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 September 2008 - Nr. 9

TV Vetran Patrick Mckenna Joins Award-Winning Cast In Stage Adaptation Of It’s A Wonderful Life
This Holiday Season

Canadian Premiere features acting veterans Mike Shara, Nicole Underhay and Juan Chioran -

- Tickets On Sale Now -

Toronto – Martin Bragg, Artistic Producer of The Canadian Stage Company, is proud to announce the cast of It’s a Wonderful Life. The new stage adaptation will make its Canadian Stage debut at the Bluma Appel Theatre, November 24 to December 20, 2008. Bringing the holiday classic to life are: TV actor and Shaw Festival veteran Mike Shara (Queer as Folk, Canadian Stage’s Take Me Out) as George Bailey; Dora Award-winning actress Nicole Underhay (recently awarded the Dora for her role in the Canadian Stage production of Fire) as Mary Bailey; multi-Gemini Award-winning actor Patrick McKenna (CBC TV’s Traders and The Red Green Show) as Clarence; and multi-award-winner Juan Chioran as Mr. Potter. Stratford Shakespeare Festival veteran Donna Feore directs. Tickets are on sale now.

Ensemble cast includes: Tracey Ferencz (The Virgin Suicides, Canadian Stage’s The Overcoat); Steven Gallagher (Queer as Folk, Canadian Stage’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream); Diana Cofini; Douglas E. Hughes; and Kawa Ada. One ensemble member is yet to be cast.

It’s a Wonderful Life is Philip Grecian’s staged radio dramatization of Frank Capra's Academy Award-nominated iconic holiday classic. It is the story of George Bailey, an ambitious and restless man whose loyalty, empathy and generosity tie him to his father’s business, keeping him from his dream of seeing the world. George is desperate and thinks himself more valuable dead when his guardian angel Clarence, hoping to earn his wings, is sent to show him the value of his life. This production will feature just 10 actors playing 63 speaking parts while sound effects harkening back to the golden age of radio are performed onstage. In this unique radio drama adapted for the stage, the holiday tale that we know and love comes to life in an ingenious way.

Mike Shara appeared in the mini-series The Gathering with Peter Gallagher and Peter Fonda and made guest appearances in several television series, including Queer as Folk (in a five-episode story arc), Little Mosque on the Prairie, F/X: The Series, and Due South. Theatre credits include: Take Me Out (The Canadian Stage Company); The Way of the World, The Real Inspector Hound (Soulpepper); The Importance of Being Earnest, Long Day’s Journey Into Night (Manitoba Theatre Centre); Arms and the Man, The Heiress, You Never Can Tell, Autumn Garden (Shaw Festival).

Nicole Underhay recently won a Dora Mavor Moore Award for Best Female Performance in a Musical for her portrayal of Molly in The Canadian Stage Company’s Fire. Film and television credits include: The Shipping News, Undercurrents and Goosebumps. A veteran of the Shaw Festival, Ms. Underhay has appeared in The Philanderer, Summer and Smoke, Too Good to Be True, Design for Living and You Never Can Tell, among others. Other theatre credits include Salome (Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theatre); Trying (Neptune Theatre); Arms and the Man (NAC/Citadel Theatre).

Patrick McKenna rose to prominence portraying Marty Stephens, the frenetic head trader on the television series Traders, and the loveable and naive nephew Harold on The Red Green Show. In 1998, Mr. McKenna won a Gemini for each of these roles, becoming the first person ever to win the award for dramatic and comedic performances in the same year. He was also the host of the Gemini Awards in 1995 and 1996. McKenna honed his comic skills with Second City troupes in Toronto and Vancouver, as well as by performing his stand-up comedy routines throughout Canada and the United States. McKenna has made guest appearances on numerous television series including: Blue Murder, The Associates, Trudeau, Blackfly and Playmakers. He also appeared in the feature films Joe’s Wedding, Red Green’s Duct Tape Forever and Writer’s Block, with Kelsey Grammer.

Juan Chioran received a 2004 Dora Mavor Moore Award for his outstanding performance in Mirvish’s The Producers. He also received a Gemini Award in 2000 for his performance in Dracula. Theatre credits include: Much Ado About Nothing (The Canadian Stage Company); Cymbeline, The Three Musketeers, Hecuba (Chicago Shakespeare); Blithe Spirit (Citadel); Love’s Labour’s Lost (NAC); and Hamlet, As You Like It, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Man of La Mancha (Stratford Festival). He has also appeared on the television series This is Wonderland, Queer as Folk, Earth: Final Conflict, Relic Hunter and Traders. Feature film appearances include Finn on the Fly and Republic of Love.

2008-2009 Canadian Stage Company Season

At the Bluma Appel Theatre: Frost/Nixon (Oct. 13 to Nov. 8, 2008); It’s a Wonderful Life (Nov. 24 – Dec. 20, 2008); Miss Julie: Freedom Summer (Feb. 9 – Mar. 7, 2009); Shirley Valentine (Mar. 23 – Apr. 18, 2009); Doubt, a parable (May 4 – 30, 2009).

At the Berkeley Street Theatre: Nightwood Theatre’s Wild Dogs (Oct. 4 – Nov. 8, 2008); Studio 180’s Blackbird (Mar. 9 – Apr. 4, 2008); Necessary Angel and WYRD’s HARDSELL (Apr. 13 – May 9, 2009).

Ticket Information
Subscription packages and single tickets are on sale now. For subscription or ticket information, please contact The Canadian Stage Box Office at 416.368.3110, online at or in person at our two locations Bluma Appel Theatre, 27 Front St. E. or Berkeley Street Theatre, 26 Berkeley St.


About The Canadian Stage Company

Nationally and internationally acclaimed, The Canadian Stage Company is Canada’s leading not-for-profit contemporary theatre company. Founded in 1987 with the merger of CentreStage and Toronto Free Theatre, the Company is dedicated to programming international contemporary theatre and to developing and producing landmark Canadian works which have been awarded some of the country’s most prestigious literary and performing arts honours, including the Governor General’s, Chalmers and Dora Mavor Moore Awards. The Company presents the richest variety of Canadian and international plays and musicals – from edgy and provocative works at the Berkeley Street Theatre to productions with universal appeal at the Bluma Appel Theatre and a summer of Shakespeare at the CanStage TD Dream in High Park. Canadian Stage has a long-standing commitment to education and enhancement programs for the public, nurturing theatre professionals, and developing new Canadian plays, while producing thought-provoking theatre and high quality entertainment in Toronto, one of North America’s largest theatre centres. For more information, refer to

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