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Soulpepper Theatre Company

Hot Date: Soulpepper’s Convenient Hit

photo by Cylla von Tiedemann

JANUARY 19 TO FEBRUARY 11 On the surface, Kim’s Convenience is a love letter to the countless Korean corner stores that have fallen victim to Toronto’s ever-in-flux business landscape. But that’s just the backdrop for the private inter-generational and inter-cultural conflicts that so many Canadians can identify with. Written by Soulpepper Academy alumnus Ins Choi, the humorous yet poignant tale of a Korean-Canadian family bridging the gap between old traditions and modern life has earned numerous awards and won widespread audience acclaim. This Toronto classic in the making kicks off Soulpepper Theatre Company’s 2012 season. Young Centre for the Performing Arts, $22 to $68; call 416-866-8666 or visit here for further information and to purchase tickets.

Hot Date: A Perfectly Odd Couple

photo by Cylla von Tiedemann

OPENS SEPTEMBER 22 Soulpepper Theatre Company reprises a famous comedic balancing act with its production of Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple, starring Albert Schultz as sloppy Oscar Madison and Diego Matamoros as uptight Felix Unger. Young Centre for the Performing Arts, $28 to $65; call 416-866-8666 or click here for showtimes and to buy.

Hot Date: Soulpepper’s Total Recall

Stuart Hughes stars in The Glass Menagerie (photo by Sandy Nicholson)

ON NOW Four characters struggle to accept their individual realities in Tennessee Williams’ American classic, The Glass Menagerie. One of the first great plays to negotiate perspectives on truth and memory using non-linear storytelling, it centres on narrator Tom Wingfield, who recounts the lives of his mother and insecure sister. Presented by Soulpepper Theatre Company, this beloved play features accomplished performances by Stuart Hughes, Jeff Lillico, Nancy Palk and Gemma James Smith. Young Centre for the Performing Arts, $28 to $65; call 416-866-8666
or navigate here for showtimes and tickets.

Weekend Roundup, May 13th to May 15th

Friday: See Diego Matamoros in The Aleph (photo by Cylla von Tiedemann)

Friday, May 13
Get a glimpse into the mysteries of the underworld in The Aleph, Soulpepper Theatre Company’s version of Jorge Luis Borges’s 1945 short story. This thought-provoking adaptation is crafted by Canadian theatre artists Diego Matamoros, Daniel Brooks and Michael Levine.

The cycle of life—from Bar Mitzvah to death—is presented through Jewish musical-theatre songs in the world premiere of To Life, presented by the Harold Green Jewish Theatre Company at the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts. Filled with love and humour, this unique musical references Broadway hits such as Fiddler on the Roof and the work of Eddie Cantor.

The Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival continues this weekend with the opening of another of its many exhibitions—Kaid Ashton’s Exploration, on display at artsy West Queen West café, The Mascot.

Saturday: Usher offers a powerhouse performance (photo by Marco from Houston)

Saturday, May 14
Are you ready to burn? Multi-platinum artist Usher turns up the temperature at the Air Canada Centre tonight with his signature R&B hits such as “DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love” and “Burn.” The night starts off on the right note with a special guest set by Akon.

The competition heats up at BMO Field when Toronto FC takes on the Chicago Fire. Be sure to offer some extra applause for TFC forward Joao Plata, just voted MLS Player of the Week.

Ornithology enthusiasts are encouraged to flock to the Toronto Zoo for International Migratory Bird Day. Bring your binoculars and participate in guided bird-watching tours of the Rouge Valley, then check out the displays set up by bird-related organizations in the Conservation Connection Centre.

Sunday: See "Vicky" the steam train, one of the stars of The Railway Children

Sunday, May 15
Catch the train as the newly built Roundhouse Theatre opens its doors this morning. Visitors to this 300,000-square-foot venue that houses The Railway Children can get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the unique stage design, see the production’s vintage steam train up close, ride a miniature locomotive, and discover the heritage trains within Roundhouse Park.

In the thrilling conclusion to the National Lacrosse League’s season, the Toronto Rock challenge the Washington Stealth for the 2011 Champion’s Cup at the Air Canada Centre. Last season, Washington defeated Toronto to win their first cup in franchise history. This time around, the Rock and their fans are certain to be hungry for revenge!

Enjoy a spirited show by the Esprit Orchestra—featuring violinist Marie Bérard—this evening at Keorner Hall. The program includes a world premiere performance of composer Chris Harman’s latest work.

Hot Date: Soulpepper’s Tale of Adaptation

Playwright Guillermo Verdecchia

OPENS MAY 6 Argentine-Canadian playwright and actor Guillermo Verdecchia boldly takes the stage to perform his acclaimed drama, Fronteras Americanas. Drawing from Verdecchia’s own experiences, the two-act monologue examines the challenges faced by immigrants who must make their home in a new country while maintaining the ties and memories of their native land. Produced by Soulpepper Theatre Company, this award-winning show is both intelligent and humorous as it sheds light on subjects that are often kept private. Young Centre for the Performing Arts, $45 to $65; call 416-866-8666 or click here for tickets and showtimes.

Hot Date: Thornton Wilder’s Welcome Tale

Albert Schultz in Thornton Wilder's Our Town (photo by Sandy Nicholson)

OPENS APRIL 13 Make the most of life’s blessings—that’s the message of Thornton Wilder’s 1938 masterpiece, Our Town. Soulpepper Theatre Company reiterates that adage as its talented troupe of actors brings life to the small town of Grover’s Corners, New Hampshire. As one of the first plays to break the “fourth wall” through its narration by the stage manager, played by Soulpepper co-founder Albert Schultz, this esteemed stage piece proves both inspiring and innovative. Young Centre for the Performing Arts, $28 to $60; call 416-866-8666 or navigate here for tickets and times.

