Toronto Playlistings for the Week of December 9, 2019

Shows that Caught Our Eye in Toronto for the Week of December 9, 2019

Winter is not my season. It is starting to get cold and windy outside, and my hibernation instincts are kicking into high gear. All I want to do is make a blanket fort with my kids and snuggle in until spring! So when I do leave my house, I want to go somewhere warm. And my favourite warm place to go is the theatre.

Lucky for me there is just so much going on this holiday season that it’s easy to get out to see a great show. There are so many family-friendly options that I can bring the whole family along with me if I wish, or just plan for a great date night out! Check out my own ‘reds‘ below for the shows that have caught my attention and tempt me to get out of the blanket fort and into the snowy air.

Already Reviewed by MoT:

The Adventures of Pinocchio (Young People’s Theatre, 165 Front E) by Brian Hill and Neil Bartram (YPT). This new musical follows the much-loved marionette on his mischievous quest to become a real human being. Ages 5 & up. Opens Nov 11 and runs to Jan 5, see website for schedule. $10-$54.
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Anastasia (Ed Mirvish Theatre, 244 Victoria) by Terrence McNally, Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens (Opera Atelier). Romantic musical, inspired by the films, about the twilight of the Russian empire and a young woman’s quest to discover the mystery of her past. Opens Dec 3 and runs to Jan 12, see website for schedule. $39-$175.
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Between Riverside and Crazy (Coal Mine Theatre, 1454 Danforth) by Stephen Adly Guirgis (Coal Mine Theatre). A man tries to hang on to one of Manhattan’s last rent-stabilized apartments in this drama about the effects of social prejudice. Previews Nov 24, opens Nov 27 and runs to Dec 22, Tue-Sat 7:30 pm, Sun 2 pm. $47.50-$55.50, previews/rush $25.
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Cats (Princess of Wales Theatre, 300 King W) by Andrew Lloyd Webber (Mirvish). Talented felines frolic at the Jellicle Ball in this classic musical. Opens Nov 27 and runs to Jan 5, Tue-Sat 7:30 pm, mat Wed, Sat-Sun 1:30 pm – see website for additional performances. $39-$175.
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A Christmas Carol (Campbell House Museum, 160 Queen W). The Three Ships Collective & Soup Can Theatre present an adaptation of the holiday classic with original text by Justin Haigh. This original and immersive theatrical adaptation of Charles Dickens’ story includes brand new scenes, characters, dialogue and songs. Opens Nov 30 and runs to Dec 22, Tue-Sat 7 & 9 pm, Sun 5 & 7 pm. $25-$35, preview $20.
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Figaro’s Wedding (Enoch Turner Schoolhouse, 106 Trinity). Against the Grain Theatre’s classic adaptation of Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro modernized, translated into English and re-staged as one of Toronto’s millennial weddings in the historic Enoch Turner Schoolhouse with the audience attending as wedding guests. Dec 3-20. See website for showtimes. $35-$95.
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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 and runs to Jan 9th: 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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Lil’ Red Robin Hood (Winter Garden Theatre, 189 Yonge) by Matt Murray (Ross Petty Productions). Family-friendly holiday musical set in Sherway Gardens Forest featuring pop tunes, ad libs and audience participation. Previews from Nov 29, opens Dec 6 and runs to Jan 4, see website for schedule. $27-$99.
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Peter Pan (Young Centre for the Performing Arts, 50 Tank House). Soulpepper and Bad Hats Theatre present a musical reimagining of JM Barrie’s classic tale, suitable for ages 3 and up. Opens Dec 6 and runs to Dec 24, see website for schedule. $25-$45.
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STARS: Together (Streetcar Crowsnest, 345 Carlaw). Crow’s Theatre presents a musical by Stars, Chris Abraham and Zack Russell that is part rock-doc, part tragicomic fantasy created by indie-rock band Stars. Previews from Nov 26, opens Nov 29 and runs to Dec 15, Tue-Sat 8 pm, mat Sat-Sun 2 pm (and Dec 4). $30-$55.
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Tales of a City by the Sea (Theatre Passe Muraille, 16 Ryerson) by Samah Sabawi (Canadian Friends of Sabeel). This play explores love, life, humour, death, grief and friendship in the besieged Gaza strip. Opens Dec 6 and runs to Dec 15, Tue-Sat 7:30 pm, Sun 2 pm. $15-$30. In the MainSpace.
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Unconventional Holiday Revue (Second City, 51 Mercer). Second City presents a heaping serving of seasonal satire that’s the perfect alternative to those same old holiday shows. Nov 18-Jan 5, evening and matinee shows, see website for schedule. $24-$39.
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And Everything Else:

Bend It Like Bekham: The Musical (Bluma Appel Theatre, 27 Front E). Starvox Entertainment, Bend It Films, Kintop Pictures and TO Live present the musical based on the hit film. In West London, a teen girl from a South Asian Sikh family desperately wants to play soccer, against the wishes of her traditional immigrant parents. Book by Gurinder Chadha and Paul Mayeda Berges, with lyrics by Charles Hart and music by Howard Goodall. Previews from Dec 7, opens Dec 17 and runs to Jan 5, see website for times. $50-$300.

