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What to Do in Toronto: Festivals, Concerts and Events This September

There are always so many things to do in Toronto. Get out and enjoy some of the many great events and concerts taking place throughout the city this month!

Cirque du Soleil's Kurios is now under the big top in Toronto (photo: Martin Girard)

Cirque du Soleil’s Kurios is now under the big top in Toronto (photo: Martin Girard)

ALL MONTH LONG  The distinctive blue and yellow tents have once again popped up at the Port Lands, and with them comes Cirque du Soleil, back in Toronto after a nearly two-year absence. This season the famed Montreal troupe presents a kaleidoscope of characters and objects in its latest travelling show, Kurios—Cabinet of Curiosities. Under the big top, audiences are transported back to the 19th century to meet an inventor who’s able to defy time, space and even gravity—one spectacular scene even features an upside-down dinner party! Grand Chapiteau, 51 Commissioner St., Tuesday to Friday 8 p.m., Saturday 4:30 and 8 p.m., Sunday 1:30 and 5 p.m.; $50 to $160; visit cirquedusoleil.com to purchase tickets.

TO SEPTEMBER 21  It’s not every show that features flying cows, show girls, a Trojan rabbit and a special appearance (via a recording) by English comedian Eric Idle. But Monty Python’s Spamalot isn’t your typical theatrical experience. The Tony-winning, Arthurian legend–skewering musical features a motley crew of characters, including King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table—Sirs Lancelot, Bedevere and Robin among them—as well as the Lady of the Lake and her cheering Laker Girls, Tim the Enchanter, and French soldiers who send can-can dancers to chase the knights as they search for the Holy Grail. Lower Ossington Theatre, 100 Ossington Ave., Thursday and Friday 8 p.m., Saturday 2 & 8 p.m., Sunday 4 p.m., $49.99 to $59.99; call 416-915-6747 or visit lowerossingtontheatre.com to book.

TO SEPTEMBER 29  A Tender Thing rewrites the fate of fiction’s famous star-crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet. Rather than taking their own lives at the end of Shakespeare’s tragic tale, they’re now an elderly couple facing mortality as Juliet, ailing from a degenerative disease, contemplates ending her life. Playwright Ben Power weaves events and soliloquys from the Bard’s original play into his new work, drawing clever literary parallels that astute viewers and readers will appreciate. Young Centre for the Performing Arts, evenings 8 p.m., select matinees 2 p.m., $29 to $74; call 416-866-8666 or visit soulpepper.ca to charge.

Wicked's witches return this month to the Ed Mirvish Theatre (photo: Joan Marcus)

Wicked‘s witches return this month to the Ed Mirvish Theatre (photo: Joan Marcus)

STARTS SEPTEMBER 3  An unlikely friendship between two apparent opposites  forms the basis for Wicked. Back by popular demand, the musical tells how beautiful Glinda and green-skinned Elphaba respectively became the Good Witch of the South and the Wicked Witch of the West: long before a pigtailed girl from Kansas tapped her ruby-red shoes, it was these Shiz University roommates who were off to see the wizard. With such songs as “No Good Deed” and “The Wizard and I”—plus munchkins, a Winkie prince, a monkey servant and an ancient book of spells—this fantastical adventure brings Gregory Maguire’s Wizard of Oz–inspired novel to life. Ed Mirvish Theatre, Tuesday to Saturday 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday 1:30 p.m., $36 to $200; call 416-872-1212 or visit mirvish.com to charge.

SEPTEMBER 12 TO 20  Get ready for a beer bonanza! Toronto Beer Week takes over the city as more than 30 craft breweries occupy bars and restaurants to host 200-plus events, including pub crawls, cask tappings and brewmaster’s dinners. Great Lakes Brewery—the 2013 and 2014 Brewery of the Year as chosen by the Canadian Brewing Awards—is introducing new pints, as is Left Field Brewery and Indie Alehouse Brewing Co. September 13 takes lagers on the lake with the maiden voyage of the Toronto Craft Beer Cruise, which features 12 breweries and a harbour tour; trips depart at 3:30 and 8 p.m., tickets are $39.95 each. Visit torontobeerweek.com for a schedule of events and participating establishments.

