“A&R Angels” rock fable on stage until Dec 9, 2017 (Toronto)
Crow’s Theatre presents Kevin Drew’s (Broken Social Scene) stage premiereA&R ANGELS written by and starring Drew, alongside Billy Talent’s Ben Kowalewicz – on stage Nov 20 – Dec 9, 2017 atStreetcar Crowsnest in the Guloein Theatre.
It’s a heartfelt tribute to the great rock and roll anthems that have saved our very souls, and an irreverent send-up of the music industry,
Straddling our world and the afterlife, Loud Angel (Kevin Drew) and Soft Angel (Ben Kowalewicz) have been pulling people back from the brink with their music for decades. But times have changed. Their tunes just aren’t connecting like they used to, their numbers are down, and the universe is out of balance. Have they lost their touch? Or is something else going on? The A&R Angels have to write a hit or be eternally benched by the higher-ups: can they write that killer song that will give life to the living?
“Failure, Love, hope and regret have always been the connection towards finding an audience that embraces itself,” offersDrew.“The digital world’s treatment of art pushed me into a ditch a few years ago and I decided to write a play about it. The theatrical analogue world made situating a struggle amongst characters fighting to still feel like they matter in a confined space exciting to me.”
He continues, “I wanted to talk about the anxieties and depressive aspects so many of us face as we get caught up in the modern world of connection. Music has always been the universal language we all share and the questions of who is still listening made for an exploration into wanting to be able to help those who are getting lost amongst the noise. This play has a beginning, middle and end that is all about not giving in to our own haunted expectations as we continue to live beside the shadows of yesterday.”
For his part, Director Chris Abrahamfound Drew’s writing to be a revelation: “Reading the play for the first time was a great thrill ” It’s always a pleasure to discover a new writer, but it also reminded me how important it is to stay open to work coming from surprising places. We had a great experience last year debuting Stars’ front man Torquil Campbell’s True Crime and in the process I was introduced to Kevin’s play. Kevin has an innate sense of theatre, comedy and character, and I was struck by the delight he takes in satirizing his industry and himself. The play is really funny, but at its heart it is also Kevin’s affirmation of the deepest aims of his art form, or as he puts it – To save all those faces and save the world.It moves me because I know he means it.”
Close friends from their respective lives in music, Drew asked Abraham to have Ben Kowalewicz, lead singer of the multi-platinum band, Billy Talent, read for the role opposite his. Abraham adds, “Kevin and Ben wanted to take this leap together and their friendship really does animate the heart of this story about artistic collaboration. They share a truly heartfelt connection to the holy mission of music making. I’ve loved introducing them to the world of theatre, and conversely having them introduce me to the pain, pleasure, rhythms, and parallel reality of working musicians.”
Kowalewiczreadily joined Abraham and Drew on the journey. “I had always wanted to do something in the acting world I find the notion of stepping into someone’s skin and making their reality your own absolutely fascinating, but the right opportunity had never presented itself until now. Kevin created this incredible character that I feel I know and I’m getting to know more and more every day. I can’t begin to say how excited and inspired I am to be surrounded by such amazing, creative people, working to bring this alternate reality to life.”
Drew is also joined on stage byGraham Cuthbertson(Constellations, Sherlock Holmes), Ngozi Paul(The Emancipation of Miss Lovely, The Watershed), Maurice Dean Wint(Shoot The Messenger, Titus Andronicus), andco-stars Billy Talent’s front man, Ben Kowalewicz.
Backstage, the creative team includes Crow’s regular collaborators, set designerJulie Fox,lighting designerKimberly Purtell, and sound designerThomas Ryder Payne.
A&R Angels runs November 20 to December 9 at the Streetcar Crowsnest (345 Carlaw Avenue) in the Guloien Theatre. Shows are scheduled Monday through Saturday at 8:00 p.m with Saturday matinees at 2:00 p.m.
Tickets are now available for Crow’s 2017-2018 season with regular tickets starting at $20 and Frequent Flyer Passes starting at $120. Get online information and make ticket purchases atcrowstheatre.com.
Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.