Meanwhile...Our Online Magazine
Hello from T.O., the Big Smoke, The 6ix!
In this edition of Meanwhile we explore summer in the city. Our Check In From Away hosts visit their favourite hot spots around town and we open up our Archives to revisit what we were doing eight summers ago in SNAIL, the eight-issue Mirvish magazine published back in 2012.
We also have our much-anticipated third instalment of Ghosts of the Royal Alex, complete with a brand new song!
Finally, we check in with Alan Forsyth, our Phone Operations Manager and human encyclopedia of theatre, in our Staff Spotlight.
Read by David Mucci / Length: 20 minutes
In chapter three, Herbie returns to the Royal Alex for his “day job” after having a siesta at home to prepare him for the day and night ahead. He encounters something new and unexpected which propels him even further into his quest to get to the truth about the spirits that seem to haunt his beloved theatre. Just joining the story? Catch up here with chapter one and two.
Song three of Ron Jacobson's six-part cycle is entitled “The Bottle and the Song.” It tells us more about Yvette, the wayward spirit of the Royal Alex. The song is performed by the magnificent Ma-Anne Dionisio, one of the most emotionally resonant musical theatre stars. Her distinct and beautiful voice is among the best of her generation. She made her professional stage debut at 18 as the star of Miss Saigon in the Canadian premiere production. She has gone on to tour around the world and star on both Broadway and on London’s West End.
Back in 2012 we produced an eight-issue print magazine called SNAIL. Each issue went under the covers of the Toronto theatre scene. It included editorial, games and more.
One of our faves was the second issue which featured, "Hurry! Slow Down This Summer" on the cover, accompanied by a photo of Mirvish's John Karastamatis and Erin Frey in a canoe in the middle of Queen Street. So, with the dog days of summer upon us, we invite you to join us on a paddle down memory lane as we revisit the chill advice from the us of yesteryear.
O’Keefe Centre, summer, 1982. A young Alan Forsyth watches Valerie Perri transform into Eva Peron in Evita. If life were the Marvel universe this would be Alan Forsyth’s origin story. While he doesn’t don armour or patrol the mean streets (that we know of) at the Mirvish offices Alan is a hero. He is a champion of local businesses and his love for the theatre is matched only by his love for our fair city. We all depend on him for the best advice on where to eat, what to see, and where to find the best Toronto has to offer.
Not even a decade after his experience with Evita, Alan started working for Ticketron, which sold tickets for the Royal Alex, in 1988. After selling tickets for the first production of Les Miz, he stuck around and witnessed the birth of TicketKing in 1991 and has been a fixture in the company ever since.
He has seen the good times – his favourite Mirvish Productions include, “Miss Saigon, it was exciting to see a brand new beautifully designed theatre open. And The Audience, watching Fiona Reid become the Queen”. He has also seen the low times, like when SARS hit the city. But he has never experienced anything like Covid-19.
While Alan is missing live theatre and dance, he is using this unprecedented time to rediscover local businesses and neighbourhoods and to find new gems that he might not have found had he not had the time to look for them.
He’s nothing if not generous with his knowledge and advice, so we convinced him to share some of his favourite discoveries/rediscoveries:
Sweet Bliss best bakery in the city
Prairie Boy amazing bread, soups, treats
Le Beau wonderful new french croissanterie
Rahier Patisserie classic french baking
Town Cards best card store in the city!
Fleur du Jour great french pastries
Marvelous by Fred new, amazing croissants and treats!
Gaucho Pie Empanadas yummy empanadas and mouthwatering alfajors
Little Green Shop from the wonderful actress Tara Rosling
Janelle's great neighbourhood cafe
He has also been using his resources to support local charities The Redwood and Ernestine’s Women’s Shelter, where he also volunteers. We aren’t the only ones who appreciate Alan’s contributions. Sharlene Tygesen, Executive Director of Ernestine’s is also a fan. She wrote:
“Alan is one of those remarkable people you are lucky to have met and known in your lifetime. We at Ernestine’s are beyond grateful to have Alan stand with us to end violence against women and children!”
when he was featured as a Volunteer Extraordinaire in their Annual Report.
While he is waiting for our theatres (and his other faves like Steppenwolf in Chicago) to reopen he’ll be watching NYC Ballet’s excerpt of Bitter Earth with the volume up high and a glass of rosé in his hand (he recommends Erath from Oregon).
We are very lucky to have him around to make sure our lives are a little bit more fabulous – even during a pandemic. Don’t let his mild-mannered title fool you, Phone Operations Manager Alan Forsyth is our (not so) secret weapon in the fight against the banal.
CHECK IN FROM AWAY - EPISODE 13
Join our Check In From Away hosts on a journey around Toronto as they visit their favourite bars, beaches and more!