, singer, and actor Ivan Alekseev, better known by his stage name Noize MC, performs in Canada and the United States as part of his “Everything is like people” tour in November-December 2022. By the summer of 2022, the artist is preparing a special program consisting of iconic songs for all 19 years of the group’s existence, as well as fresh tracks from the new, already sensational album “Exit to the City”, which managed to gain love and popularity among listeners. This performance has everything that we love so much in Noize MC: individual musical style, sarcastic rap on topical topics, sensual, romantic songs with a guitar, as well as Ivan Alekseev’s unique freestyler talent – whoever heard it at least once will never forget this performance ! Obviously, Noize MC is the main musician of our time today.

All pictures: flic.kr/s/aHBqjAhkZr

Bret McKenzie

October 25 2022, Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Toronto.

Bret McKenzie of Flight of the Conchords fame is touring his just released album, Songs Without Jokes.
Per Bret: “Thank you to my brilliant friend and comedy genius Kristen Schaal for joining me onstage! Reunion! Fun times”.

All pictures: flic.kr/s/aHBqjAdSKH

The written in blood trilogy

Immersive and site-specific “The Written in Blood Trilogy” (based on Bram Stoker’s “Dracula”)
Talk Is Free Theatre (Barrie, ON), October 20-21, 2022

Each part of the trilogy is presented in sequence at three different locations in Downtown Barrie: Part 1 -“The Guest”; Part 2 – “The Others”; Part 3 – “The Host”.

Per Michael Torontow: “I still can’t be certain how we pulled of the technical challenge of using the entire Five Points building as a playing space, splitting the audience in 4 to take in performances happening simultaneously in a stairwell, a cloak room, the green room and the theatre itself.”

CAST: Helen – Maja Ardal; Drake Boyar – Aidan deSalaiz; Raconteur – Courtenay Stevens; Vagrant – Kathleen Black; Old Salt – Jeff Braunstein; Emma – Sydney Cochrane; Lucas – Nick Dolan; Vagrant – Taylor Garwood; Portrait Artist – Linda Laforge; Jake – Chris Mejaki; Zookeeper/Bartender – Justan Myers; Vagrant – Danielle Page; Sam – Clea McCaffrey; Fisherman – Aaron Ryder.

CREATIVES: Co-Writer/Director – Griffin Jeffrey Hewitt; Co-Writer/Director – Michael Anthony Torontow; Choreographer – David Ball; Costume Designer – Kathleen Black; Lighting Designer – Christopher Dean; Sound Designer – Matt Dawson; Stage Manager – Robin Clipsham; Properties Designer – Terri Elvald.

All pictures: flic.kr/s/aHBqjAcmTZ

Warrior of light

Lyapis Trubeskoy (Siarhei Mikhalok) “Warrior of Light” in Toronto
The Opera House, Toronto (09.09.2022)

All pictures: flic.kr/s/aHBqjA6Ced

Sweeney Todd

Preview at Glen Rhodes Campus, Toronto (June 5, 2022)

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
By Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler.

Directed by Mitchell Cushman, Choreography and associate direction by Cameron Carver,
Music direction by Dan Rutzen, Set design by Kathleen Black, Costume design by Laura Delchiaro,
Lighting design by Nick Blais, Fight direction by Nate Bitton. Produced by Talk Is Free Theatre.

Cast: Michael Torontow as Sweeney Todd, Glynis Ranney as Mrs. Lovett, Noah Beemer as Tobias, Tess Benger as Johanna,
Gabi Epstein as The Beggar Woman, Griffin Hewitt as Anthony, Cyrus Lane as The Judge, Jeff Lillico as Pirelli,
Andrew Prashad as The Beadle, and Joel Cumber as Ensemble.

Sweeney Todd, whose real name is Benjamin Barker, uses his new alias to resume work in his barber shop above Mrs. Lovett’s struggling pie shop
after being wrongfully sentenced to life imprisonment by the corrupt Judge Turpin. After swearing vengeance against the judge that tore his family apart,
Todd and Lovett plot a unique plan that helps them both and leads them down a dangerous, thrilling path with deadly consequences.
This is a promenade style, immersive performance that require the audience to follow the story by actively exploring different parts of the building.

All pictures: flic.kr/s/aHBqjzTdxM

Into the Woods

Winter Garden Theatre, Toronto (October 28 – 30, 2021)

Book by James Lapine
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim

Directed by Michael Torontow. Orchestral Adaptation by Wayne Gwillim. Music Director Chris Tsujiuchi.
Original Choreography by Lori Watson. New Choreography by David Andrew Reid. Assistant Director Jennifer Walls.
Set and Lighting Designer Joe Pagnan. Assistant Set and Lighting Designer Echo Zhou.
Costume Designer Laura Delchiaro. Sound Designer Matt Dawson.
Artistic Producer Arkady Spivak (Talk Is Free Theatre). Photos by Roman Boldyrev.

Noah Beemer, Tess Benger, Aidan deSalaiz, Griffin Hewitt, Germaine Konji, Derek Kwan, Richard Lam, Jamie McRoberts, Tracy Michailidis and Glynis Ranney

Into the Woods intertwines the stories of beloved Brothers Grimm’s characters as they search for their ‘happily ever after’.

All pictures: flic.kr/s/aHsmX3bnju