Including Sweeney Todd, Luminato, Word on the Street, Hasan Minhaj, Canadian Music Week and a Grilled Cheese Challenge
Michael Torontow waves his razor high like Sweeney Todd.
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street
Mitchell Cushman directs this boardwalk-esque production of Stephen Sondheim’s dark musical about a hairdresser seeking revenge on the corrupt judge who tore his family apart years earlier. The excellent cast for this Talk is Free Theater show includes Michael Torontow, Glynis Ranney, Noah Beemer, Tess Benger, Jeff Lillico and Cyrus Lane.
June 10 – July 3. $79.10. Neighborhood Food Pub, 1470 Gerrard E. tift.ca
Buddies’ annual Queer Pride festival showcases this monster of a comedy show with headliner Elvira Kurt and special guest Brandon Ash-Mohammed. Canada’s Drag Race Writer and LOL: Last One Laughing Canada contestant Ash-Mohammed is a rising star – read our feature article about him in June here. Other comics on the program include Coko & Daphney, Tom Hearn, Bobbi Summers, and hosts Rush Kazi and Robert Watson.
June 10 at 8 p.m. $20-$32. Friends at Bad Times Theater, 12 Alexander. buddiesinbadtimes.com
The word on the street
The 33rd edition of the open-air book and magazine festival returns to the street with new dates (Spring instead of Fall) and an old location (the north end of Queen’s Park). The event features talks by hundreds of authors – including Jesse Wente, Emma Healey and Farzana Doctor – plus an open-air marketplace with a wide variety of Canadian and Indigenous books, magazines, comics and more for readers of all ages.
June 11-12. Free. Queen’s Park Crescent from Bloor to Wellesley. toronto.thewordonthestreet.ca
Edward Burtynsky’s In The Wake Of Progress illuminates Yonge-Dundas Square as part of Luminato.
The multidisciplinary festival brings all kinds of arts and culture programs to the GTA streets, parks and even public transport. Free events include the premiere of Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky’s In The Wake Of Progress, a chronicle of humanity’s impact on the planet that will be featured on screens in Yonge-Dundas Square; Oluseye Ogunlesi’s Black Ark, an exploration of Canada’s role in the transatlantic slave trade, in Ashbridges Bay Park; and Dreamwalker Dance’s All In Good Time, an interactive experience that you can have in several parks.
June 9-19. Various locations and prizes, some free events. luminatofestival.com
Hasan Minhaj: The King’s Jester
The American comedian, writer and political commentator (Patriot Act) who stunned Toronto audiences during his 2016 performance at JFL42 is in town for four live shows on his latest tour. Read our recent interview with Minhaj here.
June 10-11. From $65.50. Coca Cola Coliseum, 45 Manitoba. ticketmaster.ca
Dance lovers have waited more than two years to see Karen Kain’s new take on the classic story ballet. The legendary dancer is closely associated with the role – in 1971 she made her debut in the lead role at the age of 19 while a member of the corps de ballet, replacing an injured Veronica Tennant. Now, inspired by Erik Bruhn’s classic, the retired Artistic Director of the National Ballet of Canada has emphasized the emotion and humanity in the story, to Tchaikovsky’s much-loved score.
June 10-26. $42 and up. Four Seasons Center for the Performing Arts, 145 Queen West. national.ballet.ca
This local fundraiser for Second Harvest is celebrating its 30th anniversary. Watch 50 of Toronto’s top chefs prepare signature dishes for you, then enjoy tasting them. There’s also a silent auction, a live band, raffle prizes and more.
June 12 from 6 p.m. $300 ($150 tax receipt). Evergreen Brick Works, 550 Bayview. torontotaste.ca
Canadian Music Week
The six-day music conference and festival will conclude with numerous showcase performances and related concerts. Alt-rockers the Glorious Sons will be at Massey Hall June 9-11 with opener JJ Wilde. On Fridays, Bif Naked plays at Revival. And on Saturdays, party on Lake Ontario with the Show Bateau cruise aboard the Northern Spirit Yacht, featuring music from AfrotroniX, Balaklava Blues and others.
Runs through June 11. Various prices/passes and locations. cmw.net
Shadowland Theater partners with several community organizations to create a parade-style performance and celebration of birds. A flock of brightly dressed “birds” will dance along the trails and float on the lagoons of the Toronto Islands, serenading the audience with a musical chorus of birdsong. Come at 1pm if you want to wear a bird costume in the parade, come at 2pm if you prefer to watch alone.
June 12 at 2 p.m. Free. Center Island, Toronto Islands. shadowlandtheater.ca
Lakeshore Village Grilled Cheese Challenge
Street festivals usually offer food, but Lakeshore Village’s Grilled Cheese Challenge really leans on it. Contestants offer their best version of the gooey sandwich and a jury selects the winner. But there’s also a People’s Choice Award – that’s where you come in. And once you’re all done, there’s also live music, a kid’s zone, beer garden, and more.
June 11 from 11am to 9pm. Free. Lake Shore West from Islington to Second. grilledcheesechallenge.ca
Want even more events? Check out our Hot Summer Guide list of 50 things to do this summer!