A Time for Play – The Grand Theatre 2024 – 2025 Season

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Last week, Artistic Director Rachel Peake and Executive Director Evan Klassen announced the Grand Theatre’s 2024/25 playbill – The theme, A Time for Play, includes six beloved and blockbuster titles, three locally conceptualized and constructed London Proud productions, four Ontario premieres, and the always sold-out Jeans ‘n Classics concert series.

The Grand’s 2024/25 season will launch with nostalgia and music, with a Beatles-infused adaptation of William Shakespeare’s As You Like It (conceived by Daryl Cloran and Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival) and a holiday production of The Sound of Music directed by Artistic Director Rachel Peake.

2025 will begin with Heist by Canadian playwright and screenwriter Arun Lakra, which will steal the spotlight. It will be followed by Rosanna Deerchild’s (CBC Unreserved) heart-warming mother-daughter story, The Secret to Good Tea, in partnership with the National Arts Centre Indigenous Theatre.

Audiences will laugh, gasp, and rush to the Box Office for the season’s final two works— Waitress, the Broadway sensation with songs by Grammy award-winner Sara Bareilles, and Kate Hamill’s fresh, audacious adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

Recently announced, Road Dahl’s MATILDA The Musical will open the Spriet Stage for the season as the 26th year of the Grand Theatre High School Project.

These seven thrilling titles will run on the Grand Theatre’s Spriet Stage from September 2024 through May 2025As You Like It, The Sound of Music, Heist, The Secret to Good Tea, Waitress, and Pride and Prejudice are included in the six-show 2024/25 season subscription at the Grand Theatre. The High School Project’s production of MATILDA The Musical is available as an add-on to the six-show Spriet Stage season subscription. With a busy and bustling community theatre scene and increasing demand for space, the Grand Theatre’s Auburn Stage will focus on community use through the 2024/25 season.

02 Grand Theatre Artistic Director Rachel Peake. Photo by Dahlia Katz
Grand Theatre Artistic Director, Rachel Peake. Photo by Dahlia Katz

“The Grand’s 2024/25 Season is about moments where joy, where play, bring about real change in the world. How humour can make us look at ourselves, and each other, in a new light. Some fresh looks on familiar stories, and some new stories that feel like something we know,” shares Grand Theatre Artistic Director, Rachel Peake. “With this season, my first season of programming as Artistic Director of the Grand, I wanted to share stories of human connection in many different times and spaces. And we are proudly continuing to produce exceptional Canadian theatre here in downtown London that will carry on from the Grand to stages in Edmonton, Hamilton and Ottawa.”

The Grand Theatre’s 2024/25 subscription continues to offer the perks and comforts that Londoners love – the best prices, hassle-free exchanges, exclusive access – at inflation-proof early bird pricing that is 33% off (equivalent of attending two of the six productions for free). 2024/25 subscriptions will also include the new show-stopping benefit of free parking, made possible through the extraordinary generosity of the Grand Theatre’s new Downtown Community PartnerOld Oak Properties.

Roald Dahl’s MATILDA The Musical

Book by Dennis Kelly ~ Music & Lyrics by Tim Minchin ~ Directed by Megan Watson

September 17 to 29, 2024 | Opens SEP 20

On the heels of last year’s sold-out run, the Grand Theatre’s renowned youth mentorship program, the High School Project (HSP) will be presenting the Tony and Olivier Award-winning MATILDA The Musical, with book by Dennis Kelly and original songs by Tim Minchin. 

MATILDA, based on the beloved children’s book by Roald Dahl, has been staged from the West End to Broadway, toured around the world and now lands at the Grand Theatre. Former Grand Theatre Artistic Associate Megan Watson returns to the Grand and the High School Project to direct the production. Megan is well known for her past productions at the Grand including A Christmas CarolMary PoppinsThe Glass Menagerie, Shakespeare: The MixtapeJulius Caesar, and Juno’s Reward, as well as curating the Re-Opening Festival in 2021.as well as curating the Re-Opening Festival in 2021.

Learn more about Roald Dahl’s MATILDA The Musical at the Grand Theatre in 2024/25: www.grandtheatre.com/2024-high-school-project

As You Like It

By William Shakespeare ~ Adapted & Directed by Daryl Cloran ~ Conceived by Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival & Daryl Cloran

October 15 to November 2, 2024 | Opens on October 18

A magical mystery mashup of Shakespeare’s classic comedy and The Beatles’ greatest hits.

