presents

 

Dario et La Diablesse: A Caribbean Musical

in development
Book and Lyrics by
Sasky Louison
  Music by
Sasky Louison & Darryl Joseph-Dennie
 

 

Director/Script Dramaturg, Richardo Keens-Douglas*

Music Director, Darryl Joseph-Dennie

Music Dramaturg/Mentoring Music Director, Mark Cassius

Choreographer, Shakeil Rollock*

Artistic Producer, Denise Williams

 

Starring
 
Caitlyn MacInnis
Jomo Kirton
Tan Vu
Alecia Pagnotta
Shernel Fay Justin
Ishiaka McNeil
Crystal Casera
Anurag Choudhury*
Siarra Burke-Smith
Noa Burke-Smith

 

*The participation of these Artists are arranged by permission of Canadian Actors' Equity Association under the provisions of the Dance•Opera•Theatre Policy.

Meet the team! https://vimeo.com/582345401

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Artistic Director’s Note: 

Welcome to our virtual presentation of Dario et La Diablesse: A Caribbean Musical. This season we bring you a virtual workshop presentation of the development of this Caribbean Tale for our 2021 Summer Emerging Artist Programming..

We are especially excited that this project announces the inaugural season of No Strings Theatre’s Many Voices many Stories programming.  

Among the many ways in which our world has undergone centuries of cultural intersections, at this time in our history we both celebrate richness  of the artistic fusions and also must reconcile that the products have not always benefitted all.  

In No Strings Theatre’s commitment to fostering  anti-racial, non-biased theatrical practices and re-imaging our programming and desire to encourage a new and progressive 'look' on our future stages, we unveil for you our Many Voices, Many Stories - telling the untold stories of Canadian history through artistic expressions of workshops and productions and supporting the development of new works by New Generation (Emerging) Artists.   

So here we are, a behind-the-scenes look at a new musical, work in progress, a musical development based on a folk legend of the Caribbean -  La Diablesse – a different story. Mentored by well-established Caribbean Canadian creatives, Shakeil Rollock, Mark Cassius, and Award Winning Playwright, Richardo Keens-Douglas we bring you elements of this story with emerging artists in Toronto and in the Caribbean in an online arena.   Our cast and crew, although mostly Canadians,  represent the cultures of many Caribbean Islands (Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Grenada,Guyana, Jamaica, St. Lucia, Trinidad).  We are so pleased to be unveiling this folklore for those of us of the Afro-Caribbean Diaspora who had not even known this bit of our heritage and sharing with cast, crew, and communities that are not of this heritage.

Aside from this amazing team of artists,directors, production crew, and in this highly challenging season, No Strings Theatre greatly acknowledges the support of our associates, collaborators, volunteers, and generous donors, many who are acknowledged below, in aiding us to bring projects like these to fruition. 

Thank you!

 

No Strings Theatre is a registered charity. We acknowledge that we would not be able to run programs such as this without the generous  support of our donors.

For information on how you can become one of our supporters, please visit our website. nostringstheatre.com 

 

Directors Note:

Richardo Keens-Douglas – Director/Script Dramaturg

The world as we know it has changed dramatically. Covid 19 wreaked havoc on the theatre world. Things will never be the same for a long time. The performing arts is one of the blessings that was given to humanity. What kept us sane throughout the Covid lockdowns and will continue to, is the creativity of the folks in the Arts. Without us you never get to see a caterpillar turn into a butterfly.

An empty stage no matter the medium will always remain empty until it is filled with the creative heart beats.

This has been a first for me, Directing/Workshopping a new Musical Play via Zoom.  I was wondering how am I going to do this, how am I going to connect with the Actors/Musicians through a little camera and a computer screen, everyone, hundreds of miles apart in their own space.  But that is the power of theatre. Once truly connected, everything just falls into place.

It turned out to be one of the most exciting and exhilarating experiences of my Directing career. Thanks to No Strings Theatre for taking this journey, and the wonderful Company of Actors, Musicians, Writers, and Production Staff.

With that said, I long for the day we can go back to Live Theatre, where the heart to heart connection between the actor and the audience in the same magical space, can transport us into the light of another world. I know it’s just around the corner.

To the young and upcoming theatre folks always remember the 5Ps

Proper,   Preparation,   Prevents,   Poor,   Performance.

