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Wicked Reviews

"A theatre goer since I was 2, I am now 26, I can not recall being as moved in so many directions as I was while watching Wicked."

- Matt B.

"If I could pick where I had to die, It would be at a performance of Wicked. If I could pick the last words that I heard, It would be the last note of the song "Defying Gravity." This show is utterly amazing!"

- Jen M.

"Wicked is a musical that does best what musicals are supposed to do: transport the audience beyond the world they know. Whether you dream of being Galinda/Glinda, the toast of society, or Elphaba, the beautifully misinterpreted outcast, Oz inspires you. What more is theater for?"

- Hols F.

"Wicked did it all for me. Wit, charm, excitement, romance, surprises, it's all there. If you're going to see a show in New York, see Wicked."

- John H.

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Canon Theatre - Canada
Presents Wicked the Musical

Canon Theatre - Canada Information Canon Theatre - Canada Seating Chart Canon Theatre - Canada Map Buy Wicked the Musical Tickets at Canon Theatre - Canada

Canon Theatre - Canada
244 Victoria St.
Toronto, Ontario

Wicked the Musical (show information)
Playing: 10/7/06 - 11/19/06
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Canon Theatre - Canada Information

The Canon Theater began as the Pantages Theatre in 1920 as a combination vaudeville and motion picture house. Designed by the great theatre architect Thomas W. Lamb, it was the largest cinema in Canada (originally having 3373 seats) and one of the most elegant.

The Pantages was built by the Canadian motion picture distributor Nathan L. Nathanson, founder of Famous Players Canadian Corporation, the Canadian motion picture distributing arm of Adolph Zukor's Paramount Pictures. While Famous Players retained ownership, management and booking were turned over to the Pantages organisation, one of the largest vaudeville and motion picture theatre circuits in North America.

The Pantages circuit had its beginnings in Canada, in the Yukon. Pericles Alexander Pantages had been a sailor on a Greek merchant ship who left the sea in search of riches during the great 1897 Klondike Gold Rush. Although he found no gold, he became part owner of a small theatre in Dawson City - the Orpheum - that staged vaudeville and burlesque shows. From this beginning, he built an entertainment empire that would eventually include a Hollywood film studio, a powerful vaudeville booking agency and ownership or control of more than 120 theatres across Canada and the western United States - most of which were known as "The Pantages". The Toronto theatre was the easternmost house of the Pantages circuit, which then dominated the western market, but had been blocked in the east by the powerful Keith-Albee-Orpheum vaudeville chain (later to be absorbed by the Radio Corporation of America into the motion picture company Radio Keith Orpheum, or RKO).

The Pantages empire - 30 years in the making - came to a sudden end in 1929 when Alexander Pantages was convicted of the rape of 17-year old chorus girl and sentenced to 50 years in prison. Although the conviction was overturned on appeal, the scandal and the legal costs ruined Pantages. To the public, he had "got away with it" thanks to a clever lawyer. In 1930, he was forced to sell his theatres - at pennies on the dollar - with most of his assets going to RKO Pictures.

With the collapse of the Pantages circuit, the Pantages name came off the marquees of almost all the theatres. In 1930, the Toronto Pantages was renamed "The Imperial" and became exclusively a cinema - no more live vaudeville. Management and control were resumed by Famous Players, which retained ownership for more than 50 years.

In 1973, the Imperial was divided into six separate cinemas to become "The Imperial 6". It operated under that name until 1986, when Famous Players lost a vital lease on the Yonge Street entrance (the bulk of the building was on Victoria Street, a rear side street) to a rival, Cineplex Odeon. Cineplex was able to force Famous Players to sell the theatre, but the victory was a Pyrrhic one; in a bitter legal fight, Famous Players won an injunction forbidding Cineplex from ever again using the theatre for motion pictures.

Cineplex responded to the court order by gutting the Imperial 6 and rebuilding it as a live theatre, restoring the lobby areas to the original 1920 design and restoring "The Pantages" name on the marquee. The "new" 2200-seat Pantages reopened in 1989 with the first legitimate theatre production it had ever known, Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical The Phantom of the Opera, which played at the Pantages for more than a decade.

The Pantages was operated by a division of Cineplex Odeon known as Livent. After a battle for control of Cineplex between its founder, Garth Drabinsky, and Cineplex Odeon's majority shareholder, MCA, Livent became an independent company, with no ties to the parent corporation. Livent continued to own and operate the Pantages until 1999, when the theatre was purchased - along with other assets of the bankrupt Livent - by Clear Channel Entertainment.

Clear Channel remains today the owner of the theatre, but has turned management of the facility over to Mirvish Productions, owner of Toronto's Princess of Wales Theatre and Royal Alexandra Theatre. In July 2001, Clear Channel announced a pledge of support for the theatre from Canon Canada, Inc. In recognition of this pledge, which guarantees the continued life and health of an important, historic and beautiful showplace, the theatre has been renamed the Canon Theatre.

Theatre specifications

  • Total seats (1920): 3373; (2005): 2295
  • Seating: mezzanine, orchestra and boxes
  • Entrance: 244 Victoria Street, Yonge Street
  • Owner: Clear Channel Communications
  • Leased to: Mirvish Productions

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