Re-set in Canada’s Okanagan Valley in the 1960s, Daryl Cloran’s adaptation of As You Like It combines one of Shakespeare’s most beloved romantic comedies, with the vibrant escapism of the hippie generation, and a psychedelic medley of The Beatles’ greatest hits.

A bona fide hit in Chicago, Washington, and Vancouver, Cloran’s adaptation of As You Like It makes its Ontario premiere at the Grand Theatre, joyously celebrating love in all its forms, twists, and shouts.

The Sound of Music

Suggested by “The Trapp Family Singers” by Maria Augusta Trapp ~ Music by Richard Rodgers ~ Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II ~ Book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse ~ Music and Lyrics for “Something Good” by Richard Rodgers ~ Directed by Rachel Peake

November 19 to December 22, 2024 | Opens on November 22

Start the holidays with Maria and the von Trapps in this timeless, beloved, family musical…a very good place to start!

The abbey life doesn’t seem to fit Maria: an exuberant, free-spirited, would-be nun with the habit of fleeing her studies to sing in the Austrian mountainside.

Questioning her commitment to the religious life, Maria is off to join the von Trapp family household as the latest in a long string of governesses for humourless naval captain Georg von Trapp and his seven disciplined but mischievous children. It isn’t long until the power of song brings much welcome harmony, romance, and the promise of a bright future, into their home. But, against political unrest, the von Trapps’ newfound joy becomes threatened.

Artistic Director Rachel Peake helms the Grand Theatre’s 2024 holiday production, based on the Tony Award-winning musical, Academy Award-winning film, and featuring memorable classic songs: “My Favourite Things”, “Do-Re-Mi”, “Sixteen Going on Seventeen”, “So Long, Farewell”, and “Something Good.”

For the eighth consecutive year, in conjunction with the holiday production, the Grand will be asking its audiences to help raise funds to support the Business Cares program of the London Food Bank.

The Sound of Music is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals on behalf of The Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization. www.concordtheatricals.com

Heist

By Arun Lakra ~ Co-production with The Citadel Theatre

January 14 to February 1, 2025 | Opens on January 17

Diamonds. Deals. Lasers. Betrayal. Ocean’s Eleven for the theatrical stage!

Five criminals team up for one final job after finding themselves betrayed.

Heist is an edge-of-your-seat, popcorn-theatre, action adventure with all the necessary players: the charmer, the pretty boy, the sneak, the muscle, and the geek. Prepare for anything and everything, then watch as karma comes collecting in this Ocean’s Eleven-inspired theatrical production.

Calgary’s breakthrough screenwriter, playwright (and ophthalmologist by day), Arun Lakra brings high-tech, stunt-filled, crime drama from the silver screen to the stage. His mission? To keep savvy audiences on their toes with a fast-paced, twisty whodunnit that has the lobby buzzing in this Ontario premiere.

The Secret to Good Tea

By Rosanna Deerchild ~ Directed by Renae Morriseau ~ Co-production with the National Arts Centre Indigenous Theatre

February 18 to March 8, 2025 | Opens on February 21

A mother and daughter find their way to each other in a story steeped in humour, truth, and a cozy cup of tea.

Gwynn is a local radio host. Her mother, Maggie, has a story. Maggie has spent a lifetime building a wall between herself and her memories – as well as between herself and her inquisitive, journalist daughter. Now, with a pot of steaming hot tea as the only thing between them, Maggie and Gwynn work to dismantle that wall, uncovering Maggie’s story in a journey of laughter, revelation, understanding, and the bond of a mother and daughter.

The Secret to Good Tea is a vibrant, intimate, and cheeky family portrait based on playwright Rosanna Deerchild (CBC Unreserved) and her own mother. Fresh from a world premiere in its home province of Manitoba, again helmed by acclaimed director Renae Morriseau, Deerchild’s powerful first play is set to make its Ontario debut at the Grand Theatre, in partnership with National Arts Centre Indigenous Theatre.

