The Weekender: La Bohème, The Wizard of Oz and six other items on our to-do list
1. LA BOHÈME
La Bohème is an oft-performed piece of work—sometimes that means a complete reworking (like we’ve seen in other famous productions, like Rent), but other times it’s a slightly gentler update, like this production from Against The Grain Theatre, which is set in Toronto and performed in English. This adaptation retains Puccini’s characters and music, so purists will still find something to marvel at. To Dec. 3. $35–$50. The Tranzac, 292 Brunswick Ave., againstthegraintheatre.com.
2. THE WIZARD OF OZ
Trust Ross Petty to make an already out-there show even more out there. This year’s fractured fairy tale takes Dorothy’s (Elicia MacKenzie) adventures up a notch: she’s blown away to Oz with her faithful pup Toto and spirited aunt Plumbum (Dan Chameroy). While there, she meets a somewhat unfamiliar cast of characters: the Good Witch Splenda (Royal Canadian Air Farce’s Jessica Holmes), the Tin Man (Yvan Pedneault), the Cowardly Lion (Steve Ross) and the Scarecrow (Kyle Blair). And, of course, the Wicked Witch of the West, brought to life by Petty himself. To Jan. 6. $27–$85. Elgin Theatre, 189 Yonge St., 416-870-8000, ticketmaster.ca.
3. COLLECTOR’S SERIES: JEANNE BEKER (FREE!)
Now in its second year, the AGO-hosted Collector’s Series exhibit is a chance to peek inside the private lives of one of Canada’s boldface names through their art collections. This year’s guest curator, the ultra-fashionable Jeanne Beker, has put together a showcase of paintings, photography and sculptures by David LaChapelle, Patrick O’Reilly and Marion Perlet, among others. To Dec. 16. Art Rental and Sales Gallery, Art Gallery of Ontario, 481 University Ave., 416-977-4654, ago.net.
4. THE DEAR SANTA CLAUS “GO F#CK YOURSELF” TOUR
Trailer Park Boys’ Ricky, Julian and Bubbles have a new, live, holiday-themed show. Expect offensive one-liners and copious get-rich-quick schemes, but a little holiday cheer wouldn’t hurt either. Dec. 3. $39.50–$59.50. Queen Elizabeth Theatre, 190 Princes’ Blvd., 416-870-8000, www.ticketmaster.ca.
5. THE GINGERBREAD BUILD
Aspiring culinary architects can build and decorate their own gingerbread house at this annual fundraiser for local Habitat for Humanity projects, but good news for lazy and hungry types: this year, celebrity-designed houses by Bobbette and Belle and McEwan Foods are up for sale (in past years we’ve witnessed creations by the likes of Jamie Kennedy, Bonnie Gordon Cakes and Kimberley Seldon Design). We could definitely eat an entire house if we really wanted to. Dec. 3 and 4. $50 (for the kit—entrance is free). The Habitat Toronto Home Building Factory, 155 Bermondsey Rd., torontohabitat.ca/gingerbread.
6. ROLLER DERBY WORLD CUP
For the first time ever, butt-kicking ladies from 13 countries will be in Toronto to battle it out for roller derby supremacy. Brim Stone (Kayla Wilkins)—team captain of both Gore-Gore Rollergirls and CN Power—captains Team Canada, who will be playing initially against national teams from Brazil, Sweden and France. To Dec. 4. $35. The Bunker (in Downsview Park), 40 Carl Hall Rd., torontorollerderby.com.
7. SOULFUL MESSIAH
This R&B take on Handel’s classic Messiah is one of our favourite holiday traditions. For the past 10 years, Ballet Creole has choreographed tap, jazz, ballet, contemporary and African-Caribbean dance routines set to music by soul legends (we’re talking Aretha, Stevie, Gladys and more). This weekend’s 10th-anniversary performance features Stomp’s David Cox and brand new lighting and costumes. Dec. 2 to 4. $20–$45. Fleck Dance Theatre, Harbourfront Centre, 207 Queens Quay W., 416-973-4000, harbourfrontcentre.com.
8. GHOSTFACE KILLAH
Ghostface is one of the standouts in the Wu-Tang lineup: he’s prolific (many studio albums, compilations and collaborations since 1996) and a master of the rap narrative, and he’s even made the jump to movies and TV. Peter Jackson is a guest performer during the Toronto stop of his tour. Dec. 2. $29.50. Sound Academy, 11 Polson St., 416-870-8000, ticketmaster.ca.