Toronto theater co. preps family-friendly musicals

Family-friendly musicals make up the three-show sophomore season for Dancap Prods., the Broadway-style Toronto legit entity that began operations last year.

Dancap prez Aubrey Dan announced the lineup at a news conference Tuesday at Toronto Center for the Arts, where he has a long-term agreement to mount his productions. No mention was made of Dancap’s legal dispute with U.S.-based Key Brand Entertainment and chief Canadian legit rival Mirvish Enterprises over ownership and management of two major downtown Toronto theaters.

Season opens in February with “Happy Days, A New Musical,” adapted from the long-running sitcom by Garry Marshall, with songs by Paul Williams. Gordon Greenberg directs the production, which recently played New Jersey’s Paper Mill Playhouse and Goodspeed in East Haddam, Conn.

Following in May, Dancap and Charlottetown Festival will co-produce “Anne of Green Gables, the Musical,” based on L.M. Montgomery’s Canuck kid-lit classic. First staged on Prince Edward Island 44 years ago as part of the Charlottetown summer fest, the production has been absent from Toronto for 18 years.

Closing the Dancap season from Nov. 2009 through Jan. 2010 is a Canadian production of “Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical,” the show originally staged by Jack O’Brien at the Old Globe in San Diego and subsequently transferred to Broadway for consecutive hit runs over the past two holiday seasons.

While the three-show package was designed for budget-conscious family theatergoers, Dan promised the announcement of additional shows in the near future, expressing his bullish attitude toward commercial theater in Toronto.

“When you consider just the main stage at the Toronto Center for the Arts, there is potential for more than 14,000 customers each week during a typical show’s run,” he said.

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