Arts: What's on in March

The best shows this month from New Zealand pop star Lorde and rocker Dan Auerbach to the Land of Kush and an Irish film festival


Get your musical fix with ‘An American in Paris’ opening this month in Toronto

Canadian Stage is bringing three unique works to the Berkeley Street Theatre stage as part of its Voices3 program, and it is shaping up to be quite the spectacle. March 14 to 18, the program’s second installment, is the world premiere of singer Fides Krucker’s In This Body, featuring her interpretation of the Canadian songbook — we are talking Joni, Alanis, Feist and more — with dance performances by legendary dancers Peggy Baker, Laurence Lemieux and Heidi Strauss. From March 21 to 24, powerhouse Inuit throat singer and new Torontonian Tanya Tagaq shares the stage with Greenlandic mask dancer Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory for another world premiere. The program launched last month with Italy’s Musica Nuda.

Land of Kush
On March 24, the Aga Khan Museum’s World Music Series curated by the Music Gallery will showcase Montreal’s Land of Kush ensemble performing the new work Sand Enigma. The groovy, avant garde group features composer and musician Sam Shalabi — who will play an opening solo set — alongside a 30-member orchestra that blends together music from across the globe. The Land of Kush has played a handful of shows, mostly in Montreal, so this is a rare opportunity to experience the project first-hand at a unique venue. Not to be missed. 

Letterkenny Live
When Jared Keeso decided to create a web series about a fictional small town he didn’t have to look far for inspiration. Coming from sleepy Listowell, Ont., Keeso was already well-versed in certain eccentricities of rural living. Letterkenny Problems was released on YouTube and it wasn’t long before the networks took notice and released it as Crave-TV’s first series. The show, about Wayne (Keeso) and his buddies Daryl (Nathan Dales) and Squirrely Dan (K. Trevor Wilson) along with Wayne’s fetching sister Katy (Michelle Mylett), has been a bona fide sensation ever since. Could a somewhat hoser-oriented TV comedy translate live on stage? That’s a hard yes. On March 10, Keeso and the boys (minus Michelle Mylett) bring Letterkenny to the Queen Elizabeth Theatre for two shows. 

Animal Farm
Soulpepper gives the theatrical treatment to acclaimed British author George Orwell’s political classic Animal Farm. When the barnyard creatures rise up and overthrow tyrannical Farmer Jones, a muddy little utopia emerges. But for how long? Are all animals equal or are some more equal than others? For this production, Soulpepper has assembled a fantastic cast, including Leah Cherniak and Rick Roberts, and with direction by the wildly creative Ravi Jain. Patrons should be in for a real fascistic treat.

Toronto’s annual festival of pop culture returns to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre March 16 to 18. Comicon features a slew of special guests none more sizable than 7-foot Joonas Suotamo, the Finnish basketball player best known for playing Chewbacca in the current crop of Star Wars movies. Other nerd-centric guests include Seth Gilliam, from The Walking Dead, alongside the traditional and very colourful cosplay areas, family zones, retail shops and more. 

Toronto Irish Film Festival
Although most St. Patrick’s Day celebrations usually involve a trip to the pub, it is also an opportunity to explore Irish cinema, thanks to this annual film festival, March 2 to 4. The opening night gala includes the Toronto premiere of A Date for Mad Mary.

An American in Paris
Awaken your inner Gene Kelly, the Tony Award–winning blockbuster musical An American in Paris finally gets a Toronto run beginning March 27 at Princess of Wales Theatre.

Dan Auerbach
For one night only, Dan Auerback, of Black Keys fame, brings his Easy Eye Sound Revue to the Danforth Music Hall on March 29. The show features the Black Keys singer as well as artists from his own Easy Eye Sound record label such as Robert Finley and Shannon Shaw. 

Angelique Kidjo
Grammy Award–winning, Beninese singer Angélique Kidjo, known as the Africa’s premier diva, returns to Toronto for a concert at Koerner Hall March 3.

Montreal’s electro-art rock heroes return to Toronto on March 15 for a show at the Great Hall celebrating their new album, Felt,

Grammy Award–winning New Zealand pop star Lorde returns to town for a March 29 show at the ACC as part of her world tour in support of her latest album, Melodrama, with Mitski and hip-hop duo Run the Jewels.

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