Toronto – The Royal Alexandra Theatre was officially opened on August 26, 1907. One hundred years later, on Sunday August 26th, the beloved Grande Dame of King Street, the oldest continuously operating legitimate theatre in North America, will celebrate the milestone with a public street party and open house. Activities get under way at 11 am and continue until 6 pm. At 2 pm, on a specially erected stage in the middle of King Street, the official ceremony will take place.
The Royal Alexandra Theatre Centenary Celebrations will include self-guided tours through both the public and private spaces of this fabled building. Members of the public will be able to stand on stage and know what it feels like to look out into the gorgeous auditorium of 1,500 seats. They will be able to visit the backstage areas, including all four levels of dressing rooms, the legendary “paint room” (said to be haunted) at the top of the fly tower, and the wood-paneled Manager’s Office in which the famous leather-bound clipping books list all of the theatre’s past productions. In the theatre wings, members of the crew will demonstrate how stage riggings and scenery are handled.
The official ceremonies will feature a medley of songs performed by Camilla Scott (who starred in both CRAZY FOR YOU and MAMMA MIA!), and accompanied by Rick Fox, from many of the big musicals that have played the theatre. And 16 members of the original 1969 cast of the landmark Canadian Premiere production of HAIR will reprise some of the famous songs from that show. Dignitaries and special guests will offer tributes and share memories of the theatre. Sunday August 26 will be proclaimed Royal Alexandra Day, and Heritage Toronto will unveil a commemorative plaque.
At the street party in front of the theatre there will be free cake, ice cream and refreshments. Entertainment will be provided on the outdoor stage with Toronto All-Star Big Band and musicians from the Toronto Musicians’ Association. (King Street will be closed to vehicular traffic from Simcoe to John Streets.) Heritage Toronto will lead a walking tour of the neighbourhood.
A new website will be launched. Featuring a complete and searchable database of all productions and musicals that have played the Royal Alexandra, anecdotes from some of the performers and audience members, a timeline of the theatre’s history and a guest book in which the public can add their own memories of the building, the website will be companion piece to the handsome book, The Royal Alexandra Theatre: One Hundred Years by Robert Brockhouse, that will be published by McArthur & Company in October 2007.