Hot Date: Soulpepper Offers the Time of Your Life

Stuart Hughes in The Time of Your Life (photo by Sandy Nicholson)

OPENS MARCH 16 Discover an American classic courtesy of Soulpepper Theatre Company, which remounts its acclaimed production of William Saroyan’s The Time of Your Life. Themes of hope, nostalgia and redemption underlie this Pulitzer Prize-winning drama set in a late-1930s San Francisco saloon, where patrons imagine “what might have been.” Soulpepper stalwarts Joseph Ziegler and Stuart Hughes won praise for their roles in the ensemble’s 2008 staging of the play, and return for this year’s version. Young Centre for the Performing Arts, $22 to $60; call 416-866-8666 or click here for times and to purchase.

Hot Date: Soulpepper’s Family Feud

Krystin Pellerin and Jeff Lillico star in The Fantasticks (photo by Sandy Nicholson)

OPENS FEBRUARY 14 Part Romeo and Juliet and part A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Soulpepper Theatre Company’s staging of The Fantasticks offers twists and turns worthy of the Bard himself. Krystin Pellerin and Jeff Lillico star in this beloved musical, which combines comedy, romance and tragedy in a tale of forbidden love between the children of feuding neighbours. Young Centre for the Performing Arts, Monday to Saturday 7:30 p.m., Wednesday and Saturday 1:30 p.m., $22 to $67.81; call 416-866-8666 or visit here for tickets.

Hot Entertainment: A Classic Christmas Carol

John Jarvis and Joseph Ziegler in A Christmas Carol (photo by Sandy Nicholson)

DECEMBER 6 TO 30 The renowned Soulpepper Theatre Company welcomes the holiday season the traditional way—by staging A Christmas Carol. A talented cast, including Joseph Ziegler as Ebeneezer Scrooge, brings the classic tale to life in a minimalist adaptation that honours Charles Dickens’ grandly descriptive language, “bah humbugs” and all. Presented in “the round”—on a circular stage in the centre of the audience—this production ensures every seat has a view and every viewer a reason to applaud. Young Centre for the Performing Arts, Monday to Saturday, $22 to $75.33; call 416-866-8666 or click here for showtimes and tickets.

Autumn’s Theatrical Appeal

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

Weekend Roundup, October 15 to 17

Scream, laugh, marvel and applaud! There are many performances to see this weekend!

Friday: Applaud for Aida (photo by Michael Cooper)

Friday, October 15
Be afraid, be very afraid; The Halloween tradition Screemers returns to Exhibition Place! With  terrifying attractions like the Haunted House and Maniac Maze—plus a licensed Vampire Lounge—even the bravest are sure to feel chills!

The Canadian Opera Company’s Aida continues to engage audiences at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. This new production of Verdi’s masterpiece tells the tale of forbidden love between an Egyptian king and an Ethiopian slave, as war and a jealous Egyptian princess tear the two apart. In the title role, soprano Sondra Radvanovsky gives a stunning performance.

Don’t miss Out of Context—For Pina—after garnering rave reviews in Europe, this innovative contemporary dance production makes its Toronto debut at Harbourfront Centre. Choreographer Alain Platel uses body language to communicate emotion; the result is raw and deeply moving.

Saturday: Be moved by Joseph Ziegler in Death of a Salesman (photo by Bruce Zinger)

Saturday, October 16
Head to the Drake Hotel for its annual Fall Market! With unique vintage items, handmade knitwear, fresh flowers, baked goods and free gifts, there’s definitely something for everyone.

The Planet in Focus International Environmental Film and Video Festival continues through the weekend, with a slate of films that strive to enlighten audiences about eco-issues and encourage discussion on the state of the environment. Catch such anticipated films as Land of Destiny in various theatres across the city.

Arthur Miller’s classic play Death of a Salesman opens tonight at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts. Talented Soulpepper Theatre founders Joseph Ziegler and Nancy Palk take to the stage as Willy and Linda Loman. Don’t miss this production of this masterpiece of America theatre!

Sunday: Find a brunch-time seat at the Roosevelt Room

Sunday, October 17
Gather at the Roosevelt Room this morning for “The Breakfast Club,” the swanky venue’s monthly brunch party! Featuring a filling prix fixe menu, beats by DJ Jacques Dumas and plenty of champagne to go around, it’s breakfast done decadently right.

Yuk it up at the Best of Canadian Comedy Awards, part of the Canada’s Walk of Fame Festival! See top Canadian comedians like Mary Walsh, Colin Mochrie, Members of the Royal Canadian Air Farce and more perform at the beautiful Winter Garden Theatre.

It’s your last chance to see the Textile Museum of Canada’s intriguing Person Place Thing exhibition. The works of three contemporary textile artists test the boundaries of their medium: Lia Cook examines faces in her large weavings, David R. Harper embroiders portraits on animal skins, and Stephen Schofield creates huge patchwork figures.

Hot Date: Soulpepper’s Family Values

R.H. Thomson and Carmen Grant in Doc (photo by Cylla von Tiedemann)

TO SEPTEMBER 18 Soulpepper Theatre Company presents another Canadian masterpiece this month—Sharon Pollock’s award-winning Doc. The semi-autobiographical drama examines a fraught father-daughter relationship over the course of non-linear time—it is through the characters’ memories that a story emerges and questions are resolved. Veteran actors Derek Boyes, Jane Spidell and RH Thomson are among the cast that brings this memorable family portrait to life. Young Centre for the Performing Arts, Monday to Saturday 8 p.m., Wednesday and Saturday 2 p.m., $22 to $75.33; call 416-866-8666 or visit here to purchase.