Local Theatres Team Up for Global Fundraiser

By Sara Sadeghi Aval

One weekend. Forty countries. Over 5400 performances.

Paramount Live and Badanai Theatre have teamed up to bring a piece of the worldwide Music Theatre International (MTI) event to Thunder Bay. All Together Now is meant to be a celebration of local theatre during the pandemic, with proceeds going to each local troupe that participates.

“Licensing musical theatres shows can usually cost upwards of $20,000, so this is a rare opportunity to be granted free licensing from MTI to perform,” says Candi Badanai, one of the show’s directors. The licensing company released a roster of musical hits for use with the theme of reflection and hope for the return to live theatre.

The local crew has chosen 20 of the 40 available songs for their return to live performances. With Paramount Live Theatre’s youth actors and Badanai’s adult participants, the production is guaranteed to be family-friendly and enjoyable for all generations. The show also offers one of the first opportunities for parents and children alike to perform together. In total, 34 actors were chosen after an open call round of auditions.

“This is a true community theatre production. We have people from all different theatre companies from around the city that have come together to make this show happen,” says co-director Robert Perrier.

“Although every local theatre is performing the same concept, each production will be different based on song choice. It’s not just one musical,” explains stage manager Josée Lauzon.

“You have classics like ‘Seasons of Love’ from Rent and modern hits like Frozen. There are so many favourites and something everyone will recognize,” Perrier adds.

Stephanie Levanto says coming back to the stage as an actor “has been amazing. To come back to a feeling of hope, and to know we will be able to do these things again.” Levanto will be a part of the Matilda musical number.

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