WINNERS OF THE 2017 CANADIANS OF THE YEAR AWARD
Presented by Canadian Club Toronto
Since 1992, Canadian Club Toronto has presented its Canadian of the Year Award to distinguish and recognize those whose efforts and example have improved the lives of others and inspired us as a nation. This year we proudly recognize the Come From Away creators – Irene Sankoff and David Hein, and the creator of The Canadian Music Theatre Project – Michael Rubinoff as our 2017 Canadians of the Year for their impressive work, showcasing the best of Canadian values on an international stage.
Come From Away tells the story of when 38 planes and thousands of passengers were diverted to the Town of Gander, Newfoundland, a remote community that became the epicenter of a remarkable true story filled with unusual characters, unexpected camaraderie and uncommon generosity.
From the original idea to the sold out and seven Tony Nominations success story – our panelists, Irene Sankoff & David Hein (Writers/Composers), Sue Frost & Randy Adams (Producers) and Christopher Ashley (Director) will discuss their journey and what’s next on the horizon. Join us on December 13 when the Come From Away creative team take the stage to discuss the award-winning Broadway musical that is making a grand return to Toronto.
IRENE SANKOFF & DAVID HEIN
BOOK, MUSIC, LYRICS
Irene and David are a Canadian married writing team. Their first show, My Mother’s Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding (based on David’s mother’s true story) was the hit of the Toronto Fringe Festival, and then picked up for a commercial run by Mirvish Productions. It has now played and won best musical awards in the New York Musical Theatre Festival and across North America, with Sankoff and Hein performing in most productions. Come From Away was developed at the Canadian Music Theatre Project and Goodspeed Musicals’ Festival of New Artists, showcased at the NAMT Festival of New Works and enjoyed a record setting world premiere at the La Jolla Playhouse and Seattle Repertory, followed by Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C., the Royal Alexandra Theatre in Toronto and the Gander Community Centre Hockey Rink. Come From Away won three 2017 Dora Mavor Moore Awards, four Helen Hayes Awards, five Outer Critics Circle Awards and three Drama Desk Awards including Best Musical. David and Irene were nominated for Tony Awards for Best Book and Score and won the 2017 Outer Critics Circle and Drama Desk awards for Best Book. They are currently writing the screenplay for Come From Away, to be produced by Mark Gordon. Irene and David are proud members of the Dramatists Guild and ASCAP. Find them online @sankoffandhein
Artistic Director, La Jolla Playhouse. Come From Away at La Jolla Playhouse, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Ford’s Theatre. Broadway: Memphis (Tony Award® nomination), Xanadu, Leap of Faith, All Shook Up, Rocky Horror Show (Tony Award® nomination). West End: Memphis. New York: Blown Sideways Through Life, Jeffrey, The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told, Valhalla, Regrets Only, Wonder of the World, Communicating Doors, Bunny Bunny, The Night Hank Williams Died, Fires in the Mirror (Lucille Lortel Award). Kennedy Center: Sweeney Todd, Merrily We Roll Along, Lisbon Traviata. La Jolla PLayhouse selected credits: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Darrell Hammond Project, Hollywood, His Girl Friday, Glengarry Glen Ross, Restoration. TV/Film: Lucky Stiff, Jeffrey; “American Playhouse,” PBS: “Blown Sideways through Life.”
Randy Adams is a Tony-award winning Producer and founding partner of Junkyard Dog Productions (JYD), a theatrical producing company dedicated to the development and production of new musical theatre. JYD has most recently been represented on Broadway with First Date at the Longacre Theatre. The National Tour of Memphis (by Joe DiPietro and David Bryan) completed a successful multi-year run following an almost three year run on Broadway. Memphis is the winner of the Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for Best Musical of 2010 and completed an Olivier Award Winning run on London’s West End in 2015. Since its inception in 2006, Junkyard Dog has also produced Make Me A Song, The Music of William Finn off-Broadway at New World Stages (Drama Desk nom., Outer Critics Circle nom.) and in London and Vanities, A New Musical at Second Stage Theatre, as well as served as Executive Producer for Doctor Zhivago on Broadway. Current projects include Come From Away, Chasing the Song, a new musical by the creators of Memphis which completed a developmental production at the La Jolla Playhouse in 2014, Fly High. Prior to creating JYD, he was the Managing Director at TheatreWorks in Palo Alto from 1984 to 2006. He holds an M.A from the University of Kansas and a B.A from Otterbein University.
Sue Frost is a founding member of Junkyard Dog Productions (with Randy Adams and Kenny and Marleen Alhadeff) which is dedicated to developing and producing new musicals. Broadway: First Date at The Longacre Theatre, and the 2010 Tony®, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Award-winning Best Musical Memphis, which completed a successful tour in the United States, as well as an Olivier Award winning run on the West End. Upcoming new musicals include Come From Away, Chasing the Song, and Fly High. Since its inception in 2006 Junkyard Dog has also produced Vanities, A New Musical, Make Me A Song, The Music of William Finn (Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk noms.) and Party Come Here as well as served as Executive Producer for Doctor Zhivago on Broadway. Sue was Associate Producer at Goodspeed Musicals for 20 years, where she produced more than 50 new musicals at both the Goodspeed Opera House and the Norma Terris Theatre. She is proud to have established, in conjunction with the NYU Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program, an annual residency for composers, lyricists and librettists at the Goodspeed as well as the pilot program for Goodspeed’s Musical Theatre Institute. Prior to Goodspeed she worked as a company manager on several Broadway shows and tours including A Chorus Line, Dancin’ and The Rink. In addition to chairing two New American Works panels for the late Opera-Music Theatre Program of the National Endowment for the Arts, Sue has served as a panelist and/or site evaluator for the NEA, the Philadelphia Theatre Institute, the Connecticut Commission for the Arts and Tourism, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and the TCG/Pew National Theatre Artist Residency Program. She lectures regularly at Yale University and is a member of adjunct faculty at Columbia University. A graduate of Smith College, Sue is past president of the National Alliance for Musical Theatre, and is currently on the Board of Governors of the Broadway League where she is a member of the Executive, Tony Administration, and Intra-Industry Committees, and co-chair of the Audience Engagement Committee.
RADIO HOST, AUTHOR, TELEVISION BROADCASTER
Award-winning broadcaster and bestselling author Gillian Deacon is host of Here & Now, Toronto’s afternoon drive show on CBC Radio One. She is also one of Canada’s best-known environmental writers, the author of the national bestsellers There’s Lead in Your Lipstick: Toxins in Everyday Bodycare and How to Avoid Them (Penguin, 2011), and Green For Life (Penguin, 2008). Her most recent book is the memoir Naked Imperfection (Penguin, 2014).
Gill worked for many years on television, as host of CBC’s The Gill Deacon Show, and before that as co-host of @discovery. ca for five years on Discovery Channel Canada and Discoveries This Week for Discovery Science Channel in the U.S. She was also a weekly arts correspondent for CBC News: Morning. She sits on the board of the Writer’s Trust, a national organization supporting and promoting Canadian writers. Gill lives in Toronto with her husband and their three sons.