This week in Toronto, shows and concerts connected to Manifesto and Queer Pride; cabaret comedy with Chris Gethard, Rebecca Kohler, and Theatre Inamorata; naked bike rides, park concerts, androids, and clown dates.
Thursday, June 8
A 20th century classic with a short run in our city this week; the touring production of The Sound Of Music, that classic scale-teaching family romp—with Nazis! We’ve not had a chance to see it yet, but it arrives with Broadway bona fides (director Jack O’Brien) and a leading lady, Charlotte Maltby, who’s just 23—considerably closer in age to the real-life Maria when she met Captain Von Trapp (played here by Nicholas Rodriguez) than in most professional productions.
To June 11, Tuesday–Saturday, 7:30 p.m., Saturday–Sunday, 1:30 p.m., $29–$129.
Toronto’s only large-scale annual hip-hop music festival, Manifesto, continues to go hard, programming both small-scale local events, like tonight’s “house party” at the Drake Hotel, and big epic events, like Saturday’s all0day Echo Beach bash headlined by acts such as Majid Jordan and The Internet. There are also workshops and panel talks, fulfilling its commitment to be about this city, and sparking conversation about hip-hop culture and ideas in it.
To June 11, various venues and times, FREE–$93.
Comic and storyteller Chris Gethard has already sold out his tour stop here in Toronto, a headlining set at the Royal Cinema, so he’s decided to do a last minute late-night event, too, appearing on a cabaret bill with local talent including The Sufferettes, Mark Forward, Nile Seguin, and more.
Comedy Bar (945 Bloor Street West), 10:30 p.m., $15.
Friday, June 9
Four new plays go head to head for bragging rights (and a cash prize) at the SAFE WORDS competition tonight and Saturday night. Tonight’s two plays are by Jessica Moss and Michael Kras; tomorrow night, it’s Norman Yeung and Rose Napoli, whose Ten Creative Ways To Dispose Of Your Cremains will soon be staged in full at the Toronto Fringe Festival. One of the four finalists, selected from a large pool of cross-country submissions, will be chosen as victor after these public readings.
To June 10, Tarragon Theatre (30 Bridgman Avenue), Friday–Saturday, 7 p.m. and 9 p.m., FREE.
Safe words might be a good idea for the characters of Rope Running Out, Raf Antonio’s new play about men seeking other men and dealing with intimacy and anxiety issues with care and consent. There’s a definite aspect of voyeurism for the audience, as well, as we follow the action between several rooms in lemonTree Creations’ low-ceilinged basement studio spaces. Nacio (Augusto Bitter) and Felix (Allie MacDonald) have an unusually open relationship, but the terms may change when Nacio meets Lobo (Chy Ryan Spain), a confident and charming cruiser. There’s explicit discussion of sexuality and full nudity, but audience members could potentially choose to station themselves in full or obstructed view of the proceedings, courtesy of director Indrit Kasapi’s careful establishment of “safe” curtained and around-the-corner spaces—or they could choose to get within a whisper’s touch of the three focused actors.
To June 10, lemonTree Creations studio (58 Stewart Street), Tuesday–Saturday, 8 p.m., Friday, 11 p.m., Saturday–Sunday, 2 p.m., $25.
Saturday, June 10
Ah, the wind blowing through your hair as you cruise on a bicycle. If you’ve ever wondered what it might be like to feel that rush of wind elsewhere, perhaps the annual Naked Bike Ride is for you. The clothing optional event begins at 10 a.m., where body painters will nominally cover themselves and others with non-clothing adornments; as of 1 p.m., the group will depart en masse on a route through the city’s core.
Coronation Park (711 Lake Shore Boulevard West), 10 a.m., ride departs at 1 p.m., (clothing-) FREE.
An all day conference and exhibit on emerging technology, FutureWorld will feature lectures, artwork, and demonstrations concerning human-robot interactions, robotic advancement, and the ethics of cybernetics, AI research, and more.
OCAD University (100 McCaul Street), noon–8 p.m., $50–$150.
The popular Comedy Uncovered showcase series has sold out its last two editions, and this latest edition has a rock solid line-up: headliner Rebecca Kohler, openers Jackie Pirico and K$M (Matt Folliott and Kirsten Rasmussen), and host Deanne Smith. So advance tickets (which are cheaper!) are highly recommended.
Comedy Bar (945 Bloor Street West), 7 p.m., $12 in advance, $15 at the door.
