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Panasonic Theatre

Clybourne Park is Featured in the Off-Mirvish Theatre Series

A scene from Clybourne Park (photo: Mirvish Productions)

FEBRUARY 12 TO MARCH 3 You’ve heard of the edgier shows performed at New York’s “Off-Broadway” playhouses; Mirvish Productions is doing its best to foster that vibe in Toronto. The company recently began presenting its Off-Mirvish second-stage series of acclaimed indie-theatre favourites, including Bruce Norris’s Tony- and Pulitzer Prize-winning Clybourne Park. Loosely based on historical events, this response to the famed 1959 play A Raisin in the Sun uses humour to tackle tough questions of race and real estate. Panasonic Theatre, $29 to $79; call 416-872-1212 or visit TicketKing for showtimes and to buy.  —Ana Taveira

Hot Date: Join Pam Ann’s Mile-High Club

JUNE 21 & 22 It’s a non-stop flight to hilarity as celebrity airhostess Pam Ann makes a two-day layover in Toronto. This wise-crackin’ alter-ego of Australian comedienne Caroline Reid dons the high heels and big hairdo of air travel’s “golden age” for her one-woman show, entitled Around the World, which pokes campy fun at the travel industry and the experience of flying. Panasonic Theatre, 8 p.m., $35 to $55; call 416-872-1212 or click here for tickets.

Hot Date: A Harried, Humorous Harry Potter

FEBRUARY 11 TO MARCH 4 J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series runs seven books and thousands of pages long. The eight Warner Bros. films total almost 20 hours of viewing. For those who are tight on time, Potted Potter: The Unauthorized Harry Experience condenses life at Hogwarts into 70 madcap minutes. Starring former Children’s BBC hosts Dan Clarkson and Jeff Turner, the production uses music, a bit of manic theatre magic and even a game of quidditch with the audience to skewer the book and movie phenomenon that swept the world over the past decade. Fun for the whole family, it’s sure to have even the most grim-faced Death Eaters in stitches. Panasonic Theatre, $29.75 to $99.75; call 416-872-1212 or click here for showtimes
and to purchase tickets.

Weekend Roundup, December 9 to 11

Friday: Relive your Royal Conservatory days through Two Pianos Four Hands

Friday, December 9
Follow along with the melodies made by Ted Dykstra and Richard Greenblatt, the actor-musicians behind the hit comedy Two Pianos Four Hands, a hilarious and poignant story about two lives transformed by piano teachers, lessons and competitions. The show’s recently extended run continues at the Panasonic Theatre.

Listen to a Latin take on holiday music at Koerner Hall in A Salsa Christmas, performed by the Spanish Harlem Orchestra under the direction of world-renowned pianist, arranger and producer Oscar Hernández.

Get a first look at The Power Plant’s two new exhibitions at their free opening reception. The gallery’s winter exhibits showcase reflections on poignant moments in cultural history by Canadian Stan Douglas and an international collective of young artists.

There’s two more days of merriment after the jump!

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.

Weekend Roundup, January 14th to 16th

Friday: Be wowed by Shen Yun Performing Arts' colourful production

Friday, January 14th
Get a glimpse into the diverse 5,000-year history of China courtesy of Shen Yun Performing Arts. The talented troupe brings its mix of dance and theatre to the Sony Centre stage tonight and throughout the weekend.

Best known as Full House dad Danny Tanner and the original host of America’s Funniest Home Videos, Bob Saget brings his hilarious (though notoriously uncensored) stand-up routine to the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.

Itching for even more comedy? Don’t miss your last chance to catch A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Stephen Sondheim’s gleeful musical about a Roman slave attempting to earn his freedom.

Saturday: Yuck it up with Rod Beattie in Wingfield: Lost & Found

Saturday, January 15th
The uproarious comedy show Wingfield: Lost and Found plays tonight at the Panasonic Theatre. This latest in Rod Beattie’s series of “Walter Wingfield” shows sees the character—a stock broker turned farmer—battle obstacles in search of a new water source during a drought.

