1702173293 Retrospective 2023 The Year of All Battles – La

Looking for the wow factor! – The press

It all started with a simple observation: it seemed to me that a strong trend towards big shows had taken hold on our stages. Six or seven interviews later this was confirmed to me. Audiences are looking for a “wow factor” and want a real experience more than ever.

Published at 1:37 am. Updated at 7:15 a.m.


Over the next few months we'll be treated to an avalanche of musicals: Waitress, Tootsie, The Producers, The Cat and Starmania. There is also Pretty Woman and the return of Les Misérables and Don Juan.

And then there are these shows based on a concept where we mix music, circus, dance and other disciplines: La Shop (musical-humorous story based on the work of Yvon Deschamps), Pub Royal (homage to the Cowboys Fringants) , Beau Dommage symphonique, Tribute to Rock and Beautiful Ears with Cirque du Soleil, La Corriveau, Belmont (in honor of Diane Dufresne), La Gantee (in honor of Rose Ouellette), Mon Québec and his songs (in honor of the giants of our song ). ), From Broadway to Hollywood with Gregory Charles and his troupe Revolution on tour.

Looking for the wow factor The press


Photo taken at the Grand Théâtre de Québec during the premiere of the musical Pub Royal by Cowboys Fringants and the circus collective Les 7 Doigts

We have come a long way from the time when we were entitled to just one musical per summer under the direction of Denise Filiatrault. Patrick Rozon, chief creative officer at Just for Laughs and producer of Waitress, is well placed to speak to this development. “People are looking for a unique moment. You have a thirst for exclusivity. »

David Laferrière, CEO of RIDEAU and general and artistic director of the Théâtre Outremont, gives an overview of the phenomenon.

In fact, it's honestly amazing to see so many big productions. We are experiencing something very special at the moment.

David Laferrière, Chairman of the Board of RIDEAU and General and Artistic Director of the Théâtre Outremont

Martin Leclerc is champion in all categories of conceptual shows (For a One-Evening Story, La Dérape, Broadway en Lumière) and follows things with great interest. “About seven years ago we were the only ones presenting a Christmas show with multiple singers. There were five or six on tour this year. »

Martin Leclerc, who will produce Beau Dommage symphonique, believes nostalgia is the basis of most of these shows. When we look at the shocking number of “tribute shows” we can only agree with him. Nicole Martin, Édith Piaf, Sylvain Lelièvre and Eddy Marnay are “honored” in productions that bring together several artists.

And what about the numerous shows that pay tribute to rock icons? Fans of Queen, Pink Floyd, Supertramp, Iron Maiden, Kiss, Abba, CCR, Bee Gees, Everly Brothers and Genesis can see replicas of their idols in often grandiose productions. Some groups are even entitled to the “symphonic treatment”, this will be the case with Led Zeppelin and Queen.

Speaking of the symphony: Producer Nicolas Lemieux (Harmonium symphonique, Riopelle symphonique, Bébé symphonique) is not surprised by what is happening at the moment.

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Producer Nicolas Lemieux

People love concepts and want to be impressed by them.

Nicolas Lemieux

“We experience wow moments everywhere in our lives, it is normal that we want to experience them in an event hall,” adds André Courchesne, professor of arts management at HEC Montréal.

Does this hubbub herald a resumption of activity after a particularly difficult autumn for broadcasters? “It is true that last year we experienced a decline,” notes Lucie Rozon, who founded the production house Les Agents Doubles with her sister Luce. But here we have the feeling that things are starting well again. »

Lucie and Luce Rozon have also taken the path of shows based on catchy concepts, especially in the theater sector. After Verdict (80 performances on tour), they create Aux grand mals, les grands redes, in which four actors give historical speeches.

While some of these shows go on tour, others are only intended for major centers like Montreal and Quebec. “This is the reaction of Montreal and Quebec to the regions,” says Nicolas Lemieux. We schedule these shows for the long term to attract visitors. »

In this whirlwind of major musical productions, comedians continue to occupy broadcasters' calendars. And we shouldn't think that solo singers are disappearing. An overview of several rooms tells me that around thirty big names will be on the streets of Quebec this year. Among them Dumas, Marie-Denise Pelletier, Pierre Flynn, Paul Piché, Claude Dubois, Bruno Pelletier, Michel Rivard, Daniel Lavoie, Daniel Bélanger, Michel Pagliaro, Isabelle Boulay and Laurence Jalbert.

However, some producers and specialists I spoke to are concerned about the fate of emerging artists. Will it be more difficult for them to assert themselves?

In Montreal, some rare actors have the backbone strong enough to invest in major productions. Among them we find Just for Laughs, the Entourage Group and Musicor Spectacles, a branch of Quebecor. In view of this strong competition, every decision is accompanied by a certain amount of stress, if not prudence combined with wisdom.

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The Addams Family, October 2023

“Sometimes a musical needs to raise up to $1.5 million before it can make a box office return,” says Eric Young, president of the Entourage Group behind The Addams Family, Tootsie and Cat.

The coming summer should serve as a barometer, say several producers. “It will be a real test,” admits Eric Young. We are not London, Paris or New York. We'll see how the market reacts. » Patrick Rozon shares this point of view. “We will be monitoring this very closely. The good news is that all the producers are talking to each other. »

While I wait to be enchanted by these productions, I will see Pierre Flynn. There won't be 16 dancers around him and he won't arrive in a glass cage coming down from the ceiling. He will be alone in front of his piano with his songs.

The wow factor often occurs where you least expect it.