As the city celebrates its 180th birthday this year, Toronto’s spring agenda for the arts and other happenings promises to please both visitors and locals alike.
For visitors, and especially singles, it’s a very good time to meet new people through the different community arts and other events taking place both indoors and out.
Spring means the start of outings to the two world-famous theatre festivals outside the city, the Shaw and Stratford festivals.
The Stratford Festival’s season includes Shakespeare’s King Lear, with Colm Feore, King John, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, as well as the Gershwin musical Crazy for You and Dale Wasserman’s musical Man of La Mancha;
Alice Through The Looking Glass, also at Stratford, is part of the Schulich Children’s Plays program.
The Stratford Festival’s Forum events offer visitors a chance to delve further into ideas and issues raised by this season’s plays and their themes. Included in the Forum programs are concerts, debates, talks, comedy, interactive presentations and much more.
Two bargain features at this year’s Stratford Festival are the two-for-one ticket deals twice a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and the direct-from-Toronto (and Detroit) bus service, which runs daily, from Toronto, at a cost of only $20 for a round trip.
This spring, the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake features the musical, Cabaret, The Philadelphia Story, The Charity That Began At Home: A Comedy for Philanthropists, Arms and The Man and When We Are Married.
Within Toronto the Harold Green Jewish Theatre Company, the off-Broadway hit New Jerusalem: The Interrogation of Baruch de Spinoza at Talmud Torah Congregation, Amsterdam, July 27, 1656. It runs until April 13 at the Toronto Centre for the Arts.
Also at the centre, the musical Bingo runs April 24 to May 4. Another Harold Green Theatre production is Stars of David, running May 10 to June 1.
Yael Farber’s production of Strinberg’s Mies Julie, will be presented at Harbourfront Centre from May 6 to 10. Soliciting Temptation runs until May 6, at the Tarragon Theatre.
Toronto’s Mirvish Productions presents Arrabal, at the Panasonic Theatre, until May 11; The Last Confession, with David Suchet, at the Royal Alexandra Theatre, April 19 to June 1; and The Lion King, at the Princess of Wales Theatre, April 30 to June 15.
May 18 to 25 is Jewish Music Week in Toronto. There will be several gala evening concerts, cantorial music from the Jewish golden age in Toronto, and a film. Among the gala concerts there will be klezmer music, Sephardi music, a jazz ensemble from Tel Aviv, and songs of Neil Sedaka, Barry Manilow and Neil Diamond.
Jose Feliciano performs at an Evening of Miracles, presented by Canadian Friends of the Israel Guide Dog Center for the Blind, on May 22, at the Toronto Center for the Arts.
The Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s spring agenda includes Prokofiev’s Symphony 5 (May 7,8), Mendelssohn’s Scottish Symphony (May 14-17), Classic Broadway: Lerner & Loewe (May 20, 21); Beethoven Symphony 6 (May 28, 29); TSO Artists in the Spotlight, with Shalom Bard conducting (May 31, June 1); Songs for Soprano, with Sandra Radvanovsky (June 5 and 7); Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 4 (June 11,12).
The TSO’s Late Night concert (June 14, at 10:30 p.m.) presents Shostakovich’s popular masterpiece, Symphony No. 5.
Roy Thomson Hall’s 17th annual free noon-hour concerts are on May l (Sound Tapestry) and June 5 (A Kaleidoscope of Song).
National Ballet of Canada, at the Four Seasons Centre, presents Michel Fokine’s landmark 1911 ballet, Spectre de la Rose and Opus 19/The Dreamer. Cinderella is scheduled for June 14-15, and Romeo & Juliet for June 20-22, both with music by Prokofiev.
Canada’s Stars on Ice, direct from Sochi, will be at the Air Canada Centre on May 2.
Among the interesting exhibits this spring is Light My Fire: Some Propositions about Portraits and Photography, at the Art Gallery of Ontario until May 31.
This Is Not A Toy: The Urban Vinyl Phenomenon, features larger-than-life sculptures and inflatables that focus on toy culture. The exhibit runs at the Design Exchange until May 18.
Sultans of Science explores the scientific discoveries made hundreds of years ago during the golden age of science (until June 7 at the Ontario Science Centre).
The Forbidden City: Inside the Court of China’s Emperors recreates the world of some of some of the most powerful people in Chinese history living in the secret Forbidden City. The exhibit is at the Royal Ontario Museum until September.
Precious Legacy: A Celebration of Life, at Baycrest, is a unique photography exhibit featuring 180 Holocaust survivor photographs. It runs until May.
The Toronto Jewish Film Festival runs until May 11. Including both recent and classic works, it will showcase feature length films, documentaries, animated movies and shorts.
Food on Film, until July 9, celebrates movies that feature food and drink, at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. The same venue will host Books on Film, celebrating the act of adapting novels into films, until June 6.
A Historical Walking Tour of Old Jewish Toronto will take place on May 4, Toronto’s UJA Walk With Israel takes place on Sunday, May 25.