Danny Schur is a Winnipeg-based composer/lyricist/author and producer who is best know for his musical Strike!
- set against the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike.
Danny aspires to be
the "Pierre Berton of Canadian musical theatre" and is currently at work
on a new Riel musical "Louis" with Winnipeg playwright Rick Chafe.
SCENE asked Schur what book was at the top of his reading pile.
"Nation Maker" by Richard Gwyn (Random House)
I just read the second book in Richard Gwyn's two-part John. A. MacDonald biography, Nation Maker: Sir John A. Macdonald: His Life, Our Times.
I am currently writing a new musical about Louis Riel, and at the Q & A at the Winnipeg la
unch of the book, I asked Gwyn if there were anything positive he could offer about the relationship between Riel and MacDonald.
Gwyn's revelations were eye-openers, to say the least. As I read the book, I discovered that the relationship between MacDonald and Riel, which we presume to have been very black and white, was in fact infinitely more grey.
Gwyn's strength is the depth of his research. Just when you think you know a historical figure like MacDonald or Riel, Gwyn is able to dispel your preconceptions and paint are far more nuanced picture. That's great history writing - and why I so highly recommend the book.