The Guggenheim Comes to the AGO

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  • Art Gallery of Ontario (317 Dundas Street West)
  • All day

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.

Details: The Guggenheim Comes to the AGO

The Living Library Project

  • Hart House, Great Hall (7 Hart House Circle)
  • 11 a.m.

Tired of listening to your friends’ same old drunken weekend tales? The Living Library Project can help. It has amassed a group of individuals who have lived exciting, interesting, and inspiring lives, and who want to share their stories. Just like signing out a library book, you can borrow each one of these people for a half-hour conversation about their experiences with, for example, mental-health disorders, surviving refugee camps, or being of mixed race. Reservations are required. Check the schedule to book a time.

Details: The Living Library Project

Unsung: Behind the Glee

  • Bloor Hot Docs Cinema (506 Bloor Street West)
  • 6 p.m.

Anyone who has watched Glee or Pitch Perfect knows that show choirs see their fair share of drama. Unsung: Behind the Glee follows two of Toronto’s rival ensembles—from Wexford Collegiate for the Arts and Etobicoke School of the Arts—as they gear up for the Show Choir Canada National Championship. The TVO Doc Studio Screening Series presents this one-hour documentary, which will be followed by a live performance from each school and a Q&A with director Moze Mossanen and choir directors Ann Merriam and Paul Aikins.

Details: Unsung: Behind the Glee

Poetry Night XII

  • Victory Cafe (581 Markham Street)
  • 7 p.m.

A graduate of Second City’s Conservatory Program in Improvisational Comedy, Kanwal Rahim has a passion for storytelling, music, and performance. She’ll take to the stage as the feature act of Poetry Night XII. Celebrating its one-year anniversary, this series encourages anyone who writes music or poetry to share their work during the open-mic portion of the night.

Details: Poetry Night XII

Heaven Above Heaven Below Comes Out on Top

Layne Coleman and Linda Griffiths in Heaven Above Heaven Below. Photo by Michael Cooper.

Layne Coleman and Linda Griffiths in Heaven Above Heaven Below. Photo by Michael Cooper.

  • Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace (16 Ryerson Avenue)
  • 7:30 p.m.

The world is a shockingly small place; just being in it will inevitably, repeatedly, and involuntarily bring you face to face with people you’d rather not meet more than once. In the case of Linda Griffiths’ new play Heaven Above Heaven Below, the wedding of a mutual friend reunites two nameless characters, He and She, twenty years after a short-lived fling resulted in She getting an abortion (which Griffiths detailed in her 1991 hit The Darling Family, to which this is the real-time sequel). The premise is enough to make anyone swear off large gatherings with undisclosed guest lists.

Details: Heaven Above Heaven Below Comes Out on Top

Joke Club

  • The Ossington (61 Ossington Avenue)
  • 8 p.m.

The Joke Club is exactly what you probably think it is: a bunch of funny people getting together to perform their best bits and make people laugh. This edition, hosted by Tom Henry, features stand up from Nick Flanagan, Mark Little, and Sean Cullen.

Details: Joke Club

Ongoing…

The Royal Ontario Museum Takes a Modern Approach to the Cradle of Civilization

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  • Royal Ontario Museum (100 Queens Park)
  • All day

The name “Mesopotamia” derives from a Greek term meaning “land between the rivers.” The Royal Ontario Museum’s latest major exhibit, which opens on June 22, takes this literally, as visitors flow between painted representations of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers on the floor.

Presented by the British Museum and rounded out with pieces from institutions in Chicago, Detroit, and Philadelphia, “Mesopotamia: Inventing Our World” covers 3,000 years of human development in the cradle of urban civilization. Most of the 170 artifacts on display have never been shown in Canada.

Details: The Royal Ontario Museum Takes a Modern Approach to the Cradle of Civilization

Evil Dead The Musical Returns to Toronto

Ryan Ward and Laura Tremblay in Evil Dead The Musical. Photo by David Hou.

Ryan Ward and Laura Tremblay in Evil Dead The Musical. Photo by David Hou.

  • The Randolph Theatre (736 Bathurst St.)
  • All day

Since its humble beginnings in the back room of Toronto’s Tranzac club back in 2003, Evil Dead The Musical has steadily risen in infamy as a ridiculously fun, tongue-in-cheek, gore-soaked musical experience. From those earliest shows, the musical has gone on to make an off-broadway debut, to win and be nominated for several Dora awards, and to play in dozens of cities around the world, from Montreal and Vancouver to Tokyo and Madrid. It was high time that the show make a triumphant homecoming to a stage in Toronto, and it finally has, at the Randolph Theatre.

Details: Evil Dead The Musical Returns to Toronto

TIFF’s First Major Original Exhibition Traces David Cronenberg’s Evolution

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  • TIFF Bell Lightbox (350 King Street West)

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.

Details: TIFF’s First Major Original Exhibition Traces David Cronenberg’s Evolution

Go Hear the People Sing in Les Misérables

Ramin Karimloo will make you weep, or at least want to give him a hug, as Jean Valjean in Les Miserables. Photo by Matthew Murphy.

Ramin Karimloo will make you weep, or at least want to give him a hug, as Jean Valjean in Les Miserables. Photo by Matthew Murphy.

