Alessia Cara’s homecoming, a new play from two Game of Thrones stars and seven other things to do this week
Alessia Cara’s big-time homecoming
Not so long ago, the 19-year-old Brampton R&B star was posting pop song covers to YouTube from her bedroom. But fame has found her quickly over the past two years: she signed with Def Jam Recordings, performed on Jimmy Fallon and released her stunning debut album, Know-It-All. Her meteoric rise might mirror that of Justin Bieber, but her music doesn’t: Cara’s songs (like the smoky anti-social anthem “Here”) are fresh and sophisticated in a way that other teen idols’ early tunes rarely are. Saturday, January 16 and Sunday, January 17. $23.50–$35. Danforth Music Hall, 147 Danforth Ave., ticketmaster.com.
Gaslight by way of Westeros
Game of Thrones actors and stage veterans Owen Teale and Ian McElhinney co-star in this psychological thriller about mental manipulation. The play, set in a creaky Victorian home, follows Bella Manningham, who worries she’s losing her mind while her overbearing husband is away on a business trip. Sunday, January 17 to February 28. $35–$119. Royal Alexandra Theatre, 260 King St. W., mirvish.com.
A talk from award-winning chef Gabrielle Hamilton
If you missed out on guest chef Gabrielle Hamilton’s sold-out dinner at Richmond Station, you can still hear her talk about her food (which isn’t quite the same as eating it, but still). On January 11, the chef and owner of New York’s celebrated Prune will speak about her memoir, Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef, at the Toronto Reference Library. Monday, January 11. FREE. Toronto Reference Libary, 789 Yonge St., torontopubliclibrary.ca.
A set of sci-fi stadium rock by Muse
The English trio have earned counter-cultural clout among the angsty high school set with their operatic sci-fi metal and conspiracy-theory anthems. Their latest record, Drones, is a concept album about the dehumanization of modern warfare—and it’s about as subtle as it sounds. It’s music tailor-made for the arena, with over-powering guitar riffs, consuming synths and screechy vocals. Saturday, January 16. $45–$85. Air Canada Centre, 40 Bay St., ticketmaster.com.
Hedda Gabler, the story of a royal daughter’s downfall
Like so many 19th-century literary heroines, Hedda is bored with what life has to offer. She’s an aristocrat’s daughter who seems to have it all together, but she’s stifled by her loveless marriage and, eventually, her manipulations take a grim turn. Henrik Ibsen’s 1890 play—and its intelligent, vulnerable and abrasive namesake character—should be a perfect match for Toronto director Jennifer Tarver, who has a flair for telling dark stories about complicated women, and The Book of Negroes star Cara Ricketts, who excels at playing them. Tuesday, January 12 to February 7. $24–$55. Berkeley Street Theatre Downstairs, 26 Berkeley St., canadianstage.com.
The cheetah-paced magic of Mike D’Urzo
You may recognize local trickster Mike D’Urzo from YTV or Canada’s Got Talent, or from his street magic act at Yonge-Dundas Square, but he’s best on the stage. His show taps age-old tools (playing cards, magic boxes) for classic tricks like optical illusions and Houdini-esque disappearing stunts. He animates the act with zany humour and narration as quick as a Sorkin script. Saturday, January 16. Adults $17; kids $12. Meadowvale Theatre, Mississauga, 6315 Montevideo Rd., mississauga.ca.
A melancholy electro concert by Majical Cloudz
The Canadian electro-pop duo rose out of indie obscurity in 2014 when they toured the continent’s arenas and amphitheatres opening for Lorde. Now, as headliners, they’re returning to the clubs where they started out—and that might be a good thing. Are You Alone?, their pensive new album with lyrics about cheap sex, sad films and sleeping pills, works best performed in close quarters. Friday, January 15. $16. The Garrison, 1197 Dundas St. W., ticketweb.ca.
Progress, a rising SummerWorks offshoot
This fest’s sophomore edition is a three-week-long program of compelling shows from around the world. Two highlights: Riding on a Cloud, a multimedia piece based on Lebanese director Rabih Mroué’s brother’s experiences during the country’s civil war, and Century Song, an art and music performance by Canadian soprano Neema Bickersteth, pictured above, inspired by the texts of Virginia Woolf and Alice Walker. Thursday, January 14 to February 7. $15–$25. The Theatre Centre, 1115 Queen St. W., thisisprogress.ca.
A subtly beautiful double exhibition at Paul Petro
Sadko Hadzihasanovic, a Bosnian-Canadian artist, uses drypoint, a printing technique that engraves an image into a metallic plate. The raw, delicate medium is a suitable match for the frail character sketches he depicts atop faded floral backgrounds. Gretchen Sankey’s work is inspired by the story of a 19-year-old who died after being abused in prison. Using a muted palette of water-colours, she sets out to humanize victims of incarceration. To February 13. Paul Petro Contemporary Art, 980 Queen St. W., paulpetro.com.