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Spring Awakening

A bountiful, fresh crop of LGBT performing arts blossoms on Toronto stages this month

April sees the Toronto premiere of InDance’s Quicksand by local choreographer Hari Krishnan. The work, created for a multiracial cast of nine male contemporary dancers, draws inspiration from navarasa or nine archetypal states of being popular in Indian dance — love, disgust, compassion, valour, humour, fear, wonder, anger and peace.

These states and more are explored in April’s bumper crop of LGBT performing arts. From the plays of Oscar Wilde and Sky Gilbert to Daniel MacIvor, from Jean-Baptiste Lully’s opera to Christopher House’s dance and Maggie MacDonald’s musical, Toronto stages this month are bursting with a riot of colour and passion. 


THE ADAPTATION PROJECT Dancemakers artistic director Michael Trent choreographs a new work in response to Mitchell Rose’s 1974 work Following Station Identification. Performed by Robert Abubo, Amanda Acorn, Kate Holden, Benjamin Kamino and Simon Renaud. $25. 8pm. Wed-Sat. 4pm. Sun. Wed, Apr 18-29. Dancemakers Centre for Creation. 55 Mill St, bldg 58, #313. (416) 367-1800. dancemakers.org.

INDANCE Quicksand and Nine, choreographed by Hari Krishnan. Quicksand, for nine male contemporary dancers, draws inspiration from the idea of navarasa or nine archetypal moods popular in Indian dance (page 6). As a prologue Nine features nine brief classical solos showcasing the navarasa — love, disgust, compassion, valour, humour, fear, wonder, anger and peace. $30-$35. 8pm. Thu, Apr 12-14. Fleck Dance Theatre. 207 Queens Quay W. (416) 973-4000. indance.ca

RIVERS Toronto Dance Theatre presents the world premiere performances of a major new work by artistic director Christopher House set to the piano music by the late Ann Southam, played live by Christina Petrowska Quilico, one of the foremost interpreters of Southam’s music. With set design by Michael Levine and lighting by Simon Rossiter. $15-$40. 8pm. Wed, Apr 25-28. 2pm. Apr 28. Fleck Dance Theatre. 207 Queens Quay W. (416) 973-4000. tdt.org.


 The local premiere of Daniel MacIvor’s story of three women locked together by tragedy. Starring Clare Coulter, Caroline Gillis and Jessica Moss; MacIvor directs. $24-$51. 8pm. Tue-Sat. 2:30pm. Sun. Wed, Apr 4-May 6. Tarragon Theatre’s Extra Space. 30 Bridgman Ave. (416) 531-1827. tarragontheatre.com.

CANADIAN OPERA COMPANY The Tales of Hoffmann by Jacques Offenbach, the dark romantic masterpiece about a troubled artist’s failure to find love. US tenor Russell Thomas stars as Hoffmann (with COC Ensemble Studio graduate David Pomeroy singing two performances: May 3 and 8). Celebrated Canadian bass John Relyea makes his COC debut as Hoffmann’s four nemeses; and Erin Wall and Keri Alkema are the women at the heart of each story. In his COC debut Lee Blakeley directs what’s been called a “Tim Burtonesque” production; Johannes Debus conducts. Tue, Apr 10, 14, 18, 21, 27, May 3, 6, 8 & 14. A Florentine Tragedy/Gianni Schicchi, a double bill of one-act operas set in Florence. The Canadian premiere of A Florentine Tragedy by Alexander Zemlinsky is based on the unfinished story by Oscar Wilde where a husband shoots his wife’s lover thereby reigniting their relationship. With Alan Held, Gun-Brit Barkmin and Michael König all making their COC debuts. In Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, a peasant schemes to get his share of a rich bequest. Starring Held and Simone Osborne, Barbara Dever, Rene Barbera, Adam Luther, Barkmin and more. Catherine Malfitano directs; Sir Andrew Davis conducts. Apr 26, May 2, 5, 12, 15, 18, 20 & 25. $12-$318. Four Seasons Centre. 145 Queen St W. (416) 363-8231. coc.ca.

