Paprika Festival

The 2014 Paprika Festival Creator's Unit. Photo by David Leyes.

The 2014 Paprika Festival Creator's Unit. Photo by David Leyes.

  • Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace (16 Ryerson Avenue)
  • Daily, all day

A week of performing arts programming created by artists 21 and under, The Paprika Festival features readings, theatre and dance performances, and social events that aim to encourage youth involvement in the arts and foster the creation of art by young people. The festival boasts many alumni in the arts and arts-related fields, and this year’s crop of budding writers, directors, and performers may give young-at-heart attendees a glimpse of future Dora-winning work. There’s a double bill of workshopped shows each night of the week, with readings beforehand and late-night cabaret programming afterward. Over the festival’s closing weekend, the evenings turn into full days of arts events. All main-stage shows are $5; unlimited access festival passes can be purchased for $50. Many events are free of charge. For the full programming schedule, consult the festival’s website.

Details: Paprika Festival

The Gigli Concert: Therapy Through Music, Comedy, and Sex Stories

Diego Matamoros and Stuart Hughes as JPW King and Irish Man. Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann.

Diego Matamoros and Stuart Hughes as JPW King and Irish Man. Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann.

  • Young Centre for the Performing Arts (50 Tank House Lane)
    • Wednesday, April 9–Friday, May 16

Up until Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez made that movie, the word “Gigli” was associated with images of beauty, the splendour of the opera, and, more specifically, the renowned Italian tenor Beniamino Gigli. In Irish playwright Tom Murphy’s The Gigli Concert, originally written in 1983 and on stage now at Soulpepper Theatre, the singer’s voice represents not only beauty, but hope itself—the one saving force that can pull its two central characters from deep depressions. And, thankfully, the journey to the other side is infinitely more watchable than the previously mentioned Hollywood film.

Details: The Gigli Concert: Therapy Through Music, Comedy, and Sex Stories

Belleville

  • Berkeley Street Theatre (26 Berkeley Street)
    • Sunday, April 6–Sunday, May 4

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.

Details: Belleville

Dinner With Goebbels

  • Red Sandcastle Theatre (922 Queen Street East)
    • April 9–27

We’ll bet you’ve never had a dinner party quite as interesting as this one. Mark Leith invites you to sit down with the founder of political spin, Edward Bernays; the inventor of propaganda, Dr. Joseph Goebbels; and the spearhead of the war on terror, Karl Rove—in the Act 2 Studio Works production of Dinner With Goebbels.

Details: Dinner With Goebbels

Let the Cock Fight Begin

Jessica Greenberg and Andrew Kushnir in Mike Bartlett's Cock. Photo by Kari North.

Jessica Greenberg and Andrew Kushnir in Mike Bartlett's Cock. Photo by Kari North.

  • The Theatre Centre (1115 Queen Street West)
    • April 15–27

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.

Details: Let the Cock Fight Begin

The Sound of Music

  • The Randolph Theatre (736 Bathurst St.)
    • Thursday, April 10–Saturday, May 3

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.

Details: The Sound of Music

Of Human Bondage

  • Young Centre for the Performing Arts (50 Tank House Lane)
    • Tuesday, April 15–Saturday, May 17

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.

Details: Of Human Bondage

The Last Five Years

  • The Winchester Street Theatre (80 Winchester Street)
    • April 10–19

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.

Details: The Last Five Years

Subway Stations of the Cross

  • The Walmer Centre (188 Lowther Avenue)
  • Friday, April 18
  • 8 p.m.–9:30 p.m.

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.

Details: Subway Stations of the Cross

The Last Confession

David Suchet and Richard O’Callaghan star in The Last Confession. Photo by John Haines.

David Suchet and Richard O’Callaghan star in The Last Confession. Photo by John Haines.

  • Royal Alexandra Theatre (260 King Street West)
    • Saturday, April 19–Saturday, May 31

If you’re in the mood for a murder mystery with a religious twist, you’ll want to check out The Last Confession. David Suchet (Poirot) and Richard O’Callaghan star in this play about the mysterious death of Pope John Paul I in 1978. After only 33 days in office, and having warned three cardinals that they would be replaced, he is found dead. Though the Vatican refuses to implement an official investigation, Cardinal Benelli goes out in search of the truth.

Details: The Last Confession

Abigail’s Party

  • Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace (16 Ryerson Avenue)
    • Tuesday, April 22–Saturday, May 3

It’s 1977 and a group of friends in England are gathering for a soirée. A pretty standard concept, that’s for sure, but Mike Leigh’s Abigail’s Party takes things to another level with a playful romp through the lives of these suburban socialites, dripping with British wit. Witness the hilarity and awkwardness as the hostess from hell metaphorically tears her guests to pieces.

Details: Abigail’s Party