THERE ARE ALWAYS SO MANY THINGS TO DO IN TORONTO. GET OUT AND ENJOY SOME OF THE MANY GREAT PERFORMANCES AND EVENTS TAKING PLACE THROUGHOUT THE CITY IN APRIL!
APRIL 7 TO 19 Budding movie makers, critics and all-around enthusiasts are in the director’s chair at the TIFF Kids International Film Festival, featuring more than 100 screenings for children aged three to 13. The event, which includes 120-plus shorts and feature-length films from 37 nations, demonstrates the medium’s ability to both entertain and educate, and to act as a means of exploring different concepts and themes. Through to the end of the fest, attendees can also visit TIFF’s digiPlaySpace, an award-winning interactive exhibit that enables kids to unleash their imagination through play with robotics, mobile apps, video games, 3D printing and virtual-reality experiences. TIFF Bell Lightbox, adults $13, children $9, digiPlaySpace access $10, film and digiPlaySpace adults $20, children $15; see tiff.net for details.
APRIL 8 TO MAY 17 Admire the physical beauty, strength and seamless interaction of horses and humans in Cavalia’s Odysseo, back in Toronto after a three year hiatus. The equine-oriented production dazzles with a number of vignettes that feature skilled acrobats, aerialists and dancers, as well as stallions trotting in unison, and horses and riders in dressage. The splashy finale sees 300,000 litres of water flooding the stage to create a man-made pond that’s promptly descended upon by galloping horses. White Big Top at the Port Lands, Tuesday to Friday 8 p.m., Saturday 2 & 8 p.m., Sunday 2 p.m., $43.50 to $77; call 1-866-999-8111 or navigate to cavalia.net to charge.
APRIL 8 TO 25 Though the end of apartheid and its transition to democracy (21 years ago this month) made South Africa a major success story of reconciliatory nation-building, today it represents far more than a simple feel-good story. This month the Canadian Stage explores the country’s rich history and complex cultural tapestry in Spotlight South Africa. Featuring six unique productions—including the multidisciplinary, puppetry-incorporating project Ubu and the Truth Commission, and Luyanda Sidiya tribal-inspired dance work, Dominion—the festival both illuminates and interrogates South Africa’s past, present and future. Berkeley Street Theatre, $39 to $99; call 416-368-3110 or visit canadianstage.com for a full schedule and to purchase tickets.
APRIL 9 TO 18 To bring his beloved wife back to life, a grief-stricken man must delve into the underworld to appease the angry spirits, promising not to look at her until the pair have returned to earth. Is the journey of reunification a success? Don’t miss Christoph Willibald Gluck’s classic interpretation of the Greek myth Orpheus and Eurydice, as presented by Opera Atelier, to find out if there’s a happily ever after for this couple. Elgin Theatre, $38 to $181; call 1-855-622-2787 or see operaatelier.com for showtimes and to reserve.
APRIL 9 TO 19 Known for her lavender bouffant, glitzy cat-eye spectacles, sequined gowns, size nine shoes and love of gladiolus, Edna Everage is not your average hausfrau. A confidante to Queen Elizabeth II and counselor to heads of state, Edna is a suburban superstar, and after nearly six decades in the public eye, she’s bidding showbiz cheerio. Dame Edna’s Glorious Goodbye—The Farewell Tour brings the grand matron—and her acerbic tongue and witty observations about the cult of celebrity, politicians and society—back to the stage for a final bow. Australian comedian Barry Humphries’ flamboyant alter ego is a film and television star as well as an author—her “autobiography,” My Gorgeous Life, was published in 1994. Princess of Wales Theatre, Tuesday to Saturday 8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 2 p.m., $29 to $99; call 416-872-1212 or visit mirvish.com to charge.
APRIL 10 TO 12 Find inner peace at the Yoga Conference and Show, which takes place from April 9 to 12 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Partake in a range of classes—including vinyasa, kundalini and sivananda yoga—led by expert teachers like Rodney and Colleen Yee, Seane Corne, Rod Stryker and various local gurus, or enhance your body’s abilities by walking a slack line or hanging from a suspension silk. More than 250 wellness exhibitors are also on hand to showcase their products. Metro Toronto Convention Centre, $15; call 905-404-9642 or visit theyogaconference.com/toronto for a full schedule and more information.
