INTRODUCING… THE BREAKTHROUGH TORONTO STAGE ARTISTS OF 2018

first_imgDEVON MICHAEL BROWN, ACTOR AND DANCERAnyone who saw Donna Feore’s exuberant Stratford Festival production of The Music Man came away asking, “Who was that guy?” We all knew the lead, Daren A. Herbert, who was predictably excellent. The artist we were Googling was Brown, who not only brought passion and ardour to his acting as rebel/young lover Tommy, but also, in the ensemble numbers, kicked higher, leaped more gracefully and twirled with the kind of focus and commitment that only the best artists possess. Those years of training (he began at three) and experience on the hit TV show The Next Step obviously paid off. Forget Gaga. This year, a star was born at Stratford. BREANNA DILLON, ACTOROne of the most harrowing experiences of the year was watching Dillon late in What Happened Was… deliver a monologue that gradually revealed her character’s complex psychological baggage. The actor, who up until that moment had presented a character who seemed relatable and even ordinary, nailed this difficult scene. Later, she brought that same intensity to her role as a woman who meets up with her ex in Wes Berger’s First Dates. Dillon has the ability to suggest layers of emotion and contradictions beneath a placid surface. Let’s hope we don’t have to wait too long for another theatrical date. Advertisement BRANDON ASH-MOHAMMED, COMICAfter taking an extended hiatus from comedy in 2015, this Humber College alum came back renewed and reinvigorated, and he seemed to be everywhere in 2018. He taped a JFL set opening for Julio Torres, and we saw him slay with his self-assured routine at the Bitch Salad finale. While he’s waiting for the audience to catch its breath, he’ll roguishly vogue to build momentum before moving on. Devon Michael Brown in The Music Man (centre, top, defying gravity) What does he have left to try in 2019? Recording his debut album. Advertisement As well as stand-up, Ash-Mohammed excels at sketch and improv (he won a Bob Curry Fellowship at Second City Toronto, and subbed in on their current mainstage revue The Best Is Yet To Come Undone), and he made memorable appearances on Sketchfest’s Rapp Battlez and Improv Karaokeat Comedy Bar.He’s been a commendable host, too, helping sell out multiple editions of The Ebony Tide in February (the show is now a monthly), and The Ethnic Rainbow, Canada’s first and only comedy show for LGBTQ+ people of colour.center_img Advertisement Login/Register With: Facebook Some have been working for years, some have been in hit TV shows, while others recently graduated from theatre school. Whatever their journey, here are the artists (in alphabetical order) who made us check their program bios during intermission.LOVELL ADAMS-GRAY, ACTORJudging from his packed IMDb page, Adams-Gray is busy doing TV. But let’s hope he finds more stage work like his peacock-like Levee in Soulpepper’s burnished production of August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. As a strutting trumpet player whose songwriting aspirations are thwarted, Adams-Gray was electric, his emotional outpourings – in his music, his speechifying and his pursuit of one of the play’s women – were all extensions of his character’s soul. The performance rightly earned him recognition by the Toronto Theatre Critics Association and no doubt will be acknowledged come Dora time. Twitter LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment last_img

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