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mirvish productions

Hot Date: Johnny Cash Country

Shawn Barker as Johnny Cash (photo by David Cannon)

FEBRUARY 15 TO 27 Shawn Barker captures a music icon at the height of his career in The Man in Black: A Tribute to Johnny Cash. Panasonic Theatre, Tuesday to Saturday 8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 2 p.m., $25 to $60; call 416-872-1212 or visit here to charge.

Hot Date: Peek into the Secret Garden

The Secret Garden (photo by Richard Campbell)

FEBRUARY 8 TO MARCH 19 A world of natural beauty is revealed to Toronto in the Tony Award–winning musical, The Secret Garden. Adapted from the enduring turn-of-the-century novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett, the enchanting production shows how a young girl brings new life to an entire Victorian household by tending to its neglected flower patch. Royal Alexandra Theatre, Tuesday to Saturday 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday 2 p.m., $55 to $110; call 416-872-1212 or click here for tickets.

Hot Date: Billy Elliot’s Ballet

Photo by David Scheinmann

ON NOW Toronto is ready to embrace a young boy and his inspirational love of dance as Billy Elliot the Musical comes to the stage. Based on the hit British film of the same name, this production—already hailed by critics and audiences on both sides of the Atlantic—follows a working-class lad who trades his boxing gloves for ballet shoes, despite his family’s disapproval. Thrilling choreography and a score by Elton John complement this story of perseverance and personal discovery. Canon Theatre, Tuesday to Saturday 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday 1:30 p.m., $26 to $200; call 416-872-1212 or navigate here to buy.

Hot Dates: Forum’s Ancient Antics

Bruce Dow, Randy Hughson and Cliff Saunders in "Forum" (photo by David Hou)

DECEMBER 15 TO JANUARY 16 Travel back to ancient Rome for a bawdy good time as the Tony-winning farce A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum takes to the Toronto stage. A smash-hit at last summer’s Stratford Festival, this hilarious romp follows a slave’s attempt to gain freedom by winning the hand of a courtesan for his master. Madcap music by Stephen Sondheim plus manic performances by co-leads Sean Cullen and Bruce Dow are sure to keep you and your toga in stitches. Canon Theatre, Tuesday to Sunday, various times, $40 to $120; for tickets, call 416-872-1212 or click here.

Hot Date: Aussie Spectacular

photo by Joan Marcus

TO JANUARY 2 Get on the bus for a heart-warming and hilarious adventure courtesy of Priscilla Queen of the Desert The Musical. Based on an award-winning film of the same name, this boisterous stage show follows three drag-queen friends as they search for love on a road trip through the Australian Outback. Already a smash hit with audiences in Sydney and London, it promises a stunning set list of more than 20 musical numbers, including “I Will Survive” and “Shake Your Groove Thing.” Princess of Wales Theatre, Tuesday to Saturday 8 p.m., Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday 2 p.m., $20 to $130; call 416-872-1212 or click here for more information.

Autumn’s Theatrical Appeal

Check out our slideshow to raise the curtain on a new season of musicals, dramas and more.

Hot Date: Maternal Mayhem

AUGUST 17 TO SEPTEMBER 4 Mrs. Brown, a Dublin mother of six, travels to Toronto all the way from the Emerald Isle to share the follies and jollies of family life at Christmas time in the North American premiere of How Now Mrs. Brown Cow. Starring Brendan O’Carroll as the title character, the Brown clan’s comedic tales began as an Irish radio program in 1990, then became a successful book before sweeping the stage. Canon Theatre, Tuesday to Saturday 8 p.m., Saturday 2 p.m., $25 to $75; call 416-872-1212 or click here for tickets.

Hot Date: Blonde Ambition

Photo by Joan Marcus

JULY 7 TO AUGUST 8 Go to the head of the class with Elle Woods in Legally Blonde The Musical. In this screen-to-stage adaptation of the movie that starred Hollywood sweetheart Reese Witherspoon as the sassy sorority girl, Elle does what no Delta Nu sister has done before—study. After getting dumped by her boyfriend, Elle, with her stylish sidekick chihuahua Bruiser in tow, heads to Harvard Law School. Amidst sequins, bows, summonses, and cheeky melodies like “Bend and Snap,” Elle learns the importance of being true to herself. Princess of Wales Theatre, Tuesday through Saturday 8 p.m., Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday 2 p.m., $28 to $124; call 416-872-1212 or click here for further details and tickets.