Cash Me If You Can (Berkeley St. Theatre, 26 Berkeley) by Patrick Combs (Horse & Hound Productions). The incredible true story of a down-on-his-luck man who cashed a $100,000 phony, junk-mail cheque as a joke, and fought the world’s biggest bank when it actually cleared. Previews from Dec 10, opens Dec 13 and runs to Dec 21, Tue-Sat 8 pm, mat Sat-Sun 2 pm. $49-$69.
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A Christmas Carol (Young Centre for the Performing Arts, 50 Tank House) by Charles Dickens (Soulpepper). Michael Shamata’s adaptation of the classic holiday ghost story gets a staging. Opens Dec 6 and runs to Dec 24, see website for schedule. $35-$95.
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A Christmas Story (Lower Ossington Theatre, 100 Ossington). Based on the perennial holiday movie favorite, A Christmas Story chronicles young and bespectacled Ralphie Parker as he schemes his way toward the holiday gift of his dreams, an official Red Ryder® Carbine-Action 200-Shot Range Model Air Rifle. Nov 8-Dec 29. See website for showtimes. $60.
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Dammit Jim, I’m a Comedienne, Not a Doctor! (The Social Capital, 154 Danforth). Sketch show by Polly Esther about obsessively delving into the entire Star Trek universe. Tues Dec 10 at 9:30 pm. $20.
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Dark Day Monday: Disappointing Your Mother (Burdock, 1184 Bloor W). Dark Day Monday is a curated monthly performance series featuring artists who defy expectations and break boundaries. We seek out acts that explore, play, and fuck with performance forms or genres. This month featuring the work of Nancy Kenny, Ximena Huizi, Stephanie Carpanini, Kit Simmons and Natalia Bushnik. Dec 9 at 7:30 pm. $10.
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Gay AF Christmas Spectacular! (Comedy Bar, 945 Bloor W). Gay and funny comedy w/ Kyle Brownrigg, Selena Vyle, Brandon Ash-Mohammed, Tom Hearn and headliner Ted Morris. Hosted by Robert Watson. Tues Dec 10, 8 pm. $15, advance $10.
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Ikumagialiit (The Harbourfront Centre Studio Theatre, 235 Queens Quay W). Ikumagialiit (‘those that need fire’) is a new performance art band with Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory, Christine Tootoo, Cris Derksen and Jamie Griffiths. The Ikumagialiit quartet brings together four strong women from different disciplines, across generations who work through structured improvisations. Performances explore contemporary Uaajeerneq (Greenlandic mask dance), throat singing, electric cello/beats with hand-drawn ‘light’ and video. Ikumagialiit appears on Dec. 12 at 8pm, and is a Part of the Festival of Cool which runs Dec 10-15. $25.
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John D. Huston Presents: A Christmas Carol (Red Sandcastle Theatre, 922 Queen E). Huston performs the classic seasonal tale in the role of Charles Dickens himself, with musical accompaniment by the MadriGALS. Dec 10 at 7:30 pm. $25, stu/srs $20.
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Larry’s Christmas Cabaret (The Citadel: Ross Centre for Dance, 304 Parliament). Citadel + Compagnie present a quirky annual holiday tradition with local acts and festive cheer. Dec 14 at 8 pm. $20-$25
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Matilda The Musical (Papermill Theatre, 67 Pottery). Mainstage Theatre Company presents a musical by Dennis Kelly and Tim Minchin, based on the novel by Roald Dahl. A gifted girl uses her imagination and sharp mind to fight against the cruel and cynical people in her life and change her destiny. Dec 13-15, Fri-Sat 7:30 pm, mat Sat-Sun 2 pm. $35, stu $20.
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A Million Billion Pieces (Young People’s Theatre, 165 Front E) by David James Brock & Gareth Williams (YPT). Two teens are isolated by a rare disease that could prove deadly if they make contact. Ages 13 & up. Opens Nov 25 and runs to Dec 13, see website for schedule. $19-$24.
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The Nativity Musical (Church on the Queensway, 1536 The Queensway). The Church on the Queensway presents a fast-paced, comedic rendition of the classic Christmas story – the story of Christ’s birth – featuring music, dancers and special effects. December 14 and 15, Sat-Sun at 3 & 7 pm. $5.
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The Nonna Monologues (Columbus Centre, 901 Lawrence W). DopoLavoro Teatrale presents a production by Daniele Bartolini. Performers tell stories of their Italian grandmas, family recipes and compete for the honour of being voted as the winner of ” the Nonna Challenge” at the end of the show. Previews from Dec 4, opens Dec 6 and runs to Dec 22, Tue-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2 pm. $20-$40. Partial proceeds support Villa Charities Foundation.
