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Urban Planner: January 16, 2014

In today's Urban Planner: a musical about unconditional love, and a comedy show for the ages.

Rob Kempson and Astrid Van Wieren star in The Way Back to Thursday  Photo by Michael Cooper

Rob Kempson and Astrid Van Wieren star in The Way Back to Thursday. Photo by Michael Cooper.

  • Theatre: Cameron and his grandmother share a special tradition: every Thursday night, they escape into the golden age of film together. A musical about unconditional love, The Way Back to Thursday takes us through the changes in this relationship as Cameron grows older and more distant. Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace (16 Ryerson Avenue), 7:30 p.m., PWYC-$32.50 + HST. Details
  • Comedy: Laugh Sabbath’s Nick Flanagan has decided to make a new record, and he wants you to be a part of the magic. Join him for what should be one of his best performances (he’s chosen this one to be documented and enjoyed for years to come, after all), and enjoy appearances by Zabrina Chevannes and Tom Henry. Comedy Bar (945 Bloor Street West), 9:30 p.m., $5. Details

Ongoing…

  • Film: It’s not every day that a media tour opens with the injunction not to photograph “the sex blob,” but so began TIFF’s preview of “David Cronenberg: Evolution,” the organization’s first large-scale touring exhibition (for now, it’s stationed at the TIFF Bell Lightbox’s HSBC Gallery). It’s an exhaustive, stunning look at some of the wildest, most perverse creations of a pioneer of the body-horror genre—who also happens to be Canada’s most internationally renowned filmmaker. TIFF Bell Lightbox (350 King Street West), 12 p.m., $15, $12 students, $5 Tuesdays. Details
  • Art: Virginia Woolf once remarked that “on or about December 1910, human character changed.” Whether it actually did is debatable, but the curators of “The Great Upheaval: Masterpieces from the Guggenheim Collection 1910–1918” use that year to start their exhibition of works from a tumultuous decade of innovation in European fine art. Art Gallery of Ontario (317 Dundas Street West), all day, $16.50–$25 (includes general admission). Details
  • Theatre: The Next Stage Theatre Festival is back with a diverse and compelling slate of ten plays, all by artists who’ve previously contributed to the Fringe Festival. While a few of these shows have been produced at the Fringe, a number of them are brand new, and you have until January 19 to check out as many as you can. Factory Theatre (125 Bathurst Street), all day, $15 Main/Studio, $10 Antechamber. Details
  • Photography: Ali Eisner is already known for being a puppeteer, composer, and performer. Now she adds another line to her resumé with her debut photography exhibit, “Favourite Things.” As one might expect, each photo in the show depicts a cherished moment, person, or item in her life—you’ll find shots of everything from travelling and architecture, to puppets and musicians such as Kathleen Edwards, Ron Sexsmith, and Serena Ryder. Join her for the opening reception on January 9. Gladstone Hotel (1214 Queen Street West), 12 p.m., FREE. Details
  • Theatre: Every revolution needs a leader. And though the movement to bring the classic 1980s musical Les Misérables back to Toronto is markedly different than the quest for political accountability and social equality, it has its hero just the same. After the official opening performance at the Princess of Wales Theatre, the audience likely would have followed London-based, Richmond Hill-raised performer Ramin Karimloo (as the story’s golden-hearted protagonist, Jean Valjean) anywhere he would lead. Princess of Wales Theatre (300 King Street West), 7:30 p.m., $35–$130. Details
  • CORRECTION: January 16, 2014, 1:40 This listing originally suggested an incorrect opening date for Les Misérables. This production opened on October 10.

    Theatre: Minimalism is taken to a new level in the Theatre Department’s Pith! It’s 1931, and Jack Vail is cooped up in a living room with a grieving widow and her stoic housekeeper. With only four chairs, a phonograph, and imagination at his disposal, he takes them away on a South American jungle adventure. Directed by Ron Jenkins, this award-winning play stars Ron Pederson, Daniela Vlaskalic, and Amy Matysio. Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace (16 Ryerson Avenue), 7:30 p.m., $20, PWYC on Tuesdays. Details

  • Theatre: While vacationing on the Irish Coast, a couple discovers the body of a drowned woman, awakening issues that have been dormant in their marriage. Based on the novel Une vie pour deux, Evelyne de la Chenelière’s Flesh and Other Fragments of Love is a play that straddles the line between detective mystery and ghost story, and examines issues of human intimacy. Tarragon Theatre (30 Bridgman Avenue), 8 p.m., $21-$48. Details
  • Theatre: If you’re a fan of Teen Girl Squad, it will be hard to say this play’s name with a straight face. A satire about how to get ahead in the world, The Ugly One focuses on our obsession with beauty and body modification. Reuniting for this Toronto production are the original cast members—Jesse Aaron Dwyre, David Jansen, Hardee T. Lineham, and Naomi Wright. Tarragon Theatre, Extra Space (30 Bridgman Avenue), 8 p.m., $27-$53. Details
  • Theatre: Rarely Pure Theatre brings Shakespeare’s As You Like It to the Storefront Theatre, one of the city’s new alternative presentation spaces. The company gives the story, which sees love and friendship complicated by sexual tension and gender confusion, a distinctly Canadian twist by moving the action to a wintery wonderland. The Storefront Theatre (955 Bloor Street West), 8 p.m., $20, $15 students/seniors/arts workers. Details
  • Theatre: Let’s face it: being a twenty-something can kinda suck. Pumped full of confidence and aspirations, we flee the family nest…and fall flat on our faces. Avenue Q uses songs (written by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx) and puppetry both to lament and poke fun at this difficult time. Much like Sesame Street, it has a cast made up of human actors who interact with a variety of furry creatures, who themselves have hands up their butts. Think that description is tasteless? This might not be the show for you—these puppets are crude and lewd, and have a taste for alcohol and porn. Don’t say you weren’t warned. Lower Ossington Theatre (100 Ossington Avenue), 8 p.m., $49-$59. Details
  • Theatre: With a minimalistic set, some vintage guitars, and a rock n’ roll soundtrack, Deanna Jones takes on the persona of one of music’s most notorious figures. Humourous and introspective, The Keith Richards One Woman Show leads audiences through the highs and lows of the Rolling Stones guitarist’s often ridiculous life. Fixt Point Studio (1550 Queen Street West), 8 p.m., $15. Details

Happening soon:

Urban Planner is Torontoist‘s guide to what’s on in Toronto, published every weekday morning, and in a weekend edition Friday afternoons. If you have an event you’d like considered, email us with all the details (including images, if you’ve got any), ideally at least a week in advance.

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