One Love

Richardo Keens- Douglas M.B.E.

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis

Similar to mermaids and vampires, the Caribbean is filled with its very own mythical creatures. La Diablesse is one of them. She hangs around the local rum-shops and dark, lonely corners, awaiting her unsuspecting male passerby.

Legend has it that she is a female devil, so beautiful, that men, who lust after her, fall into a trance, following her deep into the forest, until they are lost forever. La Diablesse is said to be clad in a long flowing dress and broad brimmed hat, used to hide her soul-less eyes. She has one human foot and one hoof which she hides beneath her long dress.

It is rumored that stories like these were concocted by Creole- Caribbean women to scare their husbands into being faithful and not speaking to beautiful women hanging around places that they - the men - frequent. It is also rumoured that husbands concocted adventurous stories of how they got away from La Diablesse, when trying to answer their wives questions about their suspicious whereabouts.

Dario et la Diablesse: A Caribbean Musical, is a story with a twist. Instead of harming Dario - her prey- La Diablesse falls deeply in love with him and is willing to do whatever it takes to be his wife... even if it means becoming fully human. La Diablesse however, must convince Dario’s stern yet eccentric grandmother that she loves her grandson. La Diablesse must also convince her father - the Devil - to not steal Dario’s soul.

The musical is filled with the sounds of the Caribbean namely drums, steelpan, soca, calypso, reggae, extempo, zouk, jazz and R&B. It is poetic, filled with prose and a good laugh for all. It is safe to say that Dario et la Diablesse: A Caribbean Musical is a cross between Once On This Island and The Little Mermaid.

The playwright Ms. Louison, who is also creole believes in Dario et la Diablesse: A Caribbean Musical and is certain that if given the opportunity, it may very well fall into the ranks of Disney’s The Frog Princess and Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton.

Although there are some dark -yet truthful - aspects to this musical, it is masked with comedy, colour and music. It is for everyone. Young and old, families and friends, Christians and non-Christians alike. It is culturally unique yet comprehendible for all. The main theme is love, forgiveness and mercy. Three very important gifts one can give and receive. A lesson for all. 

Song List

Act I 

  1. This is a Story (Extempo 1)

  2. This is a Story #2 (Short Extempo)

  3. Celebrate

  4. They Blame Me 

  5. Y-E-S

  6. This is a Story #3 (Short Extempo 2)

  7. This is a Story #4 (Extempo 2) 

  8. This is a Story #4 (Repeated)

  9. Hello

  10. Have You Seen My Husband

10 Minute Interlude - Daryl Williams, Steel Pan

Act II

  1. I Love My Empress

  2. Who Am I 

  3. Ah Love My Empress Reprise

  4. Celebrate Reprise

 

Cast

Alecia Pagnotta
Griot
Noa Burke-Smith
Storyteller
Caitlyn MacInnis
La Diablesse/Lia/Lilith
Sasky Louison
Mom
Siarra Burke-Smith
God
Tan Vu
Devil
Anurag Choudhury*
Ron
Crystal Casera
Sheila
Shernel Fay Justin
Ma Theresa
Ishiaka McNeil
Danny
Jomo Kirton
Dario

Creative Team

Richardo Keens-Douglas*

Script Dramaturg/Director

Sasky Louison

Book/Lyrics/Music

Darryl Joseph-Dennie

Composer/Music Director

Mark Cassius

Music Dramaturg/Mentoring Music Director

Shakeil Rollock*

Choreographer

Denise Williams

Artistic Director/Producer

Lee Radovitzky

Stage Manager

Ellie Zapata

Assistant Stage Manager/Social Media Marketing

Jonah Nung

Production Assistant/Assistant Producer

Andrew Prashad

Videographer/Editor

Glenn Sevillo

Graphic Design (poster)

Angela Zhang

Graphic Design (show logo)

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

 Collaborators: Scott Hurst and Andrea McLean

Business Administrative Support: Sheldon Leung

Technical Support: Ben MacDonald

Board of Directors: Brian Cunha (President), Sheldon Leung (Vice President), Karen Sampson (Secretary), Kathy Hu (Treasurer), Bronwen Nicholson (Volunteer Coordinator), Eulalie Walling- Sampson, Shellina Yeung, Joy Xhindole

Friends and Family - you know who you are! 

