All posts by Wayne Leung

Wayne Leung (1981-2019)

Wayne was the Managing Editor of Mooney on Theatre from 2012 - 2019 and will be sorely missed. His death from an apparent heart attack was a loss not just to Mooney on Theatre, but also to the Toronto Theatre Community at large. You can read our publisher Megan Mooney's tribute to him here here.

Wayne was a writer, editor and corporate communications professional who was thrilled to be a part of the Mooney on Theatre team. Wayne loved theatre ever since his aunt brought him to a production of Les Misérables at the tender age of ten . . . despite the fact that, at that age, the show’s plot was practically indiscernible and the battle scenes scared the bejeezus out of him. Wayne’s current list of likes ran the gamut from opera, ballet and Shakespeare to Broadway musicals, circus and Fringe theatre. Outside of the theatre Wayne’s interests included travel, technology and food.

Boy Falls From the Sky: Jake Epstein Live at Supermarket (Past Future Productions) 2019 Toronto Fringe Review

photo of Jake Epstein as Spider-Man in Boy Falls From the Sky Photo by Jacob Cohl

Even if Jake Epstein’s name doesn’t immediately ring a bell, you’d recognize him. You’ve seen the Toronto-based actor in something, whether it’s his work on TV in shows like Degrassi and Suits, or, if you’re a musical theatre geek like me, from his leading roles in multiple Broadway musicals. Epstein is now back in Toronto headlining in his own solo cabaret/show-biz confessional, Boy Falls From the Sky: Jake Epstein Live at Supermarket presented by Past Future Productions and now playing as part of the Toronto Fringe Festival.

Continue reading Boy Falls From the Sky: Jake Epstein Live at Supermarket (Past Future Productions) 2019 Toronto Fringe Review

Be Kind, Rewind (Edge of the Sky) 2019 Toronto Fringe Review

Poster of Be Kind, Rewind Graphic Design: Eric Andrews

Be Kind, Rewind is the latest collaboration between perennial Toronto Fringe Festival favourites Edge of the Sky and the musical writing duo Barbara Johnston and Suzy Wilde (Summerland, One Small Step). Their new show is a coming-of-age musical centred on a misfit teen’s attempt to re-invent herself while working at a video rental store/bait shop in a Northern Ontario cottage town in the summer of 1995.

Continue reading Be Kind, Rewind (Edge of the Sky) 2019 Toronto Fringe Review

Review: Obeah Opera (Luminato/Asah Productions)

Nicole Brooks with the company of Obeah Opera. Photo by Jeremy Mimnagh.Luminato brings a new version of the a cappella telling of the Salem Witch trials to Toronto

Obeah Opera tells the story of the Salem witch trials from the perspective of the first woman accused: a Caribbean slave named Tituba. Sung through entirely a cappella, the latest incarnation of this surprisingly vibrant and uplifting show is currently presented in Toronto as part of the Luminato Festival. Continue reading Review: Obeah Opera (Luminato/Asah Productions)

Review: The Full Light of Day (Luminato/Electric Company Theatre/Canadian Stage)

Photo of Gabrielle Rose and Jim Mezon by Don LeeA new show using cinematic techniques in live theatre is now in Toronto as part of Luminato

Vancouver’s Electric Company Theatre has returned to Toronto with their new show, The Full Light of Day, co-presented by Canadian Stage and the Luminato Festival. The company is known for its innovative shows like Tear the Curtain! and Studies in Motion that blend live projections overlaid on top of the action on stage. Their new show continues that tradition but I was curious to see if they would bring anything new to the table this time. Continue reading Review: The Full Light of Day (Luminato/Electric Company Theatre/Canadian Stage)

Review: August: Osage County (Soulpepper)

Photo of the August: Osage County Ensemble by Cylla von TiedemannSoulpepper presents the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Tracy Letts in Toronto

