The program for the show - Toronto Fringe Festival

The program for the show – Toronto Fringe Festival

I know it has been a while since I have written a blog – but – I have a good excuse. I’m not going to tell you what that is – but trust me – it would have been more fun writing! 🙂

Today was a great day. It all started with a text from Arlene – one of my coaching colleagues (and former skating students!) asking if I wanted to go and see the show that Daniel Bennett (another coaching colleague and former skater) had choreographed. You bet!

I have to say that one of the very best things about having the privilege of working with kids as a coach is that occasionally – if you’re very lucky – you get to be part of their lives when they’re all grown up!

I taught Daniel starting when he was about 6 and it seemed all the way along that this talented and brainy young man was going to head to medical school. Life intervened and he determined that his true calling was in the theatre. ‘Squat – A Super Secret Back Alley Musical ‘ was his first time as a director while simultaneously doing the choreography.

The show was a lot of fun. The performers and musicians were wonderful. I am totally in awe by the amount of work that goes into this project – truly a labour of love and not for the faint of heart,

Apparently there are 2 ways into the Toronto Fringe Festival – the first is by lottery and if your performance piece doesn’t get in that way then you can still apply if you have a specific venue all locked up for the time period.  There is an entry fee of $650 to get you on the roster and then it’s up to you and your crew to raise the requisite funds to stage the show. In the case of this play, the expenses have run about $ 7,000. Daniel told me that they have staged fundraisers and continue to raise money through the following website: .

As much as anything – the calibre of the talent was outstanding. First-time director and co-writer Jacob Ulrich seems like a natural. His writing partner and assistant director Eyal Rosenblum also has to be commended for bringing this script to life.

Music director Alex Soloway is headed to a Master’s degree in performance and is the man who took the musical skeleton and breathed life into it.  “This is the first original musical we’ve done. We found our synergy in working together.” he went on to say; “Thank God we had such a talented cast!”

With a chuckle, Jacob explained how they worked together : “It went like this. I was the one who gave birth to this baby but it was Alex who raised it.” In other words this has proven to be a very successful collaboration with everybody clearly thriving in their roles.

When I asked him, Daniel told me that the biggest challenge in mounting this production was adjusting to the space and being able to rehearse. It’s all part of the learning curve and I am so impressed at how he and the company were able to adapt to everything from organizing a quick change area in the outdoors behind the venue to new flooring that was better to building the risers upon which the seats are located.

If you have a play in Toronto’s Fringe festival, the next rung up the ladder is to be asked to stage it again for the upcoming The Next Stage Theater Festival taking place in January 2014.

Fingers Crossed eh?

I will warn you that if you want to catch it – it may be a little – um – colourful – language-wise for children and certain grannies. (I learned a couple of new words – Totes! being my fave! ) is the Squat Facebook page is the website.

@SecretMusical on Twitter