Monday, June 7, 2010

The Life and Death of The Diesel Playhouse Part 2

DIESEL Playhouse in April 2009

The Diesel Playhouse now sits dark in a sad looking condition.  The Brass doors are locked forever and a piece of wood is wedged through the right doors.

The Doors into the theatre are chained from the inside to prevent the doors from being forced open by vandels.

This public notice is posted on the theatre and it reads "

"Notice.  An application to amend the zoning By-Law by Lifetime 56 Blue Jays Way, Inc. to permit a 41 Stoey mixed-used building"

Page Index

Diesel Playhouse Front Page

Life and Death of the Diesel Playhouse Part 1

The Life and Death of the Diesel Playhouse

Where was The DIESEL Playhouse?

The Diesel Playhouse was located at 56 Blue Jays Way, in the heart of downtown Toronto.  Everyone associates the Diesel Playhouse to Evil Dead the Musical.

History of the Diesel Playhouse
The Theatre was originally built to house the Second City in 1997.  When Second City moved to its current home on Mercer Street, Jeffrey Latimer leased the building in 2006 as the Diesel Playhouse.  The only major show that got to perform a successful run was Evil Dead the Musical

The Glory Days of the Diesel Playhouse

The Diesel Playhouse made its name when Evil Dead the Musical had its successful run from May - September, 2007 after the run was extended twice.  On Februay 14, 2008 Evil Dead the Musical re-opened its doors for a lengthly run until September, 6 2008.  The best seats were in the Splatter Zone because you get covered in Fake Blood which is sprayed out by the actors and water cannons which are hidden behind the walls.

The Death of the Diesel Playhouse

On December 9, 2008, just over three months after Evil Dead the Musical closed, The Diesel Playhouse turned out the lights.  The final act was a one night performance from the Straight No Chasers.  Now the Diesel Playhouse sits dark until the Bisha Hotel and Residence opens.

This is the final article in the Toronto Star in regards to the death of the Diesel Playhouse

The house the Dead built is no more.

Tuesday night's performance by the music group Straight No Chasers was the last show to play at the Diesel Playhouse, 55 Blue Jays Way, originally built in 1997 as a home for the Second City.
After the comedy troupe left the premises in 2005, to relocate across the way on Mercer St., the theatre stood dark and was supposed to be turned into condos.

Producer Jeffrey Latimer, who arranged to lease the building from Michael Kleinman the following year, knew he had a two-year stay of execution to keep the venue functioning.
It reopened as the Diesel Playhouse in April 2006 with the production of Boy Groove. Some 140 shows appeared there over the next two years, but the theatre will best be remembered for the hit production of Evil Dead: The Musical, which filled it for 500 performances on two separate occasions, finally ending its run on Sept. 6 of this year.

"I was supposed to have closed the place in April 2008, but Evil Dead was still going strong, so I asked to have my lease extended until we closed in September," recalls Latimer. "After that, my involvement ceased. We went out on a high."
Then things changed. Mel Pearl assumed ownership of the building and B.J. Reinblatt (brother of Evil Dead's author, George Reinblatt) continued to manage the place on a month-to-month basis.
The problem was the shows weren't coming. The calendar on the Diesel's website reveals that there were only four one-night stands booked between now and the end of February, at which point a new horror musical called Cannibal (starring Evil Dead's leading man, Ryan Ward) was tentatively scheduled to open.

Some shows, like this Sunday's sold-out engagement of the Princes of Comedy, are planning to move to Second City. Klaus Schuller, executive director of Second City Toronto, said, "We'll do everything to help, but we can't sacrifice our own operation."
All day yesterday, sound and lighting equipment was being removed from the Diesel and it was obvious that its days as a performance space were over.

"It's a shame," said Latimer. "It was great while it lasted." (Toronto Star, December 11, 2008)

Reference: Richard Ouzounian (theatre critic), Diesel Playhouse Turns out the Lights,