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Things to Do in Toronto: Shows & Events in April 2016


digiPlaySpace at the TIFF Bell Lightbox features 25 interactive installations for kids (photo: courtesy of TIFF)

APRIL 1  There’s no better way to celebrate April Fools’ Day then with the funny folks at Yuk Yuk’s, who are hosting An Evening of Comedy at Massey Hall hosted by Gilbert Gottfried. Nikki Payne headlines the evening, alongside other comics such as Zabrina Chevannes, Jeff Elliott, Darren Frost, Mayce Galoni, Matt O’Brien and Richard Ryder.

APRIL 2  Iranianborn singer Moein, best known for his love ballads, brings his unique voice to the Sony Centre stage.

APRIL 3  The world’s most famous basketball team, the Harlem Globetrotters, tips off its 90th anniversary with a world tour that includes a stop in Toronto. See the likes of Cheese Chisholm, Bull Bullard, Big Easy Lofton and Ant Atkinson display their dribbling showmanship in a family-friendly show.

TO APRIL 3 Canada’s largest urban yoga experience, The Yoga Conference & Show, features more than 300 exhibitors and 700 hours of sessions for all skill levels and interests led by international yogis such as Rodney Yee, Rod Stryker, Tiffany Cruikshank and Paul Galloro among others.

APRIL 3 TO 5  Wildlife cinematographer Bob Poole, who has filmed more than 30 National Geographic films, and has captured the likes of elephants traumatized by poaching and civil war in Mozambique and followed wildebeests across the Serengeti, talks about his international experiences behind the lens.

APRIL 3 TO 17  A heated socio-political drama is part of Mirvish’s off-season. In Disgraced, racial, ethnic and religious prejudices come to light during a dinner party with a Muslim-raised lawyer, his artist wife, a WASP colleague and her Jewish husband.

APRIL 7 TO 16  A love triangle between a Roman dictator, an exiled senator and the woman who’s captured both their hearts is the premise of Opera Atelier’s spring production, Lucio Silla. Written by Mozart at age 16, this three-act opera tells the romantic tale of the titular character—who lusts after Giunia, the daughter of his political enemy, who in turn pines for Cecilio, a politician banished by Lucio himself.

APRIL 8  Following a stellar 2015 season that saw the Toronto Blue Jays clinch the AL East division title and end a 22-year playoff drought, the city’s Major League Baseball team swings back into action to play its home opener against the Boston Red Sox. Although the Jays lost star pitcher David Price to their Beantown rivals (and a $217 million contract), the majority of Toronto’s roster has returned, including Jose Bautista (he of the famous bat flip), reigning MVP Josh Donaldson, slugger Edwin Encarnacion and versatile shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. The rest of the month sees the Jays slugging it out at the Rogers Centre against the New York Yankees, Chicago White Sox and Oakland Athletics.

APRIL 8 TO 24  Pint-sized movie goers rule the box office at the the TIFF Kids International Film Festival, which offers screenings for children ages 3 to 13. In addition to its slew of short and full-length films, the fest’s Jump Cuts program showcases shorts made by Ontario students in grades 4 to 8. And until April 24, the popular digiPlaySpace exhibit is open with hands-on tech-driven activities featuring the likes of video games, mobile apps, robotics and workshops that foster learning through self-discovery.

APRIL 9 Hard rock music icon Iggy Pop tours in support of his latest album, Post Pop Depression, with opening act U.S. Girls.

APRIL 10 Pianist-turned-You Tube sensation Valentine Lisitsa, who has more than 100,000 subscribers and 62 million views, performs a program that includes classical works by Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov and Scriabin.

APRIL 12  Spoken word artist Shane Koyczan, winner of the U.S. Slam Poetry Championships and the Canadian Spoken Word Olympics, returns with a new album, Debris.

APRIL 12 TO 28  A provocative gypsy, a soldier seduced by her charms, and a bullfighter form a tragic love triangle in the Canadian Opera Company’s production of Carmen.

Anthony Rapp and Jackie Burns star in If/Then (photo: Joan Marcus)

APRIL 12 TO MAY 8 A modern-day musical contemplates two possible lives: the one being lived and the one that could have been—if only different choices had been made. In If/Then, Elizabeth’s dual fates—and those of her friends—simultaneously play out to very different results. As “Liz,” she experiences marriage and motherhood, while as “Beth” she’s a successful professional. The Tony–nominated production is written Brian Yorkey; he also penned the lyrics for the score by Tom Kitt.

APRIL 13  The multi-talented Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals bring their blues and soul sound to Massey Hall.

APRIL 13 AND 14  Rihanna, who was in town earlier this year filming a music video with Toronto’s own Drake, is back for her world tour at the Air Canada Centre.

APRIL 15  Easy-listening crooner Engelbert Humperdinck, who has sold more than 150 million records worldwide, is known for such songs as “Quando, Quando, Quando” and “Spanish Eyes.”

APRIL 15 TO 17  The annual Green Living Show is back for its 10th edition, providing inspiration and ideas for sustainable living, from local purveyors to hybrid cars. Pick up goods from local food and drink vendors and hear from environmental and health experts at the main stage.

APRIL 16  The multi-talented Simon Shaheen, who composes both Western and Arabic music and is also a master of the violin and oud, performs works that blend Arabic music with flamenco.

APRIL 17  Head to the Distillery District for the Leslieville Flea, a monthly marketplace stocking vintage and salvaged goods, antiques, collectibles, as well as handcrafted items.

APRIL 18  Amanda Lindhout, a Canadian humanitarian and journalist who was kidnapped by Islamic insurgents and held hostage in Somalia for 15 months, recounts her experiences and her philanthropic work as part of the Unique Lives & Experiences series.

APRIL 21  Catch founding member of The Guess Who, Randy Bachman, in concert with special appearances by Terra Lightfoot and Dallas Good.

APRIL 21 TO 24 More than 5,000 years of Chinese culture is showcased in Shen Yun through beautiful costumes, elaborate sets, classically-trained dancers and an orchestra that blends Eastern and Western music featuring traditional Chinese instruments.

APRIL 22  A member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, blues guitarist Buddy Guy performs at Massey Hall in support of his latest album, Born to Play Guitar.

Canadian comedian Russell Peters is recording a new Netflix special at Massey Hall

APRIL 26 AND 27 Canadian comedian Russell Peters, known for his racially-themed jokes and such one liners as “Somebody gonna get a hurt real bad,” wraps up his Almost Famous world tour.

APRIL 28 TO MAY 8  Non-fiction works are spotlighted during Hot Docs, North America’s largest annual showcase of documentary cinema. Each year, the popular event screens more than 200 works by filmmakers from Canada and around the world; visit hotdocs.ca for a complete lineup. In Toronto before the festival opens? The event’s home, the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema, features a slew of programming year-round, including the Doc Soup series highlighting hits from the international festival circuit.

APRIL 29 Canadian pop-rockers Hedley, who are known for such songs as “Perfect” and “Sweater Song,” hit the stage at the Air Canada Centre with fellow Canadian performers Carly Rae Jepsen and Francesco Yates.

APRIL 29 AND 30  Juno Award–winning musician Alan Frew interprets musical hits of the ’80s with his own twist, including Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time,” and Tears for Fears’ “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.”

APRIL 29 TO MAY 14 Rossini’s drama, Maometto II, wraps up the Canadian Opera Company’s current season with Italian bassbaritone Luca Pisaroni starring as the Turkish sultan trying to conquer the Holy Roman Empire.

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