An ultra physical dance theatre piece, Femmillennial examines the abstract intersection of intimacy and absurdity.
An ultra physical dance theatre piece, Femmillennial examines the abstract intersection of intimacy and absurdity.

Here is Where Music Lives at the 2022 Toronto Fringe 

Our musical picks of the festival, July 6 to 17.

by Rachel Ecker

Remember when the thought of live performances felt like something of a memory? The Toronto Fringe Festival is a showcase that goes beyond one type of live performance art form and it’s back in full form this year, running July 6 to 17. 

“One of the wonderful things about Fringe is that there is truly something for everyone; we have theatre, dance, music, and storytelling. Some shows have all of that at once,” says Lucy Eveleigh, the festival’s Executive Director.” Our audiences are not one type of people, so we want to ensure we offer them all types of experiences. The Fringe is a place for coming together, so having interdisciplinary works here makes so much sense.” 

A thrilling handful of shows are being put on throughout the festival this year that blend the artistic expressions of music, theatre, and dance to deliver dynamic displays of storytelling. For Nam Nguyen, writer and creator of A Perfect Bowl of Pho, music operates as a major influencer of storytelling, pushing, crafting and controlling the message being delivered to audience members. 

​​”I feel like in retrospect, after plunking away at A Perfect Bowl of Pho for five years with composer Wilfred Moeschter, it’s incredibly clear that musical theatre always had to be the medium for the story of pho and Vietnamese cuisine,” Nguyen says. There’s a lot of grimness in the history that we don’t gloss over, but we also want the feeling you sit with in the theatre to be the same as a satisfied slurp of soup, and that is what a good song does. Music turns clumsy sentiments into beautiful ones, and straightforward observations become killer punchlines when they’re made to rhyme.”

Now is the time to establish your 2022 festival itinerary. Don’t miss the chance to participate in the return to live performance and celebrate the creativity and exploration that goes into multi-faceted artistic works. Read on to find out what music-blended programming is happening at the Toronto Fringe this year. 

The Musicals 

Anesti Danelis: This Show Will Change Your Life

Anesti Danelis steps into the spotlight at Toronto’s Fringe Festival once again with This Show Will Change Your Life, a mockery musical that puts self help books on the chopping block. The award-winning comedian, musician, writer and filmmaker first made waves at the Toronto Fringe Festival with the sold out run of his show Six Frets Under in 2019.

Venue: Al Green Theatre, 750 Spadina Avenue 

Show Dates: 

  • July 6 – 7:30 pm
  • July 8 – 4:45 pm
  • July 10 – 5:00 pm
  • July 11 – 9:30 pm 
  • July 14 – 6:45 pm 
  • July 15 – 5:00 pm 
  • July 16 – 5:00 pm 

A Perfect Bowl of Pho

Nam Nguyen illuminates the history of the Vietnamese diaspora through the telling of its cuisine and foods. NOW Magazine suggests A Perfect Bowl of Pho is a pulsing new musical that brings anarchic energy and invention. In collaboration with composer Wilfred Moeschter, director Steven Hao and music director Kevin Vuong, this show provides audiences with a musical history that journeys across the noodle of time and space. 

Venue: Ada Slaight Hall, 585 Dundas Street East 

Show Dates: 

  • July 7 – 5:45 pm 
  • July 9 – 2:45 pm 
  • July 10 – 4:30 pm 
  • July 12 – 9:00 pm 
  • July 13 – 9:45 pm 
  • July 15 – 6:30 pm 
  • July 17 – 1:00 pm 

So Mote It Be: The Musical

So Mote It Be is a dark and sexy folk musical that transcends time. Writer Cassandra Sirois tells the stories of three historical women who find themselves accused of witchcraft in their time. The influence of a divine prophecy catapults these women into a new reality. After being resurrected in the modern day, the three women become strippers and navigate the modern world under the continued watchful eye of the Prophecy. With the executional help of Director Evelyn Long, Sirois talks patriarchal trauma, prejudices against sex work and more in this magic-stricken adventure story. 

Venue: Streetcar Crowsnest Guloien Theatre, 345 Carlaw Avenue 

Show Dates: 

  • July 6 – 7:00 pm 
  • July 9 – 1:30 pm 
  • July 12 – 3:45 pm 
  • July 14 – 2:15 pm 
  • July 15 – 7:30 pm 
  • July 16 – 10:15 pm 
  • July 17 – 4:30 pm 

Statistics

Writer and Creator Shreya Jha parallels the stories of two female scientists: renowned biologist Rosalind Franklin and current day premedical student Rose Andersson. Rosalind Franklin struggles against misogyny in her line of work even after altering the trajectory of DNA discovery forever with the capturing of Photograph 51 in 1951. Rose Andersson fights the grueling competition for medical school admission. Captured half a century apart, these two scientific visionaries are united in grit, perseverance and love for their field. Statistics graces the stage of the Toronto Fringe Festival as the Winner of the 2020 Adams Prize for Musical Theatre.

