The community is already abuzz in anticipation of the North American premiere of The Harder They Come on July 21. The musical is based on the 1972 cult film by Perry Henzell – the launch pad that catapulted the career of reggae icon, Jimmy Cliff, to a higher level.
Although the musical came together in England, The Harder They Come is a rare chance to see Caribbean culture represented in a major theatrical production in Canada. In the film, Ivanhoe Martin leaves his home in the Jamaican countryside to find work in the big city. While there, Martin tries to break into the music industry as a reggae artist, but soon learns the true nature of the beast. Martin eventually finds himself caught up in illegal activity and consequently on the run from the law.
Next month, those in and around Toronto will have the chance to see how that drama plays out on stage.
Those who haven’t seen the film have likely heard about it, and those who don’t know the film by name, have probably heard some of the songs from the soundtrack. “Many Rivers to Cross,” “Higher and Higher” and “Rivers of Babylon” are a few of the hits included in the musical’s score.
On Saturday, June 27 at 9:30 p.m., the Bloor Cinema, 506 Bloor Street West, will host a screening of the film, giving fans a chance to revisit the original work and giving younger generations the opportunity to better understand what the excitement is all about. Tickets to the screening are $5 and may be purchased in advance via www.ticketking.com.
As the first stop in an international tour, The Harder They Come will be in Toronto for a limited engagement, from July 21 until August 23; Tuesday to Saturday at 8:00 p.m.; and Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday at 2:00 p.m. at the Canon Theatre, 244 Victoria Street. Tickets have been on sale since June 13, and prices range from $25 to $95.
At each performance there will be 300 seats available in the mezzanine, specially priced at $25 for weekday performances and $30 for weekend performances. Tickets are available online at www.mirvish.com; by calling TicketKing at 416-872-1212 or 1-800-461-333; or in person at the Box Office. Theatre groups call 416-593-4142 or 1-800-724-6420.