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Colm Wilkinson

Weekend Roundup: Best Bets for December 21 to 23

Friday, December 21

A Christmas Carol is on stage at the National Arts Centre.

Charles Dickens’ classic holiday tale is brought to life with the National Arts Centre‘s annual production of A Christmas CarolNow in its 10th year, this solo show has grown to become  a Christmas tradition in the nation’s capital. Starring John D. Huston and featuring the haunting music of Ottawa folk trio Finest Kind, this is a show you won’t want to miss.

Theatre legend Colm Wilkinson stops by Centrepointe Theatre for two full hours of music and storytelling. Broadway, Christmas and Beyond will feature theatre classics such as “Music of the Night,” “Some Enchanted Evening,” and “Somewhere,” as well as Wilkinson’s signature song, “Bring Him Home.” A seven-piece band and two female vocalists joins Wilkinson on stage.

Canadian Brass returns to the NAC with a spectacular display of holiday showmanship. Easily identified by their trademark tuxes and tennis shoes, the five-piece ensemble is the perfect blend of music, spontaneity, and humour. Together with the NACO, they will treat audiences to a string of Christmas favourites, including “O Holy Night,” “White Christmas,” and “God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman.”

Saturday, December 22

Stuart McLean brings his storytelling prowess to Ottawa.

Beloved Canadian storyteller Stuart McLean returns to Ottawa for a two-night engagement at the NAC. The Vinyl Cafe 2012 Christmas Tour will include two brand new stories, Christmas music from The Vinylettes, and a special performance by Vancouver singer-songwriter Reid Jamieson. The tour will also celebrate McLean’s latest release, a four-CD collection of favourite holiday stories.

Ottawa’s own Jim Bryson returns to the national capital region for his Annual Holiday Show at Wakefield’s Black Sheep Inn. This will be Bryson’s first solo gig in a while (he spent the better part of the last year backing fellow local girl Kathleen Edwards), so the folk-rock musician plans to go big. Not only will be be joined by special guests Rueben Degroot and Kelly Sloan, he also plans to unveil a special holiday EP.

Now playing at the Museum of Civilization‘s IMAX theatre is Rocky Mountain Express. Awarded “Best Film” and “Best Cinematography” by the 2012 Giant Screen Cinema Association, this film centres on the construction of Canada’s first transcontinental railway. Breathtaking aerial shots and rarely seen archival footage add to this impeccable showing. All aboard!

Sunday, December 23

This weekend is your last chance to see Miracle on 34th Street: The Radio Show.

Have you been meaning to check out The Gladstone‘s production of Miracle on 34th Street: The Radio Show? Well, you’d best act quickly. Today’s matinee performance (slated to begin at 3 p.m.) is the final showing. Plosive Productions takes audiences back to the golden age of radio in this creative re-telling of a holiday classic.

If you have yet to take advantage of the Canadian Museum of Nature‘s seasonal specials, now’s the time. Until Christmas Eve day, kids aged three to 12 can enjoy half-priced admission. While you’re there, be sure to check out the newly renovated Vale Earth Gallery. The now 8,000-square-foot exhibition features interactive games, simulations, and even a Canadian Mining Hall of Fame.

Weekend Roundup, August 12 to 14

Friday: Cirque du Soleil offers high-flying spectacle (photo by Daniel Auclair)

Friday, August 12
Come one, come all to the Grand Chapiteau for the opening weekend of Cirque du Soleil’s Totem. Behold a cast of colorfully costumed characters whose feats of strength and grace are sure to amaze!

Experience an entire weekend of Pan-Asian culture as Harbourfront Centre’s Fortune Cooking Food Festival begins tonight. Among many activities, visitors can watch an Iron Chef competition, sample a variety of Asian cuisine and partake in cooking demonstrations.

Revel in the golden voice of theatre star Colm Wilkinson, who takes the Four Seasons Centre stage tonight and Saturday. Wilkinson’s performance includes a mix of famous Broadway hits from plays such as The Phantom of the Opera, as well as Irish ballads and contemporary pop favourites.

Saturday: Britney's back! (photo by chicagofabulousblog.com)

Saturday, August 13
Head to the Air Canada Centre to witness the return of Britney Spears, who brings her Femme Fatale tour to Toronto. The pop star is accompanied by an all-female line-up of special guests, including hip hop diva Nicki Minaj, Jessie and the Toy Boys, and Nevo.

Yonge-Dundas Square hosts this year’s India Day celebration. The festivities kick off with a parade down Yonge Street featuring floats that highlight India’s cultural diversity.

Support green farming initiatives at the first annual Conscious Food Festival at Fort York. The festival promotes local and natural foods and includes live music, vendors and seminars on food values.

Sunday: The Third Floor is just one of many SummerWorks plays showing today (photo by Wojtek Arciszewski)

Sunday, August 14
Don’t miss the final day of SummerWorks Theatre Festival, an event dedicated to showcasing new Canadian plays to theatr- going audiences. Even today there are numerous plays to see!

Join party-girl popster Ke$ha, whose Get $leazy tour rolls into the Molson Canadian Ampitheatre, with guests LMFAO and Spank Rock.

Brace yourself for Ron Sparks’ Celebrity Roast of Colin Mochrie (Whose Line Is It Anyway?) at the Drake Hotel. A night full of comedic insults and attacks by enlisted “roasters” is sure to ensue during this comedy hour.

Hot Date: The Golden Voice of Colm Wilkinson

photo by David Leyes

AUGUST 12 & 13 He’s made a career of captivating audiences on Broadway and in London’s West End. Now acclaimed singer and theatre actor Colm Wilkinson steps charismatically back on to the Toronto stage for two nights only. The Irish-born star—who has made his home in this city since 1989, when he began a five-year stint in The Phantom of the Opera—is set to showcase his much-praised pipes with a mix of show tunes, pop songs and timeless ballads, including “The Music of the Night” and “Danny Boy.” Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, 8 p.m., $52 to $215; call 416-644-3665 or visit here to buy.