An interactive Klezmer-punk party, RuPaul’s Drag Race and 10 other things to do this week
Counting Sheep, Lemon Bucket Orkestra’s interactive protest play
The umpteen-member klezmer party-punk band plays music like nothing else you’ve ever heard in Toronto. And their interactive play, Counting Sheep, is unlike anything you’ve ever seen. The audience sits down for a dinner that turns into a raucous horn-and-handclap dance party that turns into the Ukrainian Maidan protests. For more about the avant-garde experience, read our coverage from last year’s SummerWorks fest here. Thursday, May 26 to Sunday, June 5. Broadview Place, 296 Broadview Ave., countingsheeprevolution.com.
Body Politic, a theatrical history of gay Toronto
Playwright Nick Green spent years interviewing writers, editors and activists involved with the Body Politic, one of Canada’s first gay newspapers, to inform this dramatized history. It stars two men in the present day: one of the paper’s founders and his young partner. As the elder recounts the publication’s triumphs and troubles—censorship battles, covering the AIDS epidemic, folding the paper in 1987—he illustrates how queer identities have adapted over the past 50 years. Friday, May 27 to Sunday, June 12. $32–$37. Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, 12 Alexander St., buddiesinbadtimes.com.
Hey Rosetta! and Alvvays at the CBC Music Fest
Energetic East Coast outfit Hey Rosetta! headline this one-day outing with their orchestral indie rock and cathartic sing-along choruses. Also on the bill: power-pop supergroup the New Pornographers, beachy indie band Alvvays, synth superstars Tokyo Police Club, husband-wife folk duo Whitehorse and the non-stop improvisational throat singing of Tanya Tagaq. Saturday, May 28. $39.50. Echo Beach, 909 Lake Shore Blvd. W., ticketmaster.ca.
Kronos Quartet With Tanya Tagaq’s adventurous collaboration
The go-to quartet for musical risk-taking blazes through a clutch of Canadian premieres, embellished by the fierce vocal textures of the Polaris-winning throat singer. The composers include Nicole Lizée, Mark Applebaum and Franghiz Ali-Zadeh—hardly household names in the classical realm but perfectly suited for the opening night of the Royal Conservatory’s adventurous 21C Music Festival. Wednesday, May 25. $21–$90. Koerner Hall, 273 Bloor St. W., rcmusic.ca.
A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, a deadly funny musical
Monty Navarro is ninth in line to inherit his aristocratic family’s fortune—and intensely impatient. So he concocts a lethal scheme to cut the queue: murder the eight relatives in his way. The Tony-winning Broadway musical has Navarro gleefully knocking off his targets—a squire, a bodybuilder, an earl—one by one, halting only to deliver over-the-top punchlines, dazzle lovers and belt out the show’s soaring score. Wednesday, May 25 to Sunday, June 26. $35–$130. Princess of Wales Theatre, 300 King St. W., mirvish.com.
A dinner for the sake of sake
One week before Toronto’s festival of sake, several Toronto chefs are holding a dinner that celebrates the Japanese rice wine. Bertrand Alepée (The Tempered Room) will be joined by Nick Liu (DaiLo), Scott Vivian (Beast), Richie Nakano (San Fran’s Pizzeria Delfina) and chocolatier extraordinaire David Chow at Alepée’s Parkdale patisserie for two five-course dinners complete with (optional) sake pairings. For those who want to indulge even more, sake will also be available by the glass. Thursday, May 26 and Friday, May 27. $90–$140. The Tempered Room, 1374 Queen St. W., eventbrite.ca.
Carrie Underwood’s country-pop spectacle
The most successful singer to emerge from American Idol has taken home seven Grammys for her cosmopolitan-country tunes and powerhouse pipes. Her fifth chart-topping album, Storyteller, is more modest than her earlier work, tapping traditional country narratives and instrumentation. This tour isn’t toned down, though; it’s a product of the grandiose creative vision of Barry Lather, former creative consultant to Michael Jackson. Saturday, May 28. $64.50–$94.50. Air Canada Centre, 40 Bay St., ticketmaster.ca.
The Heidi Chronicles, a decades-spanning feminist comedy
Wendy Wasserstein’s Pulitzer-winning comedy tells the life story of an art historian named Heidi Holland. Star Michelle Monteith brings Heidi through her high school years in the ’60s, feminism in the ’70s and failed romances in the ’80s—an arc that, with the help of a witty script, subtly illustrates the changing role of women in North America. Tuesday, May 24 to Saturday, June 18. $32–$94. Young Centre for the Performing Arts, 50 Tank House Ln., soulpepper.ca.
The glittering glamour of RuPaul’s Drag Race
Since 2009, the reality series about drag queens duelling for cash, cosmetics and the tiara has transformed from cult favourite into mainstream sensation. This tour won’t feature RuPaul—singer Michelle Visage hosts—but it will include glittery song-and-dance routines and burlesque performances from eight seasons’ worth of flamboyant favourites, like goth princess Sharon Needles and Season 5 winner Jinkx Monsoon. Friday, May 27 and Sunday, May 29. $61. Danforth Music Hall, 147 Danforth Ave., ticketmaster.ca.
A note-for-note recreation of David Bowie’s magnum opus
The Toronto-bred concert series Classic Albums Live assembles a roster of veteran musicians to perform iconic albums by blockbuster acts—the Beatles, Bruce Springsteen, Led Zeppelin—in their entirety, accurate down to the note. The Starman seems like the natural choice for the next edition. This elaborate production takes on the art-rock theatrics of Bowie’s 1972 concept album, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars. Saturday, May 28. $29.50–$59.50. Massey Hall, 178 Victoria St., masseyhall.com.
Backstage in Biscuit Land, a playful production about Tourette’s
British artist Jess Thom lives with Tourette’s syndrome, which causes her to say “biscuit” 16,000 times a day. In this World Stage show, performed with hand puppets and colourful props, she combines that tic with storytelling to share comedic—and sometimes crushing—autobiographical tales that detail her daily challenges and demystify her illness. Wednesday, May 25 to Saturday, May 28. $24. Harbourfront Centre Theatre, 235 Queens Quay W., harbourfrontcentre.com.
Rocking Horse Winner, part indie opera and part cocktail party
Tapestry Opera produces ethereal chamber productions with artists like Atom Egoyan, Hannah Moscovitch and Fucked Up—and every show ends with a cocktail party where the audience can mingle with the performers. Their latest world premiere is an adaptation of D. H. Lawrence’s short story about a boy who discovers that when he rides his rocking horse, he can predict the outcome of horse races and save his family’s finances. Friday, May 27 to Saturday, June 4. Berkeley Street Theatre, 26 Berkeley St., canadianstage.com.