In today's Urban Planner: take a trip on the Orient Express, party like it's NXNE, and check out a talk show hosted by a zombie clown.
- Poetry: Do you have the guts to share your works of poetry during an open mic session? Prove it at Shab-e She’r (Poetry Night) XV. Even if you lose your nerve at the last minute, you’ll be able to take in special performances by award-winning author Farzana Doctor and spoken word poet and songwriter IF. The Central (603 Markham Street), 7 p.m., $5. Details
- Theatre: Soulpepper brings together music, theatre, history, and travel in a new and immersive way in its Salon Series. Aboard the Orient Express invites the audience to traverse the war-threatened Europe of 1939 on a train ride that stops in city centres like Paris, Munich, Vienna, and Istanbul. CBC host Tom Allen provides narration for this story, which celebrates history and music across cultural lines. Young Centre for the Performing Arts (50 Tank House Lane), 7:30 p.m., $20-$49. Details
- Theatre: Is the right time to have a child simply when you’re emotionally and financially ready? Is bringing another carbon footprint–leaving creature onto our planet really the responsible thing to do? British playwright Duncan Macmillan poses these neurotic questions and more in his slightly off-kilter love story, Lungs. Tarragon Theatre (30 Bridgman Avenue), 8 p.m., $21-$25. Details
- Music: Even though June is still a few months away, the North by Northeast Festival is already getting warmed up. Give snow the finger and head to the Garrison for a taste of summer at what promises to be a pretty awesome NXNE Party. As one might expect, the night’s entertainment will be provided by esteemed musical acts, including Army Girls, Fresh Snow, Michael Rault, and Wish, with DJ sets from Justin Peroff (Broken Social Scene), Chris Slorach (Metz), and NXNE’s own Festival Director, Christopher Roberts. The Garrison (1197 Dundas Street West), 8 p.m., FREE. Details
- Comedy: Mullet the Zombie Clown has already returned from the dead, and now he’s returning to the Rivoli for another edition of Mullet’s Night Show. Done in the style of late-night television, this variety program features stand-up comedy from Robin Archer (Mullet’s trusty sidekick), music from Britton Vincent, and appearances by Rachelle Eli, Rob Faust, Precious Chong, and Melissa Story. The Rivoli (334 Queen Street West), 9 p.m., $10. 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
- Fashion: Ichimaru—once one of Japan’s most famous geishas—left the profession in the 1930s to pursue a career in entertainment. Never really leaving her past life, she became known for adorning herself in the traditional geisha garb when performing in concert or on television. “From Geisha to Diva: The Kimonos of Ichimaru” exhibits several decades’ worth of outfits and personal effects, shedding light on the woman behind the makeup. Textile Museum of Canada (55 Centre Avenue), 11 a.m., $6-$15. Details
- Theatre: Bollywood is the force that brings two stories of self-exploration together in Same Same But Different. After her mother’s life is changed by a run-in with the world of Indian cinema, Aisha—a Canadian-born actress—realizes that she must face her prejudices about nationality and skin colour in order to rise to stardom. Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace (16 Ryerson Avenue), 7:30 p.m., PWYC–$32.50+HST. Details
- Dance: The producers of Riverdance have spawned yet another on-stage extravaganza. With a talented cast of 38, Heartbeat of Home is a high-energy show, combining Irish, Latin, and Afro-Cuban music and dance. Torontonians get the honour of seeing the production’s North American debut—take it in before it’s gone! Ed Mirvish Theatre (244 Victoria Avenue), 8 p.m., $35-$130. Details
- Dance: Told through South American music and dance, Arrabal is the story of a young girl desperate to find out what happened to her father after the Argentine military made him disappear when she was just a baby. Her search leads her to the Tango clubs of Buenos Aires, where she discovers both the truth, and herself. Panasonic Theatre (651 Yonge Street), 8 p.m., $44-$84. Details
- Theatre: Even though Billy was born deaf, his family strived to raise him the same way they would have a hearing-able child. Tribes sees him learn what it is to hear and be heard when he meets Sylvia, a young woman who is gradually becoming deaf herself. Presented by A Theatrefront Production, Canadian Stage, and Theatre Aquarius, this emotional play stars Stephen Drabicki and Holly Lewis. Berkeley Street Theatre (26 Berkeley Street), 8 p.m., $22-$47. Details
- Theatre: Sterling Studio Theatre calls issues of morality into question with its production of George Bernard Shaw’s Mrs. Warren’s Profession. When Kitty Warren’s daughter Vivie finds out just how her mother has been supporting their family, she must re-evaluate her views on sex, money, and power. Sterling Theatre (163 Sterling Road), 8 p.m., $18-$23. Details
- Theatre: The image most commonly associated with Franz Kafka’s most famous work, the 1915 novella The Metamorphosis, is that of a giant insect trapped inside a bare, dirty room with a rotting apple lodged in his back—the bug was formerly a man named Gregor Samsa, and the room was formerly his bedroom. As we all know, this distressing and inexplicable transformation from man to bug happened in an instant, although its emotional and literary after-effects have been haunting English students ever since.
The stage adaptation of The Metamorphosis by the Icelandic company Vesturport Theatre and London’s Lyric Hammersmith, on now at the Royal Alexandra Theatre with Mirvish Productions, is much more watchable than this introduction would suggest. The only bug you’ll see in this version is a trick of light and shadow. And that’s not the only trick up this show’s sleeve (or perhaps antenna?). Royal Alexandra Theatre (260 King Street West), 8 p.m., $25 to $99. Details
- Theatre: What would happen if two characters from different books were to meet up outside their narratives? This is the basis of Brian Friel’s Afterplay, which explores the hypothetical relationship between two Anton Chekhov creations—Sonya from Uncle Vanya and Andrey from Three Sisters. For the price of admission, you’ll also get to indulge in authentic Russian tea during the performance, courtesy of the Campbell House. Campbell House Museum (160 Queen Street West), 8 p.m., $25. Details
- Theatre: Recently, the Storefront Theatre (which received an honourable mention in our 2013 Heroes section) found itself literally underwater when a water main break dumped seven feet of water in its basement. A campaign to help the indie venue recover from the flood is ongoing, but in the meantime, the show must (and will) go on: its production of SHREW, a witty adaptation of Shakespeare’s comedy of the sexes using puppets and a Klondike Gold Rush setting, will close out its run at Theatre Passe Muraille. Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace (16 Ryerson Avenue), 8 p.m., $25. Details
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.