Arts & Entertainment

April brings spring heat to the Markham Theatre

As spring warms up, seasoned theatre goers know that the end of the current performance season is getting nearer. However, the Markham Theatre is offering a great collection of performances this April to remind patrons that there’s still more to come.

On April 20, multi-Platinum/Gold award-winning and internationally acclaimed producer, composer, and guitarist Jesse Cook brings The Libre Tour to Markham. The show features his newest work, Libre. Cook wrote and recorded the album during the pandemic but it was inspired by car rides with his 14-year-old daughter. After listening to her playlists, Cook began to wonder what his music would sound like with modern elements like trap-inspired 808 kick drums.

“Jesse is just phenomenal,” continues Lariviere. “He’s managed to build a lasting and loyal audience by working hard and always serving those that come to see him; all while playing flamenco guitar, if you can believe it.”

It’s now been 25 years since the internationally-lauded virtuoso first stepped onto the scene with his now-iconic release, Tempest. In the time since, Cook’s come to hold ten Gold and Platinum studio albums with a combined sales of over 2 million copies, five-concert DVDs and live discs, five PBS specials, and multiple awards — a Juno win, 11 nominations, three Canadian Smooth Jazz Awards, a Gemini, and an Acoustic Guitar Magazine Player’s Choice Silver Award.

“He always brings a great show,” says Lariviere.

The very next night, April 21, the Just For Laughs Roadshow finally pulls into Markham after multiple pandemic postponements. This 17th edition of the show will feature four of the top touring comedians in North America.

“It’s always a wonderful night with Just for Laughs,” Lariviere says. “The performers you see on this tour are often on their way to becoming household names, but JFL does such a great job of picking a great lineup that the brand itself is the main attraction.”

Hosted by Juno-nominated stand-up and SiriusXM Top Comic Winner Adam Christie, the Markham performance will feature Conan and Jimmy Kimmel veteran Laurie Kilmartin, Australian puppet-comedian Randy Feltface, and the Juno-nominated Jarrett Campbell. All have performed at the world’s largest and most prestigious comedy festival, Just For Laughs.

“At the end of the day,’ continues Lariviere, “this show is as good or better than anything you’ll see on Netflix or Late Night TV.”

April 22 seems poised to be a very special night at the theatre. Two Canadian musical icons, Dan Hill and Myles Goodwyn are coming together for a unique and intimate evening. Hill is known for his heartfelt sensibility on two international hits, Sometimes When We Touch and Can’t We Try, as well as his work producing hit songs for Celine Dion and George Benson. While Goodwyn has just left his post as the last original and longest-standing member of one of Canada’s pride and joys, April Wine, leading the band from their modest roots to multi-platinum album sales.

“We’re so excited for this one,” Lariviere says. “This came out of a desire to create unique and exciting programming for our music audience.”

At first glance, one might wonder what these two artists have in common. A slightly closer look shows that they both share the most sought-after and elusive quality that any Canadian musician desires; lasting success. With nearly a hundred years of experience between them, there’s sure to be many stories, revelations, and (of course) great music onstage with Hill and Goodwyn this April.

“Just to have these two giants onstage is a completely unique experience,” teases Lariviere. “We can’t wait.”

It should also be noted that, as usual, there are independent producers offering shows this month as well.

Markham Little closes its season with Twist. A comedic play that runs at the theatre from April 26-29.

And the venerable Markham Concert Band returns to the Markham Theatre on the afternoon of April 30 at 2 p.m. with their show, Your Old, Old Favourites. The band promises a whole show of fun and familiar tunes to “put a bounce in your step and a smile on your face”. Expect Louis Prima’s Sing Sing Sing and Leroy Anderson’s Syncopated Clock among others. The show also features a warm-up performance by Borealis Big Band at 1:35 p.m. as well as a guest spot on the mainstage.

Looking forward, the Markham Theatre is looking forward to releasing its Simply Series this spring. The series of streaming performances, with accompanying interviews features some of Canada’s most iconic performers in the intimate concert setting of the Markham Theatre. Among the incredible performances, expect John McDermott and Gowan to top the bill.

“We’ve been working on this for a while and we’re very excited to bring this to our audience for free online,” says Lariviere.

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