Playlistings for the Week of October 14, 2019

Shows that Caught Our Eye in Toronto for the Week of October 14, 2019

It’s another busy week in the Toronto Theatre scene. Every local theatre company’s season is in full swing, there are many traveling shows, and since it’s almost Hallowe’en there is plenty of seasonal spooktacular. There is really something for everyone on a stage somewhere in the city. Luckily for me, it’s my turn this week to give you my ‘reds’ – the shows that are at the top of my ‘To See’ list this week. Get out there and enjoy some theatre this week!

Already Reviewed by MoT:

Alegria (Ontario Place, 955 Lake Shore Rd W). Cirque du Soleil reinterprets its 1994 show with new acrobatics, visual design and musical arrangements. Led by an intangible wind of change, the show tells the story of an emerging movement that strives to shake the established order, instilling hope and renewal to bring light to a world in perfect harmony. Opens Sep 12 and runs to Dec 1, see website for schedule. $59-$290.
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The Band’s Visit (Ed Mirvish Theatre, 244 Victoria St). by David Yazbek and Itamar Moses (Mirvish). In this joyously offbeat story, set in a town that’s way off the beaten path, a band of musicians arrive lost, out of the blue. Under the spell of the desert sky, and with beautiful music perfuming the air, the band brings the town to life in unexpected and tantalizing ways. Even the briefest visit can stay with you forever. Opens Sep 17 and runs to Oct 20, Tue-Sat 8 pm, mat Wed 1:30 pm, Sat-Sun 2 pm. $49-$175.
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The Election (Theatre Passe Muraille, 16 Ryerson) by Natasha Greenblatt & Yolanda Bonnell (Theatre Passe Muraille / Common Boots Theatre / Nightwood Theatre). Provocative and hilarious investigation of how Canadians engage in democracy. Previews begin Oct 9. Opens Oct 12 and runs to Oct 27, Tue-Sat 7:30 pm, mat Sat-Sun 2 pm. $17-$38. Pwyc previews, matinees and Tuesday evenings.
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The Flick (Streetcar Crowsnest, 345 Carlaw) by Annie Baker (Outside the March/Crow’s Theatre). Three ushers in an indie movie theatre navigate life as they attend to the last 35mm film projector in town. Previews from Oct 6, opens Oct 10 and runs to Oct 27, see website for schedule. $30-$55.
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Ghost Quartet (Streetcar Crowsnest, 345 Carlaw) by Dave Malloy (Crow’s Theatre/Eclipse Theatre Company). Interwoven narratives spanning 7 centuries run through this haunted song cycle about love, death and whiskey. Opens Oct 5 and runs to Nov 3, Tue-Sat 8 pm, mat Sat-Sun 2:30 pm. $27-$47.
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Girl From the North Country (Royal Alexandra Theatre, 260 King W) by Conor McPherson (Mirvish). This musical using the songs of Bob Dylan looks in on a tense community in 1934 Minnesota. Previews from Sep 28, opens Oct 6 and runs to Nov 24, Tue-Sat 8 pm, mat Sat-Sun 2 pm. $39-$175.
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Hilot Means Healer (Theatre Centre, 1115 Queen W) by Jo SiMalaya Alcampo (Cahoots Theatre/b current). Set during WWII, this play explores the social and political consequences of war and occupation in the Philippines. Drawn from traditional Philippine folklore, legends and Indigenous spirituality, it tells a story of unexpected bonds formed during cataclysmic change. Previews from Oct 5, opens Oct 9 and runs to Oct 27, Tue-Sat 7:30 pm, Sun 2 pm. $25, stu/srs $20, preview $15.
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The Jungle (Tarragon Theatre, 30 Bridgman)by Anthony MacMahon and Thomas McKechnie (Tarragon). Two hard-working immigrants find love between shifts in Toronto. Previews from Oct 1, opens Oct 9 and runs to Nov 3, Tue-Sat 8 pm, mat Sat-Sun 2:30 pm. $22-$70. ExtraSpace.
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Piaf/Dietrich: A Legendary Affair (CAA Theatre 651 Yonge St). Mirvish presents a musical drama that explores the fascinating friendship between show business legends. Opens Sep 17 and runs to Dec 8, Tue-Sat 8 pm, mat Sat-Sun 2 pm. $39-$129.
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Turandot (Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, 145 Queen W) by Giacomo Puccini (Canadian Opera Company). A man plays a deadly game to win the princess’ hand. Performed in Italian with English surtitles. Opens Sep 28 and runs to Oct 27, see website for schedule. $35-$350 (specially priced $22 tickets are available after September 3 for people under the age of 30).
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Yaga (Tarragon Theatre, 30 Bridgman Ave). by Kat Sandler (Tarragon). Genre-bending dark comedy thriller that brings a murder investigation face-to-face with the Baba Yaga witch fable. Previews from Sep 17, opens Sep 25 and runs to Oct 20, Tue-Sat 8 pm, mat Sat-Sun 2:30 pm. $22-$70. MainSpace.
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And Everything Else:

