This week in Toronto: Cher asks, do you believe in life after farewells?
Watch this for: Cher. Anything else you wanna know?
When a performer like Cher comes in, it’s more who she is than what she’s going to do. This is what happens when you have 50-plus years of pop material, umpteen Vegas residencies and an adoring, all-ages, all-sexes fandom to draw on. Nearly two decades ago she went on a “farewell tour”; five years ago here, she vowed never to return but, as usual in these matters, the joke’s on us. As she told an Atlanta audience in January, “Hell yes, you should clap. I’m still here, for God’s sake!” Fellow eminence Nile Rodgers is along for the ride with a tribute band that plays under the banner of his old Chic. If you want more she’ll be back Nov. 29 at the same venue. (Scotiabank Arena, 40 Bay St., 8 p.m.)
- Sharkwater Extinction
Watch this to: Appreciate the passion of late filmmaker Rob Stewart.
Torontonian Stewart died making this documentary, which is touched on but not exploited in the film. Mainly, it conveys Stewart’s love for sharks and his efforts to expose the heartbreaking slaughter that is killing 150 million of the creatures a year, to the detriment of our own species. Despite all the human greed and stupidity he witnessed, Stewart still had hope we could turn our senseless abuse of the planet around. As a companion piece to this Earth Day airing, HBO2 has at 9:30 p.m. (Crave 1 at 9 p.m.)
- Gentleman Jack
Watch this if: You like a period drama that speaks to modern times.
Anne Lister (’s Suranne Jones) is a fish out of water in 19th-century Yorkshire, a woman who dresses like a man and is determined to take a wife at a time when same-sex relationships were treated like a shameful secret. It’s tough enough today for people who don’t conform to gender stereotypes; one can only imagine the obstacles in 1832 England, but Jones sweeps us briskly along in this cheeky dramatization of a true story, created by mastermind Sally Wainwright. Sophie Rundle (, ) co-stars. (HBO at 10 p.m.)
- The Things I Carry
Watch this if: You want a different way to look at, listen to and move with immigration.
Vancouver-based dancer and choreographer Lee Su-Feh has been developing her work about immigration, family stories and their greater implications for Canadian society and beyond for about five years, beginning with the EU’s Migrant Bodies Project. Now it’s the final show in Theatre Passe Muraille’s 2018/2019 season, billed as “part ceremony, part conference, part confessional.” (Scadding Court Community Centre, 707 Dundas St. W., 7:30 p.m., on until April 28)
- Med Hondo’s Soleil O
Watch this if: You want to catch a classic of radical African cinema.
A Mauritius-born filmmaker who never pulled his punches, Med Hondo died in Paris at the age of 82 last month. The Royal’s Black Gold series marks his passing with a special screening of a new 4K restoration of the director’s fiery first feature. The story of a Black immigrant worker in Europe who discovers that modern life is not so different from the days of slavery, caused a sensation at Cannes before winning the Golden Leopard at the Locarno festival in 1970. It’s being rediscovered by a new generation of radical-minded cