“Come From Away” a Sheridan Success at Dora Awards

"Come From Away"
“Come From Away” a Sheridan Success at Dora Awards
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“Come From Away” had a strong showing at the 38th annual Dora Mavor Moore Awards, presented at the Elgin Theatre in Toronto on Monday, June 26, 2017. The hit, new musical began its life and was developed at Sheridan’s Canadian Music Theatre Project (CMTP), finally made it’s way to Broadway.

“Come From Away” was honoured with four awards, including:

  1. Outstanding Production, Musical Theatre Division
  2. Outstanding New Musical/Opera: Book, Music & Lyrics by David Hein and Irene Sankoff, Musical Theatre/Opera Division
  3. Outstanding Performance Female: Jenn Colella, Musical Theatre Division
  4. Jon Kaplan Audience Choice Award

“These awards provide tangible evidence of Sheridan’s reputation for excellence in musical theatre incubation, production and education,” says Dr. Mary Preece, President and Vice Chancellor of Sheridan.

This year’s Jon Kaplan Audience Choice Award marks the second time that Sheridan has been associated with this outstanding honour, having received the award in 2015 for its production of “Brantwood: 1920-2020”, another musical incubated through the CMTP. “We’re enormously grateful to the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts and to the legions of fans who were clearly as moved as we were by “Come From Away” and whose votes helped the production earn the title as audience favourite.”

Sheridan’s connection to “Come From Away” is long and deep. The idea to musicalize the story originated with Michael Rubinoff, Associate Dean, Visual and Performing Arts at Sheridan and founder of the Canadian Music Theatre Project (CMTP) incubator at Sheridan. Rubinoff approached Irene Sankoff and David Hein about writing the musical and committed that it would be among the first to be developed through the CMTP. In 2012, the duo’s script was brought to life by students in the Music Theatre Performance program, culminating in a 45-minute staged reading of the show. “Come From Away” appeared at Theatre Sheridan in 2013 as a fully realized, two-act production. One Sheridan alumna, Susan Dustan is a standby in the current company of “Come From Away”. Its producers include Sheridan College and Michael Rubinoff, who is also a creative consultant on the show.

“It’s truly incredible that our students played a significant role in launching “Come From Away” — a musical that has been nominated for best musical in every major awards competition of the season and that has won many of the industry’s top honours,” says Rubinoff. “The fact that our incubator has launched not one, but two musicals that have been recognized as fan favourites suggests that our work is resonating with audiences in a significant way.”

The CMTP is Canada’s first incubator and permanent headquarters dedicated to the development of new musical works. It connects writers, lyricists and composers with students who perform their material and bring the characters to life over a five-week period. The process gives creative teams a chance to test, hear and refine their material over a longer period of time, away from critics, so that meaningful development can happen. It can help accelerate the time required to create a new musical.

Since 2011, 15 new musicals have been incubated through CMTP, involving 180 students in the process. “The CMTP also ensures that some of Canada’s most prolific stories are captured and told,” adds Rubinoff. These include “Prom Queen” – the story of Toronto teen Marc Hall who fought for – and won- the right to bring his boyfriend to his Catholic high school prom and “Marathon of Hope” – chronicling the story of famed Canadian Terry Fox. Both musicals have since enjoyed their professional premiers.

This October, CMTP will present readings of four new musicals that benefited from its incubation process. “Many people think it’s a larger risk to produce new musicals because they’re unknown and people won’t come,” says Rubinoff. “I think it’s just the opposite. People are hungry for new musicals. They’re curious to see new work and they want to be part of the journey from the start. We have discovered that audiences have a really fulfilling experience watching something new.”

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