Almighty Voice and His Wife (Young Centre for the Performing Arts, 50 Tank House)by Daniel David Moses (Soulpepper Theatre). Drama based on a true story about a Cree man on the run from the RCMP in 1800s Canada. Previews begin Oct 11. Opens Oct 17 and runs to Nov 10, see website for times. $38-$98.
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The Beverly Street Seance (starts at Sin & Redemption, 136 McCaul; moves to George Brown House, 186 Beverly). Mentalist Jaymes White presents a recreation of an authentic Victorian séance at one of the city’s most haunted locations. This soul-shaking psychological experience is not intended for the weak or faint of heart. Restricted to ages 18+. Sep 13-Nov 30, see website for days and times. $59.99.
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Beyond Mental Borders: Mystery and Magic (The Rec Room, 255 Bremner). Monthly magic showcase by the mentalism team of Alexandra Brynn and Armand Antony. Oct 20 at 8 pm (doors 7 pm). $15 advance, or $20 at the door.
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Dock Mother God Society (Grand Canyon, 2 Osler) by Bryce Hodgson (Blood Pact Theatre). Set in BC during the worst wildfire season in Canadian history, this play explores modern western community and its relationship to death, family, generosity, resentment, forgiveness and our connection to the land. Previews begin Oct. Opens Oct 10 and runs to Oct 26, Tue-Sat 8 pm. $15-$25.
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The Ghost Light Anthology: Cataclysm (Majlis Art Garden, 163 Walnut). A tragic event forces six former camp counsellors to return to the camp that both forged and destroyed their bond. Opens Oct 17 and runs to Oct 31, Thu-Sat 8 pm. $13. Cash only at the door, or purchase advance tickets online.
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The Good Thief (Dora Keogh, 141 Danforth) by Conor McPherson (Fly on the Wall Theatre). A small-time thug becomes a fugitive after a routine job goes awry. Opens Oct 19 and runs to Oct 29, Tue 7 pm, Sat-Sun 2:30 pm. $20.
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Horseface (Red Sandcastle Theatre, 922 Queen E) by Alex Dallas (Red Sandcastle Theatre). Dallas performs her solo show about a woman, a manspreader and the #MeToo movement. Opens Oct 16 and runs to Oct 27, Oct 16, 17, 19 and Oct 23-26 at 8 pm, matinees Oct 19 and 27 at 3 pm. $18-$20.
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If I Could #Throwback Time (Second City, 51 Mercer). Second City’s 83rd sketch comedy revue basks in the neon glow of nostalgia, mining comedy gold from ancient treasures like old school video games, Power Rangers and Canada’s long, complicated history of sweeping social injustices. Previews from Sep 10. Opens Oct 10 for an indefinite run: Tue-Thu 8 pm; Fri 7:30 pm; Sat 7:30 & 10 pm. See website for more days and times, exceptions and to buy tickets. $28 & up.
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La Boheme (The Tranzac Club, 292 Brunswick). Against the Grain Theatre celebrates its landmark 10th anniversary season with the production that started it all, and uproots opera from the opera house. A modern adaptation and English translation of the Puccini classic shifts the tale of struggling artists to the present-day, and unfolds entirely inside a historic dive bar in the heart of Toronto’s Annex neighbourhood. Open Oct 11 runs to Oct 25, Tues-Sun 8 pm. $40.
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The Life and Death of Fred Herko (Dead End Studie, 7 Fraser #13) by Natalie Liconti (Rendezvous With Madness Festival). Interactive performance about a young, queer dancer who jumped from his ex-lover’s window in 1964. The Life and Death of Fred Herko is an interdisciplinary, site-specific performance that sheds light on a footnoted figure in queer history and examines the collateral damage of art. Opens Oct 10 and runs to Oct 20, Tue-Sun 8 pm. $12-$20.
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Minorities (Baillie Theatre, 26 Berkeley). Choreographer Yang Zhen gives a voice to the social condition of a new generation of ethnic minorities in China. Minorities examines the constant conflict between social prejudice and artists’ need to express themselves and relate their identities to the world they live in. Dance, theatre, documentary material from Zhen’s extensive travel experiences, and the performers’ memories, form the basis of this interdisciplinary and immersive work of theatre. Opens Oct 17 and runs to Oct 27, see website for show dates and times. $49-$79.
