TORONTO — A spoonful of sugar helps a subscription season go down in the most delightful way.
That’s what local impresario David Mirvish of Mirvish Prods. proved Tuesday when the presence of Julie Andrews brought 400 members of the local media to their feet in the Royal Alexandra Theater, cheering the 69-year-old thesp.
Andrews was there to promote the Toronto stint of her production of vintage tuner “The Boy Friend,” which Goodspeed Opera House is taking out on a North American tour this fall after a run at its Connecticut home base.
The show has added resonance for Andrews because it was her Gotham debut vehicle back in 1954, when she was 19.
Mirvish is riding high these days after a couple of lean box office years. He’s co-producing the world preem of “The Lord of the Rings” next March, hosting a sold-out run of “Wicked,” enjoying record holdover houses for “Da Kink in My Hair” and steering “Mamma Mia!” toward the end of an amazing five-year run.
No wonder he’s presenting the biggest subscription season in the 42 years he and his father, Ed, have been offering them to the people of Toronto.
A total of seven shows will be available in three separate theaters.
Touring productions of “Les Miserables” and “Movin’ Out” will arrive in October and November, respectively, in the Princess of Wales and Canon Theaters.
“The Boy Friend” will play the Royal Alex starting in January 2006, while “The Lord of the Rings” begins previews at the Princess of Wales in February.
New comedy “The Innocent Eye Test” debuts at the Royal Alex in March. It’s the work of Michael Healey, local author best known for wildly successful three-hander “The Drawer Boy,” currently being produced all over the regional circuit.
Next up is the Quebec-based Cirque Eloize with its international hit “Nomade,” currently on view at Les Folies Bergere in Paris. It plays the Canon starting in April.
Rounding out the season is another Canuck entry, “Wingfield’s Inferno,” the fifth in a series of popular one-man shows starring Stratford vet Rod Beattie as a broker who goes back to the land. It arrives at the Royal Alex in May 2006.
Mirvish currently has more than 36,000 subscribers who will be paying between C$150 and C$500 ($124-$413) for the seven-show package.