Who: Performer in The Lesson , adapted from black American writer Toni Cade Bambara 's story about a class on a 1960s field trip.
Buzz: As a vital proponent of diversity, Ross has galvanized equal-opportunity action for artists of colour in stage, film and TV. Now she returns to her first love, theatre, playing a Harlem teacher who takes her kids to Manhattan's Upper East Side. Maybe her authoritative stage presence will rub off on her less experienced colleagues.
Who: Performer in Conservatives In Love , Dave Carley 's satire about the curious mating habits of a strange species called right-wingers.
Buzz: With her dead-on improv instincts and special gift for playing high-strung nervous wrecks, Snieckus always stood out in her Second City shows. This marks her second Fringe appearance, and she couldn't have picked a better script - or director ( Sue Miner ). Maybe Stephen Harper will show up. He needs a laugh.
Who: Performer in Ubu Roi (Massacred) , Alfred Jarry 's controversial precursor to the absurdist, Dadaist and surrealist art movements.
Buzz: Shields proved a genuine discovery in last Fringe's The Unfortunate Misadventures Of Masha Galinski, where she reworked various fairy tales with a distinctly feminist twist. A few months ago she shone as a greedy sibling gorging on fruit in the erotic and spooky Goblin Market. Ubu Roi, which plays with myth and magic, should be a perfect fit for this brave performer.
THE DUEL OF AGES ENSEMBLE
Who: The four fight-director/performers in Duel Of Ages , a compendium of armed and free-hand combats chronicling the history of duelling.
Buzz: You rarely see Todd Campbell , Simon Fon , Kevin Robinson and Daniel Levinson onstage; they're usually behind-the-scenes fight choreographers. In this unusual work by some talented writers - Mike McPhaden , Dennis McGrath , Michael Rubenfeld , Gregg Taylor and Kirsten Gundlack Levinson - they'll battle for honour and the spotlight in swordplay and "wire-fu" action scenes. Careful where you sit.
Who: Director of Like, Omigawd! The Sugar-Pop 80s Rock Musical , in which a small-town girl moves to the big city and rubs some high-tone gal pals the wrong way.
Buzz: He's gone the Disney route, playing baddies Scar in The Lion King and Jafar in Aladdin. Now Rawley, who's directed at the Fringe, SummerWorks and elsewhere, goes back in high school history with Omigawd!, sure to be filled with hilariously bad hair and outfits (leg warmers, anyone?) and lots of blue mascara.
Who: Co-writer and performer (with Nathan Cuckow ) of BASH'd! , a gay rap opera in which two queers plot revenge when one is bashed.
Buzz: Edmonton's Craddock knows his pop music - he's the creator of the phenomenally popular BoyGroove, a Fringe hit two years ago and an award winner for its T.O. remount. Can't wait to see how he uses hiphop in BASH'd! to explore discrimination among gays and straights, especially with characters called Feminem and T-Bag. The show just picked up a Sterling Award - Edmonton's equivalent of the Doras - last week.
Who: Writer/performer in Expiry Dating , a comedy romance about love and writing.
Buzz: Broverman's done many Fringes, but always from the other side of the footlights - as a theatre critic. Now shes practising what she preached in print. The script won the Fringe New Play Contest, and Brovermans got a good onstage partner in Mark Andrada , one of the most versatile talents in town. The big question? How will the National Post, where Broverman writes and which excerpted the winning script, review her?
Who: Performer and co-adaptor of Kafka And Son , a look at the push-pull relationship between author Franz Kafka and his authoritarian father.
Buzz: An archetypal story of father/son antagonism blended with desperate angst and grudging love, the script has some grim humour and equally sharp insights. Check out Nashman's wonderful physicalizing of the two men and the expressionistic set of cage and feathers. If you missed earlier versions of the show, now's your chance.