Toronto Theatres: Broadway Musical Venues

Toronto is one of the world’s premiere centres for live theatre and performance. From big-budget Broadway musicals to independent plays to classical music, opera, and ballet, Toronto has much to offer the theatre-goer. Global Alliance is your preferred chauffeured transportation service for any of Toronto’s exciting theatrical extravaganzas, so allow us to take you to and from the show in style, comfort, and luxury. Today, a few of the city’s top theatre venues for productions of Broadway shows, most of them under the umbrella of the Mirvish theatre empire, will be detailed.

Ed Mirvish Theatre

Straddling the block between Yonge Street and Victoria Street just below Yonge-Dundas Square, the Ed Mirvish Theatre has operated under various names and purposes since opening as a vaudeville house in 1920. In recent Toronto theatre history, it was lavishly reopened in 1989 as the Pantages Theatre to host a long-running and successful production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s hit musical The Phantom of the Opera. Later known as the Canon Theatre and more recently renamed after the founder of current owner/operator Mirvish Productions, the 2,200-seat theatre is now one of the main venues for popular productions under the Mirvish banner.

Princess of Wales and Royal Alexandra Theatres

A couple of doors apart on King Street West, the two monarchically-monikered legitimate theatres are both major Mirvish venues. The Princess of Wales boasts a 2,000-seat capacity, one of the continent’s widest and deepest stages, and was built from 1991-1993 by the Mirvishes specifically to host lavish touring Broadway spectacles. The Royal Alex, while smaller (it can seat around 1,500 people), is richer in history, having hosted over 3,000 productions and many of the 20th Century’s biggest stage names since its opening in 1907. Its status as the oldest continually operating legitimate theatre in North America and a National Historic Monument make the Royal Alex not only a fine spot to take in a show but a step back into the cultural history of Toronto.

Panasonic Theatre

On Yonge Street just south of Bloor, the Panasonic Theatre was part of Mirvish’s expansion in the past decade. A movie theatre in the early decades of the cinema, the original building was demolished to make way for a state-of-the-art live performance space opening in 2005. Eventually passing into Mirvish’s control in 2008, it hosts major productions in concert with the company’s other venues.

Elgin and Winter Garden Theatres

Another National Historic Site constructed in 1913, the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatres are the last surviving Edwardian stacked theatres in the world and the only theatres discussed in this posting not owned and operated by Mirvish Productions. Designed by Thomas W. Lamb, also the supervising architect on the Ed Mirvish Theatre, the theatres were separate entities intended to compete for different markets in vaudeville and silent film. Restored to increase acoustic quality in the late 1980s following a long shuttering of the upper Winter Garden Theatre, both spaces now host various live events, including seasonal stage productions as well as screenings of the Toronto International Film Festival.

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