This Week in Theatre: Bring It On, The Tennessee Project, Gruesome Playground Injuries, Crash, Was Spring
This week in theatre rounds up the most noteworthy live theatre playing right now in Toronto. It includes just-opened shows as well as productions that are about to close.
Bring It On: The Musical / Ed Mirvish Theatre / 8:00pm/2:00pm / $25-$100+
Competitive cheerleaders across the land have been waiting for this one. Bring It On: The Musical opens in Toronto this week. Based on the 2000 film, which stars Kirsten Dunst and Eliza Dushku as young girls navigating the cutthroat bloodsport of competitive cheer, the stage version opened last year with music from Lin-Manuel Miranda and Tom Kitt, lyrics by Amanda Green, and a book by Jeff Whitty. The Ed Mirvish Theatre will be cheertastic for the next month with basket-tosses and pyramids. No plans yet on staged versions of the direct-to-video sequels: Bring It On Again , Bring It On: All or Nothing, Bring It On: In It to Win It, and Bring It On: Fight to the Finish.
The Tennessee Project / Various Venues and Times / $18-$45
An exciting, collaborative, and grassroots undertaking if there ever was one, The Tennessee Project brings the southern flair of celebrated playwright Tennessee Williams to seven neighbourhoods across the city. Starting May 1, productions of Williams' one-acts will be presented in Cabbagetown, Greektown, Roncesvalles, The Annex, North York, Leslieville, and St. Clair West. The productions will then rotate to a different neighborhood each evening for a week. The project connects each community with seven sides of one playwright — what a fantastic theatre event for our city that innovates outside the usual festival model.
Gruesome Playground Injuries / Theatre Centre / 7:30pm/1:30pm / $20-$30
BirdLand Theatre brings us the Canadian Premiere of Pulitzer Prize finalist Rajiv Joseph's Gruesome Playground Injuries, which examines the cost of a wounded friendship over the span of 30 years. Peter Mooney and Janet Porter play Doug and Kayleen, childhood friends with scars to bear that reflect the ups and downs of their journey together. It should be a thought-provoking production. BirdLand Theatre produced both Assassins and The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, and Joseph is an exciting young American playwright.
Crash / Theatre Passe Muraille / 7:30pm/2:00pm / $15-$30
The Girl. The Room. The River. These three words compose the tagline of Theatre Passe Muraille's Crash, written and performed by Pamela Mala Sinha with direction by Alan Dilworth. The play explores the unraveling of memory — how much we remember, why we remember, and how it affects us. The event referenced in the title alludes to a memory that's difficult to forget, but important to hold on to. Sinha's play runs until May 13.
Was Spring / Tarragon Theatre / 8:00pm/2:30pm / $23-$39
It's your last week to experience Daniel MacIvor's newest play, Was Spring, which features echos of William Blake's Songs of Innocence and of Experience. The narrative is effective at finding the tension between how and what we remember and Claire Coulter offers an extremely memorable performance as the woman who has to deal with it all on death's door. The structure, however, feels conventional and the story gets a little muddled as it unfolds.