Eye-Catching Toronto Theatre for the Week of August 20th, 2012

Here is what’s going on in Toronto theatre this week. There are several great shows to catch for the week of August 6th, 2012: ** 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.

Covered by MoT

**A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM by William Shakespeare (Canadian Stage Shakespeare in High Park). Lovers and actors meet and mingle in an enchanted forest in this classic comedy performed outdoors. Opens Jun 26 and runs to Sep 2. Pwyc ($20 sugg), 14 and under free. High Park Amphitheatre, Bloor W and Parkside. canadianstage.com. 

AVENUE Q by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx (Lower Ossington Theatre). A college grad moves to NYC and works through the transition to adulthood in this musical puppet show. Opens Jun 22 and runs to Oct 7. $45-$60. 100A Ossington. 416-915-6747, lowerossingtontheatre.com.

BACKBEAT by Iain Softley, Michael Thomas and Stephen Ward (Mirvish). The Beatles seek fame in Germany and lose their original bassist when he falls in love with a local photographer. Opens Jul 21 and runs to Sep 2. $36-$130. Royal Alexandra Theatre, 260 King W. 416-872-1212, mirvish.com.

HELLO (Huge Picture Productions). The leader of a vigilante group wrestles with existential questions during an alien invasion in this multimedia musical. Opens Jun 21 and runs to Aug 31. $25. Electric Theatre, 299 Augusta. 416-317-8715, hugepictureproductions.com.

MEMORY IN THE MUD (Words In Motion). This movable drama and tour tells the stories of brick makers, POWs and Depression-era transients who spent time at the Brick Works. Opens Jul 11 and runs to Sep 29. $20, child $10. Evergreen Brick Works, 550 Bayview. ebw.evergreen.ca/whats-on/memory-in-the-mud.

 ODYSSEO (Cavalia). Theatre artists and horses create a spectacle combining equestrian arts, stage arts and special effects. Opens May 15 and runs to Aug 26. $29.50-$119.50. White Big Top, 324 Cherry. 1-866-999-8111, cavalia.net.

 THE ROYAL COMEDIANS by Mikhail Bulgakov (Soulpepper). This play looks at the life of French dramatist Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, better known as Molière. Previews Jul 24-Aug 6. Opens Aug 7 and runs to Sep 21. $51-$68, stu $32; rush $22, stu $5.Young Centre for the Performing Arts, 50 Tank House Lane. 416-866-8666, soulpepper.ca.

SPEED-THE-PLOW by David Mamet (Soulpepper). Movie industry big shots use sex andschemes to succeed in Hollywood. Previews Jul 5-14. Opens Jul 16 and runs to Sep 22. $51-$68, stu $32; rush $22, stu $5. Young Centre for the Performing Arts, 50 Tank House Lane. 416-866-8666, soulpepper.ca.

THE SUNSHINE BOYS by Neil Simon (Soulpepper). Two vaudeville veterans must overcome their mutual dislike to reunite for a TV special. Previews Jul 14-25. Opens Jul 26 and runs to Sep 22. $51-$68, stu $32; rush $22, stu $5. Young Centre for the Performing Arts, 50 Tank House Lane. 416-866-8666, soulpepper.ca.

WAR HORSE based on a novel by Michael Morpurgo, adapted by Nick Stafford (National Theatre of Great Britain/Mirvish). An English boy sets out to find his horse after it’s sold to the cavalry and shipped off to France during WWI. Previews Feb 10-27. Opens Feb 28 and runs to Sep 30. $35-$130, rush $29. Princess of Wales Theatre, 300 King W. 416-872-1212, mirvish.com.

And the rest…

ADVENTURES IN SLUMBERLAND (Frolick). This all-ages show about a young boy’s dream world is an adaptation of Winsor McCay’s comic strip Little Nemo In Slumberland. Opens Jul 1 and runs to Aug 26. $10 or pwyc. Olympic Island Lagoon Theatre, near Centre Island ferry dock, over the bridge. frolick.ca.

A HISTORY OF FORGETTING by David Anderson and Krista Dalby (Clay & Paper Theatre). This play looks at modern hubris and our lack of humility in the face of the past. Previews Jul 25-26. Opens Jul 27 and runs to Aug 26. Pwyc ($10 sugg). Dufferin Grove Park, Dufferin S of Bloor. clayandpapertheatre.org.

A SYNONYM FOR LOVE by GF Handel, libretto by Deborah Pearson (Volcano Theatre/Classical Music Consort). This site-specific opera travels through the building in a modernized version of a Handel cantata about a love triangle. Previews Aug 19. Opens Aug 20 and runs to Aug 31. $42, srs/youth $30, preview $20. Gladstone Hotel, 1214 Queen W. volcano.ca.

