In today's Urban Planner: writerly advice, improvised Shakespeare, and a new musical showcase.
- Books: Wouldn’t it be awesome if you could redo parts of your life with the knowledge you have now? The Open Book Literary Salon is exploring this idea with Advice for Myself, gathering three Torontonian authors—Stacey May Fowles, Brian Francis, and Michael Winter—to talk about what pointers they would give their younger selves. Whether you’re an amateur writer yourself or a book lover just looking to take in an interesting conversation, this is an event worth attending. The Spoke Club (600 King Street West, 4th Floor), 7 p.m., FREE. Details
- Comedy: We Happy Few has taken the best elements of William Shakespeare’s work and thrown them into a metaphoric blender. The result: a completely improvised play. Considering the playwright’s penchant for murder, unrequited love, and cross-dressing, Shakespeare Forgive Us: The Third Act will be anything but boring. Comedy Bar (945 Bloor Street West), 8 p.m., $5. Details
- Music: There’s a new monthly music showcase in town! Offering more than the typical music-and-beer nights across town, Liberty Live! pairs performances by up-and-coming Torontonian artists with presentations on various music industry topics. This inaugural event features music from Steve Lewin, Erin Carter, Oliver Pigott, and Beth Moore, and keynote presentations by Zack Leighton, Executive Director of the Canadian Independent Recording Artists’ Association, and Sean Hayden, a composer at Daisy Dog Music Productions and Eggplant Collective. Rize Studios (21R Atlantic Avenue), 8 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
Theatre: It’s 1931 in Berlin, and the Nazis are on the brink of supremacy. But there remains another side to the city—one that’s decadent, permissive, and artistic. And that’s the world we meet when we’re beckoned into the extravagant and sleazy Kit Kat Klub by eccentric Emcee and his troupe of saucy dancers, performing “Willkommen.”
Cabaret’s primary plotline begins with the arrival of American writer Cliff Bradshaw (David Light). Without a real agenda, he’s come to Berlin to work on his novel and teach English. A patron of the Kit Kat Klub, he catches the eye of the star performer Sally Bowles (Kylie McMahon). A natural stunner, Sally is a bubbly young Brit with a powerhouse voice, a dancer’s grace, and a reputation for flitting from man to man like a bumblebee in a flowerbed. It’s not long before she and Cliff fall in love—though the question of whether he’ll be able to satisfy her wild side constantly hangs over their heads. The sweetness lacking in their relationship can be found in the romantic pairing of the boarding house landlord Fraulein Schneider (Adeen Ashton Fogle) and Jewish shop owner Herr Schultz (Don Berns). As appealing as they are, though, these middle-aged lovebirds are just as susceptible to trouble and heartbreak as their younger counterparts. Lower Ossington Theatre (100 Ossington Avenue), all day, $49-$59. 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: The word “idiot” was originally used in ancient Greece to describe a person unconcerned with public affairs like politics, but dedicated to following private pursuits. The setting of Robert E. Sherwood’s 1936 romantic comedy Idiot’s Delight, a failing luxury hotel in the Italian Alps called the Hotel Monte Gabriele, initially seems to be full of idiots: newlyweds on their honeymoon, a group of burlesque singers and their manager, a blissfully genial waiter, and a couple of ornery managers sour over the lack of business. And when a spark flies between a beautiful and mysterious Russian and a smooth-talking American showbusinessman, while the other guests dance, drink, eat, and sing, there’s another piece of juicy plot that can be used to distract themselves, and the audience, from the war that’s literally raging outside the hotel windows. Young Centre for the Performing Arts (50 Tank House Lane), 7:30 p.m., $29–$74. 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: 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
- 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: England’s Victoria Melody isn’t afraid to try new things in the name of research, especially when these trials provide fuel for her amusing theatrical presentations. Her current project, Major Tom, is a one-woman, one-dog show that tells the story of two contestants struggling through the world of appearance-based competitions: having subjected her basset hound—Major Tom—to gruelling dog-show training, Melody enrols herself in beauty pageants to compare the two lifestyles. Harbourfront Centre, Enwave Theatre (231 Queens Quay West), 8 p.m., $29. 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.