It may be a couple of years later than expected, but The Registry Theatre launches its 20th season today.
As with so many organizations, performance venues in particular, the pandemic threw a monkey wrench into the Registry’s schedule. Instead of rolling out the 20th anniversary season in the fall of 2020, the theatre put that on hold. The same was true the following year. Now, it looks like a go, pending any new waves of the COVID-19 virus.
“We were already quite a ways into planning our 20th anniversary season when COVID came along in March of 2020, and that stopped us in our tracks,” said director of programming Lawrence McNaught. “Like many venues, we had to react. We planned to come back in the autumn of ’21, and that looked like it was possible. Then the next thing you know, omicron came along. That stopped everything.”
Even with some uncertainties remaining, the Registry moved ahead with planning for the 2022-23 season, expecting the show to go on, though not quite sure where audiences would be.
Where possible, McNaught re-booked acts lined up for the 2020-21 season, though there was plenty of juggling to be done.
“There was some rescheduling of artists who we had cancelled at the end of the season, the 2020 season, people from the end of the season, and some other artists that were in the pipeline. We’re trying to reschedule them, so we’ve got some of them back, though not all – some aren’t available, or they’re not touring or whatever, but other ones we’re making good on, presenting them in this 20th season,” he explained.
Along with presenting a wide variety of artists in concert, The Registry Theatre will be presenting its lineup of series, including Folk Night, jazz, the VOC Silent Film Harmonic, classics and dance.
For this year, there’s also the “Home Grown” series that puts local talent in the spotlight.
That list kicks off October 1 with the Joni NehRita band presenting Love & Protest, a fusion of finely crafted songs, sun-drenched in rich vocal textures steeped inAfro-Caribbean/Brazilian rhythms.
On November 5, it’s the Clefs of Moher Vol. 2 CD release concert. It features the 11-piece, Celtic-inspired collective’s latest album of original jazz melodies with a Celtic twist.
Local author and radio host Coral Andrews launches her new book, The Back Door, on January 27. It’s a memoir chronicling the stories of musicians, artists, and personalities who were part of the counterculture that existed deep in Kitchener’s underground at The Back Door club.
As the season rolls on, the series will present reggae legend Errol Blackwood in a Black History Month concert (February 17), and Dan Beacock & Local Heroes performing Blow by Blow: Tribute to Jeff Beck (April 1).
The One Night Only series will see performances by Barbra Lica with the Toronto Chamber-Pop Orchestra (November 18), a unique, career spanning concert from across her five albums of originals and classics standards.; the Sultans of String (November 27); a Judy Garland centennial celebration in An Evening with John Fricke (April 21) and Mary Catherine Pazzano Celebrating The Legend: Judy at 100 (April 22). On May 5, the venue will host the Diana Panton CD release concert, featuring Don Thompson and special guests Penderecki String Quartet.
“A singer that we brought in a few years ago, Diana Panton – we actually brought her in with the great Don Thompson on piano – she’s got a brand new CD that’s coming out in the fall. We’re bringing her in with Don on the piano, but they’re performing along with the Penderecki String Quartet. Don has written original arrangements for string arrangements to go along with that concert. It’s very special,” said McNaught.
The Classics at The Registry series kicks off October 2 with Afternoon Soirée: The Leschetizky Concert, featuring all things piano: two hands, four hands, eight hands. It includes a Beethoven symphony written for eight hands on two pianos, featuring renowned pianists Guy Few, Beth Ann DeSousa, Boyd McDonald, LorinShalanko and Stephanie Mara.
The VOC Silent Film Harmonic series, which features live musical accompaniment to silent movies, begins October 27 with Un Chien Andalou & La Chute de la Maison Usher, followed by The Passion of Joan of Arc (March 2) and Gamera – the Giant Monster (May 4).
The Jazz Series gets rolling in the winter, beginning with the always-popular Larry Larson’s Jazz Guys on February 3.
For more details about the upcoming shows and the entire 2022-23 season, visit www.registrytheatre.com.