Eye-Catching Toronto Theatre for the Week of November 28, 2011

Here is what’s going on in Toronto theatre this week. There are several great shows to catch for the week of November 28, 2011: ** Shows marked with the double asterisks and in red are the ones that make Wayne, our Managing Editor, wish he could exist in multiple parallel universes so he could check them all out.

Already covered by MoT

2 PIANOS 4 HANDS by Ted Dykstra and Richard Greenblatt (Mirvish). Two boys struggle with lessons, parents and stage fright while dreaming of becoming piano stars. Previews Oct 29. Opens Oct 30 and runs to Dec 4, Wed-Sat 8 pm, mats Sat-Sun and Wed 2 pm. $39-$74.Panasonic Theatre, 651 Yonge. 416-872-1212, mirvish.com.

DREAMS REALLY DO COME TRUE! (AND OTHER LIES) Second City presents its latest sketch revue about the things we tell ourselves to get through life. Wed-Fri 8 pm, Sat 8 & 10:30 pm, Sun 7 pm. $24-$29, stu $15. 51 Mercer. 416-343-0011, secondcity.com

HALLAJ by Soheil Parsa and Peter Farbridge (Modern Times Stage Company). This drama is based on the life of the 10th-century Sufi poet Mansur el-Hallaj. Previews Nov 18-20. Opens Nov 22 and runs to Dec 4, Tue-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2:30 pm. $18-$35, Sun pwyc at the door.Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, 12 Alexander. 416-975-8555, moderntimesstage.com.

LA BOHÈME by Giacomo Puccini (Against the Grain Theatre). The classic opera is reset in contemporary Toronto and performed in English. Dec 1-3, Thu-Sat 8 pm. $35-$50. Tranzac, 292 Brunswick. againstthegraintheatre.com.

**MARY POPPINS by Richard M Sherman and Robert B Sherman (Mirvish/Disney Theatrical Productions/Cameron Mackintosh). This musical is based on the PL Travers stories and the 1964 Disney film. Previews Nov 10-11. Opens Nov 12 and runs to Dec 24, Tue-Sat 7:30 pm, Sat-Sun and Wed 2 pm (no eve show Dec 24; see website for other dates). $38-$185. Princess of Wales Theatre, 300 King W. 416-872-1212, mirvish.com.

MY MOTHER’S ITALIAN, MY FATHER’S JEWISH & I’M IN THERAPY by Steve Solomon (Philip Roger Roy/Dana Matthow/Bud Martin). Solomon performs his solo show about growing up in a wacky, bi-ethnic family. Opens Oct 12 and runs to Jan 1, Wed 7 pm, Thu-Sat 8 pm, Sun 5:30 pm, mats Sat-Sun and Wed 2 pm. $51.50-$56. Bathurst Street Theatre, 736 Bathurst. 1-855-985-2787, italianjewish.ca.

**RED by John Logan (Canadian Stage/Vancouver Playhouse/Citadel Theatre). Painter Mark Rothko struggles to create a masterpiece in the face of fame, fortune and commercialism. Previews Nov 19-23. Opens Nov 24 and runs to Dec 17, Mon-Sat 8 pm, mats Wed 1:30 pm, Sat 2 pm. $22-$99. Bluma Appel Theatre, 27 Front E. 416-368-3110, canadianstage.com.

**RIDE THE CYCLONE by Jacob Richmond and Brooke Maxwell (Acting Up Stage Company/Atomic Vaudeville). Teens from a choir group get a chance to express themselves after dying in a roller coaster accident. Previews Nov 10-11. Opens Nov 12 and runs to Dec 3, Tue-Sat 7:30 pm, mat Sat 2 pm. $30-$35, mat pwyc. Theatre Passe Muraille, 16 Ryerson. 416-504-7529, actingupstage.com.

SEUSSICAL by Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens (Young People’s Theatre). This all-ages musical is based on the classic Dr. Seuss books. Previews Nov 7-9. Opens Nov 10 and runs to Dec 30, Sat-Sun 2 pm, see website for other dates and times. $15-$20. 165 Front E. 416-862-2222, youngpeoplestheatre.ca.

