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Tomson Highway – Toronto Premiere – ‘Kisageetin: A Cabaret’

by NationTalk on June 25, 20103841 Views





“We’re calling it the ‘G21 Cabaret’ just to remind (Prime Minister) Harper of the fact that he’s holding his beloved summit on native land and that the 21st nation in the entire mixture is Aboriginal Canada.” Tomson Highway, National Post

“I’m an artist. I’m not a politician. If Stephen Harper wants to showcase Toronto’s art and culture then we’re doing it for him. I invite every single one of the G20 leaders to come to our show if [they] want to see Native art at its best.” Tomson Highway, Canadian Press”Kisageetin: A Cabaret
Featuring: Tomson Highway: composer, lyricist, pianist
Patricia Cano: vocalist
Christopher Plock: saxophonist

Dates & Times: Thursday, June 24 – 8:00 p.m. performance and opening celebration
Friday, June 25 – 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, June 26 – 8:00 p.m.
Sunday, June 27 – 1:00 p.m. matinee

Location: Berkeley Street Theatre,

Tickets: Are priced at $75 on Thursday and $25 for Friday, Saturday and Sunday performances and may be purchased by calling Canadian Stage at 416-368-3110, or online at

Opening Night Tickets:

This is a charming and whimsical cabaret in English, French and Cree that was partly inspired by Highway’s trips to South America. The 12 songs performed come from a one-woman musical entitled, The (Post) Mistress. They recount the adventures of a ‘post mistress’ in a small town. Throughout her time of working at the little country post office she has developed the ability to read the letters of her clients through the envelope. The talent comes from her knowing the emotional lives of those clients after having worked there for over 20 years. Each of the songs is a letter that she sings out to the audience and that tells the stories of 12 of her favourite clients.

The Miziwe Biik is committed to presenting, preserving and increasing awareness of Aboriginal arts with its goal to create a multi-disciplinary space named the Thunderbird Centre. The organization believes in supporting arts entrepreneurship, the importance of enhancing opportunities, strengthening relations and highlighting the profile of Aboriginal artists and arts practices.

This new show follows the success of its predecessor, The Cree Cabaret that toured for many years to packed theatres, concert halls and nightclubs worldwide. The show performed work from Highway’s productions, Rose (3rd installment of Highway’s ‘Rez Septology’) and The Incredible Adventures of Mary Jane Mosquito (a one-woman show telling the story of a wingless, young mosquito from Manitoba). His last full performance of The Cree Cabaret in Toronto was presented to sold-out audiences at the inaugural Planet IndigenUs festival in 2004. “My music has most closely been described as inspired-and-in-the-style of such composers of theatre music as Cole Porter and Kurt Weill, except that, in my case, they are written with Cree lyrics, as well as French and English,” said Tomson.

“My music betrays elements of classical, jazz, popular music, ragtime, honky-tonk, stride, Latin, BUT, with lyrics in Cree, as I myself am a fullblooded Cree from Manitoba.”

Artist Bios
Tomson Highway, Composer, Pianist
Tomson is the son of legendary caribou hunter and world championship dogsled racer, Joe Highway. Born in a tent pitched in a snow bank just south of the Manitoba/Nunavut border, he writes novels, plays, and music. Of the many works he has written to date, his best known are the plays, The Rez Sisters, Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing, Rose, Ernestine Shuswap Gets Her Trout, and the best-selling novel, Kiss Of The Fur Queen. For many years, he ran Canada’s premiere Native theatre company, Native Earth Performing Arts, out of which has emerged an entire generation of professional Native theatre artists. He has three children’s books to his credit, all written bilingually in Cree and English. He divides his year equally between in northern Ontario and the south of France and is currently at work on his second novel.

Patricia Cano, Vocalist
Patricia was born and raised in Sudbury where she began her career in the arts as a dancer and later as a community theatre player. She pursued a degree in Theatre and Spanish Literature at the University of Toronto where she met Tomson Highway and performed in the world premiere of his musical Rose. After that she worked in Paris, France for four years, then studied traditional Korean folk singing in South Korea, moved to Rio de Janeiro for half a year, and then headed home to lay the framework for her musical career. Since 2001, Patricia has traveled with Tomson Highway, performing the songs from Rose and The Incredible Adventures Of Mary Jane Mosquito in many cities around the world including Toronto, New York, Budapest, Berlin, and more! She is honoured to be the first to sing his most recent musical creations and is eager to see how far this new cabaret takes them! Patricia is presently touring Peru launching her first album, This is the New World with her friend and musical collaborator, Bernardo – Brazilian guitarist extraordinaire.

Christopher Plock, saxophonist
A celebrated saxophonist and vocalist, Chris is also proficient with the clarinet, flute, percussion and guitar. He has played with some of Canada’s leading musical acts such as The Burbon Tabernacle Choir, Ron Hawkins’ Rusty Nails, and the late Jeff Healey. Notably, his work on K- OS’ album Joyful Rebellion earned him two Juno Awards. In 2002, Chris released a solo album that brought both his playing and his singing to centre stage. My Romance, a collection of ten jazz standards, features classics like “Mean To Me,” “Bye Bye Blackbird” and “Since I Fell For You.” His second album, Blue Skies For Loveday showcases Chris’ vocals on tracks such as “I’ve Got The World On A String,” “Blue Skies,” “Paper Moon,” and “Stardust.” Chris’ new album moves his career to the next level, targeting national jazz radio play, jazz festival performances and regional theatre shows. Chris also juggles teaching music at a Montessori School with gourmet cooking and the occasional game of hockey.

Leah Cherniak, Presentation Consultant
Leah Cherniak
is the co-founder of Theatre Columbus in Toronto, along with Martha Ross. The company has created over 30 new plays and has a reputation for presenting innovative productions of classics. Cherniak has directed and cocreated most of the company’s repertoire: The Anger in Ernest and Ernestine, Gynty (an adaptation of Peer Gynt), Twelfth Night, Ratbag to name a few. She created and performed the role of Jelly in The Attic, the Pearls and 3 Fine Girls, which has a sequel in the works called More Fine Girls that is to be produced by Tarragon Theatre in conjunction with Theatre Columbus in the winter of 2011. Other directing highlights include: Happy Days by Samuel Beckett and The Little Years by John Mighton at the NAC in Ottawa, and Theatre Passe Muraille; Ibsen’s John Gabriel Borkman for Soulpepper and Theatre Columbus; Past Perfect by Michel Tremblay, Rune Arlidge by Michael Healey and John and Beatrice by Carole Frechette at Tarragon Theatre; The Miracle Worker at The Lorraine Kimsa Theatre and I Claudia by Kristen Thompson at The Saydie Bronfman in Montreal. Leah studied theatre at Ecole Jacques Lecoq and instructs a Directing Seminar at the University of Toronto. She also teaches an intensive clown course for Ryerson and York University.

Denise Bolduc, Presenter
Contracted as the program director/co-presenter of the Kisageetin: A Cabaret, Bolduc has an extensive background as an artistic director, producer, coordinator, administrator, facilitator and presenter. She is mainly recognized for her involvement with international, multi-disciplinary arts events and festivals. Notable projects include CopyCamp; Global Spirits: An Indigenous Showcase; Honouring Theatre; and the inaugural Planet IndigenUs. Bolduc has a 20-year history of working professionally across artistic disciplines. She works independently as an event planner and promoter as well as an arts consultant, host/speaker, facilitator, researcher and arts advocate

For media information, please contact:
Planet3 Communications Ltd.
Joanne Smale/Julia Barrett/Piera Savage
T: 647.346.4101 F: 647.346.4104 E: info[at]

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