Three men with honey-dewed voices, envious harmonies, and immigrant heritage, the Asian Riffing Trio is presenting their first full-length revue, This Is ART, as part of Buddies In Bad Times Queer Pride month programming. Colin Asuncion (Tenor), Kevin Wong (Baritone), and Chris Tsujiuchi (Bass) will touch on pop starlets and musical theatre standards in medley, promising plenty of “gaysian wonder, sassy choreography, and, of course, riffs—all the riffs.”
To June 11, Buddies In Bad Times Theatre (12 Alexander Street), Saturday–Sunday, 7:30 p.m., $25.
Toronto’s own Charles Spearin and Ohad Benchetrit both spent last weekend being rock stars, playing with Broken Social Scene at Field Trip. This weekend, they do it again with their Do Make Say Think project; the more eclectic veteran art-noise (with jazz and psycedelic influences) outfit headlines the Danforth Music Hall tonight.
Danforth Music Hall (147 Danforth Avenue), doors at 7 p.m., $15–$18.50.
Sunday, June 11
The best of the Rock (that can be mustered here in Toronto) is taking part in the Newfoundland Comedy Kitchen Party, a fundraiser for a Fringe show by native Islander Samantha Chaulk. On the bill: stand-up Ryan Dillon, music act Daughters Of The Rock, and an ensemble of East Coast improvisers, plus Newfoundland-themed door prizes, snacks, and, possibly, mummers.
Bad Dog Theatre (875 Bloor Street West), doors at 7 p.m., show at 8 p.m., $10 (includes Purity Kisses).
Despite the title, not every joke is about periods at the Crimson Wave comedy show, a pro-feminist and anti-rape joke weekly comedy showcase. For this edition, however, they will be. That’s because co-hosts/co-producers Natalie Norman and Jess Beaulieu are taping an album’s worth of period jokes, joined by C.W. regulars including Aisha Brown, Definition of Knowledge, Sandra Battaglini, and more. (The show often hits capacity, so advance tickets for the taping are a good idea.)
Comedy Bar (945 Bloor Street West), 9:30 p.m., $10.
Monday, June 12
For the fourth edition of their popular annual fundraiser, Virgin Burlesque, Theatre Inamorata has enlisted another slate of performers who’ve never shed it all on the stage. Kwaku Okeyere, Thalia Kane, and members of the Shakey-Shake Puppet ensemble will be performing burlesque for the first time, with light entertainment between from the Diddlin Bibbles, the women of Theatre Inamorata, host Sophia Fabiilli, and more.
Pravda Vodka House (44 Wellington East), doors at 7 p.m., show at 7:30 p.m., $20.
Another annual tradition, the Harold Awards, recognizes independent theatre creators and workers in an open to the public event where many new “haroldees” will be surprised by their citation. Hosted by Rebecca Parry and Benjamin Blais (both were “Harolded” last year), the event is bucking several Harold traditions, taking place at a theatre (but, really, the bar), and featuring a dance party (post-ceremonies) and every indie artist’s favourite—free food.
Buddies In Bad Times Theatre (12 Alexander Street), doors at 7:30 p.m., ceremonies at 8 p.m., PWYC.
Tuesday, June 13
The Downtown Yonge Business Improvement Area association has planned daytime concerts throughout the summer at five different parks and outdoor locations in the city’s core. To kick off their “season,” the Play the Parks 2017 Launch Party will feature food sampling, giveaways, and five different musical acts, including Laura Hupert and the Santerias Band, playing as close to the centre of the city as you can get—besides Yonge-Dundas Square—Trinity Square, the courtyard mostly surrounded by the Eaton Centre.
19 Trinity Square, 5–7 p.m., FREE.
The perennially popular Blind Date returns to the Tarragon Theatre, this time with three “Mimis” in rotation: creator Rebecca Northan, scenographer/improvisor Christy Bruce, and the newest improvisor to wear the red dress and red nose, Tess Degenstein. Blind Date has now been performed over 600 times around the world (including same sex versions), and the creative team has the amusing experience, where a unsuspecting man in the audience is pulled up to fill in for the fetching clown’s absent date, down to a hilarious science.
To June 25, Tarragon Theatre (30 Bridgman Avenue), Tuesday–Saturday, 8 p.m., Saturday–Sunday, 2:30 p.m., $22–$65.
Urban Planner is your weekly curated guide to what’s on in Toronto—things that are local, affordable, and exceptional.