  • Princess of Wales Theatre (300 King Street West)
  • 7:30 p.m.

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.

Details: Go Hear the People Sing in Les Misérables

Pieces of Me

Shahi Teruko and Sheldon Neil star in Pieces of Me. Image courtesy of Promise Productions.

Shahi Teruko and Sheldon Neil star in Pieces of Me. Image courtesy of Promise Productions.

  • Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace (16 Ryerson Avenue)
  • 7:30 p.m.

The old adage “appearances can be deceiving” rings true in Promise Productions’ new musical, Pieces of Me. Though Pamela and Parker seem to have a perfect marriage, trouble brews just below the surface. Parker works to solidify a happy future with his wife, not knowing that Pamela is restless, and harbouring a secret that could destroy everything. Written and directed by Deon Denton, the play stars the Shahi Teruko (Canada’s Got Talent), and recording artist Sheldon Neil.

Details: Pieces of Me

Second City’s New Show Is a Heroic Effort

Allison Price, about to lose her patience with Stacey McGunnigle. Photo courtesy of Second City.

Allison Price, about to lose her patience with Stacey McGunnigle. Photo courtesy of Second City.

  • Second City (51 Mercer Street)
  • 8 p.m.

You might expect a show called We Can Be Heroes to be a send-up of superhero films, but Second City’s new mainstage production is actually a celebration of minor, everyday acts of heroism ranging from giving advice to a bullied child to managing not to be a jackass at your friend’s wedding.

Details: Second City’s New Show Is a Heroic Effort

Play Reading Week

  • Tarragon Theatre, Near Studio (30 Bridgman Avenue)
  • 8 p.m.

Tarragon Theatre presents ten days of innovative onstage creations as part of Play Reading Week. The showcase will debut new works from members of the 2013 Playwrights Unit, and many of the plays will go on to be developed further in Tarragon’s WorkSpace program and mounted as full productions in future seasons. A different burgeoning playwright will find him or herself in the spotlight each night. On the roster are Kate Cayley, Anna Chatterton, Jordi Mand, Amy Lee Lavoie, Maria Milisavljevic, Jessica Anderson, Adam Paolozza, Diane Flacks, Marilo Nuñez, and Gord Rand.

Details: Play Reading Week

Director Chris Abraham Talks Winners and Losers

Chris Abraham. Photo courtesy of Red Eye Media.

Chris Abraham. Photo courtesy of Red Eye Media.

  • Berkeley Street Theatre (26 Berkeley Street)
  • 8 p.m.

Winners and Losers is a play by Marcus Youssef and James Long based on a game of the same name the two theatre artists sometimes play. They pick a person, place, or thing, and debate whether it’s a “winner” or a “loser.” But it probably wouldn’t be fair to pick their director (and Crow’s Theatre artistic director) Chris Abraham as a topic, particularly since he was recently declared the winner of the Siminovitch Prize, Canadian theatre’s most prestigious (not to mention lucrative) honour.

Details: Director Chris Abraham Talks Winners and Losers

The Valley Could Dive Deeper

Ian Lake and Colin Mercer in The Valley. Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann.

Ian Lake and Colin Mercer in The Valley. Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann.

  • Tarragon Theatre (30 Bridgman Avenue)
  • 8 p.m.

The plot of Joan MacLeod’s The Valley, on now at Tarragon Theatre, is unfortunately all too familiar: an 18-year-old recent college drop-out experiences his first psychotic episode on Vancouver’s SkyTrain. The exhausted police officer called to the scene arrests him for causing a public disturbance, spurring debate over whether or not he used excessive force in the process. A Toronto audience only has to think of Sammy Yatim’s shooting this August to be reminded how common these situations are. A perceived threat to public safety coupled with the absence of a solid understanding of mental illness can—and often does—lead to violence.

Details: The Valley Could Dive Deeper

Heaving Bosoms and Sharp Class Critique in After Miss Julie

Amy Keating, Christopher Morris, and Claire Armstrong star in Red One Theatre's After Miss Julie. Photo by Jonas Widdifield.

Amy Keating, Christopher Morris, and Claire Armstrong star in Red One Theatre's After Miss Julie. Photo by Jonas Widdifield.

  • The Storefront Theatre (955 Bloor Street West)
  • 8 p.m.

Toronto theatre audiences have seen a number of adaptations of Strindberg’s Miss Julie in the past few years. The original now seems dated, but Miss Julie: She’Mah, a Canadian-targeted adaptation by playwright Tara Beagan, ratcheted up the tension by giving Miss Julie residential-school-educated servants. Canadian Stage’s somewhat less effective Miss Julie: Freedom Summer used American race politics. But British playwright Patrick Marber’s 2003 adaptation, After Miss Julie, zeroes in on sexual politics and baseline class separations, all against the backdrop of a British country home at the close of World War II. Red One Theatre’s Canadian premiere plays up the danger and slow-burning tension expertly, with three experienced cast members: Claire Armstrong in the title role, and Christopher Morris and Amy Keating as Julie’s father’s servants.

Details: Heaving Bosoms and Sharp Class Critique in After Miss Julie