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Stage News

Review: ‘Romeo and Juliet’ hits High Park with energy and style Special

Toronto - “Romeo and Juliet” is one of the Shakespeare tragedies that’s hard to make fresh. Even for those who don’t care for the Bard, it’s too familiar, over-referenced and over-parodied, and everything about it now seems like a stale cliché.

Review: ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’ scores in High Park with unique choices Special

Toronto - Tanja Jacobs knows how to make Shakespeare fun. Fresh off last year’s funny, colourful production of “Twelfth Night” in Toronto’s High Park, the director scores another winner with her quick-paced take on “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”.

‘Jerusalem’, ‘Life After’, ‘Orphée’ dominate this year’s Doras Special

Toronto - It was an evening of rampant rule-breaking at the thirty-ninth Dora Mavor Moore Awards last night – the annual ceremony recognizing the best in Toronto theatre – as winners littered the stage with random F-bombs and overlong speeches.

Review: Annie Baker’s ‘The Aliens’ makes impressive Toronto debut Special

Toronto - Annie Baker is the unofficial poet laureate of the millennial generation. Does any other current playwright have such a gift for recreating the way young people really talk – not just in what they say, but in what they don’t?

Review: Hilarity and despair mix well in wonderful new take on ‘Godot’ Special

Toronto - “Waiting for Godot” may be famous as The Play In Which Nothing Happens, but Soulpepper Theatre Company’s new production in Toronto is so alive and emotionally resonant, you’ll come out of it feeling as if you’ve seen everything.

Review: ‘Twelfth Night’ in High Park loaded with fast-paced fun Special

Toronto - Now this is what a Shakespeare comedy should be. Canadian Stage’s “Twelfth Night”, which opened last Friday, is so much delirious fun that it will make you forget all the boring academic blather you heard about the Bard in Grade 11 English.

Review: Soulpepper’s ‘Bondage’ still an emotionally resonant experience Special

Toronto - It’s been nearly three years since Soulpepper premiered its acclaimed production of “Of Human Bondage”, which began its third go-around this week. The show heads to New York in July, and if last night’s reopening was any indication, it’s ready.

Review: Compelling drama ‘Liv Stein’ relentless in English-language debut Special

Toronto - “Liv Stein” is like an edgier “All About Eve”, set in the classical music world, with a climax that takes cues from “Saw”. If that description is hard to believe, it suits a play about how the desperate believe anything they want to be true.

Review: Soulpepperʼs ʻThe Last Wifeʼ is a Tudor tale for our times Special

Toronto - Kate Hennig’s “The Last Wife” may be ostensibly about Henry VIII’s marriage to Katherine Parr, but it’s misleading to view the play as a history lesson. Considering recent world events, it seems to be about now more than any other period.

Review: Soulpepper reimagines ʻWonderful Lifeʼ as a postwar radio play Special

Toronto - As with other overexposed holiday classics – “A Christmas Carol”, “The Grinch” and so on – itʼs hard to see “Itʼs a Wonderful Life” in a fresh way. But Philip Grecianʼs stage adaptation tries a unique approach: a live radio play.

Review: George F. Walker completes Bobby and Tina cycle on mixed note Special

Toronto - The third entry in a trilogy is often the weakest one. Think of “The Godfather Part III”, “Return of the Jedi”, “The Return of the King” – and now, if this rule counts for indie theatre too, add George F. Walker’s “The Damage Done”.

Review: Intense ‘Breathing Corpses’ shocks, stuns in Canadian debut Special

Toronto - Everybody dies, but how does the cycle of mortality affect those still living? That’s the theme that confronts audiences in British playwright Laura Wade’s uncomfortable 2005 drama, “Breathing Corpses”, which opened in Toronto on Wednesday.

Review: Updated take on Ibsen classic has fresh new meaning in T.O. Special

Toronto - You may think there’s nothing new to see in Henrik Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House”, or that it lacks the shocking, revolutionary quality that it had in 1879. Well, get ready to view the play in a different way if you catch the ongoing Toronto remount.

Review: Clowns are the stars of campy, frenetic ‘39 Steps’ in Toronto Special

Toronto - Ravi Jain may be one of Toronto’s hottest theatre directors, but he hasn’t forgotten his clowning roots. That’s clear from “The 39 Steps”, in which he turns the classic Alfred Hitchcock film into a crazily entertaining screwball free-for-all.

Singer dies after being bitten by cobra on stage

Karawang - Earlier in the week, an Indonesian pop star was performing on stage when she was bitten by a cobra. After she was bitten, she collapsed and died.

