Alexander Showcase Theatre is an exciting not-for-profit theatre group, with a commitment to creating high quality, high-energy theatrical productions. The AST family supports the education and development of aspiring performers and technical crew, while making magic happen both onstage and off.
WHAT ARE WE LIKE?
Alexander Showcase Theatre (AST) stages two full-scale productions every year. The group is comprised of people from all walks of life, each with the same goal: To put together a wonderful show, and to enjoy every aspect of the process! Under the passionate leadership of Director, Vinnie Sestito and our accomplished Creative Team, people spend several evenings a week combining their various gifts: music, dance, acting, costuming, building, painting, and a hundred other things besides. The people are what make the show, and they perpetuate the feelings of joy, energy, fun, and focus. Working together in this environment of collaboration and creativity feels like being part of a big, loud, talented, affectionate family. In order to achieve the goal of staging a wonderful show, members of the group share their skills and their time. Every day is an adventure, with talented members spearheading set building and painting, cast members and choreographers alike running dance rehearsals in the hallways, singing in the stairwells, and dialogue drilling at dinner. Is it quite a bit of work? Yes. Is it the highlight of everyone’s week? Absolutely. Will you want to come back for more? Without a doubt.
WHERE DID IT ALL START?
The company we know today as Alexander Showcase Theatre began thirty years ago, under the artistic direction of Angela Hawaleshka. Six music students joined together with the plan of forming a summer choir. They took on the name “The Alexander Singers” as a tribute to Angela’s father, Alexander Stephen. Their music delighted audiences immediately, and it wasn’t long before the choristers were ready for greater challenges! Six months passed, and they were able to present a half-hour long Gilbert and Sullivan operetta “Trial by Jury”. The group continued to perform, and was inspired to produce bigger and better musicals – Gilbert & Sullivan’s “H.M.S. Pinafore”, “The Mikado”, “The Gondoliers”, “The Yeomen of the Guard”, “The Pirates of Penzance”, and “Ruddigore”. Spurred onwards by their success, they turned to operetta, performing “The Merry Widow” and “Die Fledermaus”, and to Broadway musicals, including “Oklahoma”, “Fiddler on the Roof”, and “Sweeney Todd”. These full-scale productions called for costumes, make-up, props, lighting, elaborate sets, and a small orchestra. The group known as The Alexander Singers cast and crew grew to over 80 members, including backstage technicians and front of house helpers. With the astronomical growth came more passionate, dedicated people who wanted to join in pushing the boundaries further, to see what they could achieve using their gifts, determination, and joy. With more shows each year and an ever-expanding family, The Alexander Singers and Players became Alexander Showcase Theatre in the fall of 2012.
Alexander Showcase Theatre has for many years supported Variety Village, designating a special theatre performance for the children of Variety and donating a portion of ticket sales to them. Casey House has also been included in their outreach efforts.
Operating self-sufficiently as a not-for-profit organization, AST has always been involved in community support: performing for seniors, differently-abled communities, and charities such as:
◆ The Arthritis Society
◆ Perla Arditti’s MS Access Support Association
◆ The Cabbagetown Fair, which raises money for musical education for inner city children
◆ ORT Canada
◆ Patrons of Wisdom
◆ The Marie Curie Scorbaska Association
It has also worked in partnership with the Downsview Park Arts Alliance to mentor disadvantaged youth in theatre arts in cooperation with the City