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Mînowin (Harbourfront Centre Theatre, 231 Queens Quay W). DanceWorks presents a multimedia work by BC Indigenous dance company Dancers of Damelahamid, choreographed by Margaret Grenier. Incorporating narrative, movement, song, performance and multimedia design, Mînowin describes how we clarify direction as we recover and reinterpret the teachings that define and redefine who we are, accessed through story, dance and song. Oct 18-19, Fri-Sat 8 pm. $36-$42.
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The Mush Hole (Young People’s Theatre, 165 Front E) by Santee Smith (YPT/Kaha:wi Dance Theatre). This dance-theatre production explores the devastating intergenerational impact of Canada’s residential school system. Recommended for ages 11 & up. Opens Oct 16 and runs to Oct 25, see website for schedule. $10-$39.
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The Particulars (Theatre Centre, 1115 Queen W). Punctuate! Theatre presents a play written and directed by Matthew MacKenzie. Performed as a fusion of dance and theatre, it’s a darkly funny and subtly powerful story of one insomniac’s struggle to maintain a daily routine in the face of a home invasion. Previews Oct 16, opens Oct 17 and runs to Oct 26, Tue-Sat 8 pm, mat Oct 26 at 1:30 pm. $30, stu/srs/arts workers $20; Oct 22 PWYC.
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A Party to Murder (Gerrard Art Space, 1475 Gerrard E). Mortar & Pestle Productions presents a play by Marcia Kash & Doug Hughes. Things are not as they seem for six people who’ve come to play a murder mystery game at a rustic island cottage on Halloween. Opens Oct 17 and runs to Oct 26, Thu-Sat 8 pm, mat Oct 19 at 2 pm. $20.
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Priscilla Queen of the Desert (Randolph Theatre, 736 Bathurst). Based on the Oscar-winning movie, Priscilla is the hilarious adventure of three friends who hop aboard a battered old bus bound for the Outback to put on the show of a lifetime. Their epic journey is a heart-warming story of self-discovery, sassiness and acceptance. Opens Oct 4 and runs to Nov 3. See website for show dates and times. $49-$79.
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The Rocky Horror Show (Lower Ossington Theatre, 100A Ossington) by Richard O’Brien (LOT). A newly engaged couple land in the home of a mad scientist in this schlocky cult classic. Opens Sep 27 and runs to Nov 10, Thu-Sat, see website for times. $40.
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Rusalka (Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, 145 Queen W) by Antonín Dvořák (Canadian Opera Company). A water sprite risks everything for love in this mermaid-myth opera. Performed in Italian with Czech surtitles. Opens Oct 12 and runs to Oct 26, see website for schedule. $35-$350 (specially priced $22 tickets are available after September 3 for people under the age of 30).
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Simulacrum (Fleck Dance Theatre, 207 Queens Quay W) Presented as part of Harbourfront Centre’s international dance series TORQUE. Norwegian company Winter Guests present choreography by Alan Lucien Øyen that fuses the formality of Kabuki, the energy of Flamenco and the emotion of contemporary dance. Performed by Shōji Kōjima and Daniel Proietto. Oct 18-19 at 7:30 pm. $20-$45.
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Something for the Buoys (George Ignatieff Theatre, 15 Devonshire Place). In this parody of a 1930s nautical musical, a starry-eyed sailor named Jimmy feels lonely and wants nothing more than to find his true love. Accompanied by Larry, his womanizing best pal, he sneaks ashore and enters the wonderful world of New York City. Opens Oct 9 and runs to Oct 20, Wed-Sat 7:30 pm, mat Sat 2:30 pm. $20-$40
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SPUN (Greenwin Theatre at The Meridian Arts Centre, 5040 Yonge St). Spun is the story of best friends, Safa and Aisha, both from working-class British Pakistani families in Newham, London. We meet them as they finish university and, for the first time, are forging different paths. Safa is going off to work at a large organization in central London and Aisha is staying in Newham to become a teacher, but both with the promise that they will meet every Thursday. As they each redefine who they are, cracks in their friendship start to appear and the debates happening in the outside world seeps into their day-to-day conversations. ONE NIGHT ONLY: Oct 21 at 7:30om. $42 – $52.
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Trout Stanley (Factory Theatre, 125 Bathurst) by Claudia Dey (Factory). Orphaned twins who’ve isolated themselves from the world meet a mysterious runaway on their 30th birthday. Opens Oct 19 and runs to Nov 10, Tue-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2 pm. $25-$50.
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Some listings based on NOW! Stage Listings.