Joanne’s written for the hit TV shows “This Hour has Twenty Two Minutes” and the “Baroness Von Sketch Show.”
Joanne has performed stand-up comedy across the country, she’s also done storytelling at the Stratford Festival’s “Late Night with Lucy Peacock cabarets,” and improvisation for four seasons of “Sin City,” Toronto’s popular live, improvised soap opera.
Plus she’s had a hit Fringe Festival show and is about to debut her new show “She Grew Funny” at the Toronto Fringe.
We talk about parenthood and the impact having a daughter had on her career. Prior to writing her latest show Joanne took a course to help with her writing, something she never imaged herself doing at this point in her career, but as you’ll hear it really helped kick start the process that led to her second Fringe Festival show.
Irene Sankoff and David Hein, the co-writers of the hit Broadway show “Come From Away,” are my guests on this podcast.
Irene and David, went from producing a playful musical at the Toronto Fringe Festival to creating “Come From Away.”
Their Fringe show, “My Mother’s Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding,” attracted the attention of producer David Mirvish who brought it from the Fringe to a larger theatre.
Mirvish also discovered “The Drowsy Chaperone” at the Toronto Fringe, so the pressure for “Wiccan Wedding” to succeed was high. Things went well with that production and soon they were working on “Come From Away.”
“Come From Away” is a musical set in the town of Gander, Newfoundland, in the week following the September 11 attacks, when 38 planes were ordered to land unexpectedly in the small town.
The people of Gander opened their homes and their hearts to the thousands of travelers, from all over the world, who were stranded.
In the podcast Irene and David explain how their creative process began with a trip to Gander, Newfoundland to interview the town’s people and collect true stories that became the foundation for the musical.
They explain the development process, that included meaningful workshops with theatre students at The Canadian Music Theatre Project, at Sheridan College, and Goodspeed Musicals a non-profit organization dedicated to musical theater based in Connecticut.
The students at both locations worked on the script and Irene & David discuss how significant this process was to shaping the show.
In the podcast we talk about the sweet spot between David’s love of folk music and Irene’s love of Broadway musicals.
This intersection is reflected in NPR’s “First Listen” review of the “Come From Away Original Broadway Cast Recording:”
“While the rock influences (or at least the Broadway-rock influences) of “Come From Away” make it feel firmly like a modern piece, there is an echo in the story of classic American musical theater – specifically, “Brigadoon.”
Click for the “Come From Away,” Original Broadway Cast Recording
On opening night Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Sophie Grégoire Trudeau attended the show and met with Irene and David.
Click the arrow near the top of this page, or this iTunes link, to listen to this podcast about “Come From Away.”
This is a special 20 minute episode to coincide with the New York performances of Ins Choi’s comedy “Kim’s Convenience,” which is on now at the Pershing Square Signature Center until Friday, July 14, 7:30 pm.
In our conversation we trace the roots of “Kim’s Convenience” from a short sketch to a play the New York Times’s Jesse Green reviewed favourably adding: “The actors were crying. I cried, too. This was not just the magic of the fine performances, particularly Mr. Lee’s, under the direction of Weyni Mengesha. It was also my belated recognition that the story was, in part, my own.”
“Kim’s Convenience” had its debut performance at the Bathurst St. Theatre in Toronto during the 2011 Toronto Fringe Festival.
As a former Fringe Festival performer myself, the fact that “Kim’s Convenience” has gone on to such great success is inspiring, and I really hope that this interview will inspire you too.
”Kim’s Convenience” follows in the footsteps of other Toronto Fringe Festival shows like “Da Kink in My Hair,” “Machomer,” and “The Drowsy Chaperone” some of which have have won Tony awards and toured internationally.
For this special episode I’ve edited an interview with the show’s creator, Ins Choi, recorded at the Grand Theatre in London, Ontario during the first run of “Kim’s Convenience” outside of Toronto.
In our interview we talk about the time in his life when Ins gave up a job with security, benefits and a housing allowance….everything that would have set him up for a traditional life…but wasn’t a job in the Arts and Ins knew he wanted a life in the Arts.
We also talk about his time onstage, acting at The Stratford Festival and his time backstage where he wrote Kim’s Convenience.
If you’re a regular listener to the podcast you know I have a 10 year old son and I’m always curious about how family influences the creative voice, so Ins and I start out by talking about his Father who was a pastor and the impact that had on Ins when he was young.