Globe and Mail theatre critic J. Kelly Nestruck curates some of the top theatre offerings in Toronto this fall.
The Normal Heart
Studio 180's revival of this classic 1980s AIDS drama returns for a second go-round. Larry Kramer's play about the confusing start of the pandemic had been written off by many as dated and didactic, but Joel Greenberg's production showed it is full of enduring rage and moving as all get out. Stand-outs Jonathan Wilson and Ryan Kelly return to their roles; bring tissues. Buddies in Bad Times, Oct. 19 to Nov. 18.
Morris Panych directs this endlessly relevant 1958 Swiss satire about the perils of hoping people won't do what they say they're going to do. Some of Canada's top actors are in this production – including Fiona Reid, Dan Chameroy, Sheila McCarthy and Michael Ball. Justin Rutledge has composed songs for the show, and performs them with a full band on stage. Canadian Stage, Nov. 11 to Dec. 9.
You know the poems from Dennis Lee, aka Canada's Father Goose – now see them come to life. Ins Choi, the playwright and performer behind last winter's hit Kim's Convenience, and four of his Soulpepper colleagues workshopped this creation earlier this year. Artistic director Albert Schultz liked it so much, he slotted it in as a last-minute addition to the 2012 season, presumably thinking that if he didn't get some, he was going to die. Soulpepper Theatre Company, Nov. 6 to 26.
A Brimful of Asha
Local theatre artist Ravi Jain's unorthodox show about a culture clash over ideas about marriage returns. Jain's mother Asha wanted to arrange a wife for him in India; he subscribed to more contemporary Canadian ideas about love. Jain's first brilliant stroke in telling this story was to cast his own mother, Asha, a non-actor, as herself; his second was to serve samosas to his audience. Tarragon Theatre, Nov. 25 to Dec. 16.
The Wizard of Oz
Viewers of CBC Television's series Over the Rainbow have been following a long, yellow-brick road to this – a new production of the old beloved musical with a few added songs by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, and a Dorothy cast by Canadians. Sales have been brisk even before the lead has been cast. Mirvish Productions, begins Dec. 20.
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story contained incorrect information. This version has been updated.