The Weekender: Sing-a-Long-a Grease, Bloor-Yorkville Icefest and five other items on our to-do list
1. SING-A-LONG-A GREASE
You know the story: bad boy meets good girl, summer love ensues and then school starts. It looks like they’re destined for heartbreak until the good girl perms her hair, takes up smoking, dons some really tight pants and—voila—a happy ending. Even better, there are fabulously cheesy songs throughout. Sing along to “Summer Nights,” “Hopelessly Devoted to You,” “You’re the One that I Want” and “We Go Together”—and marvel at John Travolta’s erstwhile good looks—at this nostalgic screening. February 24–26. $18.75. TIFF Bell Lightbox, 350 King St. W., tiff.net.
2. FINDING FREEDOM: THE JOSHUA GLOVER STORY
In 1852, Joshua Glover escaped from his owner, Bennami Garland, and made the dangerous journey from St. Louis, Missouri to Racine, Wisconsin. Two years later, his worst fears came true: Garland joined forces with two deputy U.S. marshals, tracked Glover down and beat him mercilessly before depositing him in a Milwaukee jail. His story could easily end there—except it doesn’t, because a mob of townspeople made good use of a battering ram and liberated him from prison. After he made his way to Toronto via the Underground Railroad, he ended up working at Montgomery’s Inn. This powerful and dramatic play is a first-person account of Glover’s story, and a good reminder of Toronto’s black history. February 24. $20. Montgomery’s Inn, 4709 Dundas St. W., 416-394-8113, heritagetoronto.org.
3. BLOOR-YORKVILLE ICEFEST (FREE!)
Thanks to our good friend global warming, this annual cold-weather fest is probably our only chance to feel wintery this year—spring is only a month away, and it’s not like we’ve been battling much harsh weather thus far. Wander the streets of Yorkville to check out a 35,000 pound ice sculpture and Canadian-themed winter displays. There will be lumberjacks. February 25 and 26. Village of Yorkville Park, Cumberland St. between Bellair St. and Old York Lane, bloor-yorkville.com/icefest/
4. A BRIMFUL OF ASHA
This hilarious show is as close to reality TV as theatre gets: real-life mother and son duo Asha and Ravi Jain share the stage in a tale of cultures colliding, much-hoped-for matrimony and parental expectations. The two recount a trip to India, where Ravi’s mother sees an opportunity to find a bride for her darling son, but he’s not so sure about it. Parents just don’t understand. To February 26. $23-$30. Tarragon Theatre, 30 Bridgman Ave., 416-531-1827, tarragontheatre.com.
5. TRIBUTE: A MOVING HISTORY OF CANADIAN BLACKS IN DANCE
Local dance company Dance Immersion has been holding its annual showcase of black Canadian dancers for the past 17 years. This multimedia exploration of the black Canadian experience incorporates film, spoken word and movement, and performers include Jeni LeGon, Zab Maboungou, Paul Pettiford, Kevin Pugh and Jean Sheen. To February 25. $27–$32. Fleck Dance Theatre, Harbourfront Centre, 207 Queens Quay W., 416-973-4000, harbourfrontcentre.com.
6. BECKETT: FECK IT!
Irish playwright Samuel Beckett, generally considered to be one of the twentieth century’s greats, is the man behind absurdist classics like Waiting for Godot. In this Canadian Stage/Queen of Puddings Music Theatre co-production, local thespians Laura Condlin, Michal Grzejszczak, Tom Rooney and Sofia Tomic act in a medley of his shorter works, including Act Without Words II, Come and Go and Play. They share the stage with soprano Shannon Mercer and trumpet player Michael Fedyshyn, who perform a selection of modern Irish classical songs inspired by Beckett’s writing. To February 25. $22–$49. Berkeley Street Theatre, 26 Berkeley St., 416-368-3110, canadianstage.com.
7. FOR THE LOVE OF POETRY FESTIVAL (FREE!)
If prose isn’t your cup of tea, there’s always poetry. Hosted by The Ontario Poetry Society, this one-day fest features readings by society members and an open mic for aspiring poets to share their own work (or a few favourite verses of others’). Former beatniks will love this event. February 26. The Rivoli, 334 Queen St. W., 416-596-1908, rivoli.ca.