July, 2018

This year’s 30th Toronto Fringe Festival runs from July 4 to 15. Toronto Fringe was founded by a group of local indie artists in 1989 “to offer the ‘fringes’ of the performing arts community a platform to create art at a grassroots level”. Now Ontario’s largest theatre festival, it will showcase 159 plays at 44 venues, including 50 free, drop-in events and eight KidsFest shows. At $13 for a full-price ticket, why not try one or several productions and then relax outdoors and enjoy the rest of your summer evening with some tasty food and drink at the Fringe Patio, Toronto’s largest pop-up patio.

Also designed for making the most of our summer weather, Canadian Stage’s outdoor Shakespeare in High Park is at the High Park Amphitheatre for its 36th season from June 28 – September 2. This year’s choices are the tragic romance of Romeo and Juliet and the comedy of a A Midsummer’s Night Dream. You can reserve a premium spot online or pay-what-you-can at the gate.

Shakespeare wrote specifically for the stage, but many of today’s plays and musical theatre productions are inspired by novels. The Mirvish theatres alone have featured, or will be featuring, three well-known musical productions inspired by books this summer. The Phantom of the Opera, based on Gaston Leroux’s novel of the same name published in 1909, ran through June at the Princess of Wales Theatre.

The witches of Wicked, The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz, flew into the Ed Mirvish Theatre on June 20 and will be there through July, their 5th trip to Toronto. Inspired by Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, the 1995 novel by Gregory MacGuire, Wicked the musical premiered on Broadway in 2003, where it continues to draw crowds.

Beginning July 10 (through August 12) The King and I is onstage at the Princess of Wales Theatre. Inspired by Anna and the King of Siam, Margaret Landon’s 1944 book, The King and I premiered on Broadway in 1951. It won Tony Awards that year for Best Musical, Best Actress and Best Featured Actor, Yul Brynner. Brynner went on to star in the well-known 1956 film version, winning the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role. Much more recently, The King and I won several more Tony Awards in 2015, including for Best Revival of a Musical.

Which is your favourite musical inspired by a book? Take our poll here.

Elsewhere in Toronto, Soulpepper’s summer season includes several shows running through July. Visit their website for details. Potted Potter is onstage at the CAA Theatre through July 22 and fan favourite Come From Away continues at the Royal Alexandra Theatre.

The shows noted above represent a small sampling of the great theatre, music and dance happening throughout Toronto in July, in theatres large and small. Which show(s) did you enjoy seeing? Share your thoughts below and if you were at one of Toronto’s large theatres, please help us build our theatre database by submitting a review of the view from your seat on our Homepage.

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