Mickey Mouse and the rest of the Disney gang wheel into Toronto with Mickey’s Rockin’ Roadshow. On stage this weekend at the Rogers Centre, the production features all of your ‘toon favourites, including Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and many other special guests!

Tokyo Police Club invade the Kool Haus tonight for an all-ages concert. The Newmarket natives play upbeat indie-rock songs that are sure to get you dancing.

Sunday: Crowd the Berkeley Street Theatre at a performance of Ruins (photo by Cylla von Tiedemann)

Sunday, January 16th
Pay heed to the struggles women must go through in times of strife—the Pulitzer Prize-winning play Ruined makes its Toronto premiere tonight at the Berkeley Street Theatre.

It’s had a successful run, but inevitably, the Next Stage Theatre Festival closes today at the Factory Theatre. All eight of the fest’s acclaimed independent productions are on stage today. The first show, Eating with Lola, starts at 3 p.m.

For anyone who’s planning a wedding—or those who simply love to live vicariously through the bride and groom—The Wedding Show at the glamorous Carlu offers everything from gowns to invitations. Experts are on-site, too, to help you with everything you’ll need for the big day.

Weekend Roundup, December 17th to 19th

It’s the final weekend before Christmas and there is a lot more to do in the city than just shop. If you’re looking for a break from holiday cheer or hoping to dive into it a week early Toronto’s got you covered.

Friday: Rock on with Alexisonfire

Friday, December 17th
The classic tale of Dr Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas premieres tonight at the Sony Centre. This holiday favourite is given the Broadway treatment with fantastic sets, terrific costumes and all-new songs.

St. Catharines natives Alexisonfire return to their roots with an all-ages show tonight at Sound Academy. Expect to rock out to tunes from their recent album, Old Crows/Young Cardinals, as well as many of their past hits.

Television personality Gerry Dee brings his comedic stylings to the Panasonic Theatre stage with his Gerry Dee and Friends Holiday Show. Canadian comedians Darrin Rose and Frank Spadone also drop in for so stand-up hilarity.

Saturday: See the intriguing movements of Studies in Motion (photo by Tim Matheson)

Saturday, December 18th
Climb aboard the Mariposa Cruises’ Northern Spirit ship for its family-oriented Santa Cruise. This afternoon tour of the Toronto harbour offers children the chance to meet Santa and his elves while taking in Toronto’s iconic skyline.

Tonight presents your last chance to see Studies in Motion at the St. Lawrence Centre’s Bluma Appel Theatre. The well-reviewed play examines the life of the brilliant yet troubled artist Eadweard Muybridge.

The Toronto Children’s Chorus performs tonight at Roy Thomson Hall. Ruth Watson Henderson’s The Last Straw will be sung by the ensemble’s 300-plus children. Its 150-voice Alumni Choir is also be featured as part of this joyous concert.

Sunday: Cheer on Andrea Bargnani and the Raptors

Sunday, December 19th
The Los Angeles Lakers may be one of the most imposing squads in the National Basketball Association, but somehow our Toronto Raptors always manage to put up a good fight. Head to the Air Canada Centre this afternoon to see if Andrea Bargnani, Amir Johnson and the rest of the Raptors can come out on top.

Catch a performance of Stephen Sondheim’s hilarious farce, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, at the Canon Theatre. This baudy musical is sure to have you rolling in the aisles.

Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without Handel’s Messiah. Today you can hear it twice: the Toronto Symphony Orchestra offers “Toronto’s Biggest Messiah” at Roy Thomson Hall—featuring more than 60 instruments—while the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir encourage audience participation in its Sing-Along Messiah, a long-time Toronto tradition.

You Are Here: Entertainment and Shopping
on Yonge Street

Toronto’s best-known thoroughfare stretches from Lake Ontario to locales far north of the city. Its main strip, of course, runs through the downtown core and offers lots to see and do. Strut along the street for some serious shopping, or find a seat at one of three historic theatres to witness unforgettable entertainment.
View You Are Here: Yonge Street in a larger map

Panasonic Theatre

MODERN CLASSIC Built almost a century ago, what is now the Panasonic Theatre began life as a private residence. Soon after it became a cinema and went on to serve as a primary venue for the Toronto International Film Festival, during that event’s infancy. Since undergoing renovations in 2005, the theatre has been a state-of-the-art home for a variety of live shows, from an 18-month engagement by Blue Man Group to the recently acclaimed production Love, Loss and What I Wore. 651 Yonge St., 416-872-1212.

PUBLIC PLAZA The unofficial centre of downtown Toronto, bustling Yonge-Dundas Square is a year-round gathering place and host to concerts, cultural celebrations, film screenings and many other events, many of which are free. This month, do a bit of early holiday shopping at the Arts at the Heart marketplace (October 2, 9, 10, 23 and 24) and be serenaded by such Canadian bands as Woodpigeon (October 6). Southeast corner of Yonge and Dundas streets, 416-979-9960.

Canon Theatre

SPLENDID SITE When the venue now known as the Canon Theatre opened as a moviehouse in 1920, its 3,373 seats made it the largest cinema in Canada. Since then it has survived scandal, numerous ownership changes and a spell in legal limbo to become a premier facility for live theatre. Opulently outfitted with huge chandeliers and a sweeping lobby staircase, the Canon welcomes theatregoers to Cirque du Soleil’s Banana Shpeel (to October 10) and the popular Tony Award-winning musical Wicked, which opens October 20. 244 Victoria St., 416-872-1212.

MALL STOP Spanning two full blocks, the Toronto Eaton Centre is the city’s largest and most heavily trafficked shopping spot. More than 230 retailers, from Harry Rosen and Michael Kors to Williams-Sonoma and Apple, sell their sought-after wares here—for anyone seeking to spend, this mall is a one-stop shop. The domed-glass ceiling ensures a bright and airy ambience in which to ponder your purchases. 220 Yonge St., 416-598-8560.

Winter Garden Theatre

DRAMATIC DUO The only double-decker theatre operating in the world, the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre is truly a local landmark. Restored to its early-20th century majesty, the former vaudeville playhouse and cinema now hosts musical and theatrical productions, including Opera Atelier’s Acis and Galatea, opening October 30. Weekly tours offer behind-the-scenes insight about the Elgin’s damask and gilded plaster detailing and the upper-level Winter Garden’s garden murals and beech-leaf canopy. 189 Yonge St., 416-314-2901.

ALL IN ONE The flagship location of Canada’s oldest department store, The Bay, is an eight-storey mecca with goods to satisfy any shopper’s desires. The main attractions are apparel and accessories for men, women and children from respected Canadian and international brands—ladies, in particular, have the run of The Room, which features high-end designer fashions—but space is also made for housewares, electronics, eateries and much more. 176 Yonge St., 416-861-9111.

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.

Hot Date: Alternative Family Fun

Rosemary Doyle and Lisa Horner in My Mother's Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding (photo by Lindsay Anne Black)

TO MARCH 21 Imagine being an awkward teenage boy whose divorced mother decides to move across the country and embrace her Jewish heritage while falling in love with a Wiccan woman. That’s what happened to David Hein, who co-wrote the charming My Mother’s Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding with his wife Irene Carl Sankoff. Since its debut at the 2009 Toronto Fringe Festival, the musical comedy, starring Rosemary Doyle and Lisa Horner has entertained audiences with such songs as “Don’t Take Your Lesbian Moms to Hooters,” and the eye-opening “A Short History of Gay Marriage in Canada.” Panasonic Theatre, Tuesday to Friday 8 p.m., Saturday 5 and 9 p.m., Sunday 7 p.m., $25 to $60; call 416-872-1212 or navigate here for tickets.