Eye-Catching Toronto Theatre for the Week of December 5, 2011

Here is what’s going on in Toronto theatre this week. There are several great shows to catch for the week of December 5, 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 Jan 5, see website for schedule. $49-$69. Panasonic Theatre, 651 Yonge. 416-872-1212, mirvish.com.

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.

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.

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.

**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 29, 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.

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.

**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.

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 $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 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. Previews Nov 25-30. Opens Dec 1 and runs to Jan 6, Tue-Sat 7 pm, mat Sat-Sun 2 pm (see website for other dates and holiday exceptions). $27-$85. Elgin Theatre, 189 Yonge. 416-872-5555, rosspetty.com.

And the Rest

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (Humber River Shakespeare Co). Five actors perform the timeless tale of greed, ghosts, salvation and hope. Dec 8-10, Thu-Sat 7 pm, mat Sat 2 pm. $15, child $10. Montgomery’s Inn, 4709 Dundas W. 416-209-2026, humberrivershakespeare.ca.

A Very Chris-terical Christmas Cabaret (Theresa Hubbard/Chris Tsujiuchi). Sharron Matthews, Andrea O’Brien, Will Lamond, Tsujiuchi and others perform a seasonal cabaret. Dec 9-10 at 8 pm. $10. Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, Tallulah’s Cabaret, 12 Alexander. 416-975-8555, buddiesinbadtimes.com

Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol (St. Cuthbert’s Anglican Church). John D Huston plays Charles Dickens and the MadriGALS sing in this theatrical adaptation. Dec 7 at 7 pm. $20, child $15 (food bank donations appreciated). 1399 Bayview. 416-485-0329.

December Variety Showcase (Centre for Indigenous Theatre). CIT students perform a variety show. Dec 9 at 7 pm. Free. Native Canadian Centre, 16 Spadina Rd. indigenoustheatre.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.

Early Retirement by Laurel Brady (Theatre Bassaris/Girls and Bicycles Productions). A young woman moves into a nursing home to avoid real life and heartbreak in this dark comedy. Dec 8-10, Thu-Sat 8 pm, mat Sat 2 pm. $10. Unit 102 Theatre, 376 Dufferin. theatrebassaris.com.

Ekua Na Kamau by Kwame Stephens (Playwrights Guild of Canada/Canadian Council for the Arts Literary Readings Program). Stephens’s play about a love story in modern-day Ghana gets a reading, followed by discussion. Dec 10 at 2 pm. Free. Gallery 918, 918 Bathurst. blogto.com/events/47564.

Gala! (Les Coquettes). The burlesque troupe performs a cabaret of dance, cirque, music and more inspired by Old Hollywood glamour. Dec 11 at 7 and 10 pm. $15-$30. Revival, 783 College. lescoquettes.com.

Galgenlieder A 3 (Gallows Songs) by Sofia Gubaidulina (Queen of Puddings). This 15-song cycle sung in German features the text of poet Christian Morgenstern. Dec 7 at 8 pm. $25, stu/srs $15. Young Centre for the Performing Arts, 55 Mill. 416-866-8666, queenofpuddingsmusictheatre.com.

Holly Jolly Christmas (Studio 60 Theatre). This musical revue features songs, dance and sketches with a seasonal theme. Opens Dec 9 and runs to Dec 17, Fri-Sat 8 pm, mats Dec 7 and 18 at 2 pm. $20. 60 Six Point. 416-354-2479, studio60theatreboxoffice.com.

Impromptu Splendor: A Very Mamet Christmas Special (National Theatre of the World). The cast performs an improvised play based on audience suggestions. Dec 11 at 9 pm. $12. Theatre Passe Muraille, 16 Ryerson. thenationaltheatreoftheworld.com.

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.ca

Jacob And Nova Mixed Bill Dancemakers presents two new works by Jacob Zimmer and Nova Bhattacharya, performed by Robert Abubo, Amanda Acorn, Kate Holden, Simon Renaud and guest artist Pierre-Marc Ouellette. Previews Dec 7. Opens Dec 8 and runs to Dec 18, Wed-Sat 8 pm, Sun 4 pm. $20-$25. Dancemakers Centre for Creation, 55 Mill, bldg 58, studio 313. 416-367-1800, dancemakers.org.

