Barbara Johnston is a Toronto based musical theatre writer, performer, choreographer, director and teacher. The child of musicians, she received her early musical training from the Canadian Children’s Opera Chorus and NYU’s Tisch program.  She met and teamed up with Anika Johnson at Ryerson Theatre School’s prestigious acting program where they penned the first draft of Blood Ties in their graduating year.  Johnson and Johnston next joined playwright Kim Horsman in 2010 to compose music and lyric for a cowboy adaptation of The Playboy of the Western World, and have performed in several readings and presentations of the project.  Johnston is a founding member of Wannabe: The Spice Girls Tribute Band, which performs to sold out shows across the country.  Other appearances in the music scene include tours with the folk/pop group Stonefox (with Anika Johnson and Suzy Wilde) and recordings with Nancy White and The Great Bloomers.  An in-demand teacher and coach, she is the owner of The Performance Studio and conductor/arranger for National Show Choir champions The Wexford Gleeks, whom she most recently directed for appearances with Chris Hadfield and the Bairnaked Ladies, CBC’s Sounds of the Season, and an upcoming TVO Documentary.  Johnston is also an associate director/choreographer at Wexford Collegiate School for the Arts and Artistic Director of The Beggar’s Bag.


Anika Johnson is a writer, actor and musician based in Toronto and New York.  She has performed internationally in over 15 countries and had her original work programmed in a number of festivals in Canada and abroad.  Performing credits include 5 years with CORPUS DanceProjects and seasons with the Stratford Festival, Drayton Entertainment, the Mercury Theatre, and Salon Theatre. With her writing partner Barb Johnston, Johnson has written two musicals – ‘Blood Ties’ (Summerworks 2010 and 2012, Stratford Springworks, New Voices Festival, Edinburgh Fringe Festival) and ‘The Cowboy of the Western World’ (most recently workshopped at Hugh’s Room in Toronto, featuring Brent Carver, Kate Hennig, and Victor A. Young). Johnson was also commissioned to compose original music for Michael Caldwell’s ‘The Horologium’, touring in 2013 with Dusk Dances. She is a member of Theatre Passe Muraille’s ‘Elephants in the Room Creation Group’, a coach and arranger for National Show Choir champions ‘The Wexford Gleeks’, and a founding member of Wannabe: The Spice Girls Tribute Band.