A Whitney Houston musical, a frosty beer fest and seven other things to do this week
A soaring musical featuring the songs of Whitney Houston
Anyone who has watched the 1992 film The Bodyguard remembers the piercing perfection of Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You.” You’ll hear that song and more in this jukebox musical of the same name, which sets the story of a superstar and her bodyguard to a soundtrack of Houston’s greatest hits. This production brings the original into the present day, reimagining the heroine as a Beyoncé-esque diva. Saturday, February 11 to Sunday, March 26. $38–$139. Ed Mirvish Theatre, 244 Victoria St., mirvish.com.
A wintry brrrrew fest
Would your valentine prefer a six-pack over a half-dozen roses? Then bundle up, because more than 30 of Ontario’s craft brewers are gathering at Steam Whistle’s Roundhouse Park this weekend. The lineup includes a few new participants, like Shawn and Ed from Dundas, Thunder Bay’s Sleeping Giant and Bobcaygeon Brewing from, well, Bobcaygeon. Advance tickets are sold out, but a limited number will be available at the gate. (Bonus: the first 500 people get a free toque!) Saturday, February 11. $30. Roundhouse Park, 255 Bremner Blvd., craftbeerfest.ca.
A moving musical journey along the Underground Railroad
In his heartfelt theatre-concert hybrid Freedom Singer, soul singer Khari Wendell McClelland traces two journeys: his own, from his hometown of Detroit to Vancouver, and that of his great-great-great-grandmother, who escaped slavery along the Underground Railroad. He performs the liberation songs and spirituals she would have heard along the way with a Hamilton-esque twist: they’re reinvented as hip-hop, funk and soul numbers. To Saturday, February 11. $20–$40. Crow’s Theatre, 345 Carlaw Ave., crowstheatre.com.
A comedy cabaret with Darrin Rose
Comedy lovers know Darrin Rose as the smooth-talking, hard-drinking bartender on CBC’s Mr. D, or for his former roles on Video on Trial and Match Game. This week, he dons his emcee cap for Fun Night Out, an old-timey variety show with cabaret dancers, magic from local duo The Sentamentalists and back-up from fellow comics Graham Chittenden and Aisha Brown. Friday, February 10. $35. Isabel Bader Theatre, 93 Charles St. W., regenttheatre.ca.
A burlesque bonanza
Dita Von Teese is the queen of the neo-burlesque movement. The American dancer, model and entrepreneur has created a mini-industry and become an unlikely feminist role model by, in her words, “putting the tease back into striptease.” In this burlesque revue, she’ll unveil new performances and restaged versions of some of her most popular acts, with the noir, 1940s-inspired glamour and outrageous fashion she’s famous for. Sunday, February 11. $49.50–$125. Queen Elizabeth Theatre, 190 Princes’ Blvd., ticketmaster.ca.
An intergenerational drama from Trey Anthony
In How Black Mothers Say I Love You, a woman moves from Jamaica to Toronto in search of a better life, leaving her two daughters behind. When the family reunites six years later, they’re forced to confront repressed feelings of betrayal and abandonment. Trey Anthony (creator of Da Kink in My Hair) and Juno-winning composer Gavin Bradley collaborate on this complex drama, which draws from Anthony’s own history with her mother and grandmother. Thursday, February 9 to Sunday, March 5. $25–$45. Factory Theatre, 125 Bathurst St., factorytheatre.ca.
Switchfoot’s clean-cut alt-rock
You have to hand it to Switchfoot for pulling off the impossible: getting millions of teens to listen to Christian rock (and making a fortune in the process). On their imaginative, upbeat new album, Where the Light Shines Through, they repeat their winning formula: an earnest, clean-cut vibe paired with overdriven guitars, uplifting lyrics and cathartic refrains. This tour mixes old and new material, and features fellow faith-based rockers Relient K. Wednesday, February 8. $30.50–$40.50. Phoenix Concert Theatre, 410 Sherbourne St., ticketmaster.ca.
A songwriter’s brush with the paintbrush
Tom Russell is best known for writing twangy tunes recorded by Johnny Cash and k.d. lang. In his witty, playful paintings, he finds another outlet for his fascination with Americana. His canvases document the history of the U.S. and its music—cowboys, country scenes, caricatures of Bob Dylan—but with aesthetic influences from African and Aboriginal art. Opens Friday, February 10. Liss Gallery, 112 Cumberland St., lissgallery.com.
The Justice League of dance events
The Canada All Star Ballet Gala features 16 ballet superstars from eight of the world’s most prestigious companies—the National Ballet of Canada, the Royal Ballet of London, Paris Opera Ballet and the Bolshoi among them. The program is of equal stature, featuring selections from Don Quixote, Romeo and Juliet, and Giselle. Saturday, February 11. $65–$175. Sony Centre, 1 Front St. E., sonycentre.ca.