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Royal Alexandra Theatre

Weekend Roundup: September 12 to 14

THESE WEEKEND EVENTS AND PERFORMANCES ARE GUARANTEED TO MAKE YOUR TIME IN TORONTO EVEN MORE MEMORABLE!

Celebrating Totonto Beer Week 2013 at Steam Whistle Brewery.

Steam Whistle Brewery hosts an Oktoberfest party during Toronto Beer Week 2013.

Friday, September 12

Sample local brews at Toronto Beer Week, which kicks off on Friday and runs until September 20. The event spans 70 venues across the city, with 35 craft breweries participating and 200-plus events including pub crawls, cask tappings and brewmasters’ dinners. Great Lakes Brewery, Indie Alehouse Brewing Co. and Left Field Brewery will all be introducing new brews. On Saturday, sip your lagers on the lake with the Toronto Craft Brew Cruise; tickets are $39.95 each and trips depart at 3:30 and 8 p.m. Visit torontobeerweek.com for a full schedule of events and participating establishments, and to purchase tickets.

Food, music, art, dance and culture take centre stage this weekend at two cultural festivals: the Bloor West Village Toronto Ukrainian Festival and the Roncesvalles Polish Festival, both of which kick off with events Friday evening. Highlights on the stage at the Ukrainian fest include Ukrainian folk/rock band TIK and Edmonton’s world renowned Ukrainian Shumka Dancers, while the Polish fest boasts multiple stages and a packed performance schedule that kicks off tonight with an Old Time Polka Party, as well as renowned Polish band Baryczy on Saturday. Traditional foods will also be a big part of the festivities at both events, so get read to feast on as much pierogis, cabbage rolls, borscht, kielbasa and zapiekanka as you can handle. Visit ukrainianfestival.com and polishfestival.ca for full details.

If live music in a stadium setting is more your tune, Lorde is headlining tonight at the Molson Amphitheatre with special guest Majical Cloudz. Tickets are $45-$60, and can be purchased by calling 1-855-985-5000.

Our Country's Good. Photo courtesy of Mirvish Productions.

Our Country’s Good. Photo courtesy of Mirvish Productions.

Saturday, September 13

Theatre buffs will want to pick up tickets for the opening of Our Country’s Good at the Royal Alexandra Theatre on Saturday at 8 p.m. Celebrating the 25th anniversary of its Olivier Award–winning premiere, this historical drama tells the powerful true story of the men, women and children who were sent to Australia when Britain founded its first penal colony in 1788. Visit mirvish.com for tickets.

If browsing beautiful blooms is your idea of a lovely Saturday activity, stop by the Toronto Flower Market and enjoy the scents and sight of an array of flowers and houseplants from local growers and florists. Open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. 1056 Queen St. W.; visit torontoflowermarket.ca for further details.

The summer music fest season isn’t over just yet for EDM fans. Play Music Festival, which hits Fort York on Saturday, features a packed lineup including Robbie Riviera, FTampa, La Riots, Richard Durand, Bryan Kearney, Alex Kenji, Adam K, D3FF and AKTEC, Joe Ghost and more. General admission is $45; tickets for admission and Tydi boat cruise (ages 19+) are $60 each. Visit playmusicfestival.ca for full schedule and to purchase tickets.

Steve and Rashmi Gupta Box Office at the TIFF Bell Lightbox.

The Steve and Rashmi Gupta Box Office at the TIFF Bell Lightbox.

Sunday, September 14

Don’t miss your last chance to catch a flick at the Toronto International Film Festival, including the always-anticipated—and free—re-screening of the Festival 2014 Grolsch People’s Choice Award winner (yet to be announced) at 6 p.m at the Ryerson Theatre.

Hang on to a little slice of summer by heading to the Rogers Centre for an afternoon of baseball. The Toronto Blue Jays play host to the Tampa Bay Rays with the game starting at 1:07 p.m. Tickets are $14.25 to $216.25; call 416-341-1234 or visit bluejays.com for a complete schedule and tickets.

Shaping Sound Dance Company Brings Bold New Moves to Toronto

The members of Shaping Sound

The members of Shaping Sound

JUNE 15  Experience an exhilarating mash-up of contemporary music and dance as Shaping Sound presents its first-ever live national tour. Created by and starring Emmy-nominated choreographers Travis Wall, Nick Lazzarini, Teddy Forance and Kyle Robinson—you know them best from So You Think You Can Dance—the show fuses hip-hop, jazz, ballet and modern dance steps in a dynamic display of grace, speed and strength. Royal Alexandra Theatre, 7 p.m., $39 to $89; call 416-872-1212 or see mirvish.com for more information.  —Macrina Smart

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

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: 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: The Blue Dragon’s Culture Clash

JANUARY 10 TO FEBRUARY 19 A Canadian expatriate living in modern-day China finds himself pulled between two women—one from his Eastern present and the other from his Western past. The intriguing story of The Blue Dragon is made even more compelling through graceful dance, powerful performances and stunning cinematic stagecraft, courtesy of Canadian theatre legend Robert Lepage. The Quebec-based artist co-wrote this story with Marie Michaud, as a follow-up to their collaborative work The Dragons’ Trilogy. The two also perform the lead roles alongside dancer Tai Wei Foo. Royal Alexandra Theatre, $25 to $99; call 416-872-1212 or click here for showtimes and tickets.

Weekend Roundup: December 16 to 18

Enjoy our final set of anticipated weekend events of 2011—a mix of festive treats, seasonal shopping opportunities and other cool to-dos. Happy holidays and safe travels! We’ll see you in January 2012!

