The popular preschool television series Roll Play comes to life in Roll Play Live Animal Party, a vibrant concert tour that engages toddlers and toddler overlords in frolicking exercises of the imagination. Featuring live performances from the effervescent duo Splash'N Boots—winners of the coveted Canadian Children’s Group of The Year award—the interactive smile stampede of Roll Play Live Animal Party allows children to revel in their animalistic instincts without the need to pack tranquilizer darts. Audience members can have their faces painted in the likenesses of adorable critters before the stage is drenched in black lights, revealing ultraviolet animal designs lit up under the expanses of the darkened theatre. As the musical adventure bounds along, kids are encouraged to wail like monkeys, laugh like hyenas, and extrapolate like caffeinated dolphins to the tunes of their favourite Roll Play songs. At the end of the adventure, nippers and snappers take part in the evening's swan song by creating their own boisterous Roll Play song.
With shows customized to any occasion, Dotsy's Entertainment Company & Costume Shop’s trained performers mesmerize crowds with magic tricks, comedy routines, songs, and oodles of audience participation. The company’s balloon twisters can sculpt a new design every minute, and their roster of face painters covers up to 20 cheeks with stirring artworks in a single hour. To further enliven soirees, personnel can set up a nine-hole miniature-golf course, inflatable bouncers, and carnival-style games including a unicorn ring toss where players must lob a curled-up unicorn onto their partner’s ring finger. Dotsy’s singing telegrams and balloon bouquets bring good cheer to unsuspecting recipients, and their costume essentials—including hats, makeup, and wigs—let wearers embody the spirit of holidays and events such as Halloween and Renaissance fairs.
The Blyth Festival, set in the rural village of Blyth, produces solely Canadian plays that touch on the shared experiences of local Ontarians. Blyth Memorial Community Hall, an intimate theatre with a 444-person capacity, hosts a diverse sampling of plays from within its charming brick edifice. Whether forcefully clicking ruby slippers throughout the six nostalgic vignettes of Hometown or pondering the realities of romance during the bittersweet love story Rope’s End, onlookers will uncover familiar subject matter explored in surprising ways. Audiences praise the performances for capturing the experiences of their day-to-day lives, instead of reeling back in terror from plays performed by their evil doppelgängers.
Based on the American classic by John Steinbeck, Frank Galati's Tony Award–winning stage adaptation of The Grapes of Wrath represents an onstage gale of acting chops, emotion, and clever puppet commentary from the opera box. Antoni Cimolino, general director of the theatre, also directs this classic Great Depression–era tale of a family's migration from Oklahoma to California in the 1930s and the challenges they face in a series of migrant-worker camps. The cast includes award-winning veterans of The Canadian Stage Company, Vancouver Playhouse, and collaborators of visionary thespian Robert Lepage. Both an entertaining and educational windfall, this production of The Grapes of Wrath creates opportunities for field trips, peer bonding, or an undeserved afternoon of fun for complacent dependants. This play is suitable for ages 12 and older.
The second-annual Stratford Blues & Rib Fest teams up award-winning rib chefs from across North America with Maple Blues Award– and Juno-nominated music acts. Today's deal grants admission to the weekend festivities, where more than 20 scheduled bands and musicians, such as Jordan John, Michael Pickett, and Danny Brooks, pluck, strum, and warble on indoor and outdoor stages. Renowned ribbers such as Ontario's own Jack the Ribber and the Kentucky Smokehouse of Louisville tickle meaty keyboards in competition for cash prizes and immortalization in lyrical ballads. Slake rib-induced thirst with fresh suds and draft root beer in the beer gardens (food and drink prices vary by merchant and are not included with this Groupon), browse shiny rides at tractor and motorcycle shows, and belt out spiritual ditties at Sunday's Gospel Music Festival. Patrons can savour the festival's sounds and tastes while enjoying views of the Avon River's peaceful banks and Lindy-hopping swans.
The Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony was founded out of necessity; in 1945, the Grand Philharmonic Choir was preparing a recital and needed tuneful accompaniment for the harmonic voices. Once its backup duty was over, however, the newly convened orchestra quickly established itself as an independent source for both classical and pops concerts performing more than 100 concerts annually in the Waterloo region. Now home to 52 on-staff musicians, the orchestra continues its decades-long tradition at venues around Kitchener, Waterloo, Guelph, and Cambridge. From his position as music director, Edwin Outwater oversees the joyful noise, which ranges from baroque to Beethoven to the Beatles and Broadway. Since assuming the role in 2007, Outwater has been one of the orchestra's most vigorous boosters, arranging the group's first commercial recording in a decade, engineering an exploration of prog rock in collaboration with the Institute for Quantum Computing, and knitting sweaters for each musician's instrument.
Initially conceived as a one-off event in 2010, The Smoker's Club has since expanded, presenting fans with tours that unite skilled rappers and expert beat makers. One of the original members of the Wu-Tang Clan, Grammy-winning wordsmith Method Man spouts off dexterous rhymes in a gravely voice obtained by chugging asphalt smoothies everyday for breakfast. Curren$y gently cradles ears with laid-back flow, and frequent Smoker's Club collaborators such as Smoke DZA and Fiend buoy the evening with additional verbal fireworks. The Kool Haus provides a vibrant environment for the musical proceedings, ensconcing guests in a hip nightclub atmosphere with music mixed by Toronto-bred DJ Agile. An enormous dance floor proffers guests with ample space for unabashed rug cutting and wind sprints between marching bands.
