By: Stuart Nulman
The Centaur Theatre has begun its 45th season with quite a bang, as Montreal playwright Steve Galluccio (“Mambo Italiano”) presented the world premiere of his latest play “The St. Leonard Chronciles”, which has quickly become the hottest ticket in the city. In fact, the high demand for tickets to the production is so great (almost to the level of a sought after superstar rock concert or a Stanley Cup playoff series that involves the Habs), that the show’s run, which originally supposed to end on November 3, has now been extended to December 1.
Like his previous plays, Galluccio taps into his Italian-Canadian background. This time, he deals with the Italian family dynamic in one of its most familiar traditions: the pasta-laden family Sunday dinner, where the conversation is just as plentiful and spicy as the food that’s being served.
The dinner takes place in the redecorated St. Leonard duplex of Robert (Guido Cocomello) and Terry (Christina Broccolini), a young married couple. In attendance are both their parents and Robert’s unabashedly outspoken grandmother Dora (played to scene-stealing comic perfection by Jocelyne Zucco). The occasion of this Sunday dinner is to celebrate two 60th birthdays … and the surprising (and somewhat horrifying) announcement that Robert and Terry plan to pull up stakes and move to a new home out west … in Beaconsfield.
Although the play has that Italian motif to it, you don’t have to be Italian to enjoy and appreciate the family foibles, dysfunctions, battles, secrets, indiscretions and issues that are boldly, loudly displayed in “The St. Leonard Chronicles”. From the grandmother’s constant stories of personal flatulence, to the picking apart of a 60th birthday gift of a trip to Miami instead of Wildwood, to the cooking (and disposing of) ravioli, any family of any ethno-cultural background will identify the bombastic dilemmas that are regularly dealt over the weekly dinner between members of the family. And kudos to Ellen David, Michel Perron, Dorothee Berryman and Vittorio Rossi (who is best known for penning the popular “Carpenter’s Trilogy” series of plays) who, as Robert and Terry’s battling parents, exceptionally put the final piece of the puzzle to why “The St. Leonard Chronicles” is playing to full houses throughout its extended run, and colorfully kicks off season 45.
For more information, or to purchase tickets, call 514-288-3161.
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“The St. Leonard Chronicles” is not the only stage production that’s now playing in Montreal’s thriving English language theatre world. Persephone Productions is currently staging the Tony Award-winning musical “Spring Awakening”, which is running from now until October 29 at the Calixa-Lavallee Cultural Centre, located at 3819 Calixa-Lavallee Street. The show, the first to be staged under the helm of its new artistic director Christopher Moore, tells the story of a group of young teenagers who discover their sexuality, and how they are pressured to repress those feelings. Tickets are $30, $25 for QDF members and $20 for students.
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The Freedom from Poverty Foundation is holding its 16th annual fundraising dinner on October 26 at Le Chateaubriand, located at 7985 Maurice Duplessis Boulevard. The organization was created 20 years ago in order to improve the quality of life for the people of the very impoverished province of Uttar Pradesh, India. The evening will include a wide assortment of Indian dishes, music by Jive Productions and entertainment by L’Express Indien. Also, Dr. Shivendra Dwivedi will give a presentation about the foundation’s latest projects and successes in the areas of health care and education. Tickets are $125 each, and will benefit the foundation’s upcoming projects, including training health care workers to work in 14 provinces at Utter Pradesh. For more information or to purchase tickets, call Dr. Dwivedi at 514-252-6581, or Domenic Talarico at 514-633-4266.
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To give yourself a flavour of what the Caribbean is all about, check out the 3rd Annual Caribbean Rum Splash on October 26 at the Evergreen Reception Hall, located at 5011 Buchan Street. Presented by the Playmas Montreal Cultural Association and the Taste of the Caribbean Festival, the Rum Splash will give guests a chance to sample a wide array of rum and rum cocktails that originate from the tropics of the Caribbean, as well as a large variety of tasty Caribbean dishes where rum is featured as one of its ingredients. There will also be a live rum cocktail competition, a silent auction and entertainment courtesy of the Montreal Rhythm Makers and the Carnival Vibrations Dancers. Tickets are $50, which includes the open rum bar and all-you-can-eat gourmet buffet, and proceeds will benefit the Triumph Through Adversity Scholarship Fund. To purchase tickets, go to www.atasteofthecaribbean.ca.
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Former world boxing champion Otis Grant, who is also known for his prowess as a Montreal community figure and his school outreach programs, will be the guest speaker at the Mile End Community Mission’s 5th Annual Thanksgiving Benefit Dinner, which will be taking place on October 24, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., at the Le Crystal banquet hall, located at 5285 Henri-Bourassa West in Ville St. Laurent. Founded in 1991, the Mile End Community Mission aids the low-income residents of the Mile End district and the surrounding areas in order to create a safe, welcoming community that meets their practical, spiritual and emotional needs, and hopes to raise a total of $35,000 that evening to keep the organization’s mission running. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Linda Hachey at 514-274-3401.
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Toronto’s hit networking mixer is coming to Montreal. Today (October 19) from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. is when the “Here’s My Card: A Networking Mixer for Awesome People” is at the Resonance Café, located at 5175A Avenue du Parc. Organized by Dynamic Events Company 42PlusOne of Toronto, this mixer is for creative people who want to network with and meet new people in a fun atmosphere. For more information call 416-652-2485.
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