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'Book of Mormon,' Tony Danza coming to Toronto stages

A scene from the Broadway production of "The Book of Mormon"

Joan Marcus

To Canadian musical-theatre fans, it was a prayer answered: The Book of Mormon is coming.

The smash Broadway musical about Mormon missionaries written by South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone will tour into Toronto in May, 2013, producer David Mirvish announced Monday morning.

The Tony-winning satire will be the final show in an all-musical 2012-2013 season planned by Mirvish Productions, one of the most impressive the Toronto theatre company has assembled in years.

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In addition to several shows like The Book of Mormon coming "direct from Broadway," Mirvish will premiere two musicals aiming to move to Broadway after Toronto: Honeymoon in Vegas and Flashdance.

There are also plans for the professional premiere of a new Canadian musical, Bloodless, and an all-Canadian, sit-down production of The Wizard of Oz that may have an accompanying reality-TV show.

Honeymoon in Vegas, a new musical comedy based on the 1992 film starring Nicolas Cage, will have its world premiere in Toronto in December. With music by Jason Robert Brown ( Parade, The Last Five Years), the show will be directed by Stratford Shakespeare Festival regular Gary Griffin, who will have the task of figuring out a way to put a skydiving team of Elvis impersonators on stage.

Tony Danza of Who's the Boss? fame is cast in the production as a professional gambler named Tommy Korman, a part that was played by James Caan in the movie.

Flashdance, another movie-turned-musical expected to be moving to Broadway, will open this August. The show, revamped from an earlier West End version, has a creative team chock full of Toronto connections: Former Toronto Life editor Tom Hedley co-wrote the script, based on his screenplay; Torontonian Robbie Roth composed the songs – except the pre-existing soundtrack hit Flashdance ... What a Feeling; and local-boy-made-good Sergio Trujillo will be directing and choreographing.

Mirvish Productions will also be the spot for the North American premiere of a reworked version of the classic musical The Wizard of Oz, which includes several new songs by the Jesus Christ Superstar composer/lyricist team Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice.

When Lloyd Webber first produced this production in London, its Dorothy was cast via a reality-television show called Over the Rainbow. It remains to be seen whether the lead in this all-Canadian cast will be found in a similar fashion – but, previously, Lloyd Webber and Mirvish teamed up to with the CBC when they found their Maria von Trapp for a 2008 production of The Sound of Music through How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?

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On the subject of musicals about nuns, as previously announced, Toronto will be the first city to host the Broadway tour of Sister Act in October. Yet another stage show based on a film, the show features original music by Alan Menken, composer of Disney's Beauty and the Beast.

In October, Mirvish will also host a tour of La Cage Aux Folles, based on the Broadway production that won a Tony for best musical revival in 2010.

Another previously announced show is Backbeat, which is about the Beatles' original bassist Stuart Sutcliffe and his relationship with John Lennon. It includes rock 'n' roll songs that were early hits by the pop group, including Love Me Do, Twist and Shout and Please Mr. Postman.

And, finally, there is one show in the 2012-2013 that actually is written by Canadians. Mirvish is putting its backing behind new musical-theatre company Theatre 20, and its first production: Winnipeg composer/lyricist's Joseph Aragon's Bloodless.

Based on a true story of Irish serial killers who sold bodies to medical schools in Edinburgh in the 19th century, the Winnipeg Fringe Festival hit will be the directorial debut of Colm Wilkinson. Wilkinson is best known as a performer, notably as the star of the Canadian production of The Phantom of the Opera.

Bloodless – like Flashdance – will be offered off the Mirvish subscription, but it still provides a significant boost to the fledgling Theatre 20.

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About the Author
Theatre critic

J. Kelly Nestruck is The Globe's theatre critic. More

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