I had invited a friend to join me for the opening night of the new production of August: Osage County by Soulpepper on Friday night but when I mentioned it was a three and a half-hour family drama with two intermissions he decided to pass. His loss; he missed out on an absolutely riveting evening of theatre. Continue reading Review: August: Osage County (Soulpepper)

Review: Tchaikovsky: PRO et CONTRA (Eifman Ballet/Show One Productions/TO Live)

Image of Eifman Ballet: Tchaikovsky. PRO et CONTRA provided by Eifman Ballet of St. Petersburg.Eifman Ballet of St. Petersburg returns to Toronto with a ballet inspired by Tchaikovsky’s life

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky is one of the the most well-known and widely-loved classical music composers of all time. He’s the auteur of monumental and enduringly popular ballets, operas, and symphonies. The Eifman Ballet of St. Petersburg has created Tchaikovsky: PRO et CONTRA, a show inspired by the composer’s life and drawing music and imagery from his numerous compositions. Continue reading Review: Tchaikovsky: PRO et CONTRA (Eifman Ballet/Show One Productions/TO Live)

Review: Antigone: 方 (Young People’s Theatre)

Photo of Members of the Antigone:方 ensemble by Cylla von Tiedemann.Toronto playwright Jeff Ho adapts the Sophocles play for young audiences

Toronto’s Young People’s Theatre is ending its 2018-19 season with the world premiere of Antigone: 方, a contemporary adaptation of the Sophocles play by Jeff Ho, a Toronto-based playwright originally from Hong Kong. Recommended for audiences aged 12 to 18, you may be wondering how it’s possible to make an ancient Greek tragedy relevant to a contemporary, young audience. Ho approached the adaptation from a surprising angle and the results are brilliant. Continue reading Review: Antigone: 方 (Young People’s Theatre)

Review: Next To Normal (The Musical Stage Company/Mirvish)

Photo of Ma-Anne Dionisio and Brandon Antonio by Dahlia Katz.A gripping, new, Canadian production of the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical is now on stage in Toronto

Next To Normal is a Pulitzer Prize-winning drama about a suburban family’s struggle with a mother’s mental illness, as well as a critical examination of psychiatry and psychopharmacology. It’s an intelligent, hard-hitting drama that also happens to be a rock musical featuring a big, bold contemporary rock score with music by Tom Kitt and lyrics by Brian Yorkey. Mirvish is currently presenting a new production of the show by The Musical Stage Company in Toronto at the CAA Theatre. Continue reading Review: Next To Normal (The Musical Stage Company/Mirvish)

Review: Hand to God (Coal Mine Theatre)

Frank Cox-O'Connell and Tyrone photo by Kristina RuddickCoal Mine Theatre presents the Toronto premiere of this dark, irreverently funny play

In the dark comedy Hand to God, a Texas teen’s Christian ministry puppet comes to life becoming a foul-mouthed, troublemaker and slowly takes over the teen’s life, wreaking havoc on everybody around him. I first saw this play on Broadway in 2015 and though I had forgotten most of the plot details, I distinctly remember laughing so hard I nearly cramped up so I jumped at the opportunity to catch the first Toronto production by Coal Mine Theatre, performed in their intimate storefront venue on the Danforth. Continue reading Review: Hand to God (Coal Mine Theatre)

Review: Beautiful – The Carole King Musical (Mirvish)

Photo of Chilina Kennedy by Joan Marcus.Mirvish presents the return the Carole King bio-musical starring Toronto’s Chilina Kennedy

Carole King is one of the most prolific American pop songwriters of the last half-century. Even if you’re not familiar with the material she recorded herself you undoubtedly know songs she has written for other artists: “The Locomotion,” “One Fine Day,” “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow,” and “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” to name a few. 

It’s no surprise her expansive body of work would be fertile ground for a jukebox musical. Mirvish has brought the touring production of Beautiful – The Carole King Musical back to Toronto for a return engagement at the Princess of Wales Theatre. Continue reading Review: Beautiful – The Carole King Musical (Mirvish)