Bebop legend and Jazz Master Sheila Jordan, a contemporary of Charlie “Bird” Parker, is well into her 80s and still performing live. She’s been teaching singers at the Banff Centre for the past fifteen years, and is in Toronto to do a weekend workshop—and a pair of shows, with Don Thompson on piano and Neil Swainson on upright bass.
Playwright Bobby Del Rio was inspired to write The Trial of Ken Gass, a Kafkaesque look at a man’s encounter with an officious bureaucrat, by the ousting of Factory Theatre’s artistic director by its board of directors (who earned themselves a place in our Villains roster in 2012). The play is less interested in the scandal’s details, however, and more in the different ways people react when confronted by an unreasonable person who’s the gatekeeper for an uncaring system. To drive the point home, as in the original production, Del Rio has cast a different performer every night to play the title character, who’s put through the wringer by a mercurial investigator played by Jess Salguiero. Among the guest “Gasses” are playwright Matthew Edison, comedian Sandra Battaglini, and cabaret performer Ryan G. Hinds.
There’s a lot of new ground covered in Alanna Mitchell’s solo show, Sea Sick. It’s the first show of the Theatre Centre’s 2014 season, and the first at the centre’s new home at the Carnegie Library. It’s also the first show Theatre Centre’s artistic director Franco Boni has directed in 12 years—he helms this production alongside the company’s artistic director in residence, Ravi Jain. It’s the theatrical debut of Mitchell, a daily reporter for The Globe and Mail turned globetrotting ocean explorer. Sea Sick also provides an opportunity for many in the audience to truly appreciate for the first time the staggering damage that global warming has caused the Earth’s oceans, and the grim future that will mean for life in the water and on land.
Toronto’s had a number of high-profile cover-band outfits make names for themselves over the past few years, such as the big band extravanganza Loving In The Name Of, or Sheezer, the all-female Weezer cover band. A new booking agency, Born Rebels, has signed these acts and more, and is throwing a big launch party featuring some of their roster’s talent: the Black Pearls, who cover the Travelling Wilburys; the Mercenaries, who do ’50s soul; Tommy Youngsteen, who do Petty/Young/Springsteen; and Hot Rock, who specialize in the Rolling Stones.
This post originally referred to the band Tommy Youngsteen as “Tommy Springsteen.” We regret the error.
A late-night reinterpreted cover series at Theatre Passe Muraille, Songbook Series Vol. 9 has attracted some high-calibre performers eager to put their own spin on songs just about everybody knows. Performers for this edition (and there are many) include recent Toronto Sketchfest headliner Gavin Crawford, the Stratford Festival’s Ron Pederson, and Rebecca Perry, recently returned from the Frigid Festival in New York.