Venue: Ada Slaight Hall, 585 Dundas Street East 

Show Dates: 

  • July 6 – 9:45 pm 
  • July 8 – 3:15 pm 
  • July 9 – 6:45 pm 
  • July 11 – 4:15 pm 
  • July 14 – 5:00 pm 
  • July 16 – 2:45 pm 
  • July 17 – 8:30 pm 

The Crack of Doom

Are you searching for a comedy musical where all the characters die at the end? Well, Matt Bernard’s The Crack of Doom might just be the perfect show for you. When a collection of students at Avignon University decide to stay on campus to party during their Thanksgiving holiday, the news breaks that a meteor is heading straight for Earth. In a frenzy of friends, freakouts and a fictitious turn of events, the students push on and make the most of the time they have left. 

Venue: Robert Gill Theatre, 214 College Street 

Show Dates: 

  • July 7 – 6:15 pm 
  • July 9 – 8:00 pm 
  • July 10 – 1:30 pm 
  • July 13 – 9:45 pm 
  • July 14 – 2:00 pm 
  • July 15 – 3:45 pm 
  • July 17 – 7:30 pm 

Billy & The Dreamerz

Billy & the Dreamerz was created by Neil Coombs and Grace Kosaka. The story is set in the UK in the 1980s and follows four young immigrants steering through life in  a white, working class town. The four protagonists find salvation and success in music. They go on to win a national music contest and are awarded a tour of the USA, but their journey is halted when tragedy pummels their momentum. They must contemplate whether to move forward through obligation or opportunity. 

Venue: Ada Slaight Hall, 585 Dundas Street East 

Show Dates: 

  • July 7 – 4:00 pm 
  • July 8 – 6:45 pm 
  • July 11 – 9:30 pm 
  • July 14 – 1:30 pm 
  • July 15 – 3:00 pm 
  • July 16 – 8:00 pm 
  • July 17 – 5:00 pm 

The Dance Shows 

Between Root and Bloom

From creators Hannah Barstow, Julien Bradley-Combs, Carman Chan, Eva Connelly-Miller, Racha Moukalled, and Mary Patsiatzis at ZESTcreative, Between Root and Bloom blends the talent of contemporary dancers and musicians to explore questions without answers. Who are we? Where have we been? This collaboration of movement and sound contemplates identity, personal history and the nature of growth. 

Venue: Factory Theatre Mainspace, 125 Bathurst Street 

Show Dates: 

  • July 6 – 4:30 pm 
  • July 8 – 10:00 pm 
  • July 9 – 8:00 pm 
  • July 10  – 1:00 pm 
  • July 11 – 8:00 pm 
  • July 13 – 3:45 pm 
  • July 15 – 3:00 pm 

The Occasion

Second Sleep Stage Creations presents their first indoor show in over two years, The Occasion. The ensemble sees a troupe of Korean drummers, dancers and musicians weaving ritual & theatre with dance & music in a spectacle of drumming and movement. The collection of works that comprise the show speak to themes of loss, nostalgia, and celebration. Ensemble Jeng Yi opens the show with a ribbon hat dance and is followed by Zither performer Joo Hyung Kim and Dancer Soojung Kwon. 

Venue: Ada Slaight Hall, 585 Dundas Street East

Show Dates: 

  • July 6 – 4:30 pm 
  • July 9 – 1:00 pm 
  • July 10 – 6:45 pm 
  • July 11 – 7:45 pm 
  • July 13 – 4:30 pm 
  • July 16 – 9:45 pm 
  • July 17 – 3:15 pm 

Femmillennial

Brought to you by Kylie Thompson of Kylie Thompson Dance, Femmillennial is an examination of the abstract intersection of intimacy, absurdity and virtuosity. Visually delving into what it means, how it feels, what it looks like, where we’ve been, where we’re headed, and who we came from. Three women are seen on stage, manipulating their bodies into an ultra physical dance theatre piece – a 3D collage of movement, media and music. 

Venue: Native Earth’s Aki Studio, 585 Dundas Street East 

Show Dates:

  • July 6 – 10:00 pm 
  • July 8 – 8:15 pm 
  • July 10 – 4:45 pm
  • July 11 – 9:45 pm 
  • July 14 – 4:00 pm 
  • July 16 – 6:30 pm 
  • July 17 – 8:00 pm 

Confronting Space

Rapley Dance Projects brings Confronting Space to the 2022 Toronto Fringe Festival. The overarching theme of this piece is the concept of confinement. Dancers mentally and physically confront their relationship to boundaries and evaluate restrictions, small spaces, and rules through movement. Choreographers Lilly Giroux, Emily Rapley, and Paige Sayles worked in collaboration with the ensemble of dancers to draw out genuine responses to the tasks and movement at hand, adding flares of relatability, reality, and authenticity to the piece. 

Venue: Al Green Theatre, 750 Spadina Avenue 

Show Dates: 

  • July 7 – 4:00 pm 
  • July 9 – 8:30 pm 
  • July 10 – 10:15 pm 
  • July 12 – 9:15 pm 
  • July 13 – 3:45 pm 
  • July 15 – 1:00 pm 
  • July 16 – 8:30 pm

Check out the Toronto Fringe Festival website to find out more about festival programming and locations.