THE BEST OF THE SECOND CITY presents classic and original sketch and trademark improvisation. Aug 6 8 pm, Aug 13 8 pm, Aug 20 8 pm. $14. Second City, 51 Mercer. 416-343-0011, secondcity.com.

BUSKERFEST (Scotiabank). The outdoor performance festival features European street theatre, aerial arts, dance, music, clown and more by Funny Bones, Cirque Mechanics, Pancho Libre, Alakazam and many others. Aug 23-26. Pwyc (donations to Epilepsy Toronto). St Lawrence Market District, Front E between Yonge and Jarvis. torontobuskerfest.com.

THE COMPLETE WORKS OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE (ABRIDGED) (The Classical Theatre Project). Three actors perform 37 plays in 97 minutes in this interactive show performed on the garden terrace. Opens Aug 8 and runs to Aug 29. $50, stu/srs $30. Casa Loma, 1 Austin Terrace. 416-915-6750, completeworksabridged.com.

**THE CRUCIBLE by Arthur Miller (Soulpepper). A small, devout Massachusetts town is thrown into chaos with accusations of witchcraft in 1692. Previews Jul 25-Aug 8. Opens Aug 9 and runs to Sep 22. $51-$68, stu $32; rush $22, stu $5. Young Centre for the Performing Arts, 50 Tank House Lane. 416-866-8666, soulpepper.ca.

DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS LIVE: CAMPAIGN 1: THE LEGEND OF T’RANNAH Bad Dog Theatre presents an unscripted adventure comedy based on the popular role-playing game. Opens Aug 22 and runs to Sep 19. $12, stu $10. Comedy Bar, 945 Bloor W. 416-551-6540, baddogtheatre.com.

FALL 2012 MAINSTAGE REVUESecond City presents a collection of sketches, songs and improvisations. Opens Jul 17 and runs to Aug 29. $24-$29, stu $15. 51 Mercer. 416-343-0011, secondcity.com

GABI EPSTEIN (The Flying Beaver Pubaret). The local singer/performer delivers a hot and smooth cabaret show. Aug 24 at 8 pm. $15-$20. 488 Parliament. 647-347-6567, pubaret.com.

IN A DARK DARK HOUSE by Neil LaBute (Unit 102 Actors Company). Two estranged brothers reunite and confront the abuse in their past and how to overcome it. Previews Aug 9-11. Opens Aug 16 and runs to Sep 1. $20. Unit 102 Theatre, 376 Dufferin. unit102tix@gmail.com.

JANE/FINCH ULPI PROJECT Kaeja d’Dance presents at-risk youth, new immigrants and seniors performing works created with choreographers Robert Abubo, Allen Kaeja, Andrea Nann and others. Aug 25-26 at 2 and 7 pm. Free. Oakdale Community Centre, 350 Grandravine. kaeja.org.

MATURE YOUNG ADULTS by Wesley J Colford (Aim for the Tangent Theatre). Ex-lovers reunite in the park where their love first bloomed in this workshop production. Aug 23-25. Pwyc. Tarragon Theatre, Far Studio, 30 Bridgman. aimforthetangent@hotmail.com.

OLEANNA by David Mamet (Unit 102 Actors Company). A power struggle ensues when a female student accuses a professor of sexual harassment. Previews Aug 8-10. Opens Aug 15 and runs to Aug 31. $20. Unit 102 Theatre, 376 Dufferin. unit102tix@gmail.com.

READY, SET, LAUGH!  Second City presents an all-ages collection of sketches, songs and improv to benefit the SickKids Foundation. Opens Aug 2 and runs to Aug 31. $14, family pack $48. 51 Mercer. 416-343-0011, secondcity.com.

REAL LIFE SUPERHERO by Steven Jackson (Minmar Gaslight Productions). This play looks at the reasons why an ordinary person would put on a costume and moonlight as a crime fighter. Opens Aug 22 and runs to Aug 26. $20. Winchester Street Theatre, 80 Winchester. minmargaslightproductions.com.

TOP SKETCH CANADA Black Swan presents a sketch and improv competition w/ Josh Bowman, Matt McCready, Joe Delfin, Joel Buxton, Alicia Douglas, Meredith Cheesbrough, Ron Sparks, Laura Bailey and host Jen Littlewood. Opens Jul 18 and runs to Aug 22. $5. 154 Danforth. jen.littlewood@gmail.com.

TOP SKETCH CANADA FINALE Black Swan presents a sketch and improv competition w/ host Jen Littlewood. Aug 25 10 pm. $10. 154 Danforth. jen.littlewood@gmail.com.

TWO GENTS (Shakespeare in the Ruff). This outdoor performance features the company’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Two Gentlemen Of Verona, with a new ending that empowers the female leads. Previews Aug 15. Opens Aug 16 and runs to Sep 2. Pwyc ($15 sugg). Withrow Park, 725 Logan. shakespeareintheruff.com.