Casting Announcement: The Ward Cabaret

David Buchbinder/DB Works have announced their cast for The Ward Cabaret!

Based on the book The Ward (Coach House Books) edited by John Lorinc, Michael McClelland, Ellen Scheinberg, and Tatum Taylor, The Ward Cabaret is a collaborative effort that entranced audiences from its sold-out run at the Luminato Festival. The theatre-music event is the story of a diverse neighbourhood, called “The Ward”. From the 1840s until the Second World War it was a place of refuge for many immigrants of Jewish, Chinese, African-American, Irish, and Italian descent – an area loosely bordered by College and Queen, University and Yonge Streets. This production and incredible ensemble cast immerses audiences into a different time in Toronto and creates an extraordinary experience with the sounds and stories of that time.

The production is produced by Artistic Director David Buchbinder and is written by Theatre Passe Muraille’s Artistic Director, Marjorie Chan. Leah Cherniak, acclaimed theatre director, is co-directing. Monica Dottor is the choreographer with lighting design by Simon Rossiter and costume design by Victoria Wallace.

The Cast:

  • David Buchbinder (JUNO Award, Canadian Folk Music Award;  founding Artistic Director Ashkenaz Festival; Bands: Odessa/Havana, Nomadica, Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band)
  • Aviva Chernick (Juno & Canadian Folk Music Award nominee, Recent album: La Serena; former member of Jaffa Road band)
  • Cara Krisman (Don’t Read the Comments, Segal Centre & Montreal Fringe; Romeo & Juliet, Much Ado About Nothing, Repercussion Theatre)
  • Derek Kwan (Mr. Shi and His Lover, Tarragon Theatre & National Arts Centre; The Cave, Luminato Festival; The Tempest, Citadel Theatre)
  • Kaisha Lee (Nathanial Dett Chorale; performed at first inauguration of former U.S. President Barack Obama)
  • Mitch Smolkin (Fall Into Love, Toronto Centre for the Arts; The Yiddish Swingtet, Ashkenaz Festival)
  • Jeremiah Sparks (The Color Purple, Neptune Theatre, The Lion King, Mirvish)

The Musicians:

  • Louis Simão (Award-winning musician, performed/recorded with Nelly Furtado, Dominic Mancuso, Michael Occhipinti’s Sicilian Jazz Project and more)
  • Cynthia (Zi Wen) Qin (Performed for Opening Ceremony of 2008 Beijing Olympics, participated in the performance of “Lesson of Da Ji”, a production from Canadian composer Alice Ho)
  • Michael Occhipinti (Guitarist, composer, performed at major festivals, lead on projects like The Sicilian Project, Shine On: The Universe of John Lennon and more)
  • Jacob Gorzhaltsan (performs with numerous groups in Toronto, part of several production recordings for Soulpepper like The Promised Land: Steinbeck Through Song, 27 Club, Prohibition: The Concert, and many more)

The production is presented by DavidBuchbinder/DB Works in association with Small World Music Society and Harbourfront Centre. The Ward Cabaret starts on December 12, with official opening night on December 14. It runs until December 22 at Harbourfront Centre Theatre. For more information, click here.

The cast of The Ward Cabaret answer the following question:

What do you think Toronto’s ethnocultural diversity brings or has done for the city?


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Written By

Mariam is Associate Editor at Intermission. Mariam earned her Honours BA in English literature from York University and recently completed a Graduate Certificate program from Centennial College in Book and Magazine Publishing. When she's not busy reading books and plays, she takes pictures of books for her "Bookstagram", watches as many movies and shows as she can, and is a self-proclaimed Chocoholic.