The Holy Blossom Temple Stagecraft Company presents Village of Idiots, John Lazarus’ comedy about a Russian army deserter finding his way to the well-known village of Chelm. This is the legendary village of fools of Yiddish folklore and letters, who yet manage to teach the protagonist Yosef a thing or two.
Maya Rabinovitch directs a cast that includes Susanne Egier, David Fournier, Anna Grosman, Judy Kent, Erich Kirsh, Ellen Karabanow, Neil Naft, Jack Newman, Gerry Rabinovitch and Ivana Stojanovic.
Holy Blossom Temple, 1950 Bathurst St. Jan. 17 and 19, 7:30 p.m., and Jan. 20, 2 p.m. $18, $13. 416-789-3291, ext. 511.
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Toronto Jewish Film Society: The latest TJFS screening features An Article of Hope, a documentary about the 2002 Columbia space shuttle mission in which Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon perished. Also Cohen on the Bridge, a shorter animated film about Israel’s dramatic 1976 Entebbe rescue. With guest critic Shlomo Schwartzberg. Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre, Al Green Theatre, Sunday, Jan. 20, 4 and 7:30 p.m. $15, $10. Individual seats on sale 15 minutes before each screening. 416-924-6211, ext. 606. For a season subscription (eight films, $100), email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Opera Appreciation: Active Seniors and Boomers of the Miles Nadal JCC presents a new opera appreciation series featuring opera educator Iain Scott. This is a rare opportunity to learn about four upcoming Metropolitan Opera productions to be broadcast live in Toronto cinema theatres in 2013. The program takes place Tuesdays at 1:30 p.m. on Jan. 22 and 29, Feb. 5 and 12. $50 for the series or $16 per session on the day of the program (if not sold out). Phyllis, 416-924-6211, ext. 155.
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Strictly Broadway: Encore Entertainment presents Mark Cassius & Friends in Strictly Broadway. Cassius, a stage veteran and former member of The Nylons, performs an intimate evening of funny and touching songs and stories with some talented friends. Toronto Centre for the Arts (Studio Theatre), 5040 Yonge St. Saturday, Jan. 19, 7:30 p.m. $25, $30. 1-855-985-2787, www.encoreshows.com
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Arts in Brief
• Critic Kevin Courrier continues his series Woody Allen Past and Present with a look at Woody Allen’s beginnings and such works as Oedipus Wrecks, My Favorite Year, TV standup (Ed Sullivan, Dick Cavett, etc.) and What’s New Pussycat. Monday, Jan. 21, 7 to 9 p.m. $12. 416-924-6211, ext. 606.
• Pianist-singer Fern Lindzon performs Jazz at Oscar’s with two horn players at the Arbor Room, Hart House, Jan. 18, 8 p.m. She also performs with a guitarist and bass and guests at the Old Mill Inn, Thursday, Jan. 24, 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. $20 minimum. 416-236-2641.
• Encore Entertainment presents Love Letters, a Pulitzer-nominated play by A. R. Gurney that examines the relationship between a lawyer and artist as revealed through their letters over many years. With Jerrold Karch and producer Merle Garbe in her first onstage role in 10 years. Toronto Centre for the Arts, 5040 Yonge St. Jan. 25 to Feb. 3. $29.50, $28. 1-855-985-2787. www.encoreshows.com
• Soundstreams presents The Three Faces of Jerusalem, an exploration through music and poetry by numerous artists of the cultures and traditions of Judaism, Islam and Christianity. Koerner Hall, Telus Centre, 273 Bloor St. W. Sunday, Jan. 27, 3 p.m. $65 to $20. 416-408-0208, www.soundstreams.ca
• Sheldon Glass speaks on “Jewish Artists and Moguls from Broadway to Hollywood” at the next Yiddish Vinkl. $18 includes buffet lunch. Free Times Cafe, 320 College St. Thursday, Feb. 7, 12 noon. RSVP to email@example.com.
• The Stratford Festival’s upcoming season includes a production of the musical Fiddler on the Roof, starring Kate Hennig and Scott Wentworth; also The Merchant of Venice with Brian Bedford as Shylock. Other productions include Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit, Othello, Romeo and Juliet, Measure for Measure, The Three Musketeers and The Who’s Tommy.