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mirvish productions

Now in Toronto, The Book of Mormon Boasts Broadway Blasphemy

The Book of Mormon (photo: Joan Marcus)

The Book of Mormon (photo: Joan Marcus)

APRIL 30 TO JUNE 9  The story seems simple enough: a pair of young Americans journey to Uganda to perform missionary work for the Church of the Latter-Day Saints. But in the hands of South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, The Book of Mormon becomes an utterly berserk, shockingly un-PC and uproariously funny romp. Though unafraid to satirize some of the more divisive cultural issues of our time, this multiple Tony Award winner is also an all-singing, all-dancing spectacle in the grandest Broadway tradition. Princess of Wales Theatre, Tuesday to Saturday 8 p.m., Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday 2 p.m., $59 to $200; call 416-872-1212 or visit mirvish.com for more information.  —Anna Marszalek

Feel the Rhythm as Stomp Returns to Toronto

Stomp Toronto Mirvish

The clangers and bangers of Stomp return to Toronto this April (photo: Steve McNicholas)

APRIL 16 TO 21  Your heartbeat won’t be the only pulse you feel when the explosive Stomp returns to Toronto for a limited engagement. Using matchboxes, broomsticks, garbage cans, hubcaps and more, each member of the eight-piece percussion troupe contributes their distinctive voice—truly becoming one with their everyday “instruments”—to build a cohesive and invigorating rhythm. After more than two decades on stages around the world, this unique physical-theatre staple remains a must-see show for audiences of all ages. Royal Alexandra Theatre, $25 to $99; call 416-872-1212 or click here for showtimes and to buy.  —Macrina Smart

Clybourne Park is Featured in the Off-Mirvish Theatre Series

A scene from Clybourne Park (photo: Mirvish Productions)

FEBRUARY 12 TO MARCH 3 You’ve heard of the edgier shows performed at New York’s “Off-Broadway” playhouses; Mirvish Productions is doing its best to foster that vibe in Toronto. The company recently began presenting its Off-Mirvish second-stage series of acclaimed indie-theatre favourites, including Bruce Norris’s Tony- and Pulitzer Prize-winning Clybourne Park. Loosely based on historical events, this response to the famed 1959 play A Raisin in the Sun uses humour to tackle tough questions of race and real estate. Panasonic Theatre, $29 to $79; call 416-872-1212 or visit TicketKing for showtimes and to buy.  —Ana Taveira

Hot Date: Andrew Lloyd Webber Takes Us Back to Oz

The Wizard of Oz cast welcomes you to the Emerald City (photo: Keith Pattison)

STARTS DECEMBER 20  Don your ruby slippers and follow the yellow brick road to see the great and powerful Andrew Lloyd Webber’s adaptation of The Wizard of Oz! Featuring all the beloved songs of the original film, plus new music by Webber and Tim Rice, the lavish production follows Dorothy and her dog, Toto, as they wander through a colourful land that is definitely not Kansas. The blockbuster show also introduces a new star to the city’s stage, with the lead role being cast as part of a TV reality program, Over the Rainbow. Ed Mirvish Theatre, $35 to $175; call 416-872-1212 or click here for more information and tickets.  —Ana Taveira

Hot Date: Jekyll & Hyde Offers a Tale of Two Men

Deborah Cox and Constantine Maroulis star in Jekyll & Hyde the Musical (photo: Smallz and Raskind)

NOVEMBER 14 TO 18  A dangerous love story is at the dark heart of Jekyll & Hyde the Musical, which gives the Broadway treatment to Robert Louis Stevenson’s chilling parable of alter egos and mental torment. Starring Tony nominee Constantine Maroulis as the titular split personality, and Grammy-nominated singer Deborah Cox, the gothic tale featuring bold, passionate songs is sure to be a crowd-pleaser in Toronto before moving on to New York next spring. Ed Mirvish Theatre, $29 to $150; call 416-872-1212 or visit here for showtimes and to buy.  —Ana Taveira

Hot Date: Backbeat and the Original Beatles

photo by Nobby Clark

JULY 21 TO SEPTEMBER 2 Relive the often-overlooked story of how five Liverpudlians went to Hamburg and soon after became the world’s greatest rock ‘n’ roll band. Backbeat follows the original members of The Beatles and the fractious relationships that eventually turned the quintet—John, Paul and George, yes, but also Pete Best and Stuart Sutcliffe—into the Fab Four we know today. Complete with early classics like “Love Me Do,” “Twist and Shout” and “Long Tall Sally,” this musical is a must for any Beatles fan. Royal Alexandra Theatre, Tuesday to Saturday 8 p.m., Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday 2 p.m., $36 to $130; call 416-872-1212 or click here for further details.