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now & them (The Assemby Theatre, 1479 Queen W). Cam is new to ethical non-monogamy. His partner, Ollie, is new to being bisexual. Ollie’s partner, J, is new to Toronto. ‘now & them’ is a play about queer relationships in an era of climate apocalypse. Dec 13 at 8pm, Dec 14 and 2pm & 8pm.
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The Nutcracker (Four Seasons Centre, 145 Queen W). The National Ballet of Canada presents its annual holiday tradition, with choreography by James Kudelka. Dec 12-Jan 4, see website for schedule. $45 & up.
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The Nutcracker (Meridian Hall, 1 Front E). Toronto International Ballet Theatre presents the holiday classic featuring guest artists Anastasia Stashkevich and Vyacheslav Lopatin from the Bolshoi Ballet. Dec 14 at 2 and 7 pm. From $85 and up.
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Scrooge! The Musical (Zion Cultural Centre, 1650 Finch E). The Civic Light-Opera Co. presents a musical version of Charles Dickens’s timeless story of redemption. Opens Dec 11 and runs to Dec 22, Wed 7 pm, Thu-Sat 8 pm, mat Sun 2 pm. $28.
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Sibs (Theater Passe Muraille Backspace, 16 Ryerson) by Diane Flacks and Richard Greenblatt. Sibs chases a pair of siblings through their turbulent history. Preview Dec 5, opens Dec 6 and runs to Dec 15. See website for showtimes. $25; preview & stu/arts workers $20.
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Super Gay Friday 2-Year Anniversary (Glad Day Bookshop, 499 Church). LGBT2S+ comedy show hosted & produced by Anasimone George. Dec 14 at 8:30 pm. $10-$20.
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Things Black Girls Say (Comedy Bar, 945 Bloor W). Comedy with Jen Sakato, Patrick Hakeem, Aliya Kanani, Nitish Sakhuja, Natalie Norman and Tamara Shevon. Dec 15 at 7 pm. $15-$20.
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Toronto, I Love You (Bad Dog Theatre Company, 875 Bloor W). Bad Dog Theatre Company presents the return of the unscripted comedy about unexpected connections, set in a variety of neighbourhoods in the 6ix. Audience suggestions guide the spontaneously -crafted storylines that intertwine and intersect in surprising ways through longform improv. Previews Dec 10, opens Dec 11 and runs to Dec 21, Wed-Sat 8 pm (preview 9:30 pm). $30, stu/artists $20.
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The Ward Cabaret (Harbourfront Centre Theatre, 231 Queens Quay W). Small World Music Society and Harbourfront Centre present a musical show by David Buchbinder and Marjorie Chan about Toronto’s first immigrant neighbourhood. Previews from Dec 12, opens Dec 14 and runs to Dec 22, Tue-Sat 8 pm (and Dec 15), mat Dec 21-22 at 2 pm. $25-$60.
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What the Elf?! (Second City, 51 Mercer). Second City presents a musical extravaganza about the holiday season for kids, parents, grandparents, siblings and reindeer of all ages. Includes brand new scenes for 2019, improv and original songs by Jay McCarrol. Nov 30-Jan 3, matinee performances at 2 and 4:30 pm, see website for schedule details. $18, child $14.
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William Shakespeare’s A Christmas Carol (The Social Capital, 154 Danforth). Driftwood Theatre’s Play In A Pub series presents a holiday-themed mashup of the Bard and Charles Dickens, created by Ian Doescher. When miserly theatre owner Ebenezer Scrooge puts the “humbug” in Christmas, he’s transported on a redemptive journey to save his very soul. Haunted by the spirits of Christmas past (Puck), present (Falstaff) and future (Hamlet’s dad), Scrooge learns to appreciate the true spirit of the holiday season as only Shakespeare can imagine. Dec 15 at 2 pm. $25-$55.
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Wintersong (Fleck Dance Theatre, 207 Queens Quay W). WinterSong 2019 warms the hearts of family audiences with a breathtaking tapestry of seasonal dance inspired by the world’s rich solstice traditions. A world premiere by 2019 Dora Award-winning choreographer Jera Wolfe (Red Sky Performance) highlights the program. Hanna Kiel’s A Day of Light returns with its celebratory vibrancy for a second year, alongside WinterSong classics Les Belles Heures and Nowell Sing We by esteemed Canadian dance artist Carol Anderson, and more. Dec 13 at 8pm, Dec 14 at 2pm. $38, stu/sr $22.50
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Some listings based on NOW! Stage Listings.