Review: T.O. gets up close and personal with top acting talent in ‘Tale’ Special

Toronto - “The Winter’s Tale” isn’t the favourite Shakespeare play of many, but the modern-dress version at Toronto’s Coal Mine Theatre — the inaugural production of Graham Abbey’s Groundling Theatre Company — makes it seem close to a masterpiece.

Review: New Evan Linder play a timely drama about race, family, love Special

Toronto - How can a poor white couple cope in a small-minded Mississippi town when their new baby turns out to be African American? That’s the dilemma of Chicago playwright Evan Linder’s explosive new play, “Byhalia, Mississippi”, which opened on Friday.

Review: Jim Broadbent delights in a Christmas Carol Special

London - The Christmas season may be over but the London stage production of A Christmas Carol, staring movie legend Jim Broadbent, continues its theater run.

Op-Ed: The best of live theatre in Toronto and elsewhere in 2015

Toronto - So we’ve come to the end of 2015. As inevitable as Christmas, New Year’s and excessive alcohol and chocolate consumption are the media’s endless recap lists and reviews of the best in entertainment of the year – in music, film and so on.

Review: David Fox owns the stage in otherwise routine 'King Lear' in T.O. Special

Toronto - As Edmund the bastard might put it, the wheel of David Fox’s association with Theatre Passe Muraille is come full-circle. A cast member of 1972’s legendary “The Farm Show”, Fox is back at the Toronto venue as the Bard’s greatest tragic hero.

Review: Campy ‘Holmes’ touring production is a little too elementary Special

Toronto - Like Batman, James Bond and other iconic heroes, Sherlock Holmes has seen so many reinventions that the original image is almost forgotten. Arthur Conan Doyle would faint if he were alive to see what pop culture has made of his famed creation.

Review: Toronto ‘Marat/Sade’ remount picks spectacle over substance Special

Toronto - Overheard during the intermission at the Soulpepper theatre company’s new production of “Marat/Sade” last night: First dude says, “This is totally amazing, huh?” Second dude replies, “Yeah... but it’s also kind of exhausting, isn’t it?”

'Once', 'Blood Wedding', 'Falstaff' win big at Toronto's Doras Special

Toronto - Federico García Lorca's 1932 play “Blood Wedding” was the biggest winner at last night's Dora Mavor Moore Awards: the recent co-production by Modern Times Stage Company and Aluna Theatre copped six Doras at the 36th annual Toronto theatre awards.

Review: Strindberg’s marital drama comes alive in new Toronto revival Special

Toronto - How often does independent theatre get as good as this? Coal Mine Theatre’s new production of “Creditors,” one of August Strindberg’s lesser-performed plays, is so alive with tension and piercing wit that it rarely feels like an antique.

Five shot at California nightclub hosting R&B star Chris Brown

San Jose - Five people were wounded early Sunday morning when someone opened fire at a packed San Jose nightclub just after controversial R&B star Chris Brown took the stage.

Review: 'Harry Potter' stage parody makes glorious return to Toronto Special

Toronto - I've missed several chances to see “Potted Potter”; besides its previous Toronto run in 2012, the world-touring revue has been in London and New York at times when I happened to be in those cities. Despite the new cast, it was worth the wait.

Review: Soulpepper's 'Crucible' remount in Toronto still full of power Special

Toronto - “Death of a Salesman” may be Arthur Miller’s most revered play, but “The Crucible”, his 1953 drama about the seventeenth-century witch trials in Salem, Massachusetts, holds up as his most stinging study of evil and hypocrisy in human nature.

Review: 'Glenn' a complex, abstract tribute to iconic Toronto pianist Special

Toronto - From the peak of his career to his death in 1982, Glenn Gould was a baffling enigma as much as he was a classical-music superstar. As many artistic geniuses were, from Picasso to Salinger, the Toronto pianist could be eccentric and difficult.

Review: Toronto 'Tartuffe' has good moments, odd directorial choices Special

Toronto - It's a tricky business, trying to make an old theatre warhorse seem fresh and new. Bold or eccentric choices can spark new life into a classic, or they can massacre it. Soulpepper's new mounting of “Tartuffe” tastes both ends of the lollipop.

