An exclusive conversation about the challenges and opportunities facing live theatrical productions and the Arts community

Lisa Rubin is irrepressible in her dual roles as Executive and Artistic Director for The Segal Theatre, guiding the business affairs of the theatre as well as leading the team that makes the important decisions of what theatre and musical productions the company will offer to Montreal audiences. She brings a strong resume as an actress and vocalist to her role as Artistic Director.

“I ‘get’ that the entertainment industry – Broadway included – needs to get people back into the habit of going out to see live performances.”

“I ‘get’ that the entertainment industry – Broadway included – needs to get people back into the habit of going out to see live performances. For audiences to be motivated to get into the habit of going out again; it’s got to be something really good! I recognize that some people still have some concerns, and that’s why we have two masked performances per week… audience members are asked to wear a mask while in the theatre.”

Lisa continues; “We’re looking at this as a real opportunity to support the Arts and to attract new theatre goers by building middle-aged audiences. The enthusiasm of our team here at The Segal is inspiring. I’m so lucky that everyone here is ‘all in’ all of the time.”

The hardest thing I’ve had to overcome has been the passing of Alvin Segal. Drawing on his business acumen and his love for this place – he set up The Segal to be a strong organization; and we benefit now from his vision.”

Josephine: A Musical Cabaret

Tymisha Harris will star as Josephine Baker in Josephine: A Musical Cabaret
Photo: Roberto Gonzales

As our conversation moves to the upcoming productions, Lisa’s enthusiasm is palpable. “Set in a classroom where students test for a Test Of English as a Foreign Language in Iran, English has taken on a whole new meaning ever since the death of Masha Amini at the hands of the Iranian Morality Police. This play is a chance to present a culture that is rarely seen on a stage. It’s a play that celebrates and honours Iranian women.”  English has earned high praise from the New York media; ‘Critic’s Pick! A Rich New Play!’ exclaimed the New York Times. New York Theatre Guide described it as ‘Among the Best New Plays of the Season.’ Lisa adds; “We’re happy to be working with Soulpepper Theatre on this co-production.”   English will run for March 19 to April 2.

Prayer for the French Republic is set in 1944 post-war Paris and today. A Jewish couple in Paris face the aftermath of the Holocaust. Seventy years later, their great-grandchildren face the same question; “Are we safe?” Lisa is directing this play by the award-winning playwright Joshua Harmon who wrote the smash hit Bad Jews. “I’ve never, ever read or experienced a play that has taken on anti-Semitism the way that Josh Harmon does in this play. To make it accessible to a wider audience, we’re going to have French supertitles for the whole run.”  Of Harmon’s writing, Lisa states; Future generations will study Joshua Harmon’s works the way we do with Mordecai Richler and Leonard Cohen… if you loved Bad Jews, this pay is a must-see!” Prayer for the French Republic runs from April 23 to May 14.

Lisa lights up like a theatre marquee when we get to Josephine: A Musical Cabaret that will open on May 28. Before Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald Tina Turner and other ‘Dark Divas’, there was Josephine Baker, the first African-American international superstar. Tymisha Harris stars in the play that she co-wrote with Michael Marinaccio and Tod Kimbro. Lisa states; “It was incredible how this woman broke down barriers as a performer, a civil rights activist and so much more. Tymisha first started Josephine at The Fringe Festival, and I’m thrilled to bring the show to our mainstage theatre and give it the Segal Centre sparkle. We have some fine musicians lined up to perform with Tymisha, anchored by jazz pianist Taurey Butler.” Josephine: A Musical Cabaret will run from May 28 to June 18.

“We invite you to come out to the Segal to have a great time and experience the magic of theatre again!”

In closing, Lisa states; “We’re looking forward to welcoming Montrealers to come to these outstanding productions. Our 2022-2023 season is all about what makes us human. We invite you to come out to the Segal to have a great time and experience the magic of theatre again!”

For more information about The Segal Theatre, please visit