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YES Theatre has some ambitious plans for its ninth season

The company founded by a teenage Alessandro Costantini is growing up, delving into ever more complex projects

YES Theatre has some ambitious plans for its ninth season, including putting on two musicals simultaneously in August 2018.

Throughout the entire month of August, YES Theatre will be staging the musicals “Merrily We Roll Along” and “Violet.”

Both productions will feature the same cast, so the actors will rehearse both shows at the same time — no, we weren't kidding about the ambitious part.

There will also be cabaret performances and staged play readings put on by YES Theatre throughout the month.

It's a move into repertory theatre in the style of the Shaw and Stratford festivals, said YES Theatre founder Alessandro Costantini at the Dec. 6 launch of the company's upcoming season.

“It's something I've wanted to do for awhile,” he said, adding that he was trained in the repertory theatre model in theatre school. “I only now really feel kind of grounded enough to make that transition.”

“Merrily We Roll Along” features music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, with the book by George Furth. It will be directed by Stratford Festival veteran Mitchell Cushman.

It begins in the present and moves backwards, tracing the lives of three best friends from their estrangement through each milestone of their personal and professional lives (good and bad) to the start of their careers facing a bright future: young, talented and enthusiastic about the worlds waiting to be conquered.

“Violet” features music by Jeanine Tesori, with book and lyrics by Brian Crawley. Costantini will direct this piece, which features the emotional journey of a disfigured girl who was struck with a wayward axe blade when her father was chopping wood, leaving her with a visible scar across her face.

We follow Violet on a journey through the segregated American south in the 1960s, seeking a miracle – the healing touch of a televangelist who she hopes can make her beautiful.

On the way, she meets a magnitude of characters whose love for her reaches far past her physical imperfections.

“I need to stress that though people don't know these titles, I just want to tell patrons to trust us,” Costantini said.

“The same high energy and the same incredible experience you have had at all of our other productions, you will get tenfold from all of these shows. They are two of my favourites. 

“I'm really, really happy that I'm finally in a position to take this chance.”

Costantini started YES Theatre in 2009 when he was still a teen, and he and other original company members have now matured and are starting to make their mark as theatre professionals.

With that in mind, and given the company's goal of presenting youth-driven narratives, the first-ever YES Theatre Camp, for those between the ages of nine and 18, will take place July 2-13.

The camp is for those who have a deep interest in musical theatre and are looking to refine their skills or just dive in for the first time. 

“We're looking to cultivate another generation,” said Costantini.

For its 10th season, YES Theatre has something even more ambitious in mind — commissioning a brand-new musical with the theme of what it means to be a young person in Northern Ontario.

Costantini jokes that hopefully it'll be the first ever musical penned in Greater Sudbury to hit Broadway. He said he already has a team of 10 artists in place working on the project, currently dubbed From the Ground Up.

“The intent of it is to celebrate what we've accomplished as an organization in these 10 years,” he said.

If you don't want to wait until next year to get your YES Theatre fix, you're in luck.

The company's new subdivision, YES Theatre Orchestra, is presenting Disney's “Beauty and the Beast” Dec. 7-9.

Tickets cost $42.50 for adults, $38 for seniors and $30.25 for students.

They're available online at, by phone at 1-800-838-3006 or in person at One Sky on Durham Street or at the New Sudbury Shopping Centre.

Heidi Ulrichsen

About the Author: Heidi Ulrichsen

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