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Urban Planner: April 18, 2014

In today's Urban Planner: a theatrical spring fling, a solo show for a good cause, and the sounds of the '90s.

The restored Storefront Theatre, ready for a show. (Or, in this case, party.) Photo by Claire Armstrong.

  • Parties: Storefront Theatre had a rough go of it this winter. Oh, sure, we cited it as one of Toronto’s most exciting new indie performance spaces, but a flood in February shut it down for nearly a month, and required extensive repair work. But spring time is a time for renewal, and now that the space is operating again, it’s throwing a Spring Fling party to thank its supporters and community, announce the rest of its 2014 season, and showcase the musical talents of its writers, producers, and actors, including Kat Sandler, Claire Armstrong, Rebecca Perry, and band The Midnight Society. The Storefront Theatre (955 Bloor Street West), 8 p.m., FREE. Details
  • Theatre: Ins Choi, the creator, writer, and co-star of the hit family ensemble show Kim’s Convenience, has been busily touring with the cast all winter to Ottawa, Winnipeg, and more. He’s also busy adapting the hit show, which originated at the Toronto Fringe, for film and television projects, but in his spare time, Choi’s also been performing a solo show, Subway Stations of the Cross, as a fundraiser for local homeless shelters. It’s a hour of poetry and music inspired by a homeless man Choi met years ago, and, as with other special performances he’s given, all proceeds will be donated—for this one-night-only show, to the Daily Bread Food Bank. The Walmer Centre (188 Lowther Avenue), 8 p.m., $15. Details
  • Music: Musical chameleons Dwayne Gretzky have rocked The Beatles, Fleetwood Mac, the soundtrack to Wayne’s World, and much more live in concert. For their return engagement at the Phoenix, the cover band extraordinaire will be playing Songs of the ’90s, with confirmed bands including Nirvana, No Doubt, Alanis Morrissette. Phoenix Concert Theatre (410 Sherbourne Street), 9 p.m., $15. Details

Ongoing…

  • Art: If The Forbidden City: Inside the Court of China’s Emperors has a mascot, it’s Emperor Yongzheng. The image of the 18th-century Chinese ruler dominates the promotional material of the exhibition, which is one of the centrepieces of the Royal Ontario Museum’s centennial year. His portrait certainly has visual appeal, but Yongzheng is also a figure associated with surprising elements of life within the former imperial palace.
    Royal Ontario Museum (100 Queens Park), all day, $27 adults. Details
  • Art: “The greatest art always returns you to the vulnerabilities of the human situation.” – Francis Bacon

    “In the human figure one can express more completely one’s feelings about the world than in any other way.” – Henry Moore

    These quotations, which welcome visitors to Francis Bacon and Henry Moore: Terror and Beauty,” immediately establish the exhibition’s tone and focus. Each artist’s distortions of the human figure, shaped by their wartime experiences, capture the vulnerability of our mortal forms. Art Gallery of Ontario (317 Dundas Street West), all day, $25 adults. Details

  • Festivals: Taking place in five Canadian cities for the second time, The Spur Festival brings together thinkers, innovators, and academic and creative types for a series of lectures, meetings, and performances on “nationally relevant and locally nuanced” ideas. Here in Toronto from April 3 to April 6, the festival will include noted lawyer Michael Geist on free speech, an urban planning panel moderated by Shawn Micallef, talks by author Cecil Foster and photojournalists Rita Leistner and Mike Kamber, and much more. Many of the events, including the opening and closing parties, are free; a few have ticket prices ranging from $10 to $30. For full details, visit the festival’s website. FREE–$150. Details
  • Theatre: After a long, cold winter, Toronto is coming alive with The Sound of Music! This Rodgers and Hammerstein classic will brighten the Randolph Theatre stage for four weeks with some of the best-known and loved musical pieces in theatre history. Set against the darkness of Nazi-occupied Austria, the story centres around Maria—an aspiring nun—and the von Trapp family she learns to love. The Randolph Theatre (736 Bathurst St.), 7:30 p.m., $39–$69. Details
  • Theatre: Broken people, obsession, loss, war, and poverty don’t usually make for the most uplifting stories. But what if love were thrown in? Of Human Bondage does just that. Regarded as one of the world’s greatest novels, it has been brought to life by playwright Vern Thiessen, and will make its world premiere on the Soulpepper Theatre stage. Young Centre for the Performing Arts (50 Tank House Lane), 7:30 p.m., $29–$74. 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: Zack and Abby are the couple that others envy—the ones who seem to have it all. But secrets hide behind the beautiful home, the loving marriage, and the promising careers. Company Theatre’s Belleville—produced in association with Canadian Stage—explores the darkness that’s revealed in this seemingly perfect relationship after Abby finds her husband at home one day when he’s supposed to be at work. Berkeley Street Theatre (26 Berkeley Street), 8 p.m., $22–$49. Details
  • Theatre: Meet Cathy and Jamie, a mid-twenties New York couple who fall in and out of love over the course of half a decade. While it doesn’t involve a groundbreaking premise, The Last Five Years chooses to tell the story of their relationship in a unique fashion: Cathy’s perspective starts from the end and works backward, while Jamie’s simultaneously moves forward chronologically. The only intersection of their narratives occurs during their wedding, at the halfway point of the play. The Winchester Street Theatre (80 Winchester Street), 8 p.m., $25 advance, $30 door. Details
  • Theatre: Despite its provocative title, there’s actually very little that’s controversial about Mike Bartlett’s Cock, making its Canadian premiere at the Theatre Centre. Its subject matter might have been viewed as more controversial in 2009, when the play premiered at the Royal Court in London—but after five years, this story of a love triangle between two men and a woman has lost part of its taboo-challenging appeal. Luckily, though, its emotional appeal has endured. The Theatre Centre (1115 Queen Street West), 8 p.m., $25–$35. Details
  • Theatre: Erin Shields’ Soliciting Temptation, premiering now at Tarragon Theatre, was highly anticipated—it’s the first new play since 2010 from the eminent female playwright, known for the Governor General Award-winning If We Were Birds. In some respects, it lives up to the hype. It deals with the difficult, often-overlooked subject of child sex tourism, and it does so thoughtfully and with nuance. The overall experience, though, is somewhat underwhelming, because the compelling ideas explored are undercut by an implausible premise. Tarragon Theatre, Extra Space (30 Bridgman Avenue), 8 p.m., $21–$53. Details
  • Theatre: Shakespeare’s Ophelia and Desdemona find new life in Danya Buonastella, Dean Gilmour, Nina Gilmour, and Michele Smith’s Death Married My Daughter. In this satire, these women—resurrected from the swamps of death—take great pleasure in shaking up Man’s society while exposing their murderers and abusers. The Theatre Centre (1115 Queen Street West), 9:30 p.m., $23. 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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