Singer, Tristan Und Isolde
It's been almost two decades since Canadian heldentenor Heppner last sang in a Canadian Opera Company production, so expectations are high for his return in one of the roles he's become internationally famous for: that of Tristan, the heroic knight in Wagner's epic music drama about love and death. With visionary director Peter Sellars at the helm and video artist Bill Viola on board, this should be a knockout production - one that makes the five hours just rush by. January 29 to February 23 at the Four Seasons Centre. 416-363-8231.
Actor, The Penelopiad
The acting ensemble for Nightwood's The Penelopiad won a Dora last year for their work, but the person who was impossible not to watch was Shaw and Stratford vet Fox. She brought intelligence, fiery energy and impeccable acting chops to Odysseus, Penelope's husband, who in Margaret Atwood's version of the Greek tale is no longer the protagonist. Still, Fox won audiences with her wily, winning characterization, complete with metaphoric balls. To February 10 at Buddies in Bad Times. 416-975-8555.
Actor/writer, untitled Second City mainstage show
Caruana is one of the city's best improvisers. Quick, smart and funny, she brings joy and spontaneity to every scene she's in. After years at Bad Dog Theatre, lots of character actor work on TV and film and a couple of seasons writing on clever YA show That's So Weird, the Canadian Comedy Award winner finally hits the mainstage of the Second City for their winter revue, along with new cast members Allison Price and Craig Brown and the returning Nigel Downer, Jason DeRosse and Stacey McGunnigle. Previews through February, tentative opening March 5. 416-343-0011.
Director, And Slowly Beauty...
Shamata, artistic director of Victoria's Belfry Theatre, has helmed a number of fine shows in Toronto, including his adaptation of A Christmas Carol at Soulpepper and The Year Of Magical Thinking at the Tarragon. He's back at the Tarragon with Michel Nadeau's And Slowly Beauty..., in which a man barely interested in theatre wins tickets to Chekhov's The Three Sisters and finds his life changed. Great cast, too, including Caroline Gillis and Dennis Fitzgerald. The Belfry/National Arts Centre co-pro runs February 20 to March 31. 416-531-1827.
Writer/performer, Dancing With Rage
After her fierce warrior princess character Marg Delahunty's encounter with Mayor Rob Ford made headlines in October 2011, expect an anecdote or two about the man when Walsh brings her solo show to the Panasonic. Walsh, best known for This Hour Has 22 Minutes and CODCO, was supposed to bring the work to Passe Muraille last season, but came down with pneumonia. The mayor likely won't show up when she takes to the stage, March 5 to 24. 416-872-1212.
Writer/actor, Chocolate Woman Dreams The Milky Way
Mojica has long been one of Canada's pre-eminent native theatre artists and activists. The revival of this Chocolate Woman Collective production again features Mojica and Gloria Miguel (Spiderwoman Theatre) in a layered series of female-centric creation stories that reclaims indigenous culture through art. The 2011 production was thrillingly staged, and this time around it's sure to be as powerful. January 29 to February 3 at Aki Studio Theatre, Daniels Spectrum. 416-531-1402.
Many comics have told us they entered show business because of Garofalo, who cut her teeth in the alternative comedy scene before redefining the idea of "the funny best friend" in film (Reality Bites, The Truth About Cats & Dogs) and TV (The Ben Stiller Show, The Larry Sanders Show). Although she seems to have gone mainstream on series like 24, The West Wing and Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior, we'll see if her edge has been blunted when she comes to the Comedy Bar, her first T.O. appearance in five years. March 22 and 23. comedybar.ca.
Actor, Iceland and carried away on the crest of a wave
Known for his charming work in paper SERIES and My Granny The Goldfish, Ada was part of the unbeatable team in Nicolas Billon's SummerWorks hit Iceland, playing a weaselly real estate agent you were glad wasn't trying to sell you property. He returns for the show's Factory Theatre revival and is also in the cast of David Yee's carried away on the crest of a wave, about the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Iceland runs March 2 to 24 (416-504-9971) and carried away plays April 16 to May 26 at the Tarragon (416-531-1827).