Last week, with Jekyll and Hyde in Toronto, Canada, I had the opportunity to play my old home of many years: the Pantages Theatre – now known as the “Ed Mirvish” Theatre. From 1989 to 1999 the Pantages was home to the most successful show in Canadian theatre history, LivEnt’s production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “The Phantom of the Opera”. In 1993, I made my musical theatre debut in the show, along with Brian Duyn (below) who I met on my first day of rehearsals. We, along with Elizabeth DeGrazia (also below) – who joined the show not long afterwards – became fast friends and have been so ever since. Brain, his lovely wife Liz, and Elizabeth came to see Jekyll and Hyde and afterwards came backstage – and onstage – for the first time since Phantom closed in 1999. For me, it was a great experience to perform again in that place: so full of great memories. And great also to be able to share the moment with Brian and Lissy, who had the same out-of-body experience that I did being in the building again. I played Raoul and covered the Phantom in the show, Lissy was Christine and Brian played multiple roles in the show including Raoul (as well!) and Piangi! …Brian, by the way is now a Police Officer (still performing frequently as a singer – listen to brand new Christmas tracks on his website: www.brianduyn.com), and Lissy a mother of three and still in the biz at the same time! (Props to Dad Callum for a fantastic steak dinner between shows, for letting Lissy have the night off to see the show and for putting me behind the wheel of the 911 – again!!)
What a treat to be there again. And to work with some of our old crew behind the scenes! Great to see everyone. In many ways, it seems like a long time ago, but at the same time – like yesterday. Very happy, happy memories of that place.
My Jekyll and Hyde castmate, Richard White, was using my old Raoul dressing room (where I spent three years of my life!) but I stole an opportunity to take a picture at my spot.
…One of the great perks of being on tour: getting to revisit old haunts and to catch up with great friends at the same time. Toronto: always a pleasure to be home.