Archive for February, 2010

Weekly Update 292 (Feb. 5th – Feb. 12th, 2010)

February 7th, 2010 Steve 2 comments

The first update of 2010 (and the first in more than 3 months!) is two days late, partly due to a computer virus, but better late than never! I’d almost forgotten how to write these. The website hasn’t been entirely fallow since November; I’ve posted Best of 2009 posts on “music albums” and “Summerworks shows”, with “Fringe shows” coming up soon, and “comedy shows” and “music singles” not far behind. But the core of the site – the updates – well, it’s good to have one of those up again, and I’m going to try to stick to the schedule from here on in.

For first time readers: detailed info about shows mentioned in the update are mostly contained in the week’s scheduled picks (near the end of the update). The main body will usually be hotlink-free (save for “special interest” tangents).

In Theatre & Dance,

There’s TWO productions of Stephen Sondheim’s black comedic history musical, “Assassins“, that have just opened in Toronto, and while the Hart House one will almost certainly be of better quality than most community or college productions, it’s Birdland Theatre and Talk is Free Productions‘ version, down at the Theatre Centre, that I’m most looking forward to, by far. It’s got a bona fide Broadway star at the helm (director and local boy made good Adam Brazier), and boasts both renowned belters ( like Eliza Jane Scott, Steve Ross, & Trish Lindstrom) and actors who heretofore have not appeared in a musical professionally (like Kate Hewlett and Chris Stanton), musical though they might be. And that would definitely have to be the case, since the entire cast plays accompanying instruments for the show.

Not yet opened, but running already in previews, are the remount of Convergence Theatre’s “YICHUD (Seclusion)“, who managed to overcome the Harold Green funding debacle with the assistance of generous donations from the theatre community; Obsidian Theatre and Canstage’s production of “Intimate Apparel, a story of a Harlem seamstress (scheduled to coincide with Black History Month); and the world premiere of Rosa Laborde’s eagerly awaited sophomore play, “Hush“, a psychological mystery, wherin a father seeks to discover the cause of his daughter’s night terrors (Laborde was mentioned in my Best Summerworks shows of ‘09 post as the director of the #1 show).

Two other new plays by renowned Canadian playwrights Michael Healy (“Couragous” @ The Tarragon Theatre) and  Judith Thompson (“Such Creatures” at Theatre Passe Muraille) close Sunday, while George F. Walker’s newest, “And So It Goes” , continues at Factory Theatre.

Other continuing shows include “Peer Gynt” (Susan Coyne works with indie company The Thistle Project, whose production of “Miss Julie“  in 2008 trounced CanStage’s in almost every way), “Billy Bishop Goes to War” (Eric Petersen & John Gray bring back their phenomenally popular WWII flying ace play to Soulpepper), “Cloud 9” (a stellar Canuck cast, including Megan Follows, Evan Builing, and Yanna McIntosh, subvert gender norms in two different time periods), and “Light in the Piazza” (a critically acclaimed Broadway hit that ’s spoken and sung partly in Italian).

Dance shows running this week include “Under a Paper Moon“, a multidisciplinary showcase at Hub 14;  Harbourfront Centre’s World Stage Series brings Australian movement thriller “Roadkill” to town for a typically too short run; and Toronto Dance Theatre is presenting a FREE showcase on Monday of work from their upcoming new show, “Pteros Tactics“.

Finally, the 30th annual Rhubarb Festival begins Wednesday at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre; the festival usually runs the gamut from weird to wonderful, and this year promises more of the same, with a wrestling spectacle from Birdland and Swanville (featuring pint sized spandex clad combatants like Cara Gee and Rebecca Applebaum), a “Teddy Chainsaw Massacre“, and a Italian duet, “Parole, Parole“, about “semantic satiation”, which could hopefully end up sounding somewhat like this not quite Italian or English musical extravaganza...

Film, Comedy, Music, more vids and pics, and the weekly calendar picks, are just one “More” click away…

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