Meet the Company

Alecia Pagnotta

Griot

Alecia is very excited to be making her No Strings Theatre debut with Dario et La Diablesse. Alecia is a professional Toronto based actor, musician and director. She received her B.F.A in Musical Theatre from Ohio Northern University and continued to study her craft further at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting in NYC. On top of performing Alecia is a classically trained pianist and serves as the resident music director for LiTTLe Theatre Etobicoke. She has recently discovered a passion for directing and this past spring worked with EmerGENce Theatre, to bring a few plays to life in their annual Fusion festival. Some of her favourite regional performance credits include, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Charlotte’s Web (Dunes Summer Theatre); Sweet Charity, Angels in America: Millennium Approaches, The Pirates of Penzance, Lysistrata (The Freed Center), Antony and Cleopatra, The Two Gentlemen of Verona (Primestock); Train Load of Trouble (Heritage Park Players); It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play (Oil Lamp Theatre) Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (BrightSide Theatre); Sleeping Beauty: A Traditional British Panto (Globus Theatre).

Noa Burke-Smith

Storyteller

Noa Burke-Smith is a 13 year old actress and singer who loves to try new things. With the help of YouTube, she has been teaching herself how to play new instruments like the piano and the guitar. She is currently taking part in the Drama Queens program facilitated by Lakeshore Arts in partnership with Jean-Augustine Centre, and has taken a singing workshop with Carolyn Thompson. Noa started to take a liking into acting when she loved to see ideas get into action and become real, and by watching her older sister also pursue the art form. She loves singing and has even begun to write her own songs, hoping one day to share them with the world. Constantly looking for ways to develop her craft as an emerging performer, Noa is excited to be in her first production, joining No Strings Theatre in this summer workshop of Dario et La Diablesse, a Caribbean Musical.

 

Caitlyn MacInnis

La Diablesse/Lia/Lilith

Caitlyn MacInnis (they/she) is a biracial, queer, non-binary multi-disciplinary artist. Their practices range from, but are not limited to: singer, songwriter, dancer, and actor. Based in Oakville, Ontario, they are entering their final year in Sheridan’s Musical Theatre Performance Program. She is featured in 2 Toronto Fringe Festival shows this season: “Swallow This Skin”;  an audio play written by young IBPOC and queer artists of the Unhushed Theatre Collective, and “We Knew Each Other Once Before”; a divised multi-disciplinary show about connection created by incoming fourth year Theatre Sheridan students, curated by Dante Green. Caitlyn worked with No Strings Theatre in their 2020 summer workshop “Acting Through Song” for emerging artists. Caitlyn is passionate about decolonizing the industry and creating space for historically marginalized and racialized artists. They are grateful to work with the company again on a show that amplifies Afro-Caribbean-centric content and artistry.

Sasky Louison

Mom

See Sasky Louison (Book/lyrics) 

Siarra Burke-Smith

God

From a young age Siarra Burke-Smith has always loved being transported from one reality to another through the listening and telling of stories. She is a recent graduate from Concordia University in Montreal, with a BFA degree in Acting for the Theatre. Siarra is passionate about exploring characters and using various mediums such as movement, captivating visuals, songs, and resonating conversations, that can remind her audience that although we come from different walks of life, we are more alike than we think. She takes pride in using her craft as a vessel for people to question their life, find themself and connect with others. Siarra is excited to be joining No Strings Theatre’s production of Dario et La Diablesse, and is most looking forward to bringing people back into the islands, through the tales, songs, and rhythms of the Caribbean. Listening to folktales as she grew up, makes her even more thrilled to bring these stories to life and showcase the Caribbean’s rich culture. 


 

Tan Vu

Devil

A Fulbright Scholar, Tan had performed in musicals, opera, and theatre with Saigon's leading arts institutions before moving to New York to train at the American Musical & Dramatic Academy under a scholarship. Since relocating to Toronto as Canadian permanent resident in November 2019, he has worked as tenor lead in choirs and performed in Toronto Operetta Theatre’s “H.M.S. Pinafore” before the COVID shutdown.