THE CHILDREN’S REPUBLIC by Hannah Moscovitch (Harold Green Jewish Theatre Company). A champion of children’s rights and a boy face a looming catastrophe in WWII-era Poland. Previews Nov 8-15. Opens Nov 16 and runs to Dec 18, Tue-Sat 8 pm, mats Sat-Sun 2:30 pm. $38-$47, srs $33-$45, stu/previews $20-$24. Tarragon Theatre, 30 Bridgman. 416-531-1827, hgjewishtheatre.com.

THE LIFE AND TIMES OF MACKENZIE KING: THE HISTORY OF THE VILLAGE OF THE SMALL HUTS, 1918-1939 by Michael Hollingsworth (VideoCabaret). This history play looks at the Roaring Twenties and Dirty Thirties in Canada. Previews Nov 2-9. Opens Nov 10 and runs to Dec 11, Tue-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2:30 pm. $20-$40. Cameron House, 408 Queen W. 416-703-1725, videocab.com.

THE REZ SISTERS by Tomson Highway (Factory Theatre). Women on a reservation plan a trip to Toronto to attend a huge bingo tournament. Previews Nov 5-9. Opens Nov 10 and runs to Dec 11, Tue-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2 pm. $20-$45, Sun pwyc. 125 Bathurst. 416-504-9971, factorytheatre.ca.

**THE SANKOFA TRILOGY by d’bi.young anitafrika (Tarragon Theatre). The stories of three generations of Jamaican women are told in the plays blood.claat, benu and word! sound! powah!, presented in repertory. Previews Oct 22-Nov 3. Opens Nov 4 and runs to Dec 3, Thu-Sat 8 pm, some Tue-Wed nights and Sat-Sun mats (call/see website for details). $20-$45. Extra Space, 30 Bridgman. 416-531-1827, tarragontheatre.com

**TOPDOG/UNDERDOG by Suzan-Lori Parks (Obsidian Theatre/Shaw Festival). Two brothers learn to survive as hustlers while trying to overcome their past. Previews Nov 22-23. Opens Nov 24 and runs to Dec 4, Tue-Sat 7 pm, mats Sat-Sun 2 pm. $20-$30, previews $15, Nov 29 pwyc. Theatre Centre, 1087 Queen W. 416-538-0988, obsidian-theatre.com.

**WOULD YOU SAY THE NAME OF THIS PLAY? by Berend McKenzie (Young People’s Theatre). A gay black youth deals with taunts and marginalization in this play for ages 14 and up. Previews Nov 21-22. Opens Nov 23 and runs to Dec 3, call/see website for schedule. $15-$20. 165 Front E. 416-862-2222, youngpeoplestheatre.ca.

And the rest

CLASS CITY (Action Slacks). An Irish immigrant family struggles to establish themselves in Toronto in this improvised play. Opens Nov 14 and runs to Nov 28, Mon 8 pm. $15. Cameron House, 408 Queen W. classcitytoronto.eventbrite.com.

COC ENSEMBLE STUDIO COMPETITION (Canadian Opera Company). Singers seeking to join the Ensemble give a public performance for the final audition. Nov 28 at 5:30 pm. $30. Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, 145 Queen W. 416-363-8231, coc.ca.

CRUSH by Hume Baugh (Optic Heart Theatre). A man moves into a trailer park and gets the attention of a gay man and his female friend, leading to desire, denial and violence. Previews Dec 1. Opens Dec 2 and runs to Dec 11, Tue-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2:30 pm. $20, stu/srs $15, Tue/Sun pwyc. Factory Theatre, Studio, 125 Bathurst. 416-504-9971, crushplay.wordpress.com.

DYING CITY by Christopher Shinn (surface/underground theatre). A therapist confronts her late husband’s identical twin when he comes to talk about his brother. Opens Nov 25 and runs to Dec 10, Tue-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2 pm. $20-$25, Sun pwyc. Toronto Free Gallery, 1277 Bloor W. dyingcity.com.

HAIRSPRAY by Mark O’Donnell, Thomas Meehan, Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (St Michael’s College, U of T). A quirky 60s teen becomes popular and looks to change the world in this musical. Dec 1-3, Thu-Sat 8 pm, mat Sat 2 pm. $20, stu/srs $12. Hart House Theatre, 7 Hart House Circle. 416-978-8849, uofttix.ca.

