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Stratford Shakespeare Festival

Hotel of the Week: Stewart House Inn—Stratford, Ontario

New, unique, iconic or just plain fabulous Canadian hotels we love, profiled every week!

By Sanam Islam

Photo: Irene Miller

Built in 1870, the Stewart House Inn combines old-world elegance with modern-day comforts. Surrounded by century-old black walnut and pine trees, the inn is on an acre of woodlands overlooking the Avon River parklands, yet is just two blocks from downtown Stratford. Owners Marc Armstrong and his wife Lynn Logie aim to create a high-end, five-star experience for guests, who have included veteran Stratford Shakespeare Festival thespian Christopher Plummer. Each day starts with a homemade gourmet, locally sourced breakfast and in-room silver coffee or tea service and ends with a personalized note and evening treat like cookies or fresh fruit. (more…)

Exciting 60th Season of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival Opens this Week

By SHANNON KELLY

Christopher Plummer stars in a one-man show at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival this season (Photo: Andrew Eccles/Stratford Shakespeare Festival)

Think Shakespeare is boring? Think again. First of all, despite its name, the venerable Stratford Shakespeare Festival is featuring only three plays—of fourteen total—by the Bard this year. That may be disappointing for some, but this season promises to be like no other, with a one-man show starring Christopher Plummer (veteran of the festival since 1956); Wanderlust, a world premiere Canadian musical; and MacBeth as performed by characters from The Simpsons (see the video). (more…)

Weekend Roundup, May 20th to 22nd

Friday: Gluck's Orfeo is enthralling (photo by Dan Rest/Lyric Opera of Chicago)

Friday, May 20
Follow the critics’ raves to the Four Seasons Centre, where the Canadian Opera Company stages the heart-wrenching Orfeo ed Euridice. Compsed by Christoph Willibald Gluck, this opera tells of Orfeo who, after losing his beloved Euridice, literally goes to hell and back to find her.

Take a scenic drive west of Toronto to the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, where two new plays begin previews. Shakespeare’s classic Richard III tells the dark story of a man trying to seize the English throne by dispatching all those who stand in his way. For something a little lighter, the Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Jesus Christ Superstar brings the story of Judas Iscariot to life through rock opera.

Running to May 29, Inside Out, the 21st annual Toronto LGBT Film and Video Festival, screens throughout the city. Tonight at 9:30 p.m. (at the TIFF Bell Lightbox), catch Bloomington, a story about a television actress who begins to question her sexuality while trying to lead a normal life as a freshman at Bloomington University.

Saturday: See Aussie troupe Circa among many other acts at Harbourfront Centre (photo by Leif Norman)

Saturday, May 21
Celebrate the weekend at Harbourfront Centre, which hosts the Toronto International Circus Festival, a three-day event beginning today and featuring extraordinary circus artists from the around the world. Catch eye-popping acrobats, gravity-defying rope walkers, fire-eaters, clowns and much more.

What’s black and white and coming back to the Toronto Zoo? Endangered African Penguins! The zoo’s new 6,000-square-foot penguin exhibit opens today with a state-of-the-art underwater viewing area so you can come face to face with the penguins.

Also starting today, the Alice in Wonderland experience takes over Black Creek Pioneer Village with events like a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, a “Through the Looking Glass” Maze and the Queen of Hearts’ Field of Games. Families can also enjoy all that the historic village has to offer, including farm animals, Victorian dancing lessons, and the interactive history centre.

Sunday: See cosmopolitan indie artist Lykke Li at the Phoenix (photo by SpoiltCat)

Sunday, May 22
The unique sounds of alternative rock-pop artist Lykke Li pervade the Phoenix Concert Theatre on tonight. Influenced by her nomadic past—having lived in Portugal, Sweden, India and New York City—Li’s quirky use of harpsichords, flutes and Theremins makes her music all the more mesmerizing.

The Kids’ World Energy Festival wraps up today at the Evergreen Brick Works, with family-friendly activities focusing on renewable energy, climate change and the science of energy. Together, parents and kids can learn what they can do to contribute to a sustainable future.

Celebrate the long Victoria Day weekend by catching some fireworks. Weather permitting, Canada’s Wonderland offers a show starting at 10 p.m., or make your way to Ashbridge’s Bay on Monday at 9:45 p.m. for a dazzling display of lights over Lake Ontario.

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.

Weekend Roundup, April 30 to May 2

Mark the coming of May in the traditional style of our ancestors: laughter, fun and celebration. This weekend, Toronto invites you to take your pick amongst skating, musicals, tours,  fine dining and more.

Friday: Kurt Browning and friends skate their way to Sears Stars on Ice (photo by Stephan Potopnyk)

Friday, April 30
Reach for the heavens while applauding at Sears Stars on Ice, where you can witness first-hand the art of figure skating as interpreted by such Canadians as Kurt Browning, Jeffrey Buttle and our beloved 2010 Olympians, Patrick Chan, Joannie Rochette, and Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir.

Nosh on traditional public-house favourites like nachos or poutine at the Mill Street Brew Pub. Happy Hour goes late into the evening with a variety of artisan beers, wines and whiskies.

Mark the final day of Keep Toronto Reading month with a trip to a local public library. Attend readings by various authors of books, poetry and plays at the Diaspora Dialogues event.

Saturday: See Cole Porter's Kiss Me, Kate at the Stratford Festival (photo by Andrew Eccles)

Saturday, May 1
Indulge in the English canon’s finest at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, a short drive away in the picturesque town of Stratford. Enjoy productions of the Bard’s romantic comedy As You Like It, as well as the Cole Porter musical Kiss Me, Kate (itself an interpretation of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew) and a magical staging of Peter Pan.

Dig into a hearty Mexican burrito at Hernando’s Hideaway. Or sample many other Mexican delights—faijtas, enchiladas, quesadillas, nachos and more—at this ebullient Old Town restaurant.

Discover the latest addition to Canadian painter Michael Adamson‘s abstract art oeuvre at his Moore Gallery exhibition, entitled Distant Relation.

Sunday: Elicia MacKenzie stars in Rock of Ages (photo by Cylla von Tiedemann)

Sunday, May 2
Catch the musical love story Rock of Ages in its second week of performances filled with rockin’ ‘80s hits like Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” and “We’re Not Gonna Take It” by Twisted Sister.

Savour French cuisine at the brasserie-style Le Papillon on Front. Quebecois dishes like tourtière are a specialty, and the restaurant also boasts a huge menu of savoury crepes.

Take a stroll through Toronto on 100-plus tours as part of Jane’s Walk, which wends through the city’s diverse neighbourhoods. Indulge in the Black Creek community walk, peruse the Annex or grab a bite to eat in Kensington Market while viewing the city through experts’ eyes.

http://www.hernandoshideaway.com/home.html

Hot Date: Peep Shows

Monique Lund and Juan Chioran in Kiss Me, Kate (photo by Andrew Eccles)

Ontario’s finest annual stage events open in earnest this month with previews for a number of anticipated plays. At the renowned Stratford Shakespeare Festival, audiences can start humming on April 10 as Kiss Me, Kate offers a musical interpretation of the Bard’s The Taming of the Shrew, while Peter Pan begins his magical flight on April 16. A short trip from Toronto, the Shaw Festival in quaint Niagara-on-the-Lake offers previews starting April 9 of Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband, in which a government minister must choose between a public scandal and shaming his wife. Also on the fest’s spring schedule are Mary Chase’s Harvey, as of April 1, and Chekov’s The Cherry Orchard, on April 20. An early-bird bonus: tickets to preview performances often come at a discounted price.