“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”
~ Eleanor Roosevelt
I have been attending a series of Concerts being held in my local historical Downtown and last night was the best concert of the series so far….though the band coming next week is one of my all-time favorites. Shooting last night’s concert was a reminder of why I love to do what I do. They put on a great show, people were dancing in the aisle, clapping and singing along. It was a great demonstration, in the face of all the senseless tragedies that have been covered in the media, how race, class, culture…all the I AM Labels we put on ourselves are completely forgotten in the presence of music. It is a give and take with no expectation, just a joyous sharing. Here is an image from last night: the group-The NightOwls
So on to today’s theatre. This theatre’s history of performances offers quite a notable list of historic shows, actors, musicians and iconic bands…all in all incorporating a great slice of American Music/Arts performed in Canada…and it needs to be mentioned that Canadian Fans loved your new album enough to grant you a Certified Gold Album for your collection….and so Canada becomes the first place on your tour that has two performances in the same theatre and back to back.
Stop #6 and #7
Date: September 21 and September 22
Theatre: Sony Centre for the Performing Arts, Toronto Canada
Trivia Facts/History on the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts:
Information obtained from Wikipedia
The Sony Centre for the Performing Arts is Canada’s largest soft-seat theatre. The centre opened as the O’Keefe Centre on 1 October 1960, and has played host to a variety of international attractions and stars. Designed by Peter Dickinson, the Sony Centre is a an example of a mid-twentieth century Modern performing arts venue.
The Sony Centre started life being known as The O’Keefe Centre in its first 36 years. The O’Keefe Centre opened on 1 October 1960 with a red-carpet gala. The first production was Alexander H. Cohen’s production of the pre-Broadway premiere of Lerner and Loewe’s Camelot, starring Richard Burton, Julie Andrews and Robert Goulet. Camelot would prove to be just the first in a long and continuing line of spectacular productions, featuring such artists as Ethel Merman, Mickey Rooney, Angela Lansbury, Alfred Drake, Yul Brynner, Carol Channning, Pearl Bailey, Katherine Hepburn and Rudolf Nuryev.
Popular artists including Bob Dylan, Steve Earle, Leonard Cohen, Elvis Costello, David Bowie, Lou Reed and Elton John. Alongside Bands such as The Who, Jefferson Airplane, Led Zeppelin, Radiohead, The Carpenters, The Clash and Beastie Boys.
Other great performing legends have graced the Sony Centre stage in a range of solo shows, revues and jazz spectaculars: Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Marlene Dietrich, Diana Ross, Anne Murray, Tom Jones, Danny Kaye, Judy Garland, Sammy Davis Jr., Bill Cosby, Jack Benny, Liza Minnelli and Liberace. Large-scale ballet and dance is another performing art well suited to the Centre’s ample stage. Apart from regular seasons offered by The National Ballet of Canada when it performed at the Sony Centre (1964 to 2006) and frequent visits by the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and Les Grandes Ballets Canadiens, the theatre has welcomed a diverse range of international dance companies. One of the earliest, Les Ballets Africains, offered the unusual sight of topless women. Other visitors have included Britain’s Royal Ballet, New York City Ballet, Dance Theater of Harlem, the Dutch National Ballet, the National Ballet of Cuba, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Ballet Folklorico of Mexico, and Kirov and the Bolshoi.
In 1996, the building was renamed the Hummingbird Centre in recognition of a major gift from the Canadian software company, Hummingbird Communications Ltd. The $5-million donation allowed the Centre to undertake a number of capital improvements and repairs. In September 2007, Sony bought the naming rights to the Centre for $10-million, and a 10-year partnership was born. Notable performances include the Last Empress with its dramatic, musical portrayal of an important figure in Korean history, the Virsky Ukrainian Dance Company, South Africa’s Soweto Gospel Choir, Shaolin Warriors, Ricky Cheng, David Rudder & Friends and Club Tropicana.
The Sony Centre closed on 26 June 2008 to begin the theatre renovations which were unveiled on 1 October 2010.
The theatre, designated a heritage building by the City of Toronto, underwent renovations to restore its iconic features such as the marquee canopy and York Wilson’s lobby mural, The Seven Lively Arts. Restoration of the wood, brass and marble that were hallmarks of the original facility was undertaken, along with audience seating, flooring upgrades, new washrooms and reconfigured lobby spaces. Following two years of renovations and restoration work, the Sony Centre reopened its doors on 1 October 2010, fifty years to the date of the first opening night performance.When it comes to materiality, the majority of the original materials are still in the building today. Materials used include: Alabama limestone, glazing, granite, copper, bronze, Carrara marble, carpet, cherry plywood panels and Brazilian Rosewood. The interior features a grand double-height foyer with coffered ceilings, a 30 metre wide mural by the famous Toronto-born artist R. York Wilson, cantilevering staircases that appear to be floating, bright bronze auditorium doors, and a fan-shaped auditorium with a huge curving balcony.
In June 2012 the Sony Centre opening performance was the hosting the Canadian premiere of the Philip Glass/Robert Wilson opera Einstein on the Beach.
*PS-Dear Reader- The only favor I ask is that you follow the story, Share if you are so inclined. Know that I am following dreams as you do.