Together with mentor Stephanie Graham, Tan received the Toronto Arts Council’s Newcomer Artist Mentorship Grant to continue professional training during the pandemic with musical theatre experts: David Connolly, Kimberley Rampersad, Esther Jun, Chilinia Kennedy, David Leyshon, Ted Witzel, Alexis Gordon, Denise Fergusson, Stephen Woodjetts, among others.

Tan received a 2020 Queer Emerging Artist Award from Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, and was one of 5 artists selected to participate in the 2021 Next Generation Showcase’s “New Faces” Program, sponsored by The Stratford Festival. Tan has worked with Talk Is Free Theatre (as Swimmer in virtual reading of David Yee’s Carried Away On The Crest Of A Wave - CAEA); Toronto Operetta Theatre (as Mero in digital production of Emmerich Kalman’s The Csardas Princess - ACTRA); Cahoots Theatre (as Artist in Crossing Gibraltar); and The Toronto Fringe Festival (as TENT Program participant).

Tan will be playing The Devil in No Strings Theatre’s developmental workshop of Dario et La Diablesse.

Anurag Choudhury*

Ron

Anurag Choudhury is an actor, choreographer, and director based out of Toronto. His acting credits have kept him in the realm of Shakespeare and other classical styles of theatre (Commedia dell'arte, opera). His other affinity remains with homegrown stories that require different levels of empathy, especially when story writers are part of the production team, such was the case for this production. He wants to thank the entire production team for their tireless effort, especially when us actors had clocked off. This show would be nothing without you. And a special thank you to Denise and Sasky for believing in him and the ambience of his basement. This was a great team that exuded warmth, and they deserve all the support you are willing to give. Enjoy the show!

Crystal Casera

Sheila

Crystal Casera (she/they) is a Canadian actress, singer, and dancer. Crystal is thrilled to be making her No Strings Theatre debut as Sheila in Dario et la Diablesse. Their recent credits include being a featured soloist in Toronto Cabaret Production’s Easter, Valentines Day, and Christmas Cabarets, as well as in the role of Maine in The Journey by Cam Luu.  

Crystal has received rigorous dance training in a variety of styles and has danced competitively for six years. She is trained in jazz, ballet, lyrical, contemporary, tap and acro. They have also received both classical and musical theatre voice training.  

Crystal is thrilled to be joining the cast of Dario et la Diablesse and looks forward to being part of such an amazing production. 


 

Shernel Fay Justin

Ma Theresa

Shernel Fay Justin is an emerging actress with over 15 years experience in a variety of Carribbean musicals, plays, and dance productions. Most recently, she played the lead role of "Sarah" in the play "In Half an Hour (So much can change)" by Kendal Hippolyte. She has not only entertained audiences in Saint Lucia, but has performed in Dakar, Senegal, Grenada, and Trinidad. 

Shernel is also the Co-founder and manager of a theatre company called Dramacan where she trains young aspiring artists through performing arts workshops. Shernel has taught Theatre Arts to secondary school students for over 12 years and she recently graduated from the University of New Brunswick, Canada with a Masters in Education. 

She is also a published scholar of the paper entitled, "Enhancing School Connectedness in Vulnerable Youth Through Arts Education: Considerations for Education Systems in St. Lucia." She is extremely passionate about the importance of arts education to help discover and tap into the talents of vulnerable youth. 

Ishiaka McNeil

Danny

ISHIAKA MCNIEL aka Mr.Shak can be described as one of the most versatile Performers on the entertainment scene in Barbados.  This graduate of the theatre arts program at Barbados Community College, has a performance career that spans over two decades and includes many achievements, he is an Immigration officer by profession but sees the Arts as his passion and love. Ishiaka is a cast member of the popular Barbadian comedy Laff –it-off from 2002 to present and has performed regionally and internationally with the company. Other acting credits include Julius Ceasar (1997), Talk Tent97’, Blessed (2004), Stories Exchange (SEX) (2006), Tribute to Burgie (2006), The It So Happened Suite (2012), What Good for de Goose (2018). Ishiaka is a former finalist and semifinalist in the national pic-o –de-crop competition 2002 2003, 2004, 2008, 2009, and 2010 as well as a former Party Monarch Finalist in 2001 and Semi-finalist in 2015. Ishiaka is a former winner of the Richard Stoute teen talent competition in 1999. Ishiaka has appeared in several local and international films and documentaries which includes, Discovery Channel’s LOCKED UP ABROAD and JOSIAH – The Barbados Carolinas Story (2020).  This versatile performer has appeared in two full length movies,” A CARIBBEAN DREAM” which premiered in London England in 2016 and  Barrow Freedom Fighter which premiered in Barbados in 2016. Both movies have gone on to win numerous awards at various film festivals across the globe. Ishiaka is also a member of the Cave Shepherd All Stars Calypso Tent from 2003.  Ishiaka is the Deputy Chairperson of the MADE IT AGAINST THE ODDS FOUNDATION, a charitable organization which caters to the development of young people in our society. His motto is SUCCESS DEPENDS ON THE SECOND LETTER IT’S ALL ABOUT YOU.