HENRI FABERGÉ’S HELIGOLAND FOLLIES (Stages). This monthly six-part performance series features music, comedy, film and narrative theatre about an 1820s community trying to reach a utopian ideal. Oct 6 at 9 pm. Nov 3 at 9 pm. Dec 1 at 9 pm. Jan 12 at 9 pm. Feb 2 at 9 pm. Mar 1 at 9 pm. Free. Hart House, Arbor Room, 7 Hart House Circle. harthouse.utoronto.ca/arts/stages/henri.

IMPULSE 2011 The School of Toronto Dance Theatre presents students performing works by Julia Sasso, Heidi Strauss, Roger Sinha and others. Opens Dec 1 and runs to Dec 10, Thu-Sat 8 pm. $19, stu/srs $15. Winchester Street Theatre, 80 Winchester. 416-967-6887, schooloftdt.org.

IT’S MUNSCH TIME (George Brown Theatre School). This family-friendly show is based on popular Robert Munsch stories. Opens Dec 3 and runs to Dec 10, Sat 1 pm. $18, srs $12 stu $7.Young Centre for the Performing Arts, 55 Mill. 416-866-8666, youngcentre.com.

JAZZ FOR MARA by Lilly Barnes (The Barnes Family). Author Lilly Barnes weaves dramatic readings from her novel Mara with live music performed by her sons, Daniel and Micah. Dec 1 at 8 pm. $20. MNJCC Al Green Theatre, 750 Spadina. 416-924-6211, jazzformara.com.

JESUS CHRYSLER by Tara Beagan (Praxis Theatre). Set in 30s Toronto, this play looks at the activities and relationship of activist Eugenia ‘Jim’ Watts and poet Dorothy Livesay. Previews Nov 29-30. Opens Dec 1 and runs to Dec 11, Tue-Sun 7:30 pm, mat Sat-Sun 2 pm. $25-$30, preview/mat $15. Theatre Passe Muraille, Backspace, 16 Ryerson. 416-504-7529, praxistheatre.com.

LA VOIX HUMAINE/LES MAMELLES DE TIRESIAS by Francis Poulenc (U of T Faculty of Music Opera Division). Two one-act operas by Poulenc are performed in this double bill. Dec 1-4, Thu-Sat 7:30 pm, Sun 2:30 pm. $30, stu/srs $20. Edward Johnson Building, MacMillan Theatre, 80 Queen’s Park. 416-408-0208, utoronto.ca.

LAUGHSTACHE – A MOVEMBER FUNDRAISER Impulsive Entertainment presents a comedy benefit w/ the Imponderables, British Teeth, Daniel Stolfi, Illusionoid, the Celebrity Moustache Panel and hosts the National Theatre of the World. Nov 30 8 pm. $10-$15. Hard Luck Bar, 772a Dundas W. laughstache.eventbrite.com.

LORD ARTHUR SAVILE’S CRIME adapted by Constance Cox from a short story by Oscar Wilde (The Village Players). A palm reader’s prediction sets off a a comedic chain of events. Opens Nov 11 and runs to Dec 3, Thu-Sat (and Nov 16) 8 pm, mats Nov 20, 26 at 2 pm. $20, stu/srs $16. Bloor West Village Playhouse, 2190 Bloor W. 416-767-7702, villageplayers.net.

MAJOR CELEBS & GENERAL FUN Inessa Frantowski presents a comedy and music benefit for Third World Awareness w/ Colin Mochrie, Scott Thompson, Jan Caruana, Kurt Smeaton, Lauren Ash, Norm Sousa, Jet Fighter Pilots and others. Opens Dec 4 10 pm. $25. Second City, 51 Mercer. 416-343-0011, secondcity.com.

MISS TORONTO ACTS BACK by the Ditchwitch Brigade (Pandemic Theatre). This multimedia performance presents an alternative history of beauty pageants in Toronto. Opens Nov 25 and runs to Dec 4, Thu-Sat 8 pm, Sun 5 pm. $15. Unit 102 Studio, 376 Dufferin. pandemictheatre.blogspot.com.