Like An Old Tale (Jumblies Theatre). Audience members participate in this multicultural retelling of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale with dance, opera, puppets, projections and more. Opens Dec 8 and runs to Dec 18, Wed-Sat (and Dec 11) 7:30 pm, mats Sat-Sun 2 pm. $30, stu/srs $20; Dec 16 gala $50. Commercial Studios Ltd, 793 Pharmacy. jumbliestheatre.org.

**Memphis by Joe DiPietro and David Bryan (Dancap Productions). A white DJ falls in love with a black rock-and-roll singer in the 50s in this musical. Previews Dec 6. Opens Dec 7 and runs to Dec 24, Tue-Sat 7:30 pm, mats Sat-Sun 2 pm (see website for more performances). $51-$180. Toronto Centre for the Arts, 5040 Yonge. 416-644-3665, dancaptickets.com.

Obaaberima by Tawiah M’Carthy (Buddies in Bad Times Theatre). A young Ghanaian Canadian talks of his journey across continents, genders, races and sexualities in this workshop production. Dec 8-10 at 8 pm. Pwyc. 12 Alexander. buddiesinbadtimes.com.

**Off Broadway On Stage (Angelwalk Theatre). Hits from various off-Broadway musicals are performed in this revue. Opens Dec 7 and runs to Dec 11, Wed-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2 pm. $25-$35. Toronto Centre for the Arts, 5040 Yonge. 416-872-1111, angelwalk.ca.

Parfumerie by Miklós László (Soulpepper). Shop clerks who don’t get along at work exchange anonymous love letters as pen pals. Opens Dec 8 and runs to Dec 31, see website for schedule. $45-$65, stu $28. Young Centre for the Performing Arts, 55 Mill. 416-866-8666, soulpepper.ca.

T’was The Bitch Salad Before Christmas Buddies in Bad Times Theatre presents the holiday-themed show w/ Debra DiGiovanni, Julia Hladkowicz, Allyson Smith, Emma Hunter, Heidi Brander and host Andrew Johnston. Dec 6 8:30 pm. $10. 12 Alexander. femaledogsalad@gmail.com.

The Dance Migration Harbourfront Centre presents the company performing Afro-Brazilian dance, capoeira and more as part of Terra Madre Day. Dec 10 from 2 to 6 pm. Free. 235 Queens Quay W. harbourfrontcentre.com.

The Glory Of Christmas (Windmill Theatre). Musical theatre performers present a holiday-themed cabaret. Dec 9-10 at 8 pm. $30. Unitarian Congregation Great Hall, 84 South Service Rd. 905-338-5702, windmilltheatre.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, festival pass $45, some events free/pwyc. Berkeley Street Theatre, 26 Berkeley. 416-368-3110, nightwoodtheatre.net

The Nutcracker The National Ballet of Canada presents James Kudelka’s 1995 version of this evergreen seasonal classic. Opens Dec 10 and runs to Jan 1, Wed-Sat 7 pm, mats Sat 2 pm, Sun 1 and 5:30 pm till Dec 18, see website for other dates and times. $38-$133.50. Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, 145 Queen W. 416-345-9595, thenutcracker.ca.

The Penelopiad (On Stage Performing Arts Theatre Series). Nightwood Theatre’s Kelly Thornton talks about the upcoming stage adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s book. Dec 5 at 7 pm. Free. Reference Library, 789 Yonge. 416-393-7011. 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.

Uncharted Zones by DJ Sylvis (Monkeyman Productions). Travelling through space and time, this sequence of four episodes explores the borders between human experience and the unknown. Opens Dec 8 and runs to Dec 17, Thu-Sat 7:30 pm (no show Dec 15). $15-$20. Palmerston Library Theatre, 560 Palmerston. monkeymanproductions.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.

Wintersong – Dances For A Sacred Season Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre and Harbourfront NextSteps present dance inspired by winter solstice traditions, featuring works by Colin Connor, Deborah Lundmark, Kim Frank and others. Dec 9-10, Fri 8 pm, Sat 2 pm. $25-$38, stu/srs $22.50-$35. Fleck Dance Theatre, 207 Queens Quay W. 416-973-4000, ccdt.org.

* Listings based on NOW stage listings*