March’s lineup at the Markham Theatre is probably it’s most diverse of the season. What’s perhaps more interesting is that, considering the traditions that that this month’s shows draw upon, it was also thousands of years in the making.
“Our lineup in March might be the perfect selection of what we do when it comes to building diversity into an excellent lineup of incredible performances,” says Flato Markham Theatre’s manager General Manager Eric Lariviere. “It’s who we are at the theatre and in Markham.”
With a packed lineup of shows in March, the Markham Theatre is not only featuring diversity, it’s showcasing traditions that span thousands of years. While some regional theatres pander to a timid audience, Lariviere is clearly emboldened by what he believes to be a more sophisticated and thoughtful base in Markham.
“We got it all, it’s a busy month,” says Lariviere.
First up this month is Malevo, bringing its distinctive brand of live music and virtuosic dancing to Markham on March 9 at 8 p.m. Dubbed the ‘South American Sensation’ the troupe, which achieved international prominence in 2018 as a semi-finalist on America’s Got Talent, might be best described as where Irish Riverdance meets the Argentine Malambo. The two-hour show blends energetic dancing and compelling live music.
“Anyone would love this show,“ says Lariviere. “It’s a blend of tradition and the modern.”
The Celtic Tenors have had hit releases in Canada, the United States, Australia, Germany, the United Kingdom and Ireland. With almost as many miles travelled as the million albums they’ve sold, they return to Markham on Saturday, March 16 (the day before St Patrick’s Day) for shows at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.. The group continues to innovate by using their classical roots to inform contemporary repertoire from artists like Ed Sheeran and Van Morrison.
“It’s certainly the right month to bring them back,” says Lariviere. “Aside from the holiday though, they are one of the best shows out there.”
Legendary Canadian singer-songwriter, Gordon Lightfoot, has his voice live on in the care of his friends and bandmates with The Lightfoot Band Presents The Songs of Gordon Lightfoot. This uniquely personal tribute show performs in Markham on March 28 at 8 p.m. The band played alongside Lightfoot for decades and will be joined by their newest member, lead singer and rhythm guitarist Andy Mauck for a showcase of songs from Lightfoot’s entire career
“It’s not even a tribute band really,” explains Lariviere, “These are Lightfoot’s guys.”
Zakir Hussain is a five-time Grammy Award winner with an audience that reaches far beyond his native India. The Chicago Tribune said that if there is such a thing as a tabla superstar, Hussain is it. He comes to Markham with flautist Debopriya Chatterjee Ranadive and sarangi player Sabir Khan on March 29 at 8 p.m. The show is a unique chance to hear this combination of instruments. The Sarangi and Bansuri (flute) have roots in ancient India and its mythology, so they promise to add a rootsy edge to Hussain’s performance.
“If you want to know what great traditional Indian music sounds like, this is it,” says Lariviere.”You’ll be mesmerised.”
The Peking Acrobats have been called “incredible,” “breathtaking,” “stunning,” and “unbelievable.” The group will perform manoeuvres atop a pagoda of chairs, trick cycling, precision tumbling, juggling, somersaulting and gymnastics in Markham on March 30 and 31 for four shows. For 30 years they’ve been pushing the limits of human ability, defying gravity with amazing displays of contortion, flexibility, and control while creating an event with the festive pageantry of a Chinese Carnival.
“They come with live music onstage as well,” explains Lariviere. “This is one of those acts that manages to stay true to tradition while electrifying modern audiences.”
As always, independent productions are taking the stage at the theatre in March as well. The Markham Concert Band’s Sound of Music Sing Along performance takes place on March 17 at 2 p.m.. The audience is encouraged to sing along with the popular numbers from the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic.
On March 26 at 7 p.m, Markham at the Movies is back with another acclaimed international film. This month features the British coming-of-age story, Scrapper.
“This month is everything to us actually,” says Lariviere. “Along with the diversity, all the shows bring tradition from the past to life for our audience.”
Visit markhamtheatre.ca for more information.
Photo: The Peking Acrobats perform at the Markham Theatre on March 30 and 31.