Announcement: The 2014 Next Stage Theatre Festival Line-Up

From press release

2014 Next Stage Theatre Festival Line-Up Announced
January 8 – 19, 2014 at Factory Theatre

Now in its 7th year, The Next Stage Theatre Festival (NSTF) is the premiere winter theatre event in the city. Produced by the Toronto Fringe, NSTF is a platform for past Fringe artists to take groundbreaking work to the next level – and a gathering place for discerning culture lovers in the city.

This year, The Next Stage Theatre Festival offers a diverse selection of work that ranges from musicals to political dramas, from dystopian visions of the future to an urban dance show. While some of the shows have appeared at previous Fringe Festivals, most are new works by established Fringe artists who have demonstrated the passion and tenacity to take their work to the next stage.

The Toronto Fringe is pleased to announce the full line up of the 2014 Next Stage Theatre Festival.

Factory Theatre Mainspace

Jack Your Body

Choreographed by Emily Law & Ashley Perez
Presented by Mix Mix Dance Collective
Featuring Jasmyn Fyffe, Kevin Fraser, Kristine Flores, Sze-Yang Ade-Lam, Jelani Ade-Lam and Sarah Tumaliuan

Jack Your Body appeared at the 2013 Toronto Fringe Festival. Playing to nearly sold-out houses, Mix Mix Dance Collective was a word-of-mouth sensation that picked up a huge public response. Toronto audiences will have another chance to see this popular dance show, packed with a talented multicultural cast consisting of some of the hottest dance talent in the city.

About the show: A dynamic and fast-paced street dance performance, Jack Your Body pays homage to American street dance culture though a uniquely current and Canadian perspective. In this infectious contemporary dance piece, the cast will pose, strut, vogue, waack and jack their way through hip hop, house, Paradise Garage, Soul Train and more.

Company accolades and nominations:

  • Emily Law: nominated for a 2008 Gemini Award (Best Performance in a Performing Arts Program or Series) and 3 Dora Mavor Moore awards including Outstanding Dance Performance
  • Jasmyn Fyffe: nominated for the Young Dance Centre Emerging Artist Awards
  • Sze-Yang Ade-Lam & Jelani Ade-Lam: nominated for the Spirit of Will Munro Award

Killer Business: A Murder Mystery Musical

Music by Rob Torr
Book and lyrics by Ken MacDougall, Saul Segal & Rob Torr
Directed by Geoffrey Whynot
Presented by Torrent Productions

Past Fringe musical mavens Robb Torr (Hipcheck: the Musical) and Ken MacDougall (As You Puppet, Rumpleforskin) bring you a brand new Canadian musical, rife with satire, in-fighting and clever jabs at the theatre industry. Rounding out the experienced team are acclaimed actor/director Geoffrey Whynot and musical theatre veteran Saul Segal.

About the show: It is the first preview of “Lucky In Love.” The Producer is hoping for a long run. The show starts with the same old song and dance until a body turns up on the stage. Now, it’s up to The Dick to solve the case. There’s a spoiled Diva, an aging star and a confused leading man. The backstage crew is overworked and the chorus is wooden. Everyone is a suspect. It is, after all, a Killer Business.

Praise for the playwright:

  • Hipcheck: the Musical scores a theatrical hat trick: great music, talented cast and an accessible story…Rob Torr’s music is contemporary theatre at its most infectious…Hipcheck could become a breakaway hit.” –Toronto Star
  • Hipcheck: the Musical: Patron’s Pick and Best of Fringe at CanStage Berkely (Toronto Fringe, 2009)

On the Other Side of the World

Written and directed by Brenley Charkow
Presented by Harley Dog Productions

Up-and-coming director/playwright Brenley Charkow has a history of critically acclaimed successes at Toronto Fringe. Her first Fringe hit, The Waves (2010), adeptly tailored Virginia Woolf’s novel for the stage, and won the hearts of critics and audiences alike. With her powerful new multicultural and multi-lingual play, Brenley investigates a little-known chapter in WWII history.

About the show: It’s the 1930s. WWII’s horrors are just beginning. Where could a Jewish family go to survive? To the only port that remained open to refugees – Shanghai, China. This play is based on the memoirs of many, but focused on those of a resilient young woman as she and over 20,000 Jewish refugees narrowly escape to their new home On the Other Side of The World.