SEPTEMBER 18 TO 21  Calling all DIYers, home renovators and decorators! The Fall Home Show returns with more than 300 specialists offering inspiration, tips and solutions for all of your projects for the abode. Special guests include DIY expert Leigh-Ann Allaire Perrault and interior designer Evelyn Eshun. In addition, blogger Marian Parsons of Miss Mustard Seed makes her Canadian debut to talk about her ongoing home projects—more than 24,000 readers follow the progress on her site—as well as her paint line, Milk Paint. Exhibition Place, Better Living Centre, 151 Princes’ Blvd., general admission $15; see fallhomeshow.com for details.

SEPTEMBER 18 TO 27  On the heels of the Toronto International Film Festival, the city welcomes comedy royalty for JFL42. Over the course of nine days, laugh lovers can expect to have their funny bones tickled at more than 100 shows. This year’s headlining acts include former Saturday Night Live head writer Seth Meyers, straight-talking Girls star and creator Lena Dunham, provocative stand-up comedian Amy Schumer, sassy Emmy Award-winning writer Wanda Sykes, and Parks and Recreation actor Nick Offerman. Homegrown Canadian comics have their turn at the mic as well, along with SiriusXM’s Top Comic, which sees acts from across the country, and a sketch and improv show. Various venues, $49 to $299; call 1-855-985-5000 or see jfl42.com to charge.

SEPTEMBER 26 TO 28  If Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz had visited Canada’s Baking and Sweets Show, she wouldn’t have been in such a hurry to get home to Kansas. North America’s premier showcase of all things baked returns with the theme “the magical Land of Oz” inspiring cakes, cupcakes, pastries and more. Meet celebrity guests like cake designer Ron Ben-Israel, and pick up kitchenware and ingredients. Toronto Congress Centre, 650 Dixon Rd., general admission $15; see canadasbakingandsweetsshow.com for more information.


Miranda Lambert is in Toronto on September 4

Miranda Lambert is in Toronto on September 4

SEPTEMBER 4  All-American girl Miranda Lambert mines for country music Platinum at the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre.

SEPTEMBER 4  The Toronto International Film Festival kicks off with its opening-night gala, The Judge.

SEPTEMBER 6  Prolific indie singer-songwriter (and one-time Peter Gabriel acolyte) Joseph Arthur checks in at the Drake Hotel.

SEPTEMBER 8  The Horseshoe Tavern hosts bedroom electro-pop duo Sylvan Esso.

SEPTEMBER 9  Once known mainly as a James Brown soundalike, Lee Fields has lately carved his own path. The soul man slides into the Horseshoe Tavern with his crackerjack backing band, the Expressions.

SEPTEMBER 10  Hard-hitting (and harder-living) boxer Mike Tyson says “Lend me your ears,” when he performs a one-man show about his years in and out of the ring at the Air Canada Centre.

SEPTEMBER 12  Left-field R&B auteur Tom Krell, a.k.a. How to Dress Well, soundtracks your evening at the Mod Club.

SEPTEMBER 12  Get ready for some epic complaining and explaining: the last angry man, comedian Lewis Black, has a few things to say at Massey Hall.

SEPTEMBER 12  Introspective singer-songwriter Mark Kozelek brings Sun Kil Moon (and songs from that project’s latest record, Benji) to the Opera House.

Our Country's Good starts its run at the Royal Alex on September 13

Our Country’s Good starts its run at the Royal Alex on September 13

STARTS SEPTEMBER 13  Australia’s origins as an 18th-century British penal colony are dramatized in Our Country’s Good. The 25th-anniversary staging of this award-winning production begins a six-week run at the Royal Alexandra Theatre.

SEPTEMBER 15  Massey Hall reverberates with the soulful shouts of old- and new-school belters Charles Bradley and Joss Stone.

