Toronto hit to play Off Broadway

Producer Kevin McCollum is backing an Off Broadway tryout run of Toronto hit “Blind Date” at Ars Nova next month.

Improv-based show puts creator-performer Rebecca Northan in a red nose and the attire of a French clown named Mimi, who’s been stood up on a date. She then picks an audience member at random with whom she improvises an entire 90-minute relationship.

Show proved a sold-out success in two Toronto runs, one in March 2009 and the other back in February.

McCollum, whose Broadway credits include “Rent,” “The Drowsy Chaperone” and “In the Heights,” heard about the work from Bob Martin, the Canuck writer-star of “Drowsy,” and decided to bring it to New York.

The 20-performance run at Ars Nova will “test the waters” for a potential future, according to Northan. Another McCollum-produced Broadway outing, “[title of show],” also played developmental perfs at Ars Nova.

Northan, a veteran of the Canadian Second City and other comedy circuits, came up with the idea when she performed in a cabaret tent during Toronto’s 2007 Luminato Festival. It went well enough that she put down $2,000 of her own cash to present a fuller version in Calgary. Tina Rasmussen, a.d. of World Stage, then picked up the show as a lighter offering in a heavy season at the Toronto venue.

“I guess people think it’s a fun idea,” said Northan of “Date,” which requires a physical production that consists only of a table, two chairs, the clown nose and a bouquet of wilted flowers. “And best of all, it’s cheap.”

Ars Nova perfs begin Dec. 2.

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