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Mirvish marks 50 years with 18 shows

Les Miserables logo. MIRVISH.

Mirvish Productions will mark 50 years in Toronto theatre with 18 shows in the 2013/14 season – including the return of Les Miserables, the brand-new The Two Worlds of Charlie F., and Elvis Stojko trading the blades for the boards.

“Those 50 years have gone by so quickly, it’s hard for me to believe,” David Mirvish said in a statement Tuesday.

Mirvish said his father Ed Mirvish bought the Royal Alexandra Theatre in 1963 and at first, the family worried it wouldn’t make money. However, under the real estate agreement, they had to keep the theatre operating for five years.

“Those five years my Dad promised have turned into 50…One thing I’ve learned in 50 years of theatre is that people are far less interested in what you’ve done, than in what you’re going to do next. It’s fun to talk about the past, but it’s the future that’s really exciting.”

Canadian figure skater Elvis Stojko will appear as slick lawyer Billy Flynn in the musical Chicago, one of five blockbusters returning to Toronto this year.

“People think of me as only a skater,” Stojko said in a statement.

“What they don’t know is that I love musicals. Now I finally have the chance to play a great role in one of the greatest musicals of all times. I’m very excited.”

Mirvish said the upcoming season is divided into three segments: the Mirvish Theatre Subscription, the Off-Mirvish Subscription, and eight additional shows not on subscription.

The Mirvish Theatre Subscription, consisting of seven shows, was announced earlier this year. Les Miserables, Disney’s Aladdin, Once, Heartbeat of Home, Arrabal, Metamorphosis and The Last Confession will all show this year.

The Off-Mirvish Subscription includes three plays: God of Carnage, Dead Metaphor and The Two Worlds of Charlie F.

The Two Worlds of Charlie F. was created through workshops with 30 wounded, injured and sick ex-service personnel, and will be performed by medically discharged military personnel and professional actors.

The show began in London and Toronto is its North American premiere.

The Muppets – as you’ve never seen them before – are part of the eight additional shows. Henson Alternative’s Puppet Up! – Uncensored will have its Canadian premiere on Oct. 22. Puppets from the Jim Henson Company, alongside skilled puppeteers, will create comedy and songs based on audience suggestions.

The Musical of Musicals, The Musical! – a play that began at this year’s Toronto Fringe Festival – will begin on Dec. 8.

Five musicals – Green Day’s American Idiot, Chicago, Rain (the Broadway tribute to the Beatles), We Will Rock You (the Queen musical), and The Lion King  – will return to the city in new touring productions.