Jomo Kirton

Dario

Jomo has a wide range of experiences from singing in classical choirs to singing as background vocals in a calypso tent, fronting a rock and roll band and theatre.

The most notable classical choir he has been a member of was Sine Nomine, in Barbados, which was under the direction of The Royal School of Music fellow Dr. John Fletcher.  Jomo studied voice under the tutelage of Ms. Norma Bowen in Barbados and Mrs. Valerie Daniels in Grenada.  Also, while living in London, England, he recorded a demo album.

Jomo is also a member of the RKD Theatre Company in Grenada run by renowned play write and author Richardo Keens-Douglas.  To date, Jomo has performed in six major productions of mostly local plays and musicals, including Ay Ya Yai Ivan, Uncle and, this summer’s smash hit, Kidnap Love.  Both Ay Ya Yai Ivan and Uncle were brought to Toronto for limited runs.

Jomo is currently a lead vocalist in The Gylfi and Jomo Band in Grenada.  They play throughout the island performing a mix of both cover and original music.

Richardo Keens-Douglas*

Script Dramaturg/Director

Dora Mavor Moore Award winner Richardo Keens-Douglas’s career spans many disciplines. Actor, Playwright, Director, Choreographer, Dancer, Children’s author. His play The Nutmeg Princess won the Dora Mavor Moore Award foOutstanding New Musical of 1999 (with 5 other nominations).

The musical The Obeah Man, which he wrote and starred in, garnered him a Dora Nomination for lead actor in a musical. (1985) His Book Freedom Child of the Sea was chosen as the official book for children for the (200 years of the Abolition of slavery - 1807) Bicentennial Year in Canada 2007. He won the Prestigious Golden Oak Award in Canada for his children’s book, Tales from the Isle of Spice. La Diablesse & The Baby won the World Award. He was inducted into the Caribbean Hall of Fame for Excellence in Theatre, wrote and directed the hit sold-out show AY YA YAI IVAN, a musical about Hurricane Ivan, which successfully toured the USA, England and Canada and has also written and directed plays such as, Kidnap Love-2018, Uncle -2014, the musical Sapodilla (Caribbean Cinderella) 2008, Sparky (Childrens' musical) 2006, Mas’ Camp (2002) and Full Moon (2001).

He made Caribbean history by being the host of the Caribbean version of the hit show Who Wants to Be A Millionaire and has authored 12 Award-winning Children's books, translated into six languages. (1991 to 1994) Richardo achieved national recognition in Canada as the host of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's acclaimed storytelling radio talk show” Cloud 9.  Also hosting the CBC TV show Sunday Arts Entertainment, which garnered him a 1996 Gemini Award nomination for Best Host in an Arts Program or Series.

Richardo has appeared on a variety of leading Canadian stages, including the prestigious Stratford Shakespearean Festival, St Lawrence Centre, Theatre Plus, Centre Stage, Factory Theatre, TWP, Theatre Fountainhead, The World Famous Apollo Theatre in New York, Harbourfront, Saidye Bronfman Centre, and around the Caribbean. Favourite roles include his popular portrayal of Ken, the lead in “The Playboy of the West Indies” (at the Du Maurier World Stage Festival) 

Richardo has had leading roles in plays such as Pinocchio, Ain't Misbehavin', Sophisticated Ladies, The Unseen Hand, The Boyfriend, Dames at Sea, The Threepenny Opera, Guys and Dolls, Smile Orange, Twelfth Night, Measure For Measure, Uncle, Souvenirs, and was the resident choreographer for the Childrens’ Theatre of Montreal for five years.