STARTING APRIL 11 Get ready to hear the sound of hooves on the turf as thoroughbred racing returns to Woodbine Racetrack for its 60th season on April 11. More than 130 races are scheduled for the 2015 season, including the first and third jewels in Canada’s Triple Crown, the Queen’s Plate and the Breeders’ Stakes. April 24 also marks the first Friday race day, with post time at 1 p.m. Catch the action live from the stands, or with a drink at Champions Bar and Patio. Alternatively, tuck into a buffet feast from Favourites Dining Room, which has tiered seating to ensure a good view of the track from every spot, or follow the action from a tabletop TV. 555 Rexdale Blvd., 416-675-7223; woodbineentertainment.com.
STARTING APRIL 13 It’s been a long 21-season drought for fans of the Toronto Blue Jays; the city’s baseball team last made the playoffs in 1993, winning the World Series. For the third straight year, however, the squad has a legitimate shot at the post season, though contention will require out-of-the-park performances by veterans and rookies alike. In 2015, mainstays like Jose Bautista and R.A. Dickey (pictured) have been joined by new teammates including pitcher Marco Estrada, star third baseman Josh Donaldson and Canadian-born catcher Russell Martin. Rogers Centre, $16.25 and up; call 416-341-1234 or see bluejays.com for tickets and times.
APRIL 14 & 15 Whether it’s the haunting theme of The X-Files, the thumping of hooves from Bonanza, or the merry whistling from The Andy Griffith Show, the opening credits of some of television’s most beloved shows are as memorable as the stories they accompany. Conducted by Steven Reineke, and featuring guest vocalist Nicole Parker, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra presents “As Heard on TV,” a slate of symphonic renditions from the small screen’s greatest hits—from comedies like The Golden Girls, sci-fi classics like Star Trek, dramas like Mad Men, and even game shows like Jeopardy! Roy Thomson Hall, Tuesday 8 p.m., Wednesday 2 and 8 p.m., $29 to $110; call 416-872-4255 or see tso.ca to charge.
APRIL 17 TO 19 Be it for pleasure or as an investment, it’s never been easier to buy art in Toronto. The city boasts dozens of top-quality contemporary and fine-art galleries, and throughout the year hosts numerous excellent fairs at which to see a breadth of creative works. This month’s all-encompassing views come courtesy of Love Art, the second Toronto iteration of a global affordable art fair franchise started by London gallerist Will Ramsay. Here, dozens of local and international art spaces—including Toronto operations like Mayberry Fine Art, Alison Milne Gallery and Roberts Gallery—are set to showcase their most intriguing pieces priced from $100 to $10,000, with more than half available for less than $5,000. Exhibition Place, Direct Energy Centre, $12; call 647-539-1449 or visit loveartfair.com for more information.
APRIL 17 TO MAY 22 The Canadian Opera Company kicks off its spring season by welcoming back to Toronto the Spanish theatre collective Els Comediants. In 2011, the troupe joined the COC for a staging of Gioacchino Rossini’s Cinderella (La Cenerentola). This year the pairing performs The Barber of Seville—another Rossini work, and one of the most-performed pieces in the operatic repertoire. This fresh take on the classic love story, in which Count Almaviva seeks to win the heart of Rosina with the assistance of the cunning Figaro, is brought to life with playful sets. Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, various times, $49 to $424; call 416-363-8231 or see coc.ca for showtimes and to order.
APRIL 22 TO MAY 31 The Bard meets Bollywood in a new production of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. Adapted and directed by Tarragon Theatre artistic director Richard Rose, with the assistance of consulting director Ravi Jain, the love story of Beatrice and Benedick (played by Anusree Roy and Alon Nashman) is moved to Brampton and depicts a clash of sexes, cultures, and traditional versus modern values. Another riveting element: the Bard’s prose is juxtaposed with dancing styles from the subcontinent, including bharatanatyam. Tarragon Theatre, Tuesday to Saturday 9 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 2:30 p.m., $27 to $55; call 416-531-1827 or visit tarragontheatre.com to buy.
APRIL 23 TO 25 One of literature’s most famous love triangles is depicted with arabesques, jetés, grand pas’s and chassés as the Eifman St. Petersburg Ballet presents Anna Karenina. Leo Tolstoy’s 19th-century aristocratic chronicles about a restless socialite, her husband Alexei and her noble lover Vronsky is passionately narrated through demanding dance routines choreographed by Boris Eifman—making just his second visit to Toronto since his company’s 1977 founding—and set to a Tchaikovsky score that highlights the gamut of emotions experienced by the characters—from love and lust to rejection, loss, guilt and torment. Sony Centre for the Performing Arts, 8 p.m., $55 to $145; call 1-855-872-7669 to purchase.
