Three plays by Montreal playwright Vittorio Rossi to open in Montreal next season

"The Chain", "Legacy" and "Paradise by the River" to play at Moyse Hall


Barry F. Lorenzetti (left) with Vittorio Rossi (right) at the May 1st tribute at The Rialto Theatre

Montreal, May 2, 2019 – It will be a great year for English-language theatre fans in Montreal, as three of Vittorio Rossi’s plays are coming to McGill’s Moyse Hall starting this September. The good news was announced last night at a tribute to Rossi, which was held at The Rialto Theatre as part of the Blue Metropolis Literary Festival. 

“I am a huge fan of Vittorio Rossi,” said Barry Lorenzetti, executive producer and owner of MJJ Entertainment. “When I heard that he had written a sequel to The Chain, I knew right away I wanted to be part of this project. No one can bring the stories of Italian Montrealers to life better than Vittorio Rossi. He writes with authenticity and passion, and I am really proud to be involved in this exciting venture.”

The Chain, which highlights the dramas faced by a first-generation Italian immigrant family in Montreal and which broke box-office records at The Centaur when it debuted in 1988, will run from September 10 through October 6, 2019.

Its sequel, Legacy, which is set thirty years later, will make its debut on April 21 and run through May 17, 2020.

In September 2020, audiences will have the opportunity to see a revival of Rossi’s highly-acclaimed play Paradise by the River, which takes a searing look at the internment of Italian-Canadians in prisoner-of-war camps during the Second World War and which wowed audiences in Montreal and Toronto in 1998 and in 2010.


Vittorio Rossi (left) with Bugs Burnett (right) at the May 1st tribute at The Rialto Theatre.

“I’ve admired the energy and passion in Vittorio’s plays from the beginning,” said playwright and former Gazette theatre critic, Marianne Ackerman, who hosted the tribute to Rossi on May 1st. “But not until I read his works in their entirety did I realise how deeply he has drilled down on his own personal and family experience, finding the universal, the crux of human drama. He is a truly great writer.”

“I am really grateful to Barry Lorenzetti for his commitment to making this happen and for believing in these plays,” said Vittorio Rossi. “A mentor of mine – and English professor – once told me to write about things that are familiar to me. And you know what? That’s been the key secret to my success,” he added. “I write about things I know and understand and I make sure I have an interesting, intriguing, emotionally-charged tale to tell. These three plays are about Italian immigrants in Montreal, but the stories they tell appeal to a far broader audience and teach us something about the people and history of our city.”

Tickets can be purchased at thechainplay.com.


Tommy Schnurmacher (left) with Vittorio Rossi (right) at the May 1st tribute at The Rialto Theatre.

About Vittorio Rossi

Vittorio Rossi is an award-winning playwright and actor who hails from Ville-Émard. He writes stories about universal family issues and about the Italian immigrant experience and he is widely considered to be the inaugural Italian-Canadian voice on the English-Canadian stage.

Born on April 16, 1961, in Ville-Émard, to a working-class family of Italian immigrants, Rossi studied theatre at Dawson College and obtained a fine arts degree from Concordia University’s theatre department in 1985.

He burst on to the theatre scene in 1986 with a one-act play called Little Blood Brother, which won the Quebec Drama Festival’s best new play award – a prize he took again the following year with Backstreets

While writer-in-residence at the Centaur Theatre, he wrote his first full-length play, The Chain, which opened the theatre’s 20thAnniversary season in 1988. Since that box office record-breaking debut, he has gone on to write nine plays.

Rossi’s early plays set the tone. According to critic Gregory Reid, they “established his reputation for edgy, testosterone-charged, emotional family dramas, and earned comparisons with David Mamet, while displaying admiration for the work of Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams.” 

In 1998, Rossi’s play Paradise by the River was independently produced and garnered rave reviews for its searing look at the internment of Italian Canadians in the Petawawa, Ontario, prisoner-of-war camp during the Second World War. 

Rossi returned to the Centaur in 2006, with three masterful plays forming A Carpenter’s Trilogy, and again in 2015, with The Envelope, a comedy that skewered the Canadian film scene.

Vittorio Rossi has also appeared as an actor on television, in movies and in the theatre.

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