Friday: Hair gets your holidays off to a rockin' start (photo by Joan Marcus)

Friday, December 16
Release your inner rebel and relive the music and spirit of the 1960s with the rousing Tony Award-winning revival of classic rock musical Hair, on stage for a limited engagement at the Royal Alexandra Theatre.

Experience a holiday swing revival with the Blues Christmas Ball at Dovercourt House. Start your night with a beginner’s dance class then test your moves on the floor to the sounds of the Patrick Tevlin Blues Band.

The Amici Chamber Ensemble turns the tables in its Critics’ Choice concert tonight at the Canadian Broadcasting Centre’s Glenn Gould Studio. Witness what happens when musicians ask three expert critics which pieces they’d most like to hear.

The rest of your weekend is revealed after the jump!

Weekend Roundup, September 16 to 18

Friday: Paul Gross and Kim Cattrall debut in Noël Coward's Private Lives

Friday, September 16
Kim Cattrall and Paul Gross trade the silver screen for the big stage in the Toronto engagement of Private Lives. This straight-from-London production of Noël Coward’s comedy classic opens tonight at the Royal Alexandra Theatre.

Discover Ukrainian culture at the Toronto Ukrainian Festival. The event kicks off tonight and runs all weekend in Bloor West Village. Watch dancers and musicians, taste authentic Ukrainian food and drinks, and shop the sidewalk sale.

Cheer on slugger Jose Bautista, rising star Brett Lawrie, and the rest of the Toronto Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre, as they open a three-game  series against the New York Yankees (and look to spoil the Bronx Bombers’ hopes of another division title).

Saturday: Celebrate the season at Black Creek Pioneer Village

Saturday, September 17
Press some cider, bid on handmade quilts, and take a horse-drawn wagon ride at the 55th Pioneer Festival at Black Creek Pioneer Village. This year’s event celebrates local food and the history of the harvest with fresh-baked pies and a team of volunteers producing 1,000 pounds of sausage throughout the day.

Don your red threads and head over to BMO Field for some Major League Soccer action. See if Torsten Frings and Julian de Guzman can lead Toronto FC to victory against the visiting Colorado Rapids.

Listen to the folk-rock melodies of Wilco at Massey Hall. The Chicago-based band is following up on its 2009 Grammy-nominated, self-titled record with the release of its eighth studio album, The Whole Love, due out later this month.

Sunday: Cheer on the thousands of runners keeping Terry Fox's dream alive (photo by Logantech)

Sunday, September 18
Carry on the legacy and spirit of national hero and support cancer research. Running, walking, and cycling paths of various lengths will be set up at Terry Fox Run sites around the city.

Celebrate “Hangawi,” also known as the Korean Thanksgiving at the Korean Harvest Festival. Concerts, a Korean culture show, and a singing competition are all part of the festivities taking place at Mel Lastman Square in North Toronto.

Polka your way over to Roncesvalles Village for the Roncesvalles Polish Festival. Experience the heritage, art, music, and food of Poland, along with a soccer tournament, and film screenings at the Revue cinema.

Hot Date: Kim Cattrall’s Ex Files

SEPTEMBER 16 TO OCTOBER 30 While honeymooning with her new husband, divorcée Amanda discovers her ex-husband Elyot is staying in the room next door in Noël Coward’s comedic classic Private Lives. The two lead characters, played by Kim Cattrall and Paul Gross (of Due South fame), revive past faults and rekindle their passion while arguing across a balcony that overlooks the glamorous French Riviera. Directed by Richard Eyre, this hit from London’s West End runs in Toronto before heading to Broadway. Royal Alexandra Theatre, $35 to $130; call 416-872-1212 or click here for showtimes and tickets.

Hot Date: Carrie Fisher’s Juicy Tell-All

Carrie Fisher in Wishful Drinking (photo by Joan Marcus)

JULY 12 TO AUGUST 21 All-around talented film star, best-selling novelist and acclaimed screenwriter Carrie Fisher brings her award-winning show, Wishful Drinking to Toronto. Best known for her role—and hairdo—as Princess Leia in the original Star Wars trilogy, Fisher tells the story of her life as a Hollywood celebrity with a wry, witty tone sure to make you laugh. Royal Alexandra Theatre, Tuesday to Saturday 8 p.m., Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday 2 p.m., $35 to $99; call 416-872-1212 or click here to buy.

Hot Date: Theatre in the Buff

APRIL 15 TO MAY 28 Prepare for another taste of English theatrical fare. Like the current success of Billy Elliot the Musical, the heartening and hilarious Calendar Girls is adapted from a hit British film. The latter, however, features an all-Canadian cast comprising an ordinary women’s club that causes an uproar by creating a risqué calendar for charity. This North American premiere leaves no funny bone unexposed. Royal Alexandra Theatre, Tuesday to Saturday 8 p.m., Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday 2 p.m., $30 to $94; call 416-872-1212 or click here for tickets.

Hot Date: Peek into the Secret Garden

The Secret Garden (photo by Richard Campbell)

FEBRUARY 8 TO MARCH 19 A world of natural beauty is revealed to Toronto in the Tony Award–winning musical, The Secret Garden. Adapted from the enduring turn-of-the-century novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett, the enchanting production shows how a young girl brings new life to an entire Victorian household by tending to its neglected flower patch. Royal Alexandra Theatre, Tuesday to Saturday 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday 2 p.m., $55 to $110; call 416-872-1212 or click here for tickets.