Toronto Theatre 2012 Winter

Toronto winter theatre preview 2012

This fall, Toronto audiences were treated to some incredible theatre that challenged, provoked, and delighted. The energy doesn't drop in the new year as a crop of promising shows appear on the horizon. Here's a look at what we have to look forward to on Toronto stages during the upcoming winter months.

American Idiot / Dancap - Toronto Centre for the Arts / December 28 - January 15
Who would have thought listening to "Longview," "When I Come Around," or "Basket Case" on their 1994 album Dookie, that Green Day would one day be the inspiration for a hit Broadway musical. The show arrives straight from New York at a cool 95 minutes. It's odd for a musical not to have an intermission, but American Idiot isn't exactly about following the formula. Dancap offers this youth-focused show (for those of us whose youth included Green Day) into the New Year.

The Golden Dragon / Tarragon Theatre / January 10 - February 19
I'd see anything written by Roland Schimmelpfennig at least once. His play Peggy Pickit Sees the Face of God, as part of Another Africa, was one of the strongest plays this fall. The Golden Dragon takes place inside a busy restaurant where an illegal immigrant searching for his lost sister is kept secret by the kitchen staff. Schimmelpfennig writes characters with a brutal honesty in situations that force them to display their true colours.

The Blue Dragon / Mirvish - Royal Alex / January 10 - February 19
A second coloured dragon? You don't want to miss whatever Robert Lepage's current project is...ever. Whether it's a piece that creates a sublime theatregoing experience or one that overdoes it with visual boundary pushing, Lepage's plays are never dull. They reflect a unique and unparalleled theatrical aesthetic. The Blue Dragon focuses on an expat Canadian who engages with two women in Shanghai — one from his Western past and one from his Asian present.

Kim's Convenience / Soulpepper / January 12 - February 11
The unequivocal hit of the 2011 Toronto Fringe Festival, Kim's Convenience gets a well deserved remount, at Soulpepper no less. The connection with Soulpepper, which is not exactly known for producing new Canadian work, is Ins Choi and Weyni Mengesha who are Soulpepper Academy alumnus. The play, about a family forgiving the past, is set in a Regent Park Korean convenience store. Long Day's Journey Into Night is also one to look out for at Soulpepper.

Cruel and Tender / Canadian Stage / January 21 - February 18
Martin Crimp's Cruel and Tender marks Atom Egoyan's return to the stage and features, for the first time, a collaboration with his partner Arsinée Khanjian who plays Amelia, a woman eagerly awaiting her husband's return from battle. With direction from one of Canada's most accomplished film directors, a script from one of Britain's most acclaimed living playwrights, and Khanjian on stage, this one has the makings of a strong show.

War Horse / Mirvish - Princess of Wales Theatre / February 11 - May 6
Possibly the most anticipated show of 2012, evidenced by Mirvish's robust marketing campaign, War Horse is set to dazzle audiences with the life-sized puppets of South Africa's Handspring Puppet Company. After highly successful runs in London and New York, a play like this comes along a few times each decade. With the release of the film, helmed by Steven Speilberg, anticipation for this Canadian debut couldn't be any higher.

free as injuns / Buddies in Bad Times / February 28 - March 18
A co-production between Native Earth Performing Arts and Buddies, Tara Beagan's free as injuns is a retelling of the American classic Desire Under the Elms by Eugene O'Neill. Featuring the story of Even Cabot and his struggle to reclaim his late mother's land from the hands of his father, it's the most ambitious project of the Native Earth season. Buddies is a natural partner for the production, and this show should build on its previous success with The Maids and The Normal Heart.

Dancing With Rage / Theatre Passe Muraille / March 6 - March 31
When she's not ambushing our current mayor outside his home and running from the police, Mary Walsh can be seen at Theatre Passe Muraille where a collection of her most famous characters — Marg Delahuntey, a Warrior Princess, Dakey Dunn, Miss Eulalia Turpin, Mom Reardon, and Connie Bloor — comment on pop culture and politics. Walsh is a Canadian comic treasure and it's great to see her best work showcased on stage.

Add to this the Next Stage Festival from January 4 - 15 (to be previewed in the coming weeks) and there is a lot to get excited about.

Image from War Horse

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