This fall’s must-see shows

Ground­break­ing new works and groovy mu­si­cal pro­duc­tions on tap this the­atre sea­son

North Toronto Post - - Currents - By Ron John­son

With the ar­rival of fall, the Toronto the­atre sea­son is about to get in full swing. There are new spa­ces open­ing up and of­fer­ing great shows in out-of-the-way lo­ca­tions as well as big tour­ing pro­duc­tions trot­ting out the lat­est Broad­way hits and ev­ery­thing in be­tween.

Here are 10 shows ev­ery­one will be talk­ing about.

The Men in White

Anosh Irani is a spec­tac­u­lar writer, dev­as­tat­ing and beau­ti­ful at the same time. His works tend to be in­tense, thought-pro­vok­ing and ut­terly en­gag­ing. His lat­est,

The Men in White, is billed as a heart­break­ing tale of life, love and cricket. But with Irani, it is never as sim­ple as all that. This is a con­tem­po­rary play that deals with im­mi­gra­tion and other is­sues. The

Men in White runs from Oct. 13 to Nov. 4 at the Fac­tory The­atre.

Ain’t Too Proud

The fine folks at Mirvish Pro­duc­tions have a full slate of pro­duc­tions lead­ing into two hol­i­day shows we are quite ex­cited about: Char­lie and the Choco­late Fac­tory and School of Rock. But be­fore then, there is Ain’t Too Proud. This preBroad­way pro­duc­tion tells the story of one of the great­est R & B groups of all time: the Temp­ta­tions. Ex­pect stun­ning ren­di­tions of some se­ri­ously beloved songs such as “My Girl” and “Papa Was a Rolling Stone.”

Ain’t Too Proud runs at the Princess of Wales The­atre from Oct. 11 to Nov. 17.

Be­com­ing Banksy

Banksy has been all the rage in the city over the past few months with exhibitions and un­veil­ings aplenty. So it comes as no sur­prise that the Bri­tish street artist turned cult hero is the sub­ject of a new stage work dubbed Be­com­ing

Banksy. The show will be here for three weeks (un­til Oct. 14) in a new venue called the Red­wood The­atre in the city’s very hot Ger­rard Street East dis­trict. Then it heads to New York City for an off-Broad­way run, Yes, Lake Inez for a pre-show din­ner is highly rec­om­mended.

The Chil­dren

We love Fiona Reid. So it was ex­cel­lent to learn that she is star­ring in a new Cana­dian Stage pro­duc­tion of the crit­i­cally ac­claimed play The Chil­dren. The play, by U.K. play­wright Lucy Kirk­wood, was in­spired by the Fukushima nu­clear dis­as­ter in Ja­pan, as well as the el­derly peo­ple who risked their lives to clean up the mess after­wards. The very tal­ented cast also in­cludes

Ge­ordie John­son and Laura Pa­ton. The Chil­dren runs un­til Oct. 21 at Berke­ley Street The­atre.

The Nether

Mov­ing into its third sea­son, Coal Mine The­atre kicks things off with the creepy new work: The

Nether. In this ground­break­ing play, which pre­miered in Los An­ge­les in 2013, a de­tec­tive un­cov­ers a dis­turb­ing and im­mer­sive vir­tual world, trig­ger­ing a bat­tle over tech­nol­ogy and hu­man de­sire. Part crime drama and part sci-fi thriller, The Nether is di­rected by Peter Pasyk with an im­pres­sive cast that in­cludes Kather­ine Cullen, Han­nah Levin­son, Mark McGrinder, Robert Per­si­chini and David Storch. The Nether runs from Oct. 11 to Nov. 4 at Coal Mine The­atre.

Now You See Her

The world pre­miere of this dar­ing work is a col­lab­o­ra­tion in­volv­ing some of the most ex­cit­ing voices in Toronto the­atre to­day: Night­wood The­atre, Why Not The­atre and Quote Un­quote Col­lec­tive — which in­cludes codi­rec­tors and Dora Award–win­ning artists Amy Nost­bakken and No­rah Sa­dava fresh off their TIFF pre­miere of the film adap­ta­tion of their play

Mouth­piece. Now You See Her is a story of women — “the in­vis­i­ble, the van­ish­ing, the marginal­ized” — told from a va­ri­ety of per­spec­tives through words, move­ment and mu­sic. It should be the most talked-about pro­duc­tion this sea­son, and it runs at Bud­dies in Bad Times the­atre Oct. 18 to Nov. 4.

Noor

Noor is a Rumi-in­spired play in two acts, writ­ten by Ak­bar Ahmed about a cul­ture clash that ex­ists within mod­ern Mus­lim com­mu­ni­ties. This new Toronto pro­duc­tion is part of Aga Khan Mu­seum’s new per­form­ing arts sea­son ex­plor­ing the idea of “The Other Side of Fear.” Noor will be per­formed in­side the mu­seum’s Mon­go­lian yurt. The play runs Oct. 13 to 21.

The Royale

This is go­ing to be ex­cit­ing and, as far as we can re­call, the only play in Toronto that comes with ring­side seats. Play­wright Marco Ramirez is best known for a pop­u­lar TV show called Or­ange Is the New Black. The Royale is a story told in six rounds about boxer Jay John­son (in­spired by the true story of Jack John­son) and his quest to be­come world heavy­weight cham­pion in the seg­re­gated world of pro­fes­sional boxing over a cen­tury ago. Soulpep­per’s pro­duc­tion stars Dion John­stone as Jay. The play runs Oct. 12 to Nov. 11.

The Mes­sage

Gover­nor Gen­eral’s Award win­ner Ja­son Sher­man’s lat­est work gets its world pre­miere at the Tar­ragon. The Mes­sage is a play about Toronto’s le­gendary philoso­pher and me­dia the­o­rist Mar­shall McLuhan and his strug­gles to fin­ish work fol­low­ing a stroke. It stars the tal­ented R. H. Thom­son and is di­rected by Richard Rose. We ex­pect very good things. The Mes­sage runs at the Tar­ragon The­atre, Nov. 7 to Dec. 16.

The Wolves

The Wolves, a fi­nal­ist for the 2017 Pulitzer Prize, is a provoca­tive play about ado­les­cence and grow­ing up, told through the ex­pe­ri­ences of a girls in­door soc­cer team. It pre­miered of­fBroad­way in 2016 and will kick off the sea­son at the Street­car Crowsnest the­atre. Two-time Dora Award win­ner Court­ney Ch’ng di­rects the pro­duc­tion, which is a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween Crow’s The­atre and the How­land Com­pany. The Wolves runs Oct. 9 to 27.

Clock­wise from top: Mirvish’s pro­duc­tion of ‘Ain’t Too Proud’ of­fers up cool Mo­town sounds, ‘The Wolves’ kicks off the sea­son at Street­car Crowsnest the­atre, and the pow­er­house pro­duc­tion ‘Now You See Her’

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