CANADIANS ARE BEHIND SOME OF TONY AWARDS’ MOST CELEBRATED PRODUCTIONS

Hadestown, Ain’t Too Proud, The Prom among nominated musicals involving homegrown talent

Ephraim Sykes, Jeremy Pope, Jawan M. Jackson, James Harkness and Derrick Baskin star in the Tony-nominated Ain't Too Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations, directed by Canadian-American Des McAnuff. (Matthew Murphy)

Hadestown, one of the leading contenders at the Tony Awards Sunday, is among several celebrated Broadway productions that were created with the help of Canadians.

The smash hit musical is a re-telling of the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, an ancient Greek tragedy in which Orpheus travels to the underworld to retrieve his beloved Eurydice.

Before beginning its Broadway run, the American team behind Hadestown made the unlikely choice of developing the production at Edmonton’s Citadel Theatre. So, not only did the city get a first glance at the show when it was briefly staged there in the fall of 2017, but local crew members had a hand in shaping complex set design, wardrobe and lighting elements.

If you’re wondering how Edmonton managed to win over producers, Citadel Theatre’s artistic director, Daryl Cloran, admits it took some — OK, a lot of — persuasion.

“I think ultimately, one of the things that really convinced them was to have a little bit of anonymity,” he said. “They wanted to do a lot of development on the show and make some changes to the script and a lot of additions to it. So they wanted to be sort of away from the critical eyes of New York.”

It was a gamble that paid off.

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