Praise for the company’s previous shows:

  • The Waves: Patron’s Pick and Best of Fringe (Toronto Fringe, 2010)
  • NNNNN for The Waves –NOW Magazine
  • Mo and Jess Kill Suzie: Outstanding Ensemble –NOW Magazine


An original adaptation by Nicolas Billon
Directed by Michael Wheeler
Produced by Aislinn Rose
Presented by Praxis Theatre
Featuring Kate Hennig

Self-admittedly, Praxis Theatre was “born and raised at the Fringe.” With past Fringe productions like Blood of a Coward (2004 – Patron’s Pick), The Master and Margarita (2006) and Dungeons and Dragons (2011), Praxis has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to independent theatre in Toronto. With a track record of genre-bending plays, astute political commentary and a widely read blog, Praxis is a natural addition to NSTF 2014.

About the show: Set in The Spanish Civil War as Franco’s forces approach a small fishing village, a widow struggles to discover a way for herself and her two sons to survive. An original adaptation of Senora Carrar’s Rifles by Bertolt Brecht, Rifles is a ‘realist’ one-hour drama in the vein of Mother Courage and Her Children, influenced by Synge’s Riders to the Sea.

Praise for the playwright, company and cast:

  • NNNNN “Billon is a masterful storyteller”– NOW Magazine
  • Praxis Theatre: Toronto Theatre MVP 2012 – The Grid
  • “Stratford Festival’s Kate Hennig is one of those rare actors that exudes a passion for the theatre at all times.” – National Post

Factory Studio Theatre

A Misfortune

Written by Wade Bogert-O’Brien (Lyrics), Scott Christian (Music), Kevin Michael Shea (Book & Lyrics)
Adapted from “A Misfortune” by Anton Chekhov
Directed by Evan Tsitsias
Music Direction by Chris Tsujiuchi
Presented by Common Descent
Featuring Trish Lindström, Jonathan Tan, Adam Brazier

This new musical brings together an all-star team with a wealth of Fringe experience. Kevin Michael Shea directed Gameshow: The Musical (2008 – Patron’s Pick), Scott Christian composed the score for Politically Correct Bedtime Stories (2009 – Patron’s Pick) and Evan Tsitsias directed The Silent City (2010 – Best of Fringe). With snappy, poignant lyrics and a catchy score, the team has uncovered something fresh in this classic short story by Chekhov.

About the show: A young lawyer and a married woman walk through the woods. Their friendship has reached an impasse. A Chekhovian musical about desire and fidelity.

Praise for the writers’ previous show, Hero & Leander:

  • ★★★★ “The jokes are clever, the singing is beautiful, and the performances are over-the-top, just like they should be.”–The Torontoist
  • Named Outstanding New Play, Outstanding Production, Outstanding Ensemble, and Outstanding Design in SummerWorks wrap-up (2011) –NOW Magazine.

Release the Stars: The Ballad of Randy and Evi Quaid

Written and performed by: Amanda Barker and Daniel Krolik
Directed by: Jack Grinhaus
Presented by: God is in the Dairy

When God is in the Dairy premiered Release the Stars at the 2012 Toronto Fringe, little did they know that iconoclastic Hollywood stars Randy and Evi Quaid would arrive to watch the show from the front row. This January, see one of the biggest sell-out hits of the 2012 Toronto Fringe Festival, which received national buzz and media coverage, re-worked to include a new layer involving the company’s own experience with the Quaids.

About the show:

Dear Toronto,
We came. We saw. We showed up at the beer tent.
We’re back.
Love your favourite Hollywood Refugees,
Evi and Randy Quaid

Praise for the premiere of Release the Stars:

  • Outstanding Production, Outstanding Direction (2012) –NOW Magazine
  • ★★★★★ “Smartly written and brilliantly executed, Release the Stars may be the one must-watch play at this year’s Fringe.” –The Torontoist
  • NNNN “…a layered complex piece…the performers handle the many time, character and mood shifts superbly, resulting in a piece that is as funny as it is disturbing” –Now Magazine (Critic’s Pick)


Written by Johnnie Walker
Directed by Morgan Norwich
Presented by Nobody’s Business Theatre
Featuring Lindsey Clark, Tara Grammy, Natasha Greenblatt

Fringe-favourite Nobody’s Business brings their sassy, unconventional style to this classic Persian folktale about a strong-willed woman who fights violence with artistry, and wins. In a world where royal weddings are front-page news, the company (Redheaded Stepchild, A Maude-Lynne Evening, The Other Three Sisters) deconstructs this well-known story with an eye to humour, gender-roles and fantastic anachronisms.

