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The Harder They Come

Weekend Roundup, August 21 to 23

Friday: Be a thrill-seeker at the CNE.

Friday: Be a thrill-seeker at the CNE.

Friday, August 21
It’s opening day of the Canadian National Exhibition, and in celebration of Toronto’s 175th anniversary, CNE admission today is just $1.75! Ride a roller coaster, play some midway games, then catch Canadian figure skating star Elvis Stojko and his comrades in a movie-themed ice show at Ricoh Coliseum.

Take in a traditional Tibetan dance amidst the vibrant hues of saris and the aroma of cooking curries at the Festival of South Asia in Little India.

Follow the rise of the stereobike crew—a group of Trinidadians in Queens, New York who rig full-size stereo systems onto BMX bikes—in Made in Queens, screening at the Bicycle Film Festival at The Royal cinema.

Saturday: Head to Chinatown for some East Asian revelry (photo by John Vetterli).

Saturday: Head to Chinatown for some East Asian revelry (photo by John Vetterli).

Saturday, August 22
Discover hidden vintage in the city by participating in the Textile Museum of Canada’s day-long thrift store bus tour, hosted by local artist Andrew Harwood and curator Allyson Mitchell.

Savour the Thai curry–braised lamb on the affordable Susurlicious prix fixe menu at Lee, one of the Toronto restaurants of globally renowed chef Susur Lee.

Bite into a Hong Kong–style egg puff while watching the Lion Dance troupe open the Toronto Chinatown Festival, an East Asian extravaganza featuring cuisine, crafts, music, dancing, games, kung-fu demonstrations and more.

Sunday: The curtain falls on The Harder They Come (photo by Robert Day).

Sunday: The curtain falls on The Harder They Come (photo by Robert Day).

Sunday August 23
Spread out in the Toronto Music Garden for an afternoon session of Summer Music in the Garden.
Today, four virtuoso accordionists play a wide-range of music, including tunes accompanied by singers and dancers.

Sit on the edge of your seat at the Rexall Centre to witness the world’s best female tennis players compete for the singles and doubles championships of the Rogers Cup.

Sing along to “Many Rivers to Cross” and other reggae favourites at the last Toronto performance of the hit musical The Harder They Come. Based on the 1972 film of the same name, the stage show follows a poor country boy trying to make it in Jamaica’s music industry.

Theatre Preview: The Harder They Come

The story of a dreamer-turned-outlaw gets a lively retelling in an acclaimed stage show featuring some of Jamaican music’s best-known songs. —By Lindsay Hope

Performers in <em>The Harder They Come</em> (photo by Robert Day).

Performers in The Harder They Come (photo by Robert Day).

The infectious rhythms and memorable melodies of the latest musical to hit Toronto come by way of a recent London stage sensation and a 1970s cult-classic film. This month, Mirvish Productions brings The Harder They Come to the Canon Theatre for its much-anticipated North American premiere.

Faithfully based on the 1972 movie of the same name—its co-writer and director, the late Perry Henzell, also penned the musical—this stage version was first performed in 2006 by the Theatre Royal Stratford East and has since garnered rave reviews over a number of sell-out runs in the U.K. The Toronto production features much of the original’s vibrant, youthful cast, not to mention a live reggae band with a groove so energetic, it rouses audience members to dance in their seats. Among the British stars are Joanna Francis as the God-fearing Elsa, and Rolan Bell, who hits all the right notes as the show’s tragic hero, Ivanhoe Martin. A poor Jamaican farm boy with stars in his eyes and a dream in his heart, Ivan heads to Kingston with ambitions to become a reggae hit-maker. Soon enough he is faced with the harsh realities of the music industry and veers sharply down the path of drugs, crime and vengeance, earning infamy for his exploits as an outlaw just as his musical star begins to rise.

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