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The Ward Cabaret–a sold-out hit at the 2018 Luminato Festival–comes to Harbourfront Centre Theatre for its first full production. The concert-theatrical show reimagines the vibrant sounds of Toronto’s first cross-cultural community, where Jews, Blacks, Italians and Chinese lived struggled and created together in a place that was “dirty, crowded, dangerous and full of life!”

David Buchbinder, the Grammy-nominated musician and producer, is joined by a collaborative team of award-winning musicians, singers, and actors to reimagine the sound of the Ward.

Those sounds came out of a Lower-East-Side-like enclave shared for over a century by waves of immigrants who settled there, starting businesses and religious institutions, learning English, hawking newspapers, running speakeasies, restaurants, and laundries, all the while creating furiously, as they tried to fit into a larger culture that wasn’t sure it wanted them. When these newcomers came to Toronto they brought with them great cultural treasures: deep traditions of stories, music, and song.

The Ward Cabaret was inspired by the award-winning book edited by Executive Producers, John Lorinc, Michael McClelland along with Ellen Scheinberg and Tatum Taylor, and created with the collaboration of award-winning artists Michael Occhipinti, Derek Kwan, Marjorie Chan, Leah Cherniak, Andrew Craig. It shares the key to the sound, “vibration” and meaning of a time and place that holds the secret of what Toronto has become: the most diverse city on the planet.


Presented in association with Small World Music Society and Harbourfront Centre.


The Ward Cabaret (2018 at Luminato)

David Buchbinder

CO-DIRECTOR Leah Cherniak

WRITER Marjorie Chan

ARTISTIC ASSOCIATES Andrew Craig, Derek Kwan, Michael Occhipinti

SINGERS Laura Campisi, Aviva Chernick, Derek Kwan, Mitch Smolkin, Laurel Tubman

MUSICIANS David Buchbinder, Andrew Craig, Drew Jurecka, Michael Occhipinti, Louis Simao, Cynthia Qin

DESIGNERS Simon Rossiter, Victoria Wallace, Laura Warren

Inspired by The Ward (Coach House Books) edited by John Lorinc, Michael McClelland, Ellen Schelnberg and Tatum Taylor. The Ward Cabaret reimagines the vibrant sound of Toronto’s first multi-cultural neighbourhood. JUNO Award-winning musician and composer David Buchbinder is joined by a collaborative team of musicians, singers, and actors for a musical event based on the songs and sounds of Toronto’s first cross-cultural community.

Berkeley Street Theatre, Downstairs
26 Berkeley Street – June 20 -22, 2018




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