Forest Hill producer plays magician

PHOTO COURTESY COREY ROSS YOU'RE A WIZARD, COREY: Forest Hill resident Corey Ross has brought the stage performance of Potted Potter to Toronto for a return engagement.

YOU’RE A WIZARD, COREY: Forest Hill resident Corey Ross has brought the stage performance of Potted Potter to Toronto for a return engagement.

Corey Ross brings Potted Potter and other top-notch shows to Toronto

One could call Forest Hill producer Corey Ross a bit of a magician.

The 42-year-old has been working behind the scenes of some of Toronto’s biggest stage productions, including Potted Potter, the current feature at the Panasonic Theatre on Yonge Street south of Bloor.

The 70-minute performance, featuring actors James Percy and Benjamin Stratton, condenses all seven of author J.K. Rowling’s beloved Harry Potter books. It’s been playing since Dec. 17 and wraps up Jan. 11.

Ross discovered the play while on a 2010 vacation with his family, across the pond in London.

“I was intrigued, I liked it and I inquired about whether they had done anything internationally, and at the time they had not,” he recalls. “At the time they were very excited about doing that.”

Potted Potter first hit the Panasonic Theatre in February, 2012, and then toured North America cities like New York, Chicago, Washington, Houston and San Francisco. It was even translated into Spanish for audiences in Mexico.

What drew Ross to the performance is simple: it enchanted his inner child.

“Their approach to the show is similar to how J.K. Rowling approached writing, in that the Harry Potter books were good for kids but a lot of adults fell in love with the characters,” he says. “This is a show that works for young children — 4- and 5-year-olds — they can come in and love it, but adults can also come in and love it.

“It has the same sweetness to it that Harry Potter has.”

Potted Potter is not the only production Ross, and his company Starvox Entertainment, have been handling. He also produces Cannibal: The Musical, Faulty Towers Live, Evil Dead: The Musical and the upcoming Marilyn Forever Blonde and Men Are From Mars.

Ross says he’s thrilled by the response from Toronto theatre-goers — Potted Potter has been selling out — noting a lot of them are first-timers.

As for whether it will return for a third have-at-it in Toronto, Ross plays coy, but admits Hogwarts Express will chug its way into other major centres across the continent.

“There are a lot of places we need to get to and a lot of places we have yet to get back to,” he says. “It’s certainly encouraging that we have such a great audience in Toronto.”


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