Keens-Douglas has had leading roles in such films as Zero Patience, Dance to Remember, Fields of Endless Days, Fred Penner series, The Aderley series. He has played the lead in numerous radio dramas, including the solo reading of fifteen episodes of Cecil Foster’s “No Man in the House” for CBC Canada. 

Keens-Douglas has thrilled audiences across Canada, England, the USA, the Caribbean and at international storytelling festivals with his storytelling. His one-man show, Once Upon an Island, was a Sterling Award nominee for Best Touring Production in Edmonton (1991). Finally, his talents as a motivational speaker made him in demand across North America and the Caribbean. 

Sasky Louison

Book/Lyrics/Music

Growing up on the beautiful islands of Saint Lucia and Barbados, Sasky Louison, draws from her Caribbean-Creole culture and incorporates it into her art. Sasky is a Theatre Arts and English teacher, Jazz, Soul & Classical Crossover musician and writer. Her credits include Laff it Off (2019 Barbados), Rayn’s Song (2017 Barbados), Island Tales (2016 Toronto), Dario et la Diablesse- A Caribbean Musical (2015 Toronto), Da Kink in my Hair (2015 Canada Tour), Celebrant Singers Orchestra USA & France Tour (2014), The Passion Play Musical (2014, 2015, 2016, Toronto), Xmas Xtravaganza (2014, 2015, 2016, Toronto), A Special Kind of Love (2013 Barbados), Bridgetown Goes to la Habana (Cuba, 2012) and others. Most recently she collaborated with Mr. Jamie Lonsdale on his Footprints Album which was released in London, England and was number 10 on the classical charts. She and Mr. Lonsdale wrote 9 songs together, 5 of which made the album cut. Sasky will also be launching her memoir, 16 Years Ago in which she shares her experiences growing up, as she strived for excellence in a disadvantaged environment.

Sasky dreams of seeing her musicals on stages and arenas throughout the world and her memoirs/novels being New York Times Bestsellers. She draws upon memories of sitting with her cousins, listening to stories of mythical creatures occupying the island. Sasky uses these experiences in her creation of Dario et la Diablesse: A Caribbean Musical. 

Darryl Joseph-Dennie

Composer/Music Director

Darryl was three years old when he taught himself how to play all of the demos on his family's keyboard at home. By the age of 4 years, Darryl embarked on a 13-year journey, studying classical, jazz and theory at the renowned Merriam School of Music, where he is currently positioned as a music education specialist. During those 13 years, Darryl was accepted into Merriam's Keyboard Ensemble and Enriched programs for students showing exceptional potential. Darryl also participated in numerous Festivals and competitions winning multiple first-place awards and scholarships. After attending Humber College for Jazz and Contemporary Music in Toronto, Darryl then furthered his musical development by joining the music ministry at a local church. It was there that he learned how to fuse the precision of classical, the harmony of jazz and the functionality of gospel music to create his unique voice on the piano. Darryl, later, spent four years as the lead pianist for The Church on the Queensway's Christmas and Easter musicals which also included a run of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat.

In 2016, Darryl headlined the Toronto Beaches Jazz festival's opening night as part of the band Really Big World (formerly 7Sould). In 2017, Darryl performed and recorded with Designer during Spotify's I'm With the Banned sessions. In 2019, Darryl Toured Trinidad and Tobago for the international Carifesta Festival. Darryl also operates as the producer, music director, arranger and keyboardist for various churches and groups within the GTA including, JUNO award winner Carlos Morgan and Vocal coach for The Launch, Lorraine Lawson

Mark Cassius

Music Dramaturg/Mentoring Music Director

Mark Cassius made his Broadway debut in the revival of Shenandoah in 1989. He was an original cast member in the World Premiere of Ragtime (1996) in Toronto. Ragtime took him to Broadway for the 2nd time in 1998. The 3rd time’s a charm as he was on Broadway again in the revival of Jesus Christ Superstar in 2012. That production came out of his 2nd season at The Stratford Festival of Canada in 2011. 

