A Mariah Carey concert, a Percy Jackson–inspired musical and six other things to see, do and hear in Toronto this week
A night with R&B’s original diva
1Ariana Grande may have started the whistle tone challenge, but Mariah Carey was hitting high Gs before Grande was born. Even three decades into her career, this unapologetic diva can still belt it out better than any of R&B’s fresher faces. Carey’s concerts are packed with glittery costume changes, over-the-top props (she once reportedly requested 100 doves and 20 kittens for a Christmas show in a mall) and all the drama you’d expect from a tried-and-true performer. Wednesday, March 20. $136–$610. Sony Centre for the Performing Arts.
An eco-friendly everything show
2Eco warriors can find crafty ways to reduce their carbon footprint at the annual Green Living Show. This year, expect to see a shipping container museum showcasing the evolution of eco-friendly style, Canadian-made backyard chicken coops, leaf-leather wallets and handbags, urban beekeepers and ethically made foods. Friday, March 22. $12–$18. Metro Toronto Convention Centre.
A Percy Jackson–inspired musical
3It isn’t easy being a teenage demigod. After high school misfit Percy Jackson discovers that he’s the son of Poseidon, he’s sent on a quest to prevent a war between the Greek deities by finding his Uncle Zeus’s stolen lightning bolt. This Off-Broadway family musical based on Rick Riordan’s The Lightning Thief is a winning mix of classical mythology and modern adolescent angst, addressing issues from bullying to coping with ADHD. It’s propelled by Rob Rokicki’s high-energy pop-rock score—a blend of rousing anthems and soul-baring ballads—and a production that favours clever staging over big-budget special effects. Tuesday, March 19 to Sunday, March 24. $39–$95. Ed Mirvish Theatre.
A Canadian movie marathon
4Now in its 13th year, the Canadian Film Festival showcases the best cinematic talent from Hollywood North. This year’s must-sees include Red Rover, a drama about a lonely geologist who tries to qualify for a one-way mission to Mars; and the Toronto premiere of Wolves Unleashed: Against All Odds, a documentary about world-renowned animal trainer Andrew Simpson’s journey to tame wild Mongolian wolves. The Homegrown Shorts Programme includes over two dozen short films, from swoon-worthy romances to ’60s-style horror and everything in between. Tuesday, March 19 to Saturday, March 23. Single tickets: $15, festival pass: $150. Scotiabank Theatre.
A cleverly staged Greek myth
5Greek mythology is littered with terrible parents, but Agamemnon is among the worst: he sacrifices his daughter Iphigenia to the goddess Artemis in exchange for favourable winds so he can storm Troy. The story of Wedding at Aulis was made famous by Euripides in around 407 BC, but Soulpepper is giving it a fresh interpretation in a new version by Iranian-Canadian playwright Sina Gilani. The intimate Tank House Theatre will transform into a circular arena to accommodate staging inspired by traditional Persian wrestling, a combination of martial arts, calisthenics and strength training that was used to prepare warriors in Iran. Friday, March 22 to Sunday, April 14. $38–$82. Young Centre for the Performing Arts.
An improvised Bachelorette
6Reality dating shows are an easy target for comedy: there’s no shortage of botched pick-up lines, backstabbing, side-eye and dates so cheesy they warrant an eye roll or two. Bad Dog Comedy’s The One: An Improvised Bachelorette spins these tropes into a series of hilarious parody skits. Who will get stuck on the group date? Which contestant isn’t there for the right reasons? And which contestant will throw an erratic fit when they aren’t handed a sought-after rose? Friday, March 15 to Friday, March 28. $10–$15. Bad Dog Comedy Theatre.
A masterful oratorio
7Johann Sebastian Bach never wrote an opera, but St. Matthew Passion, his sacred oratorio focusing on the betrayal, trial and crucifixion of Jesus, is packed with so much drama that it’s been successfully staged at theatres around the world. It’s been a decade since Tafelmusik performed the intricate composition, and for this revival, the group is taking a stripped-down approach, relying on the period mastery of its orchestra, a superb quintet of soloists and the commitment of its chamber choir, all under the baton of renowned guest conductor Masaaki Suzuki. Thursday, March 21 to Sunday, March 24. Jeanne Lamon Hall, Trinity–St. Paul’s Centre.
A Japanese drum circle
8The Japanese word Kodo has two translations: “heartbeat” and “children of the drum.” It’s a fitting name for the traditional Japanese taiko drumming group, whose members dance and twirl around to the booming rhythm of cymbals, flutes and, of course, drums. After four years of touring through Asia and Europe, Kodo returns to Toronto to give a performance that never skips a beat. Thursday, March 21. $62.75–$106.50. Sony Centre for the Performing Arts.