Actor and playwright Rick Miller of Toronto stirs nostalgia and a look at provocative historical events from 1945-69 in the one-man-show Boom to take place from Aug. 14-19 at the CAA Theatre in Toronto.
Among its many historical references, Boom looks at the rise of the Nazi movement in Austria (narrated by Miller as his Austrian born father) and the creation of the State of Israel in 1948 as one of many events that shaped the framework of the baby boomer generation.
Although raised as Catholic, Miller grew up in Montreal in the Jewish neighbourhoods of Cote Saint Luc and Town Of Mount Royal and has an affinity for the many Jews he has met over the years in the talk backs following his show.
“A lot of Jewish people resonated with my father’s background coping with rapid social change in Austria, especially during the performance of Boom in Montreal at the Segal Center in 2016,” said Miller.
Miller focuses not only on using the voices of both his parents, but also an African American man as the three main characters to chronicle historical events and social changes over the era, including the Atomic Bond, the Vietnam War, the tensions of French and English Canadians, the Apollo 11 launch to the moon, the social change of women from being supporters of their husbands in the Second World War to embracing feminism and liberation from traditional roles, among other events.
Miller provides more than 100 voices for prominent cultural and political figures of the era, including Winston Churchill, American president John F. Kennedy, Canadian prime ministers Louis Saint Laurent, Pierre Elliot Trudeau, Jewish singer/songwriter Neil Diamond, Janis Joplin, Hank Williams, among others. Miller plays musical instruments in addition to singing many of the popular songs of the era and includes photos from his family photo albums as well as footage of The Beatles and other musicians.
Because of the focus on Boom on the many changes Canadian baby boomers faced over the years, former American draft dodgers from the 1960s living in Canada are being offered free admission to the performance of Boom on August 14.
“I look forward to meeting and learning new stories regarding the draft dodgers who came to Canada in the talk back,” said Miller.
Boom had its world premiere in 2015 in Toronto and has toured in major centres across Canada, including the Segal Center in Montreal in 2016 to acclaim by audiences and critics alike.
“In Boom, world history and our place in it are made accessible. Most admirable is Miller’s unabated ability to give his all at every moment. During the talk backs following the shows, his battery remains at full power and the audiences can only marvel,” wrote Montreal CJN columnist Heather Solomon in her 2016 review of Boom in Montreal.
Miller is finishing an update to Boom titled Boom X to chronicle the years 1970-95 to premiere in Calgary in January that will also be performed in Montreal at the Segal Center from Feb.14- March 10 in 2019.
Tickets range from $25 to $89 to Boom at the CAA Theatre, 651 Yonge St. in Toronto. To order tickets,call 416-872-1212 or go to mirvish.com.