There's no Mozart opera better suited to family viewing than The Magic Flute. At heart it's a fairy tale, complete with a prince who rescues a princess from the forces of evil (though who it is who's evil changes over the course of the show) and even a dragon to delight young viewers.
It's one of the staples in the repertoire of Opera Atelier, and the company's branching out to make it an interactive holiday experience for audience members young and old. They've partnered with Casa Loma to create Mozart's Magical Castle, an event that fills Sir Henry Pellatt's home on the hill.
Performances will include music, dance and drama. A pair of Opera Atelier dancers perform choreography from The Magic Flute; music excerpts feature singers in arias; and costumed company members act out an abridged version of the story.
But that's just the start. Characters from the opera wander throughout Casa Loma, your kids can create lizard scales that will be added to a wall-sized dragon body, and there's a scavenger hunt and storytime.
Icons of the holiday season are part of the entertainment, too. You can meet Santa and have breakfast with him in the castle's conservatory (Saturday and Sunday, December 22 and 23), be part of an elves' workshop and listen to strolling carollers.
And if you're tempted by the Mozart you see and hear, consider attending Opera Atelier's revival of the full production, beginning April 6 at the Elgin Theatre.
Storing Red One
Red One Theatre Collective, which presents shows around town at unusual venues, gets a home - at least for a while.
To encourage the work of local artists and businesses in the Bloorcourt area, the troupe has moved temporarily into a storefront at 955 Bloor West to present a winter program of indie theatrical events.
Run by founding collective members Benjamin Blais and Tyrone Savage along with Kelly Read and Stacey-Lee Turner, the StoreFront Theatre will host multidisciplinary presentations for the early part of 2013.
To launch the space, there's a winter wonderland and pop-up market Saturday (December 22), featuring local vendors, music and entertainment. It'll run from noon to 6 pm, followed by screenings of classic films at 7 and 9 pm. Santa himself might even make an appearance.
StoreFront Theatre's first show is the Frederick Knott thriller Wait Until Dark, beginning January 11.
Cinderella goes Canadian
Puppetmongers, now in its 23rd season, sure knows how to create holiday classics for kids.
The brother-and-sister team of Ann and David Powell revive one of the company's most charming shows, Cinderella In Muddy York, at a new venue, Theatre Passe Muraille.
Directed by Sue Miner, the show is set in 1834, when York was about to become Toronto.
Canadian born-and-raised Ella is the only family member able to cope with life on the edge of civilization. But her newly arrived British stepmother and stepsisters want to keep her in the background when the household receives an invitation to a ball at the lieutenant-governor of Upper Canada's mansion. Yes, magic allows Ella to attend the ball and meet the man's son.