Waitress

Music and Lyrics by Sara Bareilles ~ Book by Jessie Nelson ~ Based upon the motion picture written by Adrienne Shelly ~ Directed by Rachel Peake ~ Co-production with Theatre Aquarius

March 25 to April 12, 2024 | Opens on March 28

A small-town girl faces big changes. Are pies her way out? A bright and touching musical featuring songs by Grammy-winner Sara Bareilles.

Jenna lives a small slice of life, in a small town – baking punny pies at work and trying not to think about her troubled marriage at home. Caught off guard by another type of bun in the oven, a thrilling affair, and nowhere else to turn, Jenna wonders if her pie-making talents are her ticket to finding a soft place to land.

With music baked-to-perfection by Grammy Award-winner Sara Bareilles (“She Used to be Mine”, “When He Sees Me”), a story based on the indie cult-classic film starring Keri Russell, and the presence of a pretty cute OB/GYN, Waitress is a musical that has charmed its way across Broadway, the United States, the United Kingdom, and will be brought to life on the Grand Theatre Spriet Stage by Artistic Director, Rachel Peake.

Pride and Prejudice

By Kate Hamill ~ Based on the novel by Jane Austen ~ Directed by Rebecca Northan

April 29 to May 17, 2025 | Opens May 2


Hang on to your bonnets! A fresh take on the classic Austen romance of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy.

They’re the Bennets that you love, and they’re in it to win it (as far as love and marriage are concerned). This time, nothing is off limits if it means securing a husband and a home for all your sisters.

In this laugh-out-loud adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic work, Kate Hamill deftly infuses the beloved Bennets, Bingleys, and Darcys with even more saucy irreverence for society’s expectations; the pearls are clutched, the waistlines are empire, the balls are ballistic, and the genders are bending. Through it all, the timeless love story of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy captures the hearts of dear readers, and brand-new Austen fans alike.

With a cult following of her own, the award-winning and incorrigible Rebecca Northan (Blind DateEvery Brilliant Thing) will direct the production on the Grand Theatre’s Spriet Stage.

Other Grand Theatre 2024 – 2025 Season Highlights include:

  • The return of the ever-popular (and often sold out) Jeans ‘n Classics is back at the Grand for a seventh year with five new and exhilarating concerts. The 2024/25 lineup includes: Paul McCartneyEvery Breath You Take – The Music of Sting and The PoliceHeartland – Current and Classic CountryThe Ultimate Symphonic Rock Show;  and The Who and Led Zeppelin.
  • For a second year, the Grand Theatre is grateful to offer Canada Life  Pay-What-You-Can (PWYC) same-day pricing for the first Sunday Matinee of each Spriet Series production.
  • Educators’ Night Out (formerly Teachers Club) and Student Club return with a six-show package and will include special pre- and post-show events. Educators are invited to attend Wednesday previews at a discounted subscription rate and enjoy exclusive events throughout the season. Elementary, high-school and post-secondary students can enjoy all six Spriet Series productions on Thursday previews for only $99. Learn more at grandtheatre.com/youth-education
  • Inaugural year of specially-priced subscriptions for arts workers, volunteers, and participants of community arts organization on the Tuesday preview performance of all six 2024/25 subscription series productions via the new London Community Arts Night program.
  • Following popular demand, the Grand’s signature Wednesday post-show talk series, AfterWORDS, returns for the new season. On Wednesday evenings, immediately after the performance, patrons are invited to stay for a guided discussion with guest artists, creative team members, and Grand staff in the Drewlo lounge.
  • For the 2024/25 season, patrons can also enjoy stimulating discussion and hear insights into Grand productions through hosted discussion with special guests at Tea Talks, offered prior to 1 p.m. Wednesday matinees.
  • A performance with ASL will be available for Pride and Prejudice as part of the 2024/25 season, on Saturday, May 10 at 2:00 p.m.
  • The Grand will also continue to offer Open Captioned performances throughout the season for their Spriet Stage productions. Open Captioned performances will be available as a special subscription to patrons. The Open Captioned performances this year will be: As You Like It on Saturday, October 26, 2024 (2:00 p.m.), The Sound of Music on Saturday, November 30, 2024 (1:00 p.m.), and Waitress on Saturday, April 5, 2025 (2:00 p.m.).
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Margarita Ibbott is a travel and lifestyle blogger. She blogs about travel in Canada, the United States and Europe giving practical advice through restaurant, hotel and attraction reviews. She writes for DownshiftingPRO.com and other online media outlets.