Cast Spotlight: Steve Hobbs

steve-hobbs-high-rez-headshotComedian Steve Hobbs plays sweet but bland insurance salesman, Bruce Baldwin, in His Girl Friday; this is his first production with Bygone Theatre.

Bio: Steve Hobbs is an actor/comedian and a long-time Toronto improviser. A graduate of the Second City Conservatory sketch and Long-form programs, he’s known for his stage performances in hit Toronto Fringe shows like “Behold the Barfly!” (2016, 5N’s – Now Magazine) and performed, co-wrote and produced in “Everything Is Fine” (2014, 4N’s – Now Magazine, 4.5 stars – The Torontoist). In improv, he plays monthly in the James Bond-themed “Double Oh!” show, previously headlined Impatient Theatre Co. comedy nights with “El Fantoma”, and has been featured internationally in various comedy festivals (Detroit Improv Festival, North Carolina Comedy Arts Festival, NYC’s Del Close Marathon). Off-stage, he’s been a writer for The Second City Network, CBC Punchline and the Beaverton, as well as co-wrote the 48 hour film project 2016 finalist “Fumbled”. When he’s not performing, he’s coaching and teaching as part of the Second City Toronto faculty.

How did you hear about Bygone Theatre and this production of His Girl Friday?

I heard about the production through Emily Dix herself at Bygone, but she also close ties to a director/producer team that I go way back with to past Fringe successes and beyond. They kind of recommended me and played match maker a little bit, which was nice. Small world!

What made you want to be involved?/ what do you love about the story?

The theme of professional versions of ourselves clashing with our romantic ideals is something that I not only identify with personally, but it’s also pretty trendy these days (have you SEEN La La Land??). His Girl Friday nails the frustrating balancing act for me, and grabbed me as a lighter, more fun exploration of that same dichotomy and realities.

What’s your favourite old movie?

Uh oh. I know I should probably say “Casablanca” or something, but honestly, its probably more like that 60’s Adam West batman film. Bombs, sharks…it’s basically Casablanca.

Have you been in a show like this before? What else might people have seen you in recently?

I haven’t been in a production set in this particular era before, but I’ve been in multiple successful Fringe shows (“Behold, the Barfly!”, “Everything is Fine”) and make TV/youtube/stage appearances fairly often. I play in a monthly James Bond themed improv show as well, and guest as a comedian when I can.

Why should people come and see the show?

This show has a stellar cast, fast talking drama and comedy, and my character goes to jail a lot. It’s a winner, come watch!

Anything else you want us to know?

It’s my first time working with Bygone, and I’m PUMPED.

See Steve onstage this March in His Girl Friday tickets available online. 

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Dial M For Murder – Crew Spotlight – Matt McGrath

Matthew McGrath is one of the Producers for “Dial M For Murder” and is a founding member of Bygone Theatre. He produced “Doubt: A Parable” and performed in “Retro Radio Hour”.

Producer Matt McGrath

Producer Matt McGrath

Bio:

Matt Mcgrath has been acting on stage for over a decade. He attended Cardinal Carter Academy for the Arts for their drama program, and graduated from U of T with a degree in Cinema Studies and English.

​Selected stage credits; “Excuse You!” (Theatre On A Thought/Toronto Fringe); “Young Frankenstein” (Alexander Showcase Theatre); “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead” (Hart House Theatre); “Absolute Alice” (Stratford Factory Productions/Toronto Fringe); “Hairspray” (St. Michael’s College); “Pigeons In Love” (InspiraTO Festival); “Arsenic and Old Lace” (Victoria College Drama).

1. How did you get started with Producing?
I started a company and gave myself a fancy sounding title.

2. What is your favourite part of the creative process?
Watching the actors grow into their characters.

3. What are some challenges you face working as a Producer?
Finding a boat load of money so we can put on the best show we possibly can.

4. Any advice for other people looking to pursue Producing?
Find several wealthy benefactors asap.

5. What are you most excited for in regards to “Dial M For Murder”?
Getting to see a talented group of actors perform in front of a beautiful set at the lovely Robert Gill Theatre. Don’t get much better than that.

Toronto Fringe 2013 – Bygone’s Fringe Picks

942567_509117382482644_14951962_nThere are so many shows in the Fringe each year and it really is impossible to see them all. When you work in the arts, chances are you know at least a dozen people involved in the fringe, and for me that’s what determines which shows I go to see. So here are my (admittedly slightly biased) picks for this year’s Toronto Fringe:

1. “Teach Me” – Newborn Theatre: George Ignatieff Theatre
Written by my friend Rachel Ganz, I am stoked to see this show. I read the very first draft months ago when she started, and it was great then; I’m sure by now it’s evolved into something even better. Rachel has been accepted to National Theatre School for Playwrighting in the fall, so you know she’s one to watch out for. I was lucky enough to direct her one-woman-show “Plasterface” back in November, and I know her work always leaves a mark. If you’re looking for a bizarre, compelling story with hilarious and unbelieveably natural dialogue, I recommend this one.

2. “Excuse You!” – Theatre On A Thought: George Ignatieff Theatre
Bygone’s Producer, Matt McGrath is performing in this piece by Bryce Alexander Dudley. This show has already ended up on lots of “Fringe Picks” lists, and with good cause – a collection of stories about the hilarious world of customer service in the arts. Certainly something all of us can relate to, and sure to be a laugh!

3. SQUAT: A Super-Secret Back-Alley Musical – Watch The Elbow Productions: Site-Specific, CineCycle, 401 Richmond St. W
I’m psyched to see this site-specific musical because it’s got some amazing performers in it: Elizabeth Rose Morriss was one of our lovely performers in Retro Radio Hour, and Victoria McEwan and Colin Asuncion were in the production of “Hairspray” I did a couple years ago, as Tracy Turnblad and Seaweed. Plus what’s not to love about a site-specific musical? I’m interested to see how they tackle this one.

4. “Monstrous Regiment” – Socratic Theatre: Site-Specific, Paupers Pub, 539 Bloor St. W
Another site-specific show, this one features two of our “Dial M For Murder” actors, Jason and Rebekah Manella. A lot of what you see at Fringe is original works, which is great, but sometimes it’s just as fun to see a published show like this one, especially when it’s been adapted for a site-specific location, and shortened to fit the time slot. I’m excited to see them pull it off!

So these are the first ones on my list – I’m hoping I’ll get to see a lot more as well. See one you like? Let us know in the comments. And stay tuned for reviews on these and maybe more!

-E.