Six must-see theatre productions for 2012
By Brianne Hogan
The London cast of War Horse (Image: Brinkhoff / Mögenburg)
Suffering from the winter blahs already? Nonsense. Not with all the terrific theatre that’s going on right now. But if you’re one of those diehard thespians who’s seen both American Idiot and Parfumerie already, you might be wondering what else is there to look forward to in Toronto’s theatre scene in 2012. Luckily for us, there’s a lot — including Broadway favourites and, uh, Yanni.
This story about a young man who longs to reunite with his boyhood horse is the buzziest show this season, and with good reason. Not only did it nearly sweep last year’s Tony Awards, but Steven Spielberg’s film version is looking to strike Oscar gold. Warning: even though the horses are played by puppets, expect to shed major tears anyway.
Princess of Wales Theatre, 300 King St. W., 416-872-1212. Feb. 10 - June 30.
Playwright Ins Choi’s smash Toronto Fringe Festival hit, set in a Regent Park Korean convenience store, receives a professional production courtesy of the always-fabulous Soulpepper Theatre Company in what is sure is to be the city’s next classic play.
Young Centre for the Performing Arts, 55 Mill Street, 416-866-8666. Jan. 12 - Feb. 11.
Set in a Latino neighbourhood in New York City’s Washington Heights, this modern-day musical (which won the Best Musical Tony in 2008 and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2009) blends the stories of its residents with a mix of Latin and hip-hop music, which speaks to us all.
Toronto Centre for the Arts, 5040 Yonge Street, 1-866-950-7469. Feb. 7-19.
It’s the tale that launched a thousand Disney musicals after its successful Broadway debut (okay, maybe not a thousand, but about a half dozen or so). The smash hit — one of the longest-running productions in Broadway history — returns to Toronto in July, inviting us to be its guest all over again. I fondly remember seeing it for the first time here in 1995.
Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, 145 Queen Street W., 1-866-950-7469. July 3- 22.
Just kidding. The Sony Centre does seem to be infatuated with the ‘90s this year though, since in addition to Yanni’s concert, it will be host to the monster hit from 1994, Riverdance, which took the world by storm, for good and bad (the dancing is spectacular, but I’m sure we could all have done without the image of Michael Flatley’s flailing limbs imprinted in our brains for almost a decade).
The Sony Centre, 1 Front Street East, 1-855-872-7669. April 19-21. (And for actual Yanni fans — no shame! — he’s there June 16-17).
Though the 2000 Kirsten Dunst flick inexplicably spawned forgettable sequels (yes, plural), the theatre might prove to be an effective medium for this movie-turned-musical. Let’s hope the results are more along the lines of The Producers rather than Dirty Dancing.
Ed Mirvish Theatre, 244 Victoria Street, 416-872-1212. May 2 – June 3.