The Weekender: The Lion King, Easter Eggstravaganza and six other can’t-miss events
1. THE LION KING
You wouldn’t think a theatrical adaptation of a Disney movie would run for so long (nearly 14 years), earn so many accolades (more than 70 awards, including a Tony for Julie Taymor’s direction) or turn out to be so good, but somehow The Lion King does all of that. Oh, and did we mention it’s gorgeous? The puppets, costumes and stage design have been consistently blowing young minds since the show opened. This limited engagement is only in town for eight weeks—don’t miss it. To June 12. $35–135. Princess of Wales Theatre, 300 King St. W., 416-872-1212, mirvish.com.
2. CHOCOLATE AND CHEESE PAIRING (FREE!)
We usually pair cheese with wine and chocolate with, well, more chocolate. But this free foodie event, hosted by chef Chris McDonald (of Cava and Xococava fame) and Jane Rodmell (founder of All the Best Fine Foods), pairs two of our favourite foods with each other. Expertly spiced chocolate tiles are partnered with their ideal matches from All The Best’s stock of specialty cheeses. To be honest, we’re just a tad skeptical, but if anyone can make this pairing work, it’s McDonald. April 23. All the Best Fine Foods, 1101 Yonge St., allthebestfinefoods.com.
3. EASTER EGGSTRAVAGANZA
Although you wouldn’t believe it from looking outside, we’re already well into spring and, by extension, coming up on Easter. This can only mean one thing: Centre Island’s huge, kid-focused Easter egg hunt. More than just a search for eggs, there’s also egg and face painting, farm animals, Centreville train rides and the all-important bouncy castle. April 22 and 24. $15. Centre Island, centreisland.ca.
4. CELEBRATE 27 ARTS FEST
Named after the Article 27 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights, which states that everyone should be able to enjoy and participate in their community’s cultural and artistic life, this month-long celebration of the city’s arts scene wraps up at the end of April. We love the ongoing exhibit of Yasmine Louis’s 13 silkscreen prints, each one depicting a different Toronto neighborhood. We’ll also be in the audience at Saturday’s celebration of French art songs and chamber music at the Assembly Hall. To April 27. Free and ticketed events. Various locations, toronto.ca/celebrate27.
5. LA CLEMENZA DI TITO
History buff or not, everyone knows the Romans were all about assassination attempts. This popular Mozart opera is about one such plot, against Titus (scion of the Flavian dynasty and ruler of the empire for a whole two years). This Opera Atelier performance is first North American production using period instruments, with a full ballet corps in tow as well. It stars soprano Measha Brueggergosman, male soprano (yes, that’s right) Michael Maniaci and tenor Krešimir Špicer. April 22–May 1. $33–$166. Elgin Theatre, 189 Yonge St., 416-872-5555, ticketmaster.ca.
6. BULLET FOR ADOLF
Very loosely inspired by actor Woody Harrelson’s memories of the summer of 1983, when he worked on a construction crew in Houston, this play is centered around the disappearance of an antique gun that was supposed to be used to assassinate Hitler. Harrelson co-wrote the play with Frankie Hyman, his partner in crime back in the day, and has been hanging around town to direct its world premiere. The play is Harrelson’s third directorial outing in Toronto—he directed This Is Our Youth, a play about disaffected teens, in both 2003 and 2004. We’re definitely fans, but seriously: who would have guessed that goofy Woody Boyd would become such a serious thespian? April 21–May 7. $32. Hart House Theatre, 7 Hart House Circle, 416-978-8849, uofttix.ca
7. EVERGREEN BRICK WORKS EARTH DAY CELEBRATION (FREE!)
With its farmer’s market, eco-themed activities and out-of-doors location, this Earth Day event feels like nothing so much as a big block party—which is particularly impressive, given the out-of-the-way location. There’s an eco-focus, obviously—activities include a ravine cleanup, invasive-species weeding and a tour of the Brick Works. April 23. Evergreen Brick Works, 550 Bayview Ave., ebw.evergreen.ca.
8. THE HOLY OAK BOOK CLUB: SARAH SELECKY (FREE!)
Local journo and author Sarah Selecky’s debut fiction effort, a short story collection called This Cake is for the Party, is good. Really good—it was shortlisted for the Giller and longlisted for the Frank O’Connor Short Story Award. We couldn’t put it down. Catch Selecky reading selections from the collection at this weekend’s edition of the Holy Oak Book Club. April 23. Holy Oak Café, 1241 Bloor St. W., 647-345-2803.
(Images: Woody Harrelson, Alan Light; Measha Brueggergosman, Bruce Zinger; Adam Jacobs, Joan Marcus)