A free day at the ROM, a play in Christie Pits and seven other things to see, do, hear and read this week
A free day at the ROM
1This Tuesday, the ROM is reopening the historic Weston entrance on Queen’s Park. To celebrate, John Tory and other notables will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10 a.m., and the museum will offer free admission all day. Visitors can check out all the usual treasures—dinosaurs, ancient artifacts—and the The Evidence Room, a Holocaust exhibition. (The museum’s fascinating Vikings and dazzling Christian Dior exhibitions will be ticketed separately.) Tuesday, December 12. Free. Royal Ontario Museum.
A nativity play in Christie Pits
2Soulpepper teams up with Common Boots Theatre for The Story, a modern reimagining of the nativity as a frosty outdoor theatre experience. The audience follows the three wise men through Christie Pits as they search for baby Jesus. Purists, be warned: the trio encounters some non-canonical twists and a few offbeat interpretations of the Bible’s most familiar characters. Monday, December 11 to Saturday, December 30. PWYC. Christie Pits.
An altruistic Wooden Sky show
3Toronto’s finest folk-rock outfit, The Wooden Sky, takes a break from touring for an annual holiday show, which has raised more than $21,000 for local charities over the past eight years. All proceeds from this edition support Romero House, an organization that helps resettle refugee families in Toronto. Wednesday, December 13. $25. 918 Bathurst.
A whirling ode to Leonard Cohen
4Leonard Cohen’s melancholy songwriting and gravelly baritone aren’t exactly the kind of things that get you out of your seat and dancing down the aisles. But, this month, Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal pays tribute to that city’s beloved son with Dance Me/Leonard Cohen, a multimedia ballet inspired by his work. The production arrives a year after Cohen’s death and combines his most iconic songs with conceptual video art and unexpectedly swift, frantic movements that capture the passion, the eroticism and especially the fedoras of the High Priest of Pathos. Friday, December 15. $55–$145. Sony Centre for the Performing Arts.
A storied musical collaboration brought back to life
5On December 4, 1956, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash held an impromptu jam session at Memphis’s Sun Records. Mirvish recreates the magic of that fabled night at Million Dollar Quartet, which features tunes like “Blue Suede Shoes” and “Great Balls of Fire.” Tuesday, December 12 to January 7. $59-$89. CAA Theatre.
A groundbreaking queer play, 50 years later
6In 1967, two years before the Stonewall uprising, playwright John Herbert forced Toronto audiences to acknowledge the existence of the LGBTQ community with his play Fortune and Men’s Eyes, a drama about four gay men incarcerated for their sexuality. Fifty years later, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre revives the groundbreaking story, which will precede a panel discussion about the spotty history of LGBTQ rights in Canada. Monday, December 11. PWYC. Buddies in Bad Times Theatre.
Canada in a thousand stories
7Husband-and-wife team Charles Ketchabaw and Lisa Marie DiLiberto spent three years travelling the country in their storymobile—a portable recording studio inside a cozy trailer—collecting anecdotes from people plucked off main streets across Canada. They’re sharing their discoveries in this multimedia extravaganza, Tale of a Town—Canada, a last-blast celebration of Canada 150 that draws from thousands of interviews to preserve what the couple calls the “collective community memory” of both large cities and small towns. Wednesday, December 13 to Sunday, December 17. $38. Theatre Passe Muraille.
Sarah Slean’s long-awaited return
8Singer-songwriter Sarah Slean makes her first Toronto appearance in five years to play new album, Metaphysics. On it, she taps her wide range of talents—classical composer, pop singer, visual artist—and combines complex orchestral arrangements with her trademark style and poetry. Tuesday, December 12. $41.50. Harbourfront Centre Theatre.
A Paul Thomas Anderson retrospective
9The director’s newest flick, Phantom Thread, hits theatres Christmas Day. Before that, revisit Anderson’s mind-boggling filmography at the Royal’s all-35mm retrospective. Things kick off with his lesser-known debut feature Hard Eight on December 15, followed by the classics Boogie Nights, Magnolia and There Will Be Blood. Friday, December 15 to January 12. $10–$40. The Royal.