MURDER AT TWILIGHT by Brian Caws and Barb Scheffler (Mysteriously Yours… Dinner Theatre). Modern-day vampires, old-school monsters and humans try to coexist in this murder mystery. Previews Oct 7-22. Opens Oct 28 and runs to Dec 23, Fri-Sat 6:30 pm (see website for other dates). $79-$85. 2026 Yonge. 416-486-7469, mysteriouslyyours.com.

PROOF by David Auburn (QED Theatre Co-op). The death of a mathematician reunites his estranged daughters and a former student as they seek the line between genius and madness. Previews Nov 29-30. Opens Dec 1 and runs to Dec 18, Tue-Sun 8 pm. $15-$20. The Branding Factory, 136 Geary, unit 215. secureaseat.com.

SOULFUL MESSIAH Harbourfront NextSteps and Ballet Creole present a contemporary Afro-Caribbean version of Handel’s oratorio. Dec 2-4, Fri-Sat 8 pm, Sun 3 pm. $25-$45. Fleck Dance Theatre, 207 Queens Quay W. 416-973-4000, balletcreole.org.

TANGO Soundstreams presents Argentine tango performed by Roxana Fontán and Hector del Curto alongside live musicians. Nov 29 at 8 pm. $47-$73. Royal Conservatory of Music, Koerner Hall, 273 Bloor W. 416-408-0208, soundstreams.ca.

TUMBLING INTO LIGHT Diasporic Genius and Andrea Nann Dreamwalker Dance present a multimedia, multidisciplinary performance about descending into darkness and then returning to light. Dec 1-4, Thu-Sun 8 pm. $39. Enwave Theatre, 231 Queens Quay W. 416-973-4000, diasporicgenius.com.

THE MIRACLE ON MERCER STREET Second City presents all-ages seasonal comedy mixing live-action sketches with puppetry and songs. Opens Nov 19 and runs to Dec 17, Sat Saturdays at noon. $12, family 4-pack $40. 51 Mercer. 416-343-0011, secondcity.com.

THE NEW GROUNDSWELL FESTIVAL – A NATIONAL FESTIVAL OF CONTEMPORARY WOMEN’S THEATRE (Nightwood Theatre). Workshop productions of plays by Lisa Codrington, Jordi Mand and Ann-Marie Kerr & Susan Leblanc Crawford will be staged, plus readings, workshops and more. Opens Nov 30 and runs to Dec 10, performances Tue-Sun 8 pm, mat Sat-Sun 2 pm (see website for other events). $20. Berkeley Street Theatre, 26 Berkeley. 416-368-3110, nightwoodtheatre.net.

THE SECOND CITY’S DYSFUNCTIONAL HOLIDAY REVUE Second City presents a holiday-themed show of scenes and songs. Opens Nov 21 and runs to Dec 30, Mon 8 pm, Wed-Fri 2 pm. $15-$22. 51 Mercer. 416-343-0011, secondcity.com.

THE WIZARD OF OZ: THE WICKEDLY WACKY FAMILY MUSICAL adapted by Lorna Wright and Nicholas Hune-Brown (Ross Petty Productions). A snowstorm transports a city girl to a wacky new world in this farcical version of the classic story. Opens Nov 25 and runs to Jan 6, Tue-Sat 7 pm, Sat-Sun 2 pm (see website for other dates and holiday exceptions). $27-$85. Elgin Theatre, 189 Yonge. 416-872-5555, rosspetty.com.

WHITE CHRISTMAS by Irving Berlin (Civic Light Opera Company). This holiday musical is based on the 1954 film with Bing Crosby. Opens Nov 30 and runs to Dec 17, Wed 7 pm, Thu-Sat 8 pm, mat Sun (and Dec 17) 2 pm. $28. Fairview Library Theatre, 35 Fairview Mall. 416-755-1717, civiclightoperacompany.com.

WILLOW QUARTET by Joan Burrows (Greenwillow Productions). A married woman dealing with a tragedy returns to her family’s farm and becomes interested in a visiting musician. Opens Nov 18 and runs to Dec 3, Tue-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2 pm. $25, Sun pwyc. Papermill Theatre, 67 Pottery. 647-342-7454, secureaseat.com.

*Listings based on NOW stage listings*