The Canadian premiere of Hamilton, a Post Malone concert and five other things to do in Toronto this week
A remixed re-enactment
1Break out the frock coats and duelling pistols. Hamilton, the most celebrated (and most hyped) musical of the decade, has finally planted its flag in Toronto for a three-month run. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s game-changing rewrite of American history tells the story of Alexander Hamilton, the immigrant founding father who rose to become the first U.S. treasury secretary. Driven by a genius hip hop–meets–Broadway score and performed by a multiracial cast that mirrors modern America, it makes its long-anticipated Canadian debut after winning 11 Tony Awards in New York and seven Oliviers in London. February 11 to May 17, Ed Mirvish Theatre.
A romantic Valentine’s rendezvous
2Behind all the face tattoos, Post Malone is a bit of a softie. Partly in order to accommodate his Canadian fans, the “Psycho” rapper—whose tunes wouldn’t be out of place in a club or a dive bar—has extended his wildly successful Runaway tour through February, with a romantic stop on Valentine’s Day in Toronto. You bring your date and Post will bring openers Swae Lee and Tyla Yaweh, a whack of tunes from Hollywood’s Bleeding (his latest release), and presumably plenty of backstage 40s. February 14, Scotiabank Arena.
A movie with a message
3Director Spike Lee is all about justice and representation, and he’s bringing that spirit to the Toronto Black Film Festival on Thursday with a screening–followed by a conversation–of his restored 2000 film Bamboozled, a satirical comedy featuring black actors in a successful network show wearing blackface, and the resulting fallout. Also on the lineup is Princess of the Row, the story of a father and daughter on L.A.’s skid row, and a conversation with Tarana Burke, the founder of the #MeToo movement. February 12 to 17, various locations.
A sweet suite
4Once called the “maharaja of the keyboard” by fellow jazz heavyweight Duke Ellington, Oscar Peterson is a musical legend. But even he had a few secrets. After completing his Africa Suite in 1983, he released just two songs: “Nigerian Marketplace” and “Peace.” Now, for the first time, the entire body of work will be performed live before an audience . And while the big-band set-up is sure to be a crowd pleaser, audience members should keep an eye out for one particular instrument: Peterson’s own piano, played by Benny Green. February 12, Koerner Hall.
A plutocratic melodrama
5Set among the wealthy and the wannabes in Vancouver’s Asian community, Lady Sunrise updates a Chinese theatre classic—Cao Yu’s Sunrise—to tell the tale of a high-priced escort and her connection with six powerful women. Two of Toronto theatre’s Asian-Canadian stars team up for this sexy, sharp-edged new play: it’s written by Marjorie Chan—the new artistic director of Theatre Passe Muraille—and directed by Nina Lee Aquino, Factory’s dynamic boss. February 15 to March 8, Factory Theatre.
An experimental queer theatre festival
6Buddies in Bad Times’ Rhubarb Festival squeezes a week’s worth of culture into one show. Each evening features three to four performances, including theatre, music, dance and performance art. This year, catch Scary Stories People of Colour Tell in the Dark, which reimagines horror tropes using drag queens, or join an on-stage dinner party at Lao Thai. February 12 to 22, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre.
A gripping battle
7Drone warfare, that chillingly remote means of killing, gets the dramatic treatment in Grounded, Streetcar Crowsnets’s new psychological drama. When a U.S. fighter pilot is reassigned to drone duty after becoming pregnant, she finds herself posted to a windowless trailer in the Nevada desert. As she grapples with isolation and boredom, her assignments to seek and destroy terrorists in far-off lands begin to bleed into her personal life. Dora Award–winning actor Carly Street, who steamed up the stage in Venus in Fur, will leave the room in chills for the Toronto premiere of this 2014 off-Broadway hit. February 13 to 29, Streetcar Crowsnest.