TORONTO—For Marianne Godwin, CEO of Marilyn Monroe Cafe, and Steve Misener, a veteran Bay Street executive, Shen Yun was money well spent.
“It’s wonderful—the colours, amazing acrobatics, the physical talent. I love the flipping and the high-jumping. It’s very, very good,” said Mr. Misener.
“I would see it again.”
Ms. Godwin agreed.
“I just love the colours, love the excitement of it. And the music is beautiful,” she said.
“And the singing is top-notch,” added Mr. Misener.
Ms. Godwin took it a step further and said everything about the show was top-notch.
Mr. Misener, who won the Globe and Mail Professional Stock Picker’s contest in 2000, was vice president for a number of financial firms, including Sentry Select Capital Corp. and CI Mutual Funds before striking out on his own as an investment consultant.
Ms. Godwin launched the Marilyn Monroe Café last year, a place the legendary actress would be comfortable, rather than a shrine to her memory. Ms. Godwin plans to franchise the upscale branded coffee house in Canada, the U.S., and around the world.
Shen Yun was founded on a mission to revive 5,000 years of divinely inspired Chinese culture. Shen Yun stages performances of mainly classical Chinese dance, as well as ethnic and folk dances from China’s diverse ethnicities and regions.
Many of the story-based dances Shen Yun performs draw upon China’s rich history—sometimes documented in vivid detail—as well as myths, legends and tales from beloved Chinese classics, like Journey to the West.
“Learning about the culture and the history is fascinating,” said Ms. Godwin.
“To me it’s just amazing how the culture transcends through the generations and how it’s timeless. Very beautiful,” she said.
To me it’s just amazing how the culture transcends through the generations and how it’s timeless. Very beautiful.
— Marianne Godwin, CEO of Marilyn Monroe Cafe
Mr. Misener said he appreciated seeing dances from different regions and eras of China.
They both praised Shen Yun’s digital projections, state-of-the-art animated backdrops. The backdrops open a window to different realms, expanding the stage to to places past and present, from vast open grasslands in one dance, to the stately elegance of Tang Dynasty pavilions in another.
“Beautiful. I love the animation. The animation pulls it all together,” said Ms. Godwin.
“That was very, very crafty,” added Mr. Misener.
Shen Yun’s unique philharmonic orchestra, which includes Chinese instruments leading the melodies, also made and impression on the business duo.
“Love it. The music is beautiful. I never realized I’d enjoy the music so much,” said Ms. Godwin.
“It’s top-notch. The orchestra is very deep and rich. So much depth to the music,” said Mr. Misiner.
With reporting by Teng Dongyu and Matthew Little.
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. Following 21 successful shows Dec. 20-Jan. 13 in Mississauga, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City, Kitchener-Waterloo, and Hamilton, Shen Yun’s New York Company finished its run of five shows in Toronto with sold-out shows Saturday and Sunday. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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