HATCH 2012 This year’s performing arts residency program at Harbourfront is curated by Jess Dobkin and kicks off with Mortified from choreographer Jenn Goodwin and visual artist Camilla Singh, an experimental performance of drumming, cheerleading and tap dancing. Sat, Apr 14. Then it’s The Sheets, The… a look at intimacy or its absence from Salvatore Antonio. Apr 21. Paper Laced with Gold is a musical from writer/co-director Maggie MacDonald and producer/co-director Stephanie Markowitz, the people who brought you The Rat King. It’s the story of a closeted teen who crosses paths years later with his old babysitter under less than ideal conditions. Starring Lisa Bozikovic, Vanessa Dunn, Liz Peterson, Katie Ritchie, Drew Smith and Bojana Stancic. With music by MacDonald and Stevie Jackson (of Belle and Sebastian fame). Apr 28. The series ends with Pantheon, a celebration of the real and imagined personalities who make up the hip-hop house band Kids on TV (aka John Caffery, Minus Smile and Roxanne Luchak). Sat, May 5. $15 ea; $40 for all. 8pm. Studio Theatre. 235 Queens Quay W. (416) 973-4000. harbourfrontcentre.com.

ONE NIGHT ONLY An evening of song and laughter with Thom Allison, Micah Barnes, Mitch Smolkin, Theresa Tova, Gabi Epstein, Jeff Madden, Charlotte Moore and Mark Camilleri. The National Theatre of the World (Mat Baram, Naomi Snieckus and Rod Pederson) also improvise a play. Linda Kash and Sheila McCarthy host. A fundraiser for the Harold Green Jewish Theatre Company. $50; $150 VIP dinner. 8pm. Mon, Apr 16. Jane Mallett Theatre. 27 Front St E. (416) 366-7723. hgjewishtheatre.com.

DANCING QUEEN Sky Gilbert’s new play on aging, monogamy and love. Starring Nick Green, Ryan Kelly and David-Benjamin Tomlinson with choreography by Keith Cole. Gilbert directs this Cabaret Company production. $20-$30. 8pm. Wed-Sat. PWYC. 2:30pm. Sun. Thu, Apr 19-29. Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. 12 Alexander St. (416) 975-8555. buddiesinbadtimes.com.

MICKEY AND JUDY Michael Hughes’ Fringe hit about his journey from the psychiatric ward to off-Broadway returns for one night only to raise money for the show’s run at the Edinburgh Fringe this summer. Featuring a musical score that borrows from Broadway classics and the Judy Garland songbook. $25. 8pm. Sat, Apr 21. Toronto Centre for the Arts, Studio Theatre. 5040 Yonge St. ticketmaster.com. mickeyandjudy.ca.

A BLOCK TO BROADWAY BENEFIT Musical theatre talents join together to raise funds to send Living with Henry to the New York Musical Theatre Festival this summer. The musical drama written by Christopher Wilson premiered at the Fringe last year, and is a modern telling of the fears and challenges of living with HIV. Benefit features Alana Bridgewater, Christian Bellsmith, Gabi Epstein, Marisa Falcone, Sherry Garner, Konstantinos Haitas, Kelly Hollif, Michael Hughes, Ryan Kelly, Lisa Kisch, Lizzie Kurtz, Lori Nuic, Nadine Roden, Ari Wienberg, David Myers and Wilson. $35. Silent auction and cash bar. 7pm; 8pm show. Mon, Apr 23. Bathurst Street Theatre. 736 Bathurst St. (416) 504-7529. artsboxoffice.ca.

PARIS 1994/GALLERY Longing, love and memory. World Stage presents dance cum visual art by choreographer DA Hoskins and The Dietrich Group. Performed by Danielle Baskerville and Tyler Gledhill, with spoken word by Jill Battson and film by Nico Stagias. $28 & $53. 8pm. Wed, Apr 25-28. Enwave Theatre. 231 Queens Quay W. (416) 973-4000. harbourfontcentre.com.