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.

My Evil Dead  Memoirs

Evil Dead the Musical, 2007

Evil Dead the Musical, 2008

Other Evil Dead the Musical Memories

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,

Photos of the DIESEL Playhouse after closing

DIESEL Playhouse, Spring, 2009


When I visited the DIESEL Playhouse in April, 2009, the doors are chained up and the right hand door is boarded shut.

A notice was posted on the left hand side of the building stating that a 41 story highrise will be erected in the place of the Diesel Playhouse.

DIESEL Playhouse, Winter, 2010

DIESEL Playhouse Summer, 2010



In the spring of 2010, the Diesel Playhouse marquee was stripped and the building looks bare.  The main entrance was sealed up and a black banner was draped over the facade of the building.

DIESEL Playhouse, September, 2010

A new door has been installed in the place where Jeff Healey's Road House was.
More pictures will be added soon.  Keep your ears to the tracks.

Page Index

Life and Death of the DIESEL Playhouse Part 1

Life and Death of the DIESEL Playhouse Part 2

Click here to read the March, 21, 2011 Update

Diesel Playhouse, October 29, 2012

Diesel Playhouse, April 15, 2013