The sea­son’s best in mu­sic, com­edy, the­atre and dance.

the top mu­sic, com­edy, the­atre and dance

Where Toronto - - CONTENTS -

Bat Out of Hell To Dec. 24

Meat Loaf and Jim Stein­man’s op­er­atic 1977 al­bum, Bat Out of

Hell, meets its stage mu­si­cal roots head on in this en­er­getic postapoc­a­lyp­tic extravaganza. Set in dystopian Man­hat­tan, the show fol­lows a young man named Strat who falls in love with Raven, the daugh­ter of a pow­er­ful tyrant. Rock out to Meat Loaf ’s great­est hits, like “Par­adise by the Dash­board Light,” “I’d Do Any­thing for Love (But I Won’t Do That)” and “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad.” Ed Mirvish The­atre, 244 Vic­to­ria St., mirvish.com

Grease: The Mu­si­cal Nov. 1–Dec. 10

Fans of the John Tra­volta–Olivia New­ton-John film know the sub­ti­tle of this pro­duc­tion is re­dun­dant. What’s Grease with­out its sig­na­ture songs like “You’re the One That I Want” and “Greased Light­ning”? This new per­for­mance takes its char­ac­ters back to the Chicago set­ting of the orig­i­nal 1971 mu­si­cal, but other­wise it’s the same story you grew up with. Grease is still the word. Win­ter Gar­den The­atre, 189 Yonge St., greaseon­stage.com

Chris Rock Nov. 11

It’s hard to be­lieve the To­tal Black­out Tour is Chris Rock’s first time on the road in nine years. The co­me­dian has re­ceived rave re­views to date, with an act fo­cus­ing on Rock’s strengths: mak­ing jokes about race re­la­tions, pol­i­tics, and re­la­tion­ships—in par­tic­u­lar the dis­so­lu­tion of his mar­riage in 2014. Air Canada Cen­tre, 40 Bay St., chris­rock­live.com

The Cu­ri­ous In­ci­dent of the Dog in the Night­time To Nov. 19

Christo­pher Boone—the lead char­ac­ter in Si­mon Stephens’s stage adap­ta­tion of Mark Had­den’s pop­u­lar novel—is a highly in­tel­li­gent 15-year-old boy who’s gifted at math but who has trou­ble mak­ing sense of ev­ery­day life. When he be­comes a sus­pect in the death of a neigh­bour’s dog, he begins an in­ves­ti­ga­tion to find the real cul­prit. Princess of Wales The­atre, 300 King St. W., mirvish.com

A Christ­mas Carol:

The Fam­ily Mu­si­cal with a Scrooge Loose Nov. 24–Dec. 31

Ross Petty Pro­duc­tions has been stag­ing fam­ily friendly Christ­mas pan­tomimes (mu­si­cal come­dies loosely based on a tra­di­tional fairy tales that em­ploy slap­stick, cross-dress­ing and top­i­cally based jokes) for 22 years, and

yet this year’s edi­tion is the first to ac­tu­ally have a Christ­mas theme, tak­ing on the Dick­ens clas­sic A Christ­mas Carol. Not that it mat­ters: if you’re pay­ing too close at­ten­tion to the plot of a pan­tomime, you’re miss­ing all the fun. El­gin The­atre, 189 Yonge St., rosspetty.com

An­nie Dec. 8–Jan. 7

The De­pres­sion-era story of a red­headed or­phan and her mil­lion­aire adop­tive fa­ther has been en­ter­tain­ing fam­i­lies on­stage for 40 years. Kids love An­nie’s spunky per­son­al­ity, while chil­dren and par­ents alike en­joy clas­sic songs like “To­mor­row”

and “Hard Knock Life.” Ran­dolph The­atre, 736 Bathurst St., ran­dolph­cen­tre­fort­hearts.com

The Nutcracker Dec. 9–30

The Na­tional Bal­let of Canada’s per­for­mance of The Nutcracker has been a Toronto tra­di­tion for more than two decades.

The story—slightly up­dated here with a nar­ra­tive fo­cused on two chil­dren pre­par­ing to en­ter a more grown-up world— is elab­o­rately staged on a beau­ti­fully de­signed set. Four Sea­sons Cen­tre for the Per­form­ing Arts, 145 Queen St. W., na­tional.bal­let.ca

The Lo­rax Dec. 9–Jan. 21

Few peo­ple re­al­ize beloved chil­dren’s au­thor Dr. Seuss was an early sup­porter of the en­vi­ron­men­tal move­ment. His 1971 book The Lo­rax di­rectly ad­dressed threats to na­ture poised by eco­nomic greed. This stage adap­ta­tion ed­u­cates as much as it en­ter­tains—cour­tesy of a set de­sign that will make you feel like you’re liv­ing in a Dr. Seuss book. Royal Alexan­dra The­atre, 260 King St. W., mirvish.com

Next Stage The­atre Fes­ti­val Jan. 3–14

Next Stage is the win­ter cousin of the Toronto Fringe Fes­ti­val. But where the Fringe is made up of both es­tab­lished and up-and­com­ing the­atre artists cho­sen by lot­tery, Next Stage is a ju­ried af­fair, and con­sists of both new and re­mounted plays from past Fringes. This year’s high­lights in­clude a new work by com­edy troupe–pup­peteers Sex T-Rex and Fringe vets Martin Dock­ery and Vanessa Ques­nelle. Fac­tory The­atre, 125 Bathurst St., fringe­toronto.com

Grease: The Mu­si­cal

The Nutcracker

The Lo­rax

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