A giant Harry Potter party, a Blue Rodeo show and nine other things to do this week
A Hogwarts dance party
This Thursday, Potterheads are turning the Phoenix (how appropriate) into Hogwarts. Arrive in your finest wizarding robes, get sorted into a house at the door, and indulge in Butterbeer and Firewhisky. It’s not exactly the Yule Ball, but organizers will provide Potter-themed masks, and a DJ will spin tunes late into the night. Thursday, February 2. $15. Phoenix Concert Theatre, 410 Sherbourne St., ticketweb.ca.
Blue Rodeo’s enduring roots rock
Here’s Blue Rodeo by the numbers: 33 years, 13 members, 14 studio albums, four million records sold, seven Junos and at least a few songs that will haunt Canadian radio for the rest of existence (here’s looking at you, “Hasn’t Hit Me Yet”). Another number to add to the tally: 1000 Arms, the enduring band’s new record. It’s a smooth alt-country effort with a renewed focus on harmonies and call-and-response vocals. Thursday, February 2 and Friday, February 3. $59.50–$79.50. Massey Hall, 178 Victoria St., ticketmaster.ca.
An all-star chef dinner and hockey game
This Saturday, more than 30 top chefs from Toronto and Montreal will converge in Prince Edward County. After duking it out in a charity hockey game for Community Food Centres Canada, the opposing teams will work together to cook an epic outdoor feast at the Drake Devonshire. Participating restaurants include Montreal’s Joe Beef, Garde Manger and Park, along with Toronto’s Richmond Station and, of course, the Drake. $150. Drake Devonshire, 24 Wharf St., Wellington, thedrake.ca.
Another chance to see Lawren Harris’ masterpieces
The AGO’s recent Lawren Harris show helped renew the Canadian artist’s international recognition. Now a new exhibition at the McMichael puts Harris in historical context. Higher States contrasts his smooth, cool-hued landscapes with the works of American contemporaries—like Georgia O’Keeffe, Arthur Dove and Marsden Hartley—who belonged to a broad artistic movement that sought to find “the spiritual in art.” Saturday, February 4 to Monday, September 4. $18. McMichael Canadian Art Collection, 10365 Islington Ave., mcmichael.com.
Superior Donuts, a charming soon-to-be sitcom
In Uptown, Chicago, a ’60s radical-turned-baker forms an unlikely friendship with a young African-American employee who wants to transform his doughnut shop with a healthier menu and modern music. It’s a subtle, pleasant comedy—and soon to be a CBS sitcom—from playwright Tracy Letts, whose other works include the darker Gothic hits August: Osage County and Killer Joe. Sunday, Feb. 5 to 26. $25–$35. Coal Mine Theatre, 1454 Danforth Ave., coalminetheatre.com.
John, a celebrated actor’s directorial debut
Jonathan Goad made his name on the stage and screen, starring in Stratford’s Hamlet and CBC series like Republic of Doyle, Murdoch Mysteries and Heartland. Now he takes the director’s seat for the first time, tackling the Canadian premiere of John, a soulful, slow burner of a play by Pulitzer winner Annie Baker. It follows a young, troubled couple who stay at a quaint bed and breakfast run an overly cheerful septuagenarian. The plot is simple, but there’s beauty in the brilliantly written characters and witty script. To Sunday, February 19. $20–$40. Berkeley Street Theatre, 26 Berkeley St., companytheatre.com.
A kids’ lit fest with Fred Penner
Now that the children who grew up watching Fred Penner’s Place are having kids of their own, the beloved troubadour is enjoying a renaissance. He headlines the ninth annual Totsapalooza, a kids’ lit festival featuring authors and illustrators Elise Gravel, Andrew Larsen and Tyler Clark Burke, plus sweet slices from Wanda’s Pie in the Sky. Saturday, February 4. $15–$20. Revival,783 College St., smallprinttoronto.org.
A symphonic Cœur de Pirate set
The Québécoise chanteuse otherwise known as Béatrice Martin is that rare performer who can sell out a Toronto show with a French-language set list. Some of that has to do with her tunes—her latest album, Roses, is a lush orchestral force, and her earlier ballads have an upbeat, button-cute quality that transcends the language barrier. But mostly it’s Martin herself, perched behind her piano dishing out charming stage banter, that makes audiences feel at home. Saturday, February 4. $37.75–$48. Danforth Music Hall, 147 Danforth Ave., ticketmaster.ca.
A rebellious Iranian art show
Since the 1979 revolution, Iranian artists at home and abroad have found clever, covert ways to challenge attitudes about gender, war and religion. The 27 works on display in Rebel, Jester, Mystic, Poet—paintings, sculptures, photographs and video installations that reflect on Iran’s history and offer visions of its future—use humour and mysticism to express the pride, shame and disdain of 23 Iranian artists. Saturday, February 4 to Sunday, June 4. $20. Aga Khan Museum, 77 Wynford Dr., agakhanmuseum.org.
The gutter-punk percussion of Stomp
The legendary drum group proves you don’t need instruments to play music. They turn brooms, garbage cans, hubcaps and whatever else is lying around into a percussive symphony (all without painting themselves blue). Expect fierce choreography and a gutter-punk aesthetic—torn duds, mohawks and a set fashioned from corrugated metal—in this new live performance. Tuesday, January 31 to Sunday, February 5. $25–$99. Ed Mirvish Theatre, 244 Victoria St., mirvish.com.
Götterdämmerung, an apocalyptic opera
Wagner’s Ring cycle reaches its epic conclusion in this opera: a cataclysm that sweeps away the old order of Nordic gods and leaves a world cleansed by the love between the hero, Siegfried, and the Valkyrie Brünnhilde. The work is a daunting challenge for the vocal principals, but sought-after soprano Christine Goerke should triumph as the warrior maiden, a role she’s assumed twice before. Tenor Andreas Schager makes his COC debut as Siegfried. Thursday, February 2 to Saturday, February 25. $35–$235. Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, 145 Queen St. W., coc.ca.