Opening tonight: Toronto's annual sketch comedy festival. Plus, a violin concerto by Owen Pallett, a musical version of The Odyssey, and getting naked in the name of a good joke.
- Comedy: This year's edition of the Sketch Comedy Festival boasts headliners including Eugene Mirman (March 9), Bruce McCulloch (March 11), and Michael Ian Black (March 12). There are also visiting troupes from Winnipeg (Hot Thespian Action), Montreal (Uncalled For), and Vancouver (Peter 'n Chris), plus a wide variety of local outfits. It'll all wrap with a closing show featuring the Sketchersons,
joined by special guest host and wrestling legend Bret "The Hitman" Hart. Sketchfest runs at The Randolph Theatre, Lower Ossington Theatre, and Comedy Bar. Hart is on the sidelines recovering from knee surgery; The Honky Tonk Man has been announced as the new host for Sunday night. Multiple venues, March 7-17, $15–$50.
- Music: Who says classical music has to be hundreds of years old? The New Creations Festival spotlights the hottest in contemporary orchestral music with a line-up that includes a composition called A Toronto Symphony: Concerto for Composer and City by Tod Machover (who also guest curated this festival), a violin concerto by Owen Pallett, and much more. Roy Thomson Hall (60 Simcoe Street), 8:00 pm, $29-$145.
- Theatre: If you're finding it difficult to get through the original version of Homer's classic, The Odyssey, there's nothing like a musical edition to help make things more clear. Odyssey: The Musical tells the epic journey of Odysseus and the struggles he faces as he makes his way back home after the fall of Troy. The music and lyrics come from Khamsina, one of Victoria College's students. Isabel Bader Theatre (93 Charles Street West), 8:00 pm, $12 for adults, $10 for students and seniors.
- Comedy: As part of the I Heart Jokes Festival, a group of brave comedians is hosting an always entertaining evening of strip comedy. For the uninitiated, the rules are simple: every time a comedian fails to get a laugh at a joke, they're forced to remove an article of clothing. Featuring hosts Dom Pare and Evan Desmarais, and comedians Bobby Kanuff, Amanda Brooke Perrin, Dylan Gott, and others. The Central (603 Markham Street), 8:00 pm, $10.
- Theatre: World Stage presents Lear, a retelling of Shakespeare's tale of family, legacy, and tragedy, with Canadian legend Clare Coulter in the title role and director Philip McKee. Harbourfront Centre (235 Queen's Quay West), 8:00 pm, $15-$30.
- Theatre: One of Canada's most acclaimed and prolific young playwrights, Hannah Moscovitch, has her own mini festival at Tarragon Theatre this season. It started with This is War in January, and continues into March with three one-act plays, all concerning children. Two of those three plays form the double bill now on: Little One and Other People's Children. (We've got a full review right here.) Later this month Other People's Children will continue, paired with another one-act piece called In This World. Tarragon Theatre (30 Bridgman Avenue), 8:00 pm, $13–$53.
- Theatre: The Canadian premiere of Ashlin Halfnight's Laws of Motion, about an accident that sparks a chain reaction of events, boasts a powerhouse ensemble assembled by Small Elephant Co-Op and director Chris Stanton, and is staged in a second-floor jam shop in Leslieville. The show has now been extended to March 23—but they absolutely have to close after that. Jam Factory Company (2 Matilda Street), 8:00 pm, $23.53.
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