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LEVELS THE PLAY
by Abby Grass and Clarence (CJ) Jura

Development Workshop

July 15th – 19th, 2024

Levels the Play is a new play featuring entirely original music. The show explores the lives of six high school drama students over the course of their final year. After the sweet, shy, creative Izzy is sexually assaulted at a party, she is propelled into a journey of healing and finding her voice. Our characters Izzy, Cyrus, Zoe, Bre, JP and Chris all navigate the complexities of adolescence, Queerness, relationships, race and intersectionality, bonded by their shared love of performing. Through truthful comedy and moments of tenderness, Levels the Play honestly investigates and reveals the lives of Toronto youth today.

NOW CASTING!

Submit resume, photo, and self-tape of 1 contemporary

music selection - folk, pop, rap, R&B, funk etc, (no music theatre selections please)

 

Forward audition materials to:

auditions@nostringstheatre.com with subject line, “LEVELS THE PLAY”

 

Submission Deadline: Friday May 17th, 2024

 

Virtual Callback Auditions will be – May 27 

(Actors' Compensation will be a percentage of box office sales)

Check out the music on Spotify

Final exam question: what do you get when you add six friends in grade twelve, trying to find their identities, a date to prom, and a college program, plus a healthy dose of music, Shakespeare, and voguing? You get Levels the Play! An excellent play with music created and directed by Abby Grass and Clarence (CJ) Jura, Levels the Play delves into the difficult but very real issues facing today’s youth.

While dealing with very heavy and adult material at times, Levels the Play shows the reality of the breadth of issues facing today’s youth. The discussion around sexuality, gender identity, and sexual assault are handled with care by the writers and performers. However, seeing these issues discussed, particularly in the context of young adults, is extremely important and I commend the creators on tackling these subjects. All of this is juxtaposed with the delightful performances in the play; the musical numbers are great fun, and provide the perfect balance for the play.

Levels the Play boasts a wildly talented cast of young artists: Nadia Casandra, Tavaree Daniel-Simms, Annelise Forbes, Luca McPhee, Isaiah Nembhard, Chris Otchere. Throughout the play we see what true triple-threats they are! Chris Otchere’s ballroom performance during the piece is definitely a highlight for me, as well as the history given about the ballroom scene and its importance to queer culture.

Levels the Play is joyful, real, and heartwarming. I highly recommend seeing it during Fringe. And if you love the original music for the piece, like I do, you can download the album on your favourite streaming platform!

JANINE MARLEY,

A VIEW FROM THE BOX, July 7, 2023.

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ABBY GRASS

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CLARENCE (CJ) JURA

MARK CASSIUS

DRAMATURG

Mark Cassius is a versatile singer and entertainer, who has been featured on Broadway, in the Original Cast of “Ragtime” and revivals of “Jesus Christ Superstar” and “Shenandoah”. He has spent seasons at both the Shaw and Stratford Festivals. Also, with Drayton Entertainment in “Damn Yankees”, “The Little Mermaid” and “Sweet Charity”. His Toronto Theatre credits include “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” (with Donny Osmond), “Miss Saigon”, “Showboat”, “Cats” and the Toronto Premiere of the Off- Broadway Musical, “The Musical of Musicals, (the Musical)”, for which he received a Broadway World, “Best Actor” nomination. He toured internationally with acclaimed Canadian Pop/Acappella quartet, "The Nylons", for eight years. He has been a Musical Director at Canada’s Wonderland, a Vocal coach for School Theatre Arts programs and Vocal Studios across Canada and the United States. He is a recurring Performance instructor at The Randolph College for the Performing Arts in Toronto and also teaches Musical Theatre Performance courses at Sheridan College and Toronto Metropolitan University.


https://www.facebook.com/MarkCassius
https://www.instagram.com/themarkcassius

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RICHARDO KEENS-DOUGLAS

DRAMATURG

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

 

The musical The Obeah Man, which he wrote and had the lead garnered him a Dora Nomination for lead actor in a musical. (1985)

 

His Book Freedom Child of the Sea was chosen the official book for children for the ( 200 years of the Abolition of slavery - 1807) Bicentennial Year in Canada  2007.

 

In 2005 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.

 

In 2003, Mr. Keens-Douglas was inducted into the Caribbean Hall of Fame for Excellence in Theatre

 

He wrote and directed the hit sold out show AY YA YAI IVAN, a musical about Hurricane Ivan which successful toured the USA, England and Canada. He 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,  Full Moon -2001.

 

He has toured Canada, USA and the Caribbean with his Sterling Award nominated one-man show Once Upon An Island, playing to sold-out audiences.

 

He made Caribbean history by being the Host of the Caribbean version of the hit show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.

 

He has authored 12 Award winning Children’s books that have been translated into six languages.

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1991 to 1994 he achieved national recognition in Canada as the host of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's acclaimed storytelling radio talk show ”Cloud 9.  He was also the host of the CBC TV show Sunday Arts Entertainment, which garnered him a 1996 Gemini Award nomination for Best Host in an Arts Program or Series.

 

He 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)

 

He 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,

 

He 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 had leads in numerous radio dramas, including the solo reading of fifteen episodes of Cecil Foster’s “No Man in the House” for CBC Canada.

 

As a storyteller, Keens-Douglas has thrilled audiences across Canada, England, the USA, the Caribbean and at international storytelling festivals. His one man show, Once Upon An Island was a Sterling Award nominee for Best Touring Production in Edmonton in 1991. 

 

As a Motivational speaker he is in demand across North America and the Caribbean.

DARRYL JOSEPH-DENNIE

MUISC DRAMATURG

Born October 5th, 1989, Darryl showed interest in music at a very early age. By the time he was three years old, he had already taught himself how to play all of the demos on the family's keyboard at home and was attempting to teach other family members how to do so as well. At 4 years of age, Darryl embarked on a 13 year journey of studying classical, jazz and theory at
the renowned Merriam School of Music, where he is now 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 own 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 2017, Darryl performed and recorded with Desiigner during Spotify's I'm With the Banned sessions. In 2019, Darryl Toured Trinidad and Tobago for the international Carifesta Festival. In 2022 Darryl served as the associate music director and co-composer for SoulPepper’s 25 year
anniversary production of Da Kink.

Darryl also operates as the producer, music director, composer, arranger and keyboardist for various theaters, churches and groups within the GTA including JUNO award winner; Carlos Morgan, SoulPepper Theatre, Roy Hamilton III and Vocal coach for The Launch, Lorraine Lawson

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