Arts & Entertainment

Jazz, country and rock at Markham Theatre

The Markham Theatre’s 2023/24 Diamond Season is already underway as we head toward the fall. The programming is in full swing and offers a unique perspective on what the theatre offers its community.

“It’s a month of performances that encompass the DNA of what we do,” says general manager Eric Lariviere.

October’s shows kick off with SAMAJAM > YOU are The Show on Oct. 14 at 2 p.m. This dynamic music participation show, where each audience member performs collectively, has sold over a million tickets around the world and is in Markham for one public performance only.

“This is a truly great show and opportunity for an incredible family outing,” says Lariviere.

The next offering is on Oct. 18 at 8 p.m. Jazz sensation Hiromi pushes the boundaries of music from classical to pop with her newest project, Sonicwonder.

“We are proud to have been Hiromi’s first presenter in Ontario some years ago,” says Lariviere, “and we’re excited to be hosting this exclusive Ontario show in October.”

Hiromi has impressed audiences all over the world now with a style that encompasses and eclipses the boundaries of jazz. This tour features her latest work, Sonicwonderland, and an electrified 4-piece band. Her live performances have become well known for their energy and jaw-dropping improvisation.

After this, there is An Evening with April Wine on Oct. 20. This is the legendary Canadian rocker’s first tour with their new lead guitarist, Marc Parent. Of course, Parent has the blessing of the recently retired Myles Goodwin and the band is out to prove that the music and legacy of April Wine is in great hands.

“It’s great to have the guys back,” Lariviere says. “We did one of the last shows with Myles and we’re very excited to bring them back with the new lineup. Always a great time.”

Oct. 23 brings what is likely this season’s most recognized personality to the Markham Theatre stage. Howie Mandel is, of course, a household personality across all of North America with his successes on TV with Deal or No Deal and America’s Got Talent. Beyond these, he’s been a presence as a supporting character or voice actor in dozens of other works. What some may not know is that his first love, and the thing that propelled him to fame, is stand-up comedy.

“He’s a fantastic comic,” says Lariviere. “We’re very excited to have him; if you’re looking for a laugh, this is the show.”

A proud Canadian with stars both on Canada’s Walk of Fame and Hollywood’s, Mandel still has family in the Markham area and this show represents something of a homecoming performance for him.

Next up is the Little Pear Garden Dance Company with the world premiere of their latest work, Spectrum of Connection on Oct. 26.

“The ideas and the aesthetic of Little Pear are excellent,” explains Lariviere. “We’re both excited and proud to be the first to host this new work.”

The show is meant to be, in some ways, a reaction to the pandemic; but only in so far as the pandemic brought the future of human connection into focus. The performance is an exploration of these connections by one of the most important dance companies working today.

“It’s just beautiful,” continues Lariviere. “The costumes, the cast, the movements…anyone looking for something new and exciting should definitely check this out.”

The very next night, Oct. 27, Brass Transit returns to Markham for what is sure to be another packed blast from the past. A favourite of Markham audiences, this tribute to Chicago’s early hits and style features a world-class horn section, a rocking rhythm section and vocals stacked sky-high that are sure to transport audiences back to the freewheeling days of the seventies.

The last performance in October is the Discovery Gala which features a fixture of the Canadian music scene for 30 years in Blue Rodeo.

Blue Rodeo needs little introduction, in fact, the list of accolades would go on for a while, but perhaps the most telling factoid about them is that they have likely headlined almost every club, theatre and arena that features music in Canada. Proceeds from the gala support the future of the Discovery program.

Each year the Discovery program provides interactive arts programming and outreach and inclusive community engagement throughout the Markham area. Notably this year, the interactive musical program SAMAJAM>YOU are the Show is being offered for free to thousands of school children.

“This month has dance, comedy, family entertainment, as well as Jazz, Country and Rock music, from diverse voices and backgrounds that speak to our entire audience,” finishes Lariviere. “It is not a month to be missed.”

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