Arts & Entertainment

Markham Theatre springs into March

March in Markham is often unpredictable when it comes to weather; rest assured though that the Markham Theatre intends to start this spring off with strong shows you can count on.

“We’ve got a very good spring coming up,” says General Manager Eric Lariviere.

On March 8, Jaberi Dance Theatre’s production of No Women’s Land comes to Markham. Nominated for five Dora Awards including Outstanding Original Production after its sold-out run in Toronto, the show features modern movement that evokes haunting imagery and a compelling narrative all born out of the experience of surviving life in a refugee camp as a woman. The show demystifies the plight and resistance of women in refugee camps.

“Our final dance show for the Diamond season is just exceptional,” Lariviere continues. “It’s contemporary dance, and we love to bring what’s new, fresh, and important to our audience.”

No Woman’s Land is a dance theatre work based on real stories that beautifully reveal the depths of human resilience in the face of adversity. It’s the latest in a series of important, thoughtful, and broadly relevant dance pieces that have been featured more regularly at the theatre.

“It’s no surprise that a contemporary work deals with modern issues,” Lariviere says. “This piece is exceptional and I’m proud that we could bring it to Markham.”

On March 11, The Jason Bishop show returns to the Markham Theatre. As always, Bishop’s show features close-up magic projected onto large screens, award-winning sleight of hand, and exclusive grand illusions. The show promises much for the whole family.

“We feel it’s important to bring great family entertainment to our audience,” Lariviere says. “Bringing young people into the theatre is one of our big goals and Jason’s show is wonderful for this.”

Bishop himself is an international award-winning illusionist who was the youngest person to win the Magician’s Alliance of Eastern States Stage Award and one of the youngest people to compete in the Society of American Magicians World-Class competition. His lead assistant, Kim Hess, is an award-winning gymnast and baton performer and her incredible coordination and focus make her an indispensable part of the show.

“At the end of the day,’ continues Lariviere, “his show is as good or better than anything you’ll see on America’s Got Talent or the Illusionists.”

After this, the next Diamond Series performance comes on April 6, when jazz guitarist John Pizzarelli returns to Markham. The Toronto Star calls him, “the genial genius of the guitar” but the greats of jazz call him their colleague. He’s held company with Benny Goodman, Les Paul, Rosemary Clooney, Zoot Sims, and Bill Frisell.

“John is closing our Jazz season and it’s great to have him back,” Lariviere says. “He’s one of the great artists of his generation.”

Pizzarelli’s records not only keep jazz standards alive but he’s done tributes to Nat Cole, Frank Sinatra, Antonio Carlos Jobim and Paul McCartney. He has appeared on records by Ricky Lee Jones and Natalie Cole, among others, and won a Grammy Award in the best traditional pop vocal album category as co-producer of James Taylor’s “American Standard” album in 2021. This Markham show is his only Canadian performance this winter and spring.

“We’re really looking forward to his stop in Markham,” Lariviere says. “If you want to see this giant artist; here’s your only chance.”

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

Music of the Night: The Concert Tour is playing two shows at the theatre on March 18. The show brings together many music theatre professionals to celebrate the 75th birthday of Andrew Lloyd Webber, the world’s most successful music theatre composer. The performance will feature selections from Phantom of the Opera, Evita, Cats, Jesus Christ Superstar, Sunset Blvd, and more.

March 27 brings the High Notes Gala for mental health. The multi-performer event is hosted by arts/charity organization High Notes Avante with proceeds going to forward that group’s laudable mission around mental health and access to music and dance.

“Now more than ever it is important to celebrate the power of art and its place in promoting healing and hope for those dealing with mental illness,” says the theatre’s Business and Rental Manager Scott Hill. “Organizations, like High Notes Avante, play an essential part in this process. We are pleased that they will be holding their Gala at Flato Markham Theatre as the funds raised that evening will go a long way to continuing their important work.”

The show will feature several Grammy and Juno award-winners and nominees, two ‘top 30 under 30’ artists, a composer of jingles everyone recognizes, a progressive researcher and multiple other award-winning and sought-after first-class musicians, songwriters and dancers. This includes Michael Bridge (digital accordion), Yolanda Bruno (violin), Lily Frost (singer/songwriter/radio host), Ballet Jörgen, Ron Korb (flute), David Hetherington (cello) Shulamit Mor (clinical psychologist/pianist), Ernesto Ramirez (tenor), Jamie Robinson (actor), Frank Russo (professor) & Alan Shiner (composer).

Also, as always, Markham at the Movies is back at the theatre on March 28.

“Looking to the future, we’re working on some exclusive engagements with major artists for next season and beyond,” says Lariviere, “but there are still great shows coming up this spring.”

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