the nick of time
Ahhhh. Nick Johne's getting married in Ireland and his friends are holding a public stag for him. Short and stocky comic Johne, an always reliable improv artist and one of Second City's finest alumni/teachers/directors, will be roasted and toasted by the likes of Jenny Parsons, Steve Morel, Sue Morrison and his fellow Puddlejumpers Jeanie Calleja, John Mitchell, Alison Porter, Scott Yaphe and Dave Pearce. The Tuesday-night event's called Better Than A Stripper, and the $10 admission will help Johne get to the plane, and church, on time. Tim Sims Playhouse (56 Blue Jays Way). 416-343-0011.
You wouldn't necessarily group Glenn Close, Nathan Lane and Toronto's Daniel MacIvor in the same rainbow triangle, other than that they're all involved in theatre. The three were honoured last month at the 13th annual GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) media awards in New York City. Close and Lane received awards for their promotion of equal rights and combating homophobia, while MacIvor's In On It, a da da kamera production that played at Buddies, was awarded the prize for outstanding off-off-Broadway production. MacIvor is collaborating with that other Daniel -- Brooks -- on Cul-De-Sac, running at Montreal's Festival de théâtre des Amériques in May. No word yet on when we get to see it.
Catching a 1643 opera and a quartet of short opera premieres proved to us that onstage drama as well as music keeps the form alive. Opera Atelier's The Coronation Of Poppea, a Claudio Monteverdi work about the unscrupulous Roman emperor Nero and his equally scheming lover, Poppea, struck the right chords with narrative nastiness and beautiful singing. Most memorable character? Mezzo Stephanie Novacek as Nero's disgraced wife, Ottavia, in a hellfire performance as moving as her voice was exciting.
Tapestry New Opera's Opera To Go -- each of the four works was 15 minutes long and directed by Banuta Rubess -- went where no traditional opera would go. Who else would think of wringing musical tension from a student's performance anxiety in math class (Lisa, by Omar Daniel and librettist Alex Poch-Goldin)? Highlights of the evening were Erik Ross's Haiku Moments, with a libretto by Jovanni Sy, in which a haiku master loses control of his life and work to his new bride, and Jeffrey Ryan's and librettist Michael Lewis MacLennan's jazz-influenced The Laurels, a modern, sexually charged revision of the Daphne and Apollo myth, in which the usually chaste maiden is far from innocent.