The warmer months are upon us, and for some people, that means only one thing: the beginning of festival season. Get a sneak peek at the classical musicians who will be on the scene later in the season with the Toronto Summer Music Festival Preview. This free lunchtime performance features Montreal’s Sonoro Quartet playing pieces by Haydn and Dvořák on violin, viola, and cello.
It’s never too early to start celebrating World Pride, which is why the Toronto Public Library is getting things started with a special presentation of Singing Out, the city’s largest LGBTQ choir. Now in its 22nd year, the group—made up of singers with a variety of gender identities and sexual orientations—uses music to express ideas of pride and belonging.
A Platinum Production is back with the second instalment of The Producers series, which showcases the masterminds behind the burlesque and variety groups we know and love. Since it’s the Pop Edition, the tasty performances by Alexander, Gregory, and Stanley (The Mansfield Brothers Vaudeville Troupe); Pastel Supernova (Love Letters Cabaret); and Johnny B Goode, St Stella, and Belle Jumelles (A Platinum Production) will each have a slight hint of bubblegum.
If The Forbidden City: Inside the Court of China’s Emperors has a mascot, it’s Emperor Yongzheng. The image of the 18th-century Chinese ruler dominates the promotional material of the exhibition, which is one of the centrepieces of the Royal Ontario Museum’s centennial year. His portrait certainly has visual appeal, but Yongzheng is also a figure associated with surprising elements of life within the former imperial palace.
“The greatest art always returns you to the vulnerabilities of the human situation.” – Francis Bacon
“In the human figure one can express more completely one’s feelings about the world than in any other way.” – Henry Moore
These quotations, which welcome visitors to “Francis Bacon and Henry Moore: Terror and Beauty,” immediately establish the exhibition’s tone and focus. Each artist’s distortions of the human figure, shaped by their wartime experiences, capture the vulnerability of our mortal forms.
Now in its 24th year, the Inside Out festival offers an eclectic mix of LGBT-themed films from Canada and around the world. Setting up shop at venues ranging from the TIFF Bell Lightbox to Videofag, the festival mixes screenings, panel discussions, and receptions for equal parts edification and entertainment—all in the name of “challenging attitudes and changing lives.”
This post is going to upset as many people as it will intrigue, but here goes! The Toronto Festival of Clowns is back for its ninth year of painting the town’s noses red, bringing five days of performance art. These aren’t your typical birthday clowns; programming at the Pia Boulman School and the Brockton Collective ranges from bouffon acts to dating games and from dramatic pieces to puppet shows, and will feature special appearances by Morro and Jasp, and Mullet the Zombie Clown.
Outside the March seems to be Toronto’s favourite indie theatre company. Director Mitchell Cushman built up quite a buzz after consecutive hits Mr. Marmalade and Terminus, both of which were praised for their unconventional use of space (the former was set in a kindergarten classroom, the latter placed both the actors and the audience on the stage of the Royal Alexandra Theatre), so his next project had been highly anticipated. Vitals, written by Rosamund Small, was the first script for Outside the March developed specifically for a site-specific space, and its original run had to be extended even before opening night. Then, only a few days into the run, it was extended again to June 1. And though Vitals isn’t the best show in Outside the March’s history, there’s a reason that tickets have been flying.
If we’ve learned anything from slasher flicks, it’s that having sex leads to death. Returning to the stage to mark its 25th anniversary, Brad Fraser’s Love and Human Remains pursues this dark train of thought. Set in Edmonton, the play tells the story of a bunch of sexually frustrated and dysfunctional twenty- and thirty-somethings grappling with life and love, while a killer lurks in their midst.
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 open an official investigation, Cardinal Benelli goes out in search of the truth.
Few fads have stood the test of time quite so well as dance movies from the 1980s. Now, one of the best films from this era has been adapted for the stage. Flashdance—The Musical revisits the story of a young female steel welder with a desire to dance, set to a score of iconic songs such as “Flashdance… What a Feeling,” “Maniac,” “I Love Rock and Roll,” and many more.