A story of Christmas hope, coming of age, electric sex and air rifles is coming to the stage in theatrical form, as the Scarborough Players present A Christmas Story. The play was written by Philip Grecian, based on the movie directed by Bob Clark, with a screenplay by Clark, Leigh Brown and Jean Shepherd, based on Shepherd’s book In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash.
Those unfamiliar with the film may want to check out this performance, so they can finally understand why so many people find the phrase, “you’ll shoot your eye out!” so funny.
A Christmas Story tells the tale of young Ralphie Parker, a typical 1940s child dreaming of finding a genuine Red Ryder 200 shot carbine action air rifle under the tree on Christmas morning. The story touches on so many classic winter and childhood themes, it’s hard to imagine a more universal Christmas tale.
This performance is directed by Lorraine Green-Kimsa, produced by Anthony Jones and stage managed by Jon Sanderson. The 55-year-old theatre group, which draws numerous members from the Beach, puts on many productions each year, and this marks the first of four winter plays.
The show runs on Dec. 6 and 7, 12 to 14 and 19 to 21 at 8 p.m., and at 2 p.m. on Dec. 8 and 15. Tickets are $20 or $17 for seniors and students, and are available from the box office, 416-267-9292, or online at theatrescarborough.com. The Scarborough Village Theatre is at 3600 Kingston Rd., at Markham Road, and offers free parking and wheelchair accessibility.
A special wine and cheese reception with audience talk-back will be held on opening night, Friday, Dec. 6. Take this chance to meet the cast and crew, ask questions, discuss the show and share in the overall excitement of opening night. Go on, they triple dog dare you.
The folk act, with White on guitar and vocal duties, also comprises MacLean, on bass and harmony vocals, and Aldo Missio on mandolin. The show gets underway at 8 p.m., running until 10 p.m. For more on the band, visit ianwhite.org.
The Kingston Road Village Business Community is sponsoring a Christmas tradition – a reading of Charles Dickens’ classic, A Christmas Carol.
The reading takes place at 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 6, at Kingston Road United Church, 975 Kingston Rd., with donations being collected at the door. Proceeds will be split between the church’s ramp fund and Community Centre 55’s Share A Christmas campaign.
After the reading, make sure to take a stroll down the street and enjoy late night shopping, roaming carol singers and other special events at the shops along Kingston Road.
A cappella group Cadence is returning to Beach United Church for the Music For The Soul: Beach Jazz and Reflection series.
Consisting of baritone and bass Carl Berger, East End resident and tenor Ross Lynde, tenor Lucas Marchand and bass and vocal percussionist Kurt Sampson, the four-piece group performs tunes from be bop jazz to Joni Mitchell to 1980s pop hits, using only their vocal abilities and living up to a slogan on the group’s website: instruments are for surgeons.
Cadence is known for its live shows, with plenty of antics and audience participation adding to the fun of watching a group of talented singers display their vocal prowess. The group needs to be seen – and heard – to be believed.
The group has released four albums: Frost Free, Twenty for One, Speak Easy and Cool Yule, the latter of which provides the theme for this seasonal edition of Music for the Soul. The group will perform at Beach United Church, 140 Wineva Ave., at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7. There is no admission charge, but a freewill offering will be collected. For more on Cadence, visit cadence-unplugged.com.
Several hours later, Beach United Church presents He’s Here, an evening of music and stories focused on the deeper meaning of Christmas, featuring performer and composer Jeanine Noyes.
Noyes will be backed by a talented band including Fergus Marsh on bass and vocals, Al Cross on drums and Carol Olsen on keyboards and vocals. She has released two albums, Transparent and He’s Here, a Christmas-themed album, and is currently working on a third. The latest was inspired by the landscape of northern Scotland, where she set up shop to record.
Noyes has toured Canada and Europe, playing venues from theatres to living rooms, from castles to kitchens, and shows ranging from music festivals to rib festivals. She also works in theatre, but in her bio states that any show where she truly connects with an audience is bound to make the list of her favourite shows, regardless of the setting. For more information on Noyes, visit jeaninenoyes.com.
He’s Here takes place Saturday, Dec. 7 at 7:30 p.m. at Beach United Church. Tickets are $20 for adults and $12 for children under 12, and are available at eventbrite.ca, through the church office at 416-691-8082 or at the door.