Hot Date: Join Pam Ann’s Mile-High Club

JUNE 21 & 22 It’s a non-stop flight to hilarity as celebrity airhostess Pam Ann makes a two-day layover in Toronto. This wise-crackin’ alter-ego of Australian comedienne Caroline Reid dons the high heels and big hairdo of air travel’s “golden age” for her one-woman show, entitled Around the World, which pokes campy fun at the travel industry and the experience of flying. Panasonic Theatre, 8 p.m., $35 to $55; call 416-872-1212 or click here for tickets.

Where in Toronto: Dancap Takes a Bow

Jersey Boys was Dancap's biggest hit (photo by Joan Marcus)

Last week Dancap Productions, which brought to Toronto Broadway hits such as Jersey Boys, announced that it would not present any programming for the 2013 season. This suspension of operations marks the end of an era (albeit a relatively short one), where two large theatre companies, Dancap and juggernaut Mirvish Productions, introduced audiences to big-time mainstream musicals and stage dramas. But don’t fret; though the scene just got a little smaller, there are still many exciting opportunities across the city for resident and visiting theatre enthusiasts alike. (more…)

Hot Date: Kathleen Turner Says the Drugs Don’t Work in High

photo by Larry Nagler

MAY 8 TO 13 A story of human frailty and the promise of redemption unfolds with devastating power as two-time Golden Globe winner Kathleen Turner steps onto the stage in High. In a critically acclaimed performance, Turner embodies Sister Jamison Connelly, who sponsors a teenage drug addict’s long and treacherous road to recovery. But in taking on the dual roles of rehab counselor and a woman of religious conviction, the nun finds her own faith sorely tested. Royal Alexandra Theatre, $50 to $150; call 416-872-1212 or visit here for showtimes and tickets.

Hot Date: Bring on a Cheery Premiere

photo by Joan Marcus

MAY 2 TO JUNE 3 It’s hip hip hooray for the fiercely funny, over-the-top high school rivalries at the heart of Bring It On: the Musical. Some of the most creative minds in theatre, including Jeff Whitty of Avenue Q fame, adapted the cult-favourite Kirsten Dunst film as a live—and very lively—look at the world of competitive cheerleading. Gravity-defying choreography, catchy hip-hop beats, colourful characters—there’s much to applaud in this collage of song, dance and pom-poms. Ed Mirvish Theatre, Tuesday to Saturday
8 p.m., Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday 2 p.m., $35 to $130; call 416-872-1212 or click here to purchase tickets.

Where in Toronto: Getting Back to the Theatre

Inside the Ed Mirvish Theatre

Each week, our intrepid interns reflect on life
and times in the big city.

When I think of theatre, I time-machine back to junior high, where I discovered an interest in acting. Encouraged by Ms. Olsen, who was as cool and as in-love-with-Shakespeare as drama teachers come, I auditioned for—and won—a role as a Men in Black–style agent in a ridiculous student-written play called Phlegm and Larry in the Search for Elvis (don’t ask). It was the complete opposite of classics like The Wizard of Oz and Annie that I had seen performed in previous years; of course it was an instant hit.

Unfortunately, after that successful debut, my play-acting ambitions largely took a backseat to academics. It was not until university—and a few courses on Shakespeare—that theater and I were truly reacquainted. In a class full of drama majors, I took comfort in at least knowing the difference between upstage and downstage and being able to identifying a soliloquy. But reading drama isn’t the same as watching it on stage. (more…)

Hot Date: A Harried, Humorous Harry Potter

FEBRUARY 11 TO MARCH 4 J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series runs seven books and thousands of pages long. The eight Warner Bros. films total almost 20 hours of viewing. For those who are tight on time, Potted Potter: The Unauthorized Harry Experience condenses life at Hogwarts into 70 madcap minutes. Starring former Children’s BBC hosts Dan Clarkson and Jeff Turner, the production uses music, a bit of manic theatre magic and even a game of quidditch with the audience to skewer the book and movie phenomenon that swept the world over the past decade. Fun for the whole family, it’s sure to have even the most grim-faced Death Eaters in stitches. Panasonic Theatre, $29.75 to $99.75; call 416-872-1212 or click here for showtimes
and to purchase tickets.