In his first season, 2007, his performance as “Mr. Magix” in My One and Only gained him critical acclaim. Mark Cassius was a cast member of many of Canada’s Mega-Musicals in the 1990s, such as Cats, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (with Donny Osmond), Miss Saigon, and Showboat. Regionally, he enjoys performing in shows for D2 Entertainment - Hollywood Sings, A Starbright Christmas, and always feels at home in front of Drayton Entertainment audiences, - Damn Yankees, The Little Mermaid, Sweet Charity, Dance Legends. During one of the few times Mark has done theatre in Toronto, in the past decade, he received a Broadway World, “Best Actor” nomination, for his role in The Musical of Musicals (The Musical). From 1997 – 2005, he was a member of the world-renowned acapella group, The Nylons, touring with them extensively. He has been a Kiwanis Musical Festival adjudicator, is a wildly sought-after vocal coach, has taught at the Randolph College for the Performing Arts and continues to mentor and support young performers. Presently completing a Masters in Music Composition at York University, Mark is passionately invested in and dedicated to the creation and survival of Art. 

Follow him on Facebook and Instagram @TheMarkCassius

Shakeil Rollock*

Choreographer

After years of independent and company work, now venturing into the world of Musical Theatre, Shakeil Rollock is an emerging dancer, choreographer, and dance instructor whose styles encompass urban, modern, ballet, contemporary and jazz. Most recently finishing contracts with The Grand Theatre’s Mary Poppins – and currently working on a Disney Plus project alongside Emilio Dosal (In the Heights) and Ebony Williams (Beyoncé). A graduate of the School of Toronto Dance Theatre, Shakeil developed experience working alongside established artists with tenure in such productions as Cirque Du Soleil (Julie Perron & Debra Brown), the Step-Up Franchise (Draico), Jully Black Entertainment (Hollywood Jade) and Allen and Karen Kaeja (Kaeja d’Dance). Shakeil has been fortunate enough to work in the Afro-Contemporary Diaspora with Esie Mensah Dance and Lua Sheyenne Dance Company. Lastly, his love for dance extends to performing; currently one of Theatre Passe Murialle’s 2020 BUZZ Residency creators and BCurrent’s 2020 resident artist.

Check him out at: www.shakeilrollock.com

Denise Williams

Artistic Director/Producer

Denise Williams is a professional singer, music educator and facilitator.  She holds an ARCT in Singing Performance from the Royal Conservatory of Music, a Masters in Community Music from Wilfrid Laurier University, and studied Arts and Entertainment Administration at Ryerson University.  

Her 30+ year international solo performance career has put her at home on the concert, opera, and theatre stages, presenting a myriad of self-produced concerts and working with, to name a few national companies,  The Nathaniel Dett Chorale, The Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Mendelssohn Choir,  Mirvish Productions, Eastern Front Theatre, Theatre Northwest as well as international appearances.  Highlights of her performance career include most recently a concert performance in with the Orquesta Sinfonica de Oriente in Cuba, and in Toronto, Walk Together Children - A Cross-Cultural Concert Celebration (Black, Jewish, Muslim) at the The Toronto Centre for the Arts, now known as the Meridian Arts Centre (Fall 2018),  the Nathaniel Dett Chorale’s concert performance of Treemonisha at Koerner Hall,  Andrew Craig's King’s Playlist at the Harbourfront centre's Fleck Dance Theatre (2017), the cast of Mirvish's North American Premier of The Sound of Music at the Princes of Wales Theatre (2008-2010), and other notable solo performances. Her CD, Walk Together Children, is a cross-cultural initiative, featuring music from the roots of Black & Jewish music.

Denise currently concentrates her time on performance education, and has founded No Strings Theatre with a desire to aid youth in developing their skills in music theatre as well as grow in their team skills for life.  She has been a private voice teacher for over 30 years, as well as Royal Conservatory of Music examiner and national adjudicator for over 20 years.   She is currently a part time faculty member in Sheridan College’s Music Theatre department, a certified advanced voice teacher for the RCM and sessional sacred music professor for the Canada Christian College.  

Professional memberships include President of The Central Toronto Branch of the Ontario Registered Music Teachers Association (ORMTA-CTB), executive of the National Association for Teachers of Singing (NATS), and the Canadian Actors Equity.