Hot Date: Mother’s Day

Adam Kaokept and Rachel Tyler in Mamma Mia! (photo by Carol Rosegg)

APRIL 28 TO JUNE 27 Embrace your inner dancing queen with Broadway’s Mamma Mia!, an animated celebration of mothers, daughters and love set to ABBA’s treasured songs. On the eve of her wedding, Sophie seeks out the identity of her father by inviting three of her mother’s former lovers to the idyllic Greek island where they met more than 20 years ago. Beneath the scorching heat and confronted with the past, new love blooms and old flames burn in this feel-good show featuring such songs as “Take a Chance on Me,” “SOS” and, of course, “Dancing Queen.” Princess of Wales Theatre, Tuesday to Saturday 8 p.m., Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday
2 p.m., $26 to $120; call 416-872-1212 or click here
to reserve.

Hot Date: This American Life

Jake Ehrenreich (photo by Charlotte Nation)

TO MAY 16 Jake Ehrenreich’s multimedia stage memoir A Jew Grows in Brooklyn was a smash hit in the heart of Broadway and has been playing to critical acclaim and standing ovations across the United States. Now, Ehrenreich brings his story to Toronto for its Canadian premiere. Join this U.S.-born son of Holocaust survivors as he navigates from adolescence through to adulthood, trying to conform to his vision of what it means to be a “real” American. Humorous and poignant, this true tale of discovery and acceptance will not only pull you into the author’s past, but also have you revisiting your own. Panasonic Theatre, $25 to $60; call 416-872-1212 or click here for showtimes and to buy.

Rockin’ Good Time

A new rock musical proclaims: “Don’t Stop Believing” in the power of 1980s nostalgia.
By Meaghan Lamb

Rock-musical revivalists will recognize Yvan Pedneault, lately of We Will Rock You (photo by Cylla von Tiedemann)

OPENS APRIL 20 Teeze out your hair, dust off your Flying V guitar and raise your lighter high as the Tony Award–nominated Rock of Ages thunders into the Royal Alexandra Theatre for its Canadian premiere.

Taking full advantage of the trend of using popular music to tell a story (think Queen and Ben Elton’s We Will Rock You and ABBA’s Mamma Mia!), Rock of Ages matches retro ‘80s mega-hits with a boy-meets-girl saga of love and ambition. For the Toronto version of this Broadway blockbuster, a lusty-lunged Canadian cast dons distressed denim and headbands to belt out bombastic anthems including Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It” and Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead or Alive.”Quebec native Yvan Pedneault—rock chops sharply honed thanks to his lead role in the Toronto production of We Will Rock You—plays Drew, an edgy musician with vocal cords set to wail, while British Columbia–bred ingenue Elicia MacKenzie co-stars as Sherrie, a small-town girl with a big-screen dream. The actress knows a thing or two about wish fulfillment—she got her own big break when Canadian television viewers picked her to star as fräulein Maria in the recent acclaimed staging of The Sound of Music.

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Hot Date: Man Behind the Monster

Young Frankenstein (photo by Paul Kolnik)

MARCH 17 TO APRIL 18 Whether or not you’ve seen the 1974 comedy classic filmed by Mel Brooks, the new theatrical version of Young Frankenstein—also written by Brooks—promises to be fiendishly funny. Watch as a young Doctor Frederick “Fronkensteen” visits his dead grandfather’s Transylvanian estate and attempts to create a living man from a dug-up corpse and pillaged brain. Hilarious intellectual exchanges and musical numbers ensue—just try to keep a straight face as the reanimated monster hoofs it to “Puttin’ on the Ritz.” Princess of Wales Theatre, Tuesday to Saturday 8 p.m., Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday 2 p.m., $26 to $120; call 416-872-1212 or check out TicketKing to buy.