Review: ‘Twelve Angry Men’ remains powerful in flawed Toronto production Special

Toronto - A stinging, gripping defence of presumption of innocence, “Twelve Angry Men” hasn’t lost any of its guts after nearly 60 years. It’s a credit to Reginald Rose’s sharp writing that the play overcomes the flaws of Soulpepper’s production.
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The combination of actor and dancer is something Campbell has taken to heart. A large part of Nijins...
The combination of actor and dancer is something Campbell has taken to heart. A large part of Nijinsky’s artistry derived from his seemingly-seamless integration of the theatrical and balletic. It’s an integration Campbell is focusing on. “We have technically difficult steps we have to execute,” he notes, “but that’s not the majority of what the role is about.”
Bruce Zinger
The set for  The Caretaker  at The Old Vic in London.
The set for 'The Caretaker' at The Old Vic in London.
The title character in Act I of Dmitri Shostakovich’s “The Nose.  The first revival of South Afr...
The title character in Act I of Dmitri Shostakovich’s “The Nose." The first revival of South African artist William Kentridge's acclaimed production opens September 28. Photo: Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera
Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera
The main stage for the  Born Frees .
The main stage for the "Born Frees".
Untitled
Svadilfari
Armin van Buuren commanding the stage at Madison Square Garden
Armin van Buuren commanding the stage at Madison Square Garden
Floris Heuer Fotografie
Luca Pisaroni as Maometto II. Photo from  Maometto II  (Sante Fe Opera  2012).
Luca Pisaroni as Maometto II. Photo from 'Maometto II' (Sante Fe Opera, 2012).
Ken Howard
A scene from the 2011 Salzburg Festival production of Mozart s  The Marriage of Figaro   which will ...
A scene from the 2011 Salzburg Festival production of Mozart's 'The Marriage of Figaro', which will be part of the COC's 2015-2016 season. "Mozart is key, like the core of the core," Neef says. "(His work is) the most human and he never judges his characters." ( L-R, Genia Kühmeier as the Countess, Katija Dragojevic as Cherubino and Marlis Petersen as Susanna)
Monika Rittershaus
BBB Main Stage with the Nace Brothers performing.  Fayetteville  Ark.  Oct. 2  2010.
BBB Main Stage with the Nace Brothers performing. Fayetteville, Ark. Oct. 2, 2010.
Closer view of the stage for the 2017 revival of The Philanthropist   in London.
Closer view of the stage for the 2017 revival of The Philanthropist , in London.
Roundabout Theatre Company’s ANYTHING GOES. Pictured: Alex Finke  Erich Bergen and Company.
Roundabout Theatre Company’s ANYTHING GOES. Pictured: Alex Finke, Erich Bergen and Company.
Joan Marcus
Johan Reuter as Wotan and Christine Goerke as Brünnhilde in the Canadian Opera Company production o...
Johan Reuter as Wotan and Christine Goerke as Brünnhilde in the Canadian Opera Company production of 'Die Walküre', 2015.
Michael Cooper
Ta Rea Campbell as Deloris and Hollis Resnik as Mother Superior in the touring production of Sister ...
Ta'Rea Campbell as Deloris and Hollis Resnik as Mother Superior in the touring production of Sister Act.
Joan Marcus
Roundabout Theatre Company’s ANYTHING GOES. Pictured: Ryan Steer  Bobby Pestka  Rachel York  Jerem...
Roundabout Theatre Company’s ANYTHING GOES. Pictured: Ryan Steer, Bobby Pestka, Rachel York, Jeremy Benton, Kristopher Thompson-Bolden.
Joan Marcus
Photo taken from printed program of Asia on Stage show 2010 at Herbst Theater San Francisco
Photo taken from printed program of Asia on Stage show 2010 at Herbst Theater San Francisco
Program photo from Asia on Stage show 2010
The stage is set  ready for the production of A Christmas Carol.
The stage is set, ready for the production of A Christmas Carol.
(l-r) Robert Gleadow as Guglielmo  Paul Appleby as Ferrando  Wallis Giunta as Dorabella and Layla Cl...
(l-r) Robert Gleadow as Guglielmo, Paul Appleby as Ferrando, Wallis Giunta as Dorabella and Layla Claire as Fiordiligi in the Canadian Opera Company’s new production of "Così fan tutte", 2014.
Michael Cooper
The stage for the live country bands set up in the beer garden area  kept for 19 plus only.
The stage for the live country bands set up in the beer garden area, kept for 19 plus only.
Christopher Sieber (L) and George Hamilton (R) star in the touring production of La Cage Aux Folles ...
Christopher Sieber (L) and George Hamilton (R) star in the touring production of La Cage Aux Folles, currently running at Toronto's Royal Alexandra Theatre through mid-November.
Paul Kolnik
Christine Goerke as Brünnhilde and Clifton Forbis as Siegmund in the Canadian Opera Company product...
Christine Goerke as Brünnhilde and Clifton Forbis as Siegmund in the Canadian Opera Company production of 'Die Walküre', 2015.
Michael Cooper