Garth Drabinsky’s comeback vehicle, a wintry beer fest and seven other things to see, do, hear and read this week
Sousatzka, Garth Drabinsky’s comeback play
In 1980s London, a young musician is torn between two different maternal figures: his biological mother, who is a South African refugee, and his strong, eccentric piano teacher. Separated by race and culture, these women must find common ground to foster the musical prodigy. Based on Bernice Rubens’ novel Madame Sousatzka, this production from former Livent powerhouse Garth Drabinsky is straight out of the zeitgeist—and headed for Broadway later this year. Thursday, March 23 to April 9. $60-$175. Elgin Theatre, ticketmaster.ca.
Brews to beat the winter blues
This weekend, the Toronto Winter Brewfest packs the Enercare Centre with close to 40 breweries, more than 150 different beers and ciders—and a whole lotta hopheads. Load up on “brew bucks,” the festival’s currency, to sample all of the suds (and food, too—don’t forget to eat). Friday, March 24 to Saturday, March 25. $20–$40. Enercare Centre.
A night of terrible Tinder stories
A simple swipe of the thumb might connect you with the love of your life—or, more likely, it could take you on a series of humiliating evenings with despicable people. Mining the second category, Tinder Tales brings together comedians, storytellers and unfortunate daters to tell their own brutal online dating stories. Monday, March 20. $15. The Drake Hotel, eventbrite.ca.
A local thriller with a hint of Tarantino
Superstar director Weyni Mengesha (Kim’s Convenience) tackles Butcher, a gruesome, gripping whodunit about an Eastern European war criminal who is abandoned at a Toronto police station, wearing a Santa hat and a butcher’s hook around his neck. The mysterious drama is as bloody and exuberant as a Quentin Tarantino revenge thriller, with a wrinkle of intellectualism—playwright Nicolas Billon worked with two linguistics professors from U of T to invent the protagonist’s mother tongue of Lavinian. Saturday, March 25 to Sunday, April 9. $39–$92. Panasonic Theatre.
A portal back to Prohibition-era Detroit
In 2013, when Stephen King published his novel Joyland, clueless readers mistakenly picked up copy after copy of a different book by the same name. Its author, Ontario native Emily Schultz, ran with it, starting a goofy blog about how she spent the unexpected windfall. That playful streak shows in her new novel, Men Walking on Water, a witty, suspense-filled epic about the waning days of Prohibition. When a rum-runner disappears in the Detroit River, his wife takes over his bootlegging business and tangos with a corrupt reverend, a crazed ex-soldier and greedy gangsters. Schultz spins the tale into a sweeping story of American ideals on the cusp of the Great Depression. Out Tuesday, March 21. Knopf.
The history of music in one concert
The kid-friendly How the Gimquat Found Her Song is Western music’s equivalent of Cosmos: a brief but comprehensive primer on the entire history of song. A mysterious magician meets a silent bird (a plush, human-sized puppet), and the duo set off on a continentcrossing quest to find her voice. On the Roy Thomson Hall stage, backed by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, they jump from Gregorian chant and Mozart to Duke Ellington and rap in an adventure sprinkled with colourful humour and Seussian rhymes. Saturday, March 25. From $18. Roy Thomson Hall.
The dark dancefloor beats of Trentemøller
Anders Trentemøller is one of Denmark’s hottest musical exports, a shape-shifting DJ whose every album seems a shade darker than the last. His brooding 2016 release, Fixion, melds ’80s new wave and the industrial sensibilities of Nine Inch Nails with a creepy atmospheric aesthetic that’s entirely his own. Tuesday, March 21. $25. Danforth Music Hall.
A queer sci-fi and fantasy expo
Science fiction is about imagining another way of being—so, of course, it’s a genre that’s ripe for a queering. Hosted by U of T’s multi-faith centre, Our Future is Queer: A Sci-Fi and Fantasy Exhibition, features zany artwork and installations by local artists Yovska, Emily Norry and many more. Monday, March 20. Free. University of Toronto’s Multi-Faith Centre for Spiritual Study and Practice, facebook.com.
Vince Staples’s immersive rap show
Taking its name from Wes Anderson’s film, Vince Staples’ “Life Aquatic Tour” is the California rapper’s first major headlining tour after rising with the Cutthroat Boyz and Odd Future. He’ll use video projections and innovative lighting to make the concert a multi-sensory event, but Staples’ storytelling and laid-back charisma are still the anchors. Friday, March 24. $35. Phoenix, ticketmaster.ca.