Toronto is a fantastic city for many reasons but one its greatest attractions is its dazzling theatre scene. Last weekend, EMG and I experienced two theatrical events in separate venues and both left us in amazement at how good Toronto’s productions can be. The first, the Musical Stage Company’s Onegin, an adaptation of Pushkin’s epic poem of the same name, a classic of Russian literature. Formerly Acting Up Stage Company, Musical Stage http://musicalstagecompany.com presents musicals that are off the mainstream but have often won well known awards. Previously we saw Passing Strange about a 1970s black teen finding himself, a Tony and Drama Desk award winner. Onegin, a tale of ‘unrequited love, infatuation and intrigue,’ won 10 West Coast Jessie awards and is playing until June 4. What Musical Stage does so well is take a classic story like Onegin and modernize the presentation and music, while being faithful to the story that made it great in the first place. It was a truly enjoyable evening; the curtain call received a standing ovation. @musicalstageco
As if that weren’t enough, Albert Schulz’s redoubtable Soulpepper company is presenting another classic, Ntozake Shange’s For colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf, first seen on Broadway some 40 years ago and updated in 2010. Certainly a classic of the black experience and a riveting evening of theatre, For colored girls, like Onegin, transcends time with a story that never goes out of date. “It’s mostly a series of poetic monologues spoken by seven black women identified only by the colours of their dresses,” @karenfricker2 wrote in @torontostar. “They talk, chant, dance, and sing about sexuality, violence, oppression, and liberation.”
The closing scene, the woman in red’s soliloquy, is one of the strongest emotional nuclear bombs you will experience in theatre, maybe ever. It’s on until May 31 @soulpepper.
What would a night in the theatre be, especially in the Distillery District, without a visit to @millstreetbrew? The freshest, most delicious beers on tap, including a personal fave, Cobblestone Stout and EMG’s Belgian Wit, a wheat beer. We also thoroughly enjoyed the barbecue for two, including delicious fall off the bone ribs and brisket, perfectly smoked, a house made sausage, beans, slaw, and corn bread. And the server, who offered various tasty samples, made it all worthwhile.