A diner doo-wop, a retro horror exhibit and four other things to see, hear and do in Toronto this week
A diner doo-wop
1The old-school diner, all worn booths and neon signs, gets its best musical showcase since Grease in this Broadway rom-com based on Waitress, the sleeper hit starring Keri Russell. Waitress tells the tale of a bitter wife who spends her days bussing tables at a small-town diner in the Deep South. When she finds out she’s pregnant—much to her dismay—she uses her remarkable pie-making skills to ditch her obnoxious husband and dead-end future. The show, with a poppy score by singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles, made history in 2016 as the first musical with an all-female creative team to premiere on Broadway, and it’s as warm and satisfying as a slice of cherry pie. Tuesday, July 9 to Sunday, August 18. $59–$189. Ed Mirvish Theatre.
A festival for the brave
2This year’s mishmash of theatre, arts and music performances at Brave Festival are all about secret lives and second chances, and each one pokes at the question of what it means to live a meaningful life. The shows are a mix of interactive and traditional: Fashion Machine plucks audience members to be runway models (after a crew of child designers gives them a makeover), Grammy-winner Buika—whose musical cocktail of flamenco, reggae and jazz earned her a spot on NPR’s list of the 50 greatest voices in the world—will give a live concert and, for the broken-hearted or just plain nosy, the Museum of Broken Relationships will display mementos of disintegrated romances. Thursday, July 11 to Sunday, July 21. Various prices. Harbourfront Centre.
A retro horror tribute
3Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett is obsessed with retro horror films. Three decades ago, he started tracking down vintage posters from films like Re-Animator, The Evil Dead and Bride of Frankenstein and later expanded his collection to include costumes, set pieces and props. First exhibited (fittingly) in Salem, Massachusetts, Hammett’s collection is now coming to Toronto. In addition to horror memorabilia, it includes a few personal items, like a seven-and-a-half-minute musical piece titled “The Maiden and the Monster,” which Hammett composed to accompany the show. Saturday, July 13 to Sunday, January 5. $31. ROM.
A thrifty market
4Marie Kondo sparked joy for vintage and flea market sifters when, in her hit Netflix series, she convinced thousands of people to toss away most of their stuff. Shoppers who live for thrifted finds can score plenty of trash turned treasure at the summer edition of the Ontario Vintage Market. There’s going to be a department store’s worth of vendors, so anything and everything goes. That includes vintage ads for punch buggy cars, vinyl, wicker furniture, old-school jackets and flowy skirts. Sunday, July 14 until Sunday, August 11. Free entry. Evergreen Brickworks.
A RuPaul reprise
5Anyone still mourning the end of RuPaul’s Drag Race season 11 can see all 15 queens offscreen on their official tour. They won’t be lip syncing for their lives, but there will be plenty of runway slaying and death dropping. Season 10 queen Asia O’Hara hosts the sequin-clad festivities and Toronto’s own Queen of the North Brooke Lynn Hytes (the show’s first-ever Canadian contestant) will return for another hometown performance. (Let’s hope she brings along the bejewelled Mountie suit this time.) Sunday, July 14. $79–$179. Danforth Music Hall.
A classical-music mixtape
6The 1950 premiere of Richard Strauss’s valedictory Four Last Songs was an international affair. Performed at London’s Royal Albert Hall, it featured a Norwegian soprano, a German conductor, an English orchestra and sponsorship from India’s Maharaja of Mysore. Fittingly, the composition is at the centre of Toronto Summer Music’s multiculturalism-themed opening night. Celebrated Canadian soprano Adrianne Pieczonka is front and centre for the concert, which features a mixtape of Turkish military music, Romani fiddle and Ravel’s vivacious take on a set of popular Greek melodies alongside works by Chopin and Kreisler. Thursday, July 11. $20–$65. Koerner Hall.