Christmas Choral Celebration

The Toronto Mass Choir is one of three vocal groups performing in the Christmas Choral Celebration. Photo courtesy of Toronto Mass Choir.

The Toronto Mass Choir is one of three vocal groups performing in the Christmas Choral Celebration. Photo courtesy of Toronto Mass Choir.

  • Toronto City Hall (100 Queen Street West)
  • 11:30 a.m.

If you’re trying to find something festive to do on Christmas Eve, look no further. Hundreds of voices wil be singing in the holiday at the Christmas Choral Celebration. A free event for all ages, there will be appearances from the Toronto Beaches Children’s Chorus, All the King’s Voices, and Toronto Mass Choir. Accompaniment will be provided by Tower Brass, and organist James Bourne.

Details: Christmas Choral Celebration

The Musical of Musicals, The Musical!: Theatre That’s Niche and Nerdy

Dana Jean Phoenix, Mark Cassius, Paula Wolfson and Adrian Marchuk in Musical of Musicals, the Musical!. Photo by Josie Di Luzio.

Dana Jean Phoenix, Mark Cassius, Paula Wolfson and Adrian Marchuk in Musical of Musicals, the Musical!. Photo by Josie Di Luzio.

  • Panasonic Theatre (651 Yonge Street)
  • 2 p.m., 8 p.m.

The musical spoof is a theatrical genre all its own, and it’s one that thrives in the indie universe of the Fringe Festival circuit. Of course, it was at this year’s Toronto Fringe Festival that The Musical of Musicals, The Musical! became a runaway hit. Its hokey, jokey sense of humour, hummable tunes, and highly experienced cast stood out from the hundred-plus other low-budget productions—so much so that David Mirvish plucked it from obscurity and placed it in the Off-Mirvish lineup. But until last Thursday, we had yet to see if its success so far was a Fringe fluke or the real deal.

Details: The Musical of Musicals, The Musical!: Theatre That’s Niche and Nerdy

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

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

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

TIFF Pays Another Trip to Studio Ghibli’s Enchanted Kingdoms

Still from My Neighbor Totoro.

Still from My Neighbor Totoro.

  • TIFF Bell Lightbox (350 King Street West)

The rare retrospective to get a victory lap soon after its first run, TIFF’s recent spotlight on the eighteen acclaimed films from Japan’s much-admired animation studio gets a second lease on life with Spirited Away: The Films of Studio Ghibli. A major hit with families when it showed at TIFF Bell Lightbox last spring, the retrospective returns with some key modifications, including a couple of prized screenings of 1988’s Grave of the Fireflies, which was unavailable for the last round.

Details: TIFF Pays Another Trip to Studio Ghibli’s Enchanted Kingdoms

The Nutcracker

Elena Lobsanova in The Nutcracker. Photo by Bruce Zinger.

Elena Lobsanova in The Nutcracker. Photo by Bruce Zinger.

  • Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts (145 Queen Street West)
  • 1 p.m.

Ensure that visions of sugarplum fairies will be dancing in your head this holiday season by grabbing tickets to the National Ballet of Canada’s The Nutcracker. Choreographed by James Kudelka, this dreamy story set in Imperial Russia has everything from snow queens to fight scenes, with rich costuming, a live orchestra, and compelling performances from some of the best in ballet.

Details: The Nutcracker

The Little Mermaid

The cast of The Little Mermaid. Image courtesy of Ross Petty Productions.

The cast of The Little Mermaid. Image courtesy of Ross Petty Productions.

  • Elgin Theatre (189 Yonge Street)
  • 2 p.m.

You know what they say—things are better, down where it’s wetter. Keeping that in mind, why not escape the cold, and enter the underwater world of The Little Mermaid. Straying from the sugar-coated Disney version, Ross Petty’s production draws on Hans Christian Andersen’s story, tying in humour to make this family program both relevant and entertaining.

Details: The Little Mermaid

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