About the show: A genre-bending new play inspired by the famous storyteller from 1001 Nights. Part epic fable, part darkly erotic satire, Scheherazade is a deconstruction – and celebration – of the power of stories.

Praise for the company’s previous shows:

  • A Maude-Lynne Evening and The Other Three Sisters called “Outstanding New Play” –Now Magazine
  • Redheaded Stepchild: “Walker’s script is well observed, unflinching, and honest.” –The Times Colonist
  • Johnnie Walker: winner of the Emerging Artist Award for his play Redheaded Stepchild (also directed by Morgan Norwich) at the SummerWorks Festival (2010)

Stencilboy and Other Portraits

Written by Susanna Fournier
Directed by Jonathan Seinen
Presented by Paradigm Productions
Featuring Brandon Coffey

Emerging playwright Susanna Fournier has written a gripping play wherein art, politics and morality collide. Graduate of the National Theatre School acting program, Susanna was a third place winner in the 2013 Toronto Fringe New Play Contest for Stencilboy and Other Portraits. She has also been involved as creator/performer in You Like It (Montreal Fringe – 2006) and director of The Particulars (Winnipeg Fringe – 2010).

About the show: When Lily ditches her small-town life and makes for the city, her desire to be immortalized in a painting leads her to two radically different men – an underground graffiti artist and a famous painter. An arresting look at how boundaries between sex, creation, violence, and addiction can become dangerously blurred.

Playwright awards and accolades:

  • Third Place: 2012 Toronto Fringe New Play Contest (Stencilboy and Other Portraits)
  • Finalist: 2010 Tarragon Theatre RBC National Playwriting Competition (Stencilboy and Other Portraits)
  • Honourable Mention: 2013 Herman Voaden National Playwriting Competition (Susanna Fournier)

Factory Theatre Antechamber

Polar Opposites

Written by Nicole Ratjen
Directed by Rachel Blair and Nicole Ratjen
Presented by TiltHAUS
Featuring Nicole Ratjen and Stephanie Jung

This dynamic collective of Fringe artists bring their quirky and honest voice to the Antechamber series. Using mask work and absurdist dialogue, playwright Nicole Ratjan (Lunatic Fringe – Edmonton Fringe 2013; Temple of Khaos – CAFF tour 2012) explores a dystopian future where melting ice caps signal the end for two unlucky polar bears. Director Rachel Blair won the 2008 Toronto Fringe New Play Contest for her play, Wake.

About the show: With big changes ahead, two polar bears drift on a melting iceberg and attempt to tackle life’s biggest questions. Do they test their luck or just go with the flow? A dynamic and absurd theatrical mask piece that explores the darkly comedic side of our animalistic nature.

Praise for the playwright’s previous show, Temple of Khaos:

  • “The interactive performance was funny, playful, ridiculous, bawdy, and political.” –The Beat
  • ★★★★ Vue Weekly, Edmonton Fringe Festival
  • ★★★★Victoria Times Columnist


Written and performed by Sam S Mullins
Presented by Sam S Mullins

Engaging solo performer Sam S Mullins brings his signature charm to this new monologue piece. Writer/performer of critically acclaimed Weaksauce (Toronto Fringe 2013; Edmonton Fringe 2013 – Holdover) and Tinfoil Dinosaur (Toronto Fringe 2012 – Patron’s Pick), Mullins “mines his own experience and then easily, disarmingly transforms his own smart, deftly structured writing into something that feels fresh and immediate onstage” (Edmonton Journal).

About the show: A story of fathers and sons, love and death, America and baseball. Acclaimed humourist Sam S Mullins unravels the series of events that started with a heart to heart conversation with his father and ended with the death of a Texan firefighter.

Praise for the playwright/performer:

  • Weaksauce: Best Script –Montreal Fringe (2013)
  • Tinfoil Dinosaur: Best Comedy Nominee – Just for Laughs (2012)
  • ★★★★ “When the lights came up, I was surprised to see that I was still dressed. I was sure he had charmed the pants right off of me.” –CBC

Advance Tickets & Passes Available Monday November 18, 2013:

Tickets are $15 for Mainspace and Studio shows and $10 for Antechamber shows.


The 2014 Next Stage Festival Schedule will be available starting November 11, 2013. For more information visit