APRIL 23 TO MAY 3 Hot Docs, North America’s largest showcase of non-fiction flicks, kicks off its 22nd edition with approximately 200 documentaries from Canada and around the world. This year, the festival’s Made In program highlights the works of filmmakers from India, a country that Charlotte Cook, Hot Docs’ director of programming, says has an “incredible cinematic legacy.” Proving its worldwide reach, the event also presents the films of Patricio Guzmán. The Chilean director, whose career spans more than 40 years and whose works include The Pinochet Case and The Southern Cross, is to be honoured with an outstanding achievement award. Bloor Hot Docs Cinema plus other venues, $17 to $22; call 416-637-5150 or visit hotdocs.ca for a full schedule.
ALSO THIS MONTH!
APRIL 1 Glasgow, Scotland’s most enduring musical export, Belle & Sebastian, plays Massey Hall.
APRIL 2 Is Neil Diamond really “forever in blue jeans”? Find out when the pop pioneer takes the Air Canada Centre stage.
APRIL 4 The Danforth Music Hall gets some “tough love” from soulful British crooner Jessie Ware.
APRIL 6 The Phoenix Concert Theatre hosts George Lewis Jr., better known as Twin Shadow, hot on the heels of the release of his latest attempt at pop music immortality, Eclipse.
APRIL 7 & 20 Arguably Canada’s best-known spoken-word artist, Shane Koyzcan (he of the Vancouver Olympics’ opening ceremonies) offers up his humanist verbiage at Harbourfront Centre.
APRIL 10 If your name is Alex Cuba, you’ve just got to play Afro-Cuban music, right? The multitalented B.C.-by-way-of-Havana performer brings funky vibes to the Winter Garden Theatre.
APRIL 10 TO 12 The Direct Energy Centre fills with all manner of deliciousness—as well as hungry patrons—during the Toronto Food & Drink Market, featuring dozens of vendors plus a number of local food trucks.
APRIL 11 Politics is a funny business, isn’t it? At least that’s what Bill Maher thinks. What else is on his mind? Find out at Roy Thomson Hall.
APRIL 11 Massey Hall welcomes Ireland’s reigning maestro of exceedingly meticulous songcraft, Damien Rice.
APRIL 13 Class is in session at Massey Hall as comedian Gerry Dee (from CBC television’s scholastic giggle fest, Mr. D) performs.
APRIL 14 No key is left unplayed as jazz piano legends Chick Corea & Herbie Hancock join forces at Massey Hall.
APRIL 14 The Opera House fills with fans of slacker rap for an appearance by hip-hop prodigy Earl Sweatshirt.
APRIL 15 Canadian classic-rock icon Randy Bachman takes care of business at the Mod Club.
APRIL 17 Octagenerian jazz crooner Tony Bennett celebrates his renewed relevance (he did a classy duets album with Lady Gaga, don’t you know?) at Roy Thomson Hall.
APRIL 18 Kid-friendly adventure abounds at the Sony Centre, courtesy of Dora the Explorer Live: Search for the City of Lost Toys.
APRIL 19 Indie comic and famous podcaster Marc Maron comes to the Bluma Appel Theatre to ask WTF?
APRIL 20 Author Piper Kerman relates exactly how Orange is the New Black (in real life!) at Roy Thomson Hall.
APRIL 23 East Coast wit Ron James wrings out some laughs at Massey Hall.
APRIL 23, 25 & 26 The Danforth Music Hall welcomes back to Toronto another Canadian comedy institution, Kids in the Hall.
APRIL 23 & 24 They’re not an aquatics team; they’re a melodic folk-rock ensemble! Great Lake Swimmers play a couple of shows at the Randolph Theatre.
APRIL 24 The Air Canada Centre brings OneRepublic back to Toronto for the umpteenth time.
APRIL 24 Also making his seemingly annual appearance in Toronto—at Massey Hall—is blues guitar legend Buddy Guy.
APRIL 25 Monty Alexander‘s Harlem-Kingston Express rumbles into Koerner Hall and brings with it the pianist and bandleader’s distinct combination of jazz and reggae.
APRIL 28 Woozy soul singer Nick Hakim conjures the spirit of Marvin Gaye at the Drake Hotel.
APRIL 28 If you’re in to classical musicians performing AC/DC, Massey Hall has a treat for you: 2Cellos, a cello duo that does exactly what we just described.
APRIL 29 Fresh off the release of his latest album, Carrie and Lowell, Sufjan Stevens brings his oeuvre of incisive indie-rock story-songs to Massey Hall.
APRIL 30 Jay Leno will probably talk about his car collection or something at Massey Hall.