Art & Culture

Live music and comedy shows to see this spring

The Tony-Award winning musical Dear Evan Hansen made its Canadian debut at The Royal Alexandra Theatre and continues until June 30. Photo courtesy Mirvish Entertainment / Matthew Murphy

by Chris Clay

ONE COULD ARGUE that MICHELLE OBAMA is as well-known as her trailblazing husband – former President of the United States Barack Obama. Charismatic and popular, Michelle made history as the first African American First Lady of the United States and used her time in that position to advocate about several important issues – including the betterment of women and girls around the world and the importance of Americans living healthy and active lives. She’s also an author, having penned the New York Times’ bestselling memoir Becoming. Michelle has hit the road for an international book tour that includes a stop at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto on May 4. She’s expected to speak about seminal moments from both her personal and professional life. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster.

If you’re into live music, there’s several big-name acts coming to Scotiabank Arena soon. They include the wildly popular ARIANA GRANDE as part of her Sweetener Tour on April 3, Cher with special guests Nile Rodgers and Chic on April 22, Canadian indie rockers Metric with July Talk on April 26, Pink as part of the Beautiful Trauma World Tour on May 13 to 14, Twenty One Pilots on May 28 and 29, legendary band The Who on June 1 and country star Carrie Underwood as part of the Cry Pretty Tour 360 on June 9. Tickets to all of the concerts can be purchased through Ticketmaster.

Over at the Budweiser Stage, British pop rock foursome THE 1975 appear on June 3 for a performance. The band enjoyed a great deal of critical praise for its third studio album A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships, released late last year and also hit number one on the U.K. charts. They plan on releasing their fourth album – Notes on a Conditional Form – later this year. General admission tickets start at $65 and can be purchased through Ticket Monster ( 

When the legendary actor and comedian JOHN CLEESE last appeared at Roy Thomson Hall, his sold-out performance was a smashing success. If you missed it, Cleese is coming back for another evening of hilarity on May 13. He’s best known for his time with comedy troupe Monty Python, and Cleese has also appeared in scores of films including A Fish Called Wanda. At the upcoming show, Cleese will take a look at the dysfunctional world and share his insightful and hilarious thoughts. Tickets cost $50 to $130 and can be purchased by calling the box office at 416.872.4255.

Longtime host of The Tonight Show JAY LENO will surely leave the audience in stitches when he makes a stop at Roy Thomson Hall on April 27. Tickets to see Leno, who belongs to the Television Academy Hall of Fame and is also a past winner of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, are priced at $49.50 to $199.50 and can be purchased through the box office. 

Another comedian – PAULA POUNDSTONE – will also make an appearance at Roy Thomson Hall. While she carved out a career for herself by making people laugh, she’s also an author and lecturer. Her most recent book, The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search For Human Happiness, has her trying to uncover the secret to happiness. Tickets to her May 6 show are $59 to $95 and can be purchased through the box office. 

What’s described as a powerful and profound musical – DEAR EVAN HANSEN – continues at the Royal Alexandra Theatre until June 30. The show, that won six 2017 Tony Awards including Best Musical and Best Score, follows a young man with severe social anxiety who can’t find any common ground with his peers and struggles to make friends. The run at the Royal Alexandra is the musical’s Canadian premiere. Tickets start at $59 and can be purchased by calling the box office at 416.872.1212.

Fans of the prolific American singer and songwriter Carole King won’t want to miss BEAUTIFUL – THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL, running April 9 to May 5 at the Princess of Wales Theatre. The show follows King’s rise to the top of her profession – she has multiple Grammy Awards and also belongs to both the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It features a number of songs she wrote or co-wrote including “I Feel The Earth Move,” “One Fine Day,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” and “You’ve Got A Friend.” Tickets start at $59 and can be purchased by calling the box office at 416.872.1212.

For those who love to laugh, comedic duo STEVE MARTIN AND MARTIN SHORT are coming to the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts on April 12 and 13 for their show Now You See Them, Soon You Won’t. The two Saturday Night Live alumni are going to look back at their careers and memorable moments with a show that’s described as a mix of stand-up comedy and musical numbers as well as chats with the audience. They’re accompanied on stage by The Steep Canyon Rangers and jazz pianist Jeff Babko. Tickets cost $82.89 to $278.39 and can be purchased by calling the box office at 1.855.872.7669.

Comedian ILIZA SHLESINGER makes a stop at the Sony Centre on May 25 as part of her Iliza: Elder Millennial comedy tour. You might have seen her recent Netflix special Elder Millennial – her fourth – or read her book Girl Logic: The Genius and the Absurdity. Tickets cost $45.89 to $62.89 and can be purchased through the box office.

Most people have heard the name DR. RUTH and are quite familiar with the charismatic and diminutive sex therapist. However, before she rose to fame she was just Karola Siegel. The story of her life has been translated to the stage for a run at the Toronto Centre for the Arts from April 30 to May 16. Tickets start at $16.50 and can be purchased through Ticketmaster or by calling the box office at 416.250.3708. 

The Canadian Opera Company is staging a production of Giacomo Puccini’s popular opera LA BOHÈME at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts from April 17 to May 22. The tale of young love in 19th-century Paris stars Angel Blue as Mimi and Atalla Ayan as the young poet Rodolfo. Tickets start at $35 and can be purchased by calling 416.363.8231.

Legendary American singer CHUBBY CHECKER comes to the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts for a performance on April 18. He’s best known for his massive hit “The Twist,” that had audiences all over the world dancing away. Tickets cost $58 and can be purchased by calling the box office at 905.787.8811.

The very funny KEVIN NEALON is coming to the Flato Markham Theatre on April 26 for a night of comedy. Many will know Nealon from his stint on Saturday Night Live, but he’s also appeared in a number of films including The Wedding Singer and Happy Gilmore. Tickets cost $69 to $79 with a special $15 price for youth. To purchase, call the box office at 905.305.7469. 

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