The mission of the Randolph Academy is to provide unparalleled world-class Triple Threat® performing arts training, thereby contributing to employability of talent and encouraging sustainability of the Canadian and global entertainment landscape.
To effect positive change in our local and national communities through the arts and arts education, thus enriching the cultural fabric of the society and the lives of all persons we touch.
In the 20-plus years since its founding, the Randolph Academy has been a part of every major musical theatre event in Toronto, from the pre-Broadway runs of Ragtime and Fosse to the North American premieres of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Wizard of Oz and Dirty Dancing, and Mirvish Productions The Sound of Music. The Randolph Academy was established during the mega-musical revolution in Canada, at the time giving rise to a new breed of performer able to meet the needs of an increasingly demanding and dynamic industry.
TORONTO — A MEGA-MUSICAL HAVEN
Until the late 1980s, the musical theatre scene in Canada hovered between intimate musicals and revues, and products that were uniquely Canadian. However, in 1985, a Canadian production of Cats opened in Toronto, and changed everything. Over the next decade, Toronto became a mega-musical haven with spectacular versions of Les Misérables, Phantom of the Opera,Miss Saigon, Showboat, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Tommy and Crazy for You. Theatres such as the Princess of Wales Theatre and the North York Centre (now the Toronto Centre for the Arts) rose up to cater to premieres of Broadway-bound productions like Ragtime. Musicals like Cabaret and Hair started to be programmed at the Stratford Festival and Canadian Stage, respectively.
Demand rose for performers who could act, sing, and dance with equal proficiency. However, supply of such performers trained in Canada was questioned, most notably at auditions for Kiss of the Spider Woman in 1992.
Present at those auditions, George Randolph realized then and there that there was a need in Canada for a training institution with a curriculum that could respond quickly to the industry’s needs and that would prepare multi-disciplinary performers –Triple Threats – who could not only meet the demands of careers on stage and screen, but also survive the dynamic nature of life in the arts and be situated in the industry’s hub, Toronto
MIRVISH AND KPMG
A strategic plan was formulatedwith the input of an advisory committee, consisting of leaders in the musical theatre industry, including Mirvish Productions, and a feasibility study written by accounting firm KPMG (funded by a grant from the Ministry of Human Resources.) The feasibility study concluded:
"There are many schools in Canada that provide training for individuals aspiring to a career as a performer. … few have a curriculum that is industry-based and a supporting structure that meets the needs of students."
– KPMG, March 1994
Founding personnel included George Randolph, Susan Anthony, and Kathy Baker, with Janelle Hutchison and Stephanie Gorin on faculty. Ron Singer joined in 1993 as Artistic Director, a post he held until his retirement in 2011.
BROADWAY AND BEYOND
Today, faculty are the vanguard of creative and artistic leadership of the industry in Canada. Alumni and faculty appear in the biggest mega-musicals to hit Toronto, including Mamma Mia! (2000), and Dirty Dancing (2007), as well as the Canadian premieres of We Will Rock You (2007), Jersey Boys (2008), Rock of Ages (2010), Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Wizard of Oz (2012), Kinky Boots (2015), and the Stratford Festival’s Cabaret (2008), West Side Story (2009), A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (2011), and Tommy (2013). Alumni have showcased their talents on world stages, particularly Broadway productions of Once, Doctor Zhivago, Gigi, Nevermore, Jesus Christ Superstar, Memphis, Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Contact, The Addams Family, Next to Normal, and West End-London’s productions of Jerry Springer The Opera, The Colour Purple and Book of Mormon. Strategic alliances with Theatre 20 and Toronto Fringe Festival continue to be forged, ensuring the Academy maintains a deep connection to future innovations and opportunities.
Canada's musical theatre scene is more vibrant and with offerings more varied than ever before. And the Randolph Academy aims to continue to play a leading role in the future of the industry.