Lee Radovitzky

Stage Manager

Lee Radovitzky is thrilled to be a part of No Strings Theatre’s developmental workshop: Dario et La Diablesse. Theatre has been a large part of Lee’s life since the age of seven, both on and off stage. Her most recent credentials include Stage Manager for Laurier Musical Theatre’s production of “The Theory of Relativity” and Producer for the upcoming Laurier Musical Theatre production (coming January 2022). Lee would like to thank the entire production team and cast for their dedication and hard work throughout this workshop. She has learned so much from this process that she will take with her throughout her career in theatre. Lee believes that with a passion for the arts and a love of theatre, there is little that cannot be accomplished. Dario et La Diablesse is an example of this belief, showing viewers exactly what some like-minded people can do in just 9 days. 

Ellie Zapata

Assistant Stage Manager/Social Media Marketing

No Strings Theatre is happy to have had Ellie Zapata as our Assistant Stage Manager for this production of Dario et La Diablesse. Ellie has been an integral part of our team and we have been so lucky to have her on board. Ellie has experience in music, casting, production, PR, research, TV and film and is working towards her BA in Production through the Faculty of Communication and Design. We cannot wait to see all the amazing things Ellie does in the future and hope she has found a home here at No Strings Theatre.

Jonah Nung

Production Assistant/Assistant Producer

Jonah Nung is grateful to be a part of No Strings Theatre’s developmental workshop of Dario et la Diablesse! He is currently studying music and composition at the University of Toronto and has previously worked as a musician, props master, and wardrobe crew member with the Victoria College Drama Society, the Trinity College Dramatic Society, and Hart House Theatre. Jonah would like to thank the members of the cast, creative team, and his fellow crew members for creating theatre magic with their dedication and talent despite the restrictions in challenges of online theatre.

Andrew Prashad

Videographer/Editor

Andrew is a solidly trained and versatile dancer as well as a musician, singer and actor. He is one of the leading Tap dance artists in Canada, teaching and choreographing around the world. He is an award-winning actor, composer and writer, having recently had his self-produced short film officially selected in 12 festivals around the world and winning 4 awards including BEST SHORT FILM.

Recent TV/Film credits include Disney’s film SPIN and the television series THE HOT ZONE: ANTHRAX. On stage he’s been a featured singer and dancer on the 20th Anniversary World Tour of RIVERDANCE, originated a role in Mira Nair’s MONSOON WEDDING musical at Berkeley Rep Theatre, played Cogsworth in Young People’s Theatre’s BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, Billy in ONCE at Theatre St John’s in Newfoundland, Boutons in Neptune Theatre’s CINDERELLA where he won a MERRITT AWARD for OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR, and originated the role of Jonas in JUKEBOX HERO at the Ed Mirvish Theatre. He recently finished doing HOLIDAY INN at the Shaw Festival and is preparing for his tour of his One- Person show ONE STEP AT A TIME, which includes his debut at the Stratford Festival.

It is a critically acclaimed, multi-medium show (Tap dance, acting, singing, video) chronicling his family’s journey with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus and has been presented by schools and theatres, raising $9,330 (to date) for SickKids Hospital and ErinOak Kids. Andrew is a graduate of the University of Toronto at Mississauga with an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre and Performance as well as French Literature.

Glenn Sevillo

Graphic Design (poster)

Angela Zhang

Graphic Design (show logo)

Multimedia















Multimedia

Meet the team!
Ok, so that's a wrap - how do we end?

Donors

No Strings Theatre is a registered charity and greatly acknowledges the generous  support of our donors.

For information on how you can become one of our supporters, please visit our website. nostringstheatre.com

CHARITABLE REGISTRATION # 80104 2409 RR0001

 

 

2020-2021 Donors and Community Partners

 

PERFORMER’S CIRCLE
Vanessa Bell

Sam Donkoh

Jane Dziedziola

Linda Frey
Rachel Gillespie

​Catherine J. Marjoribanks

James Meade

Joyce Richards

Richard Shallhorn

Eulalie Walling- Sampson

Deanna Yerichuk


MANAGER’S CIRCLE

Maurice Bygrave

MVL Stable

Pauline McKenzie

Valerie Burke


PRODUCER’S CIRCLE

Glen Barckert

Louise Davies

Scott Hurst

Douglas Lane

Denise Williams

 

MAJOR GIFTS​

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COMMUNITY PARTNERS

Caribana Arts Group

Voices of Colour Music

 

 

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