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Silver Ticket Award Mentor
Marlene Smith

producer, arts manager

Program areas: producing

Marlene Smith is known to many as a tireless producer and through her passionate involvement with Toronto theatre. Since the founding of her Godspell Company, she has brought to the community nearly fifty Broadway musicals. Marlene has been producing and coproducing live theatre for over 40 years, including the long-running Cats (1985/87) – the first “mega-musical” to play in Toronto with an all-Canadian cast and production team which grossed $40 million.

Marlene served as co-manager of the Historic Elgin/Winter Garden Theatre in its first five years of its latest revival. During her tenures, she introduced many raw actors who went on to their special places on Canadian and American stage. Her showbiz career began as Director of Group Sales for Hair at the Royal Alexandra Theatre (1970). After working as publicist and company manager for the legendary Godspell (1972/73 – starring Andrea Martin, Martin Short, Gilda Radner, Eugene Levy, et al), she co-produced her first show (with Susan Rubes), What’s A Nice Country Like You … Doing in a State Like This? for Theatre in the Dell. She has produced or co-produced such productions as Ain’t Misbehavin’ (1980), I’m Getting My Act Together and Taking it on the Road, Piaf, Tomfoolery (The Ports), Damn Yankees (Royal Alexandra Theatre), Arsenic and Old Lace (1988-Hart House Theatre), Little Shop of Horrors (1985-Crest Theatre), Side by Side by Sondheim, The Wizard of Oz, Napoleon-1994 (Elgin Theatre) and The Compleat Wrks of Wllm Shkspr (Abridged) (1997/98-Bathurst Street Theatre). She has also produced important fundraisers such as the star-studded It’s Always Something which raises money for Gilda’s Club of Greater Toronto, named in honour of the late comedienne Gilda Radner; and DQ, a fundraiser for Casey House, the most prominent Aids Hospice in Canada.

Smith has also given much to both the theatre and larger communities, serving on numerous boards and advisory groups, including those of the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts, the Shaw Festival, the Toronto Hospital Board and the Boards of Hart House Theatre, Theatre Museum of Canada, Performing Arts Lodges
(PAL) and Studio 180.

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