Both fans of choral music and of the wildly popular Downton Abbey will want to take in Christmas Near Downton, part of the Traditions in Music series being put on by the Toronto Beaches Chorale.
Pulling material from the popular songs of the early 20th century, the show will feature music that families in the era would have enjoyed singing. Along with traditional seasonal favourites, artistic director Mervin William Fick has added some standout tunes to the program, including Finzi’s In Terra Pax, Holst’s Christmas Day and Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on Christmas Carols.
The choir will be joined by soprano Eve Rachel McLeod and baritone Jason Nedecky, along with a string ensemble, a harpist and an organist to help set the holiday mood.
Christmas Near Downton takes place on Sunday, Dec. 8 at 7:30 p.m., at Kingston Road United Church, 975 Kingston Rd. at Scarborough Road. Bring non-perishable food donations for Community Centre 55’s Share A Christmas program. Tickets are $25 at the door, or $20 in advance, $12 at the door for youth, and children under 7 are free. Three-ticket ‘flex packs’ for the full concert series are available through the website at torontobeachchorale.com.
Birchcliff Bluffs United Church presents its annual In the Spirit of Christmas.
The show is put together with an audience of all ages in mind. Lit by candles, the room sets the mood for readings of seasonal tales, as well as a puppet presentation of spoken word with music. On the bill are Reverend Cynthia Stretton from the church, reading Stephen Leacock’s Hoodoo McFiggin’s Christmas, filmmaker Don Gray reading Stuart McLean’s Dave Cooks the Turkey and CTV health correspondent Avis Favaro reading Stephen Krensky’s How Santa Got His Job. Music will be provided by singer Melody Wolfe, as well as the Birchcliff Bluffs choir, directed by Mark Oracion.
In the Spirit of Christmas takes place Saturday, Dec. 14 at 7:30 p.m. at Birchcliff Bluffs United Church, 33 East Rd., near Warden Avenue and Kingston Road. Admission is $15 for adults and $5 for children, plus a non-perishable food item.
This show is the church’s annual fundraiser for its Churches by the Bluffs Community Services Food Bank. For more information, visit birchcliffbluffsuc.org.
For those who can’t get enough of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, mark down the afternoon of Sunday, Dec. 15 on your calendars. A talented cast of fabulous readers and musicians will gather at Beaches Presbyterian Church, 65 Glen Manor Dr., for a reading of the seasonal classic at 3:30 p.m. Tickets are $25, and can be purchased at the door, or in advance by calling 416-699-5871.
Relish Bar and Grill, 2152 Danforth Avenue, just east of Woodbine, continues to offer a home for nightly live music on East Danforth.
On Tuesday, Dec. 3 and 10, The Usual Suspects take the stage from 7 to 9 p.m. The BTBs play Wednesday nights from 7:30 to 10 p.m. Kiki Karaoke runs Thursday nights from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., while the Danger Bees play Friday, Dec. 6 and 13 from 9:30 p.m. to close. Sunday nights from 9 p.m. to close is the weekly open stage Stir It Up. Bentroots play Monday, Dec. 9 and 16.
Upcoming performances also include Liane Fainsinger, 7 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 5, Brady Harden from 9:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7, Roger Dory from 7 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 12, Sam Taylor from 9:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 14, and Anthony Lohan from 7 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 17.
Grammy and Juno Award winner Dan Hill and harpist Lori Gemmell, both Beachers, will be appearing at a charity concert titled The Child in our Midst on Monday, Dec. 9.
The show promises to “celebrate Toronto’s diverse holiday traditions with an evening of story and song,” and will also feature Juno nominee Rob Crabtree, the Eastminster United Choir, storyteller Rukhsana Khan, comedian Sabrina Jalees and comedian Maggie Cassella, also handling emcee duties.
The concert is organized by Beacher MJ Perry, to benefit the Nancy Peters Massey Centre Fund. Peters led the centre as executive director for 16 years, helping young mothers meet the challenges of independent living and good parenting. Every dollar raised at the concert will be matched by the Toronto United Church Council.
Tickets for The Child in our Midst are $25 for adults, $10 for children and $40 for families of two adults and up to three children, and are available at thechildinourmidst.eventbrite.com or by calling 905-771-5124. The show runs from 7 to 8:30 p.m., with refreshments to follow, at Eastminster United Church, 310 Danforth Ave. at Chester. Please note that the venue is not wheelchair accessible.
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