Montreal playwright Vittorio Rossi will be honoured with a tribute to his prodigious accomplishment as a writer during 33 years in professional theatre, to be held May 1 at the Rialto Theatre as part of the Blue Metropolis Literary Festival.
Hosted by writer Marianne Ackerman, the event will feature excerpts from a selection of Rossi’s plays read by Montreal actors, video clips of his work as an actor and filmmaker, as well as remarks from some of the great talents who have worked with him over more than three decades. The event brings together friends and supporters from the theatre milieu, as well as his loyal public from Montreal’s Italian community, where he is a household name.
Festivities begin with a VIP cocktail, 6 to 7 pm in the Rialto lounge. The tribute begins at 7:30 (doors open at 7).
The evening will culminate in a major announcement by Barry F. Lorenzetti, president ofMJJ ENTERTAINMENT, concerning an exciting new theatrical venture to be launched next fall, featuring the work of Vittorio Rossi.
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A playwright and former Gazette theatre critic, Marianne Ackerman says, “I’ve admired the energy and passion in Vittorio’s plays from the beginning. But not until I read his works in their entirety did I realise how deeply he has drilled down on his own personal and family experience, finding the universal, the crux of human drama. He is a truly great writer. I am astonished by the range and courage of Vittorio’s accomplishment. It’s an honour to bring the totality of his achievement into one event.”
Born on April 16, 1961 in Ville Emard to a working-class family of Italian immigrants, Rossi studied theatre at Dawson College and obtained a fine arts degree from Concordia University’s theatre department in 1985. He burst on the scene in 1986 with a one-act play called Little Blood Brother, which won the Quebec Drama Festival’s best new play award, a prize he took again the following year with Backstreets. While writer-in-residence at the Centaur Theatre, he wrote his first full-length play, The Chain, which opened the theatre’s 20th Anniversary season in 1988. Since that box office record-breaking debut, he has gone on to write nine plays, including three masterful plays forming A Carpenter’s Trilogy, staged consecutively at the Centaur in 2006 and 2007.
His early plays set the tone. Critic Gregory Reid has written, they quickly “established his reputation for edgy, testosterone-charged, emotional family dramas, and earned comparisons with David Mamet while displaying admiration for the work of Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams.” Reid says Rossi did for Ville Emard what playwright David Fennario had earlier done for Pointe Saint-Charles.
In 1998, his play Paradise by the River was independently produced, garnering rave reviews for its searing look at the internment of Italian Canadians in the Petawawa, Ontario prisoner of war camp during the Second World War. He returned to the Centaur with A Carpenter’s Trilogy, followed by The Envelope, a comedy skewering the Canadian film scene, in 2015.
TICKETS at www.rialto.ticketpro.ca or by calling 514-770-7773
* Tickets $20 * $100 VIP cocktail, begins at 6 pm * Doors open 7 pm
Wednesday, May 1, at the Rialto Theatre, 5723 ave du Parc.
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