A growing haven for live music, The Hive serves up inspired pub fare, specials, and a flotilla of drinks at its newly renovated home. Fill hollowed torso trunks at lunch or dinner with a menu of sizzling burgers, sandwiches, wings, and more. House specialties, such as the Hive garlic burger and the Hive mile-high club sandwich of succulent chicken breast and bacon help carnivores cover all the important meat groups, and veggies represent in the traditional caesar salad, vegetable spring rolls, and crunch-laden battered mushrooms (appetizers run $5–$8; entrees $8–$10). Celebrate a special occasion, such as Bring Your Mustache to Work Day or every Thursday's $0.30 wing night with a drink at the bar while taking in the aural splendour of live bands or relaxing on the large outdoor patio (weather permitting).
“Nats now Knights, colors green and gold.” That was the headline in the London Free Press on Wednesday, September 18, 1968, when the London Nationals officially became the London Knights. Four decades of highs and lows followed without a championship, but the drought ended in 2005.
That year, instead of celebrating their 40th anniversary by covering the locker room floor in rose pedals, the Knights set a franchise record with 120 points and claimed their first-ever Robertson Cup as champions of the OHL. The accomplishment earned the Knights an appearance in the Memorial Cup tournament, from which they emerged as the CHL’s top team. Ever since, the Knights have been an annual force in the league’s Western Conference, and added more hardware to their trophy case with back-to-back titles in 2012 and 2013.
The clap of colliding shoulder pads echoes across the field at TD Waterhouse Stadium, where the London Silverbacks rumble into the 2012 season seeking to win its first North American Football League title since 2007. One of only two Canadian teams in the NAFL—a league that encompasses more than 120 teams across the continent—the Silverbacks field the majority of its roster from London's local players and coaches, a show of pride for Canadian football surpassed only by naming one’s daughter Doug Flutie.
Rainbow Cinema's downtown multiplex nestled inside Citi Plaza beckons audiences to attend current releases of Hollywood blockbusters, comedies, and dramas. Silver screens bathe eyeballs with a changing line-up of seven current films, with new arrivals weekly to relieve viewers of repetitive staring contests with film extras. A grand lobby greets entering patrons as they grab a bite at the snack bar before proceeding on to their chosen screenings.
The King of Rock and Roll never relinquishes his throne as four of the country’s top Elvis impersonators team together for Elvis Lives, a multimedia musical tribute to one of music’s premier icons. Endorsed by Elvis Presley Enterprises, which holds the copyright on blue suede shoes, Elvis Lives stars a quartet of bona fide dead ringers, all of whom are winners of the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest and pay homage to four memorable eras of the pompadour-sporting legend’s career. Fans can swoon and shout as they catch a glimpse of tadpole Elvis and his centrifugal pelvis, movie-era Elvis, leather-jacket “comeback” Elvis, and shimmering, sequined-jumpsuit “Vegas” Elvis. The lavishly-produced show quantum leaps across a memorable career with classic songs sung spot-on, delighting fans and warming the heart of the real Elvis as he watches from the rafters.
Entering their 85th season, the Harlem Globetrotters have entertained millions of parents, children, and general basketball admirers with a unique brand of athletic precision and showmanship. For their latest “4 Times the Fun” North American tour, the Globetrotters will add a new 4-point shot spots located 35 feet from the basket, which is 12 feet further than the official three-point line but several thousand miles closer than the prime meridian. See the arch-nemesis Generals try to keep up as the Harlem hardwood sorcerers evade gravity’s oppressive clutches and court clairvoyants distribute unassailable alley-oops. Youngsters can learn about the benefits of teamwork while laughing along with the jovial jocks as they perform classic routines of unconventional passing and sudden transmutations of water into confetti.
Made up of amateurs, students from Wilfrid Laurier University, and seasoned professionals, the 34-member Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber Orchestra is truly a community ensemble. And the group takes its cultural responsibility seriously—each season, they delve into the lesser known works of beloved 18th and 19th century composers to unearth and play forgotten gems. Before presenting pieces by such luminaries as Beethoven and Mozart, the orchestra invites audiences to pre-concert performances from a small ensemble.
Costa Rican Jorge Strunz and Iranian Ardeshir Farah first united their guitars and their surnames into an improvisation-flecked duo in 1980, blending Afro-Latin, Middle Eastern, and jazz styles. Their 1992 album Américas vaulted to international attention with its infectious Afrocuban, Gypsy, and pre-Columbian rhythms, collecting both Billboard's World Music Album of the Year award and a Grammy nomination. With the assistance of Leah Zeger on violin and Majeed Ghorbani on percussion, Strunz and Farah's melodies vault up and down exotically modulated scales. Though their fingers are fluent in flamenco, the duo's signature style is saturated with international influences sharing only a common disregard for speed limits.