There’s always so many things to do in Toronto. Get out and enjoy some of the many great stage shows, concerts and events taking place throughout the city this month!
BY CRAIG MOY & LAURA SABATINI
SEPTEMBER 5 TO 15 The Toronto International Film Festival, arguably the biggest annual event on the city’s cultural calendar, draws thousands of movie fans, industry insiders, and, of course, Hollywood superstars to the Entertainment District. The action gets underway with the world premiere of The Fifth Estate, which tells the story of WikiLeaks and its controversial founder Julian Assange (as portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch). Among the other hotly anticipated premieres? Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave, the ensemble drama August: Osage County with Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts, and the timely biopic Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. TIFF Bell Lightbox and other venues, single tickets $23.50 to $45; call 416-599-8433 or visit tiff.net for a full schedule and to purchase tickets.
SEPTEMBER 6 TO 8, 20 TO 22 Summer may be on its way out, but Harbourfront Centre presents a few more opportunities for warm-weather fun—with a culinary twist. From September 6 to 8, the Vegetarian Food Festival unwraps healthy global cuisine from more than 100 vendors. Then make a return visit between September 20 and 22, when the Pan-American Food Festival dishes out the diverse cuisines, art, music and folklore of countries in the western hemisphere, in anticipation of the fast-approaching 2015 Pan-Am Games in Toronto. 235 Queens Quay W., free admission; call 416-973-4000 or visit here for more information.
SEPTEMBER 19 TO 28 Sarah Silverman. Aziz Ansari. Janeane Garofalo. The cast of Family Guy. You’ve giggled along with them—and, let’s face it, at them—on television and in movies. This month, thanks to Just for Laughs, you can relish their jokes in person. JFL42 brings 42 top comedians and comic troupes to the city for 10 days of wry wit, over-the-top slapstick and everything in between. Various venues, show admission via electronic pass, $99 to $299; call 1-855-867-4242 or visit here for a complete schedule and further details.
SEPTEMBER 21 There’s never a dull moment when the burly brawlers of the Ultimate Fighting Championship bring their mixed martial arts skills to Toronto. This time around, UFC 165 highlights more than a dozen big bouts, including a main event with Jon “Bones” Jones taking on Alexander “the Mauler” Gustafsson. Which of these men will emerge from the octagon victorious? You’ll want to see every uppercut and leg lock live in order to find out. Air Canada Centre, 10 p.m., $89.50 to $475.25; call 416-815-5500 or visit ufc.ca for more information.
SEPTEMBER 22 TO OCTOBER 6 A magical work by one of Quebec’s most innovative young playwrights is sure to enthrall English-language audiences as The Flood Thereafter comes to Toronto courtesy of the Canadian Stage. Sarah Berthiaume’s small-town fable follows the risqué day-to-day of 20-year-old June, who regularly performs a striptease in a local bar. The townsmen gape and howl at the young adult’s siren-like shows, but when a stranger arrives, June’s cyclic world falls thoroughly out of the ordinary. Berkeley Street Theatre, $22 to $49; call 416-368-3110 or click here to for showtimes and purchase tickets.
SEPTEMBER 27 TO 29 Don’t be late for this very delectable date! Canada’s Baking and Sweets Show returns to take you on a sugary adventure through an Alice in Wonderland-themed exhibition space. Explore the hottest trends in the world of gourmet pastries, chocolates, cookies and more while indulging in delicious treats, watching intense bake-offs, and participating in a variety of workshops. Celebrity chef appearances by the likes of Buddy Valastro and Anna Olson are the icing on the cake! Toronto Congress Centre, $6 to $15; call 905-850-0055 or navigate here for further details.
STARTS SEPTEMBER 27 Do you hear the people sing? In Toronto, you will once more as Les Misérables returns to the stage. Arguably the world’s most popular musical, this story of an ex-convict, his young ward, and the police inspector bent on hunting them down—set against the backdrop of 19th-century France—is an epic yet intimate tale of the endurance of the human spirit. Starring Ramin Karimloo in the iconic role of Jean Valjean, the production has been fully revamped for its latest run, with new staging and sets inspired by original Les Mis novelist Victor Hugo’s paintings. Princess of Wales Theatre, Tuesday to Saturday 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday 1:30 p.m., $35 to $130; call 416-872-1212 or visit mirvish.com to buy.
SEPTEMBER 27 TO NOVEMBER 16 Affable librarian Norman has arranged a racy weekend away from his wife. But when she unexpectedly arrives on the scene, Norman’s R-rated retreat turns into a series of frantically comedic arguments and impassioned trysts. Staged by Soulpepper Theatre Company and starring Albert Schultz as the titular protagonist, Alan Ayckbourn’s The Norman Conquests tells its dysfunctional tale in a trio of plays, each featuring a different perspective. Though the unique shows can be enjoyed individually, you’ll want to get the whole hilarious story by seeing all three. Young Centre for the Performing Arts, 8 p.m., $32 to $68; call 416-866-8666 or visit soulpepper.ca for showtimes and more information.
BONUS: Top Concerts This Month
SEPTEMBER 6 “Godmother of Punk” Patti Smith stages a rollicking show at Massey Hall.
SEPTEMBER 15 Soprano Sarah Brightman fills the Air Canada Centre with her voice.
SEPTEMBER 24 TO 28 Monty Python alum John Cleese is at the Winter Garden Theatre as part of his “Last Chance to See Me Before I Die” tour.
SEPTEMBER 27 & 28 Family-friendly act The Wiggles incite youthful applause at Ricoh Coliseum.
SEPTEMBER 28 Tony- and Grammy-winning singer Audra McDonald kicks off the Royal Conservatory’s new performance season.