Arts & Entertainment

Markham Theatre will have you jumping this leap year

With one extra day this February, there’s one more night to enjoy at the Markham Theatre this month. General Manager Eric Lariviere was excited to tell the community all about it.

“This month has a great mix of Diamond Series shows alongside some of our beloved community producers,” says Lariviere.

First, The Kindred Spirits Orchestra returns to the theatre on February 3rd for its Around the World concert. The journey will feature Stravinsky’s Scènes de ballet. Sumi Kim, Grand Prize winner of the 2022 International Music Festival and Competition, performs Camille Saint-Saëns’ Piano Concerto No. 2; and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 8 rounds out the program.

The Diamond Series returns on Feb. 8, with Jazz Divas.

“It’s going to be awesome,“ says Lariviere.

Headlining the show is multi-award-winning pianist and CBC Music National radio host Laila Biali, with a masterful mix of eclectic jazz and pop. The show also features Juno Award winners Sammy Jackson and Dominique Fils-Aimé. Jackson blends jazz, pop, and R&B while Fils-Aimé explores the more emotional palette of African American music.

“We built this program to help grow artists in and for our jazz series,” Lariviere says. “These three voices are going to blow you away.”

The very next night, Feb. 9, is the return of Classic Albums Live with their performance of the landmark album by Queen, News of the World. CAL brings note-for-note readings of each album it tackles so the legendarily intricate studio work of Queen will all be featured here. To top it off, after the album performance, the band will return to the stage and offer Queen’s biggest hits from their other albums as a second set.

“This album is a new one for the theatre,” says Lariviere, “but we love Classic Albums Live. They are always putting on a great, great show.”

Again, keeping this particularly stacked weekend going, the next night, Feb. 10, sees the debut of LOL Markham.

“We need more laughter!” says Lariviere.

With the continued success of its comedy programming, Markham Theatre has decided to curate its own evening of Canadian laughs. National headliner and actor, Ali Hassan, hosts the evening featuring three great comedians that he himself helped select. Juno nominee Derek Seguin, one of Canada’s hottest comedians, is on the bill with Just for Laughs Toronto headliner Hisham Kelati, and the hilarious Courtney Gilmour.

“We wanted to build a theatre show for up-and-coming Canadian comedians. We’re lucky to have Ali Hassan help us out,” continues Lariviere.

The Diamond Season then takes a well-earned break as community favourite, Markham Little Theatre returns with Night Watch by Lucille Fletcher from Feb. 14 to 17, with shows at 8 pm throughout, plus a matinee at 2 pm on the 17th.

Following MLT is an annual favourite as Unionville Theatre Company returns with its annual musical presentation featuring cast and crew both young and old from the communities surrounding the theatre. This year’s production is the Webber and Rice classic, Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat with performances from Feb. 22 to 25 (Thursday to Saturday at 8 pm with 1 pm matinees on the Saturday and Sunday).

Then, on Feb. 27 at 7 pm, Markham at the Movies is back with a screening of Anatomy of a Fall, the Palme d’Or winner at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival.

“Our work in the community is always a priority,” Lariviere says. “Mixing community and professional work makes us who we are.”

Taking advantage of the leap year, acclaimed illusionist Darcey Oake arrives on February 29 for a run of shows. Known for his high production values and thought-provoking illusions, this British magician promises to keep you on the edge of your seat. Audiences can expect everything from sleight-of-hand to death-defying escapades during his run of shows from the 29th through March 3rd (with additional matinees on the weekend dates, call the box office for times).

“He’s easily the hottest illusionist in Canada right now, and we’ve got him for 6 shows in 4 days,” explains Lariviere. “We’re excited to host this GTA-exclusive performance.”

Tickets for all shows available via the Markham Theatre Box Office


Photo: Jazz Divas (Laila Biali, Dominique Fils-Aimé and Sammy Jackson) perform on Feb.8 at the Markham Theatre.


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