SEPTEMBER 15  Still riding high on the wave of acclaim for Lost in a Dream, The War on Drugs is in Toronto for the second time this year to play the Phoenix Concert Theatre.

STARTS SEPTEMBER 16  The Princess of Wales Theatre is the site of a revival of sacrilegiously satirical proportions—The Book of Mormon is back to town to convert us all into lovers of Broadway musicals.

STARTS SEPTEMBER 16  Upon discovering that his town’s baths are contaminated, a doctor must decide if he publicize the health risk or keep the news secret to prevent a collapse of the local economy. The dilemma plays out in Tarragon Theatre’s production of the Henrik Ibsen drama An Enemy of the People.

SEPTEMBER 18  Violin virtuoso Joshua Bell helps the Toronto Symphony Orchestra open its 91st season with performances of ebullient works by Berlioz, Lalo and Rimsky-Korsakov.

SEPTEMBER 18  Irreverent pop-rocker Ed Sheeran is apparently popular enough to have a show at the Air Canada Centre.

SEPTEMBER 18  The country’s most famous musical mustache, Burton Cummings, kicks of the 5th annual Canada’s Walk of Fame Festival at Massey Hall.

SEPTEMBER 19  You’ll probably want to take earplugs to the Opera House, lest you risk deafness due to, well, Deafheaven‘s wall of sound.

SEPTEMBER 20  An evening of tunes, conversation and, one assumes, a few laughs is promised as (musician) Matthew Good and (actor/comedian) Jay Baruchel get together on stage at Massey Hall.

SEPTEMBER 20  The Drake Hotel is the artful venue for My Brightest Diamond‘s Shara Worden to perform music from his latest baroque pop confection, This is My Hand.

SEPTEMBER 20  On the other end of the spectrum, indie pop doesn’t get much more polished than the big shiny tunes of Twin Shadow, who plays The Phoenix tonight.

SEPTEMBER 20  And then it’s back to more lushly ornamented music as Mutual Benefit plays Lee’s Palace.

SEPTEMBER 24  Northern soul stylists Slow Club bring their winning tunes to the Horseshoe Tavern.

STARTS SEPTEMBER 25  It’s music and theatre, but not musical theatre—Life, Death and the Blues examines that genre’s passion, politics and personality at Theatre Passe Muraille.

Former Roxy Music frontman Bryan Ferry croons on September 25

Former Roxy Music frontman Bryan Ferry picks up the mic at Massey Hall on September 25

SEPTEMBER 25  No rough musical edges will be left unpolished tonight, as ever-smooth Bryan Ferry slides on to Massey Hall’s stage.

SEPTEMBER 26 & 27  And then it’s all rough edges at the Horseshoe Tavern, where Toronto’s favourite hardcore band, F**ked Up, plays a pair of shows.

SEPTEMBER 27  The Royal Conservatory’s Koerner Hall hosts a musical free-for-all, an open house-style event featuring five-minute sets by performers of all ages and backgrounds.

SEPTEMBER 27  Your dad probably knows that Boz Scaggs is playing Massey Hall.

SEPTEMBER 27  And your cool older brother probably knows that Zeus is at Lee’s Palace.

SEPTEMBER 28  The Sound Academy welcomes the coming of Sheezus—Brit-brat pop star Lily Allen.

STARTS SEPTEMBER 30  At the Panasonic Theatre, cabaret star Sarah-Louise Young pays homage to the life and career of Julie Andrews in Julie Madly Deeply.

SEPTEMBER 30  You may still know him best as the Lord of the Rings–citing singer from Led Zeppelin, but these days Robert Plant has carved out quite the little career as a quasi roots and blues revivalist. He’s still got those golden tresses, though. Plant and his band, the Sensational Space Shifters, are at Massey Hall tonight.

SEPTEMBER 30  Idiosyncratic Swede (aren’t they all?) Lykke Li seems likely to perform at the Virgin Mobile Mod Club.

SEPTEMBER 30  Neo-alternative musician Erika M. Anderson—better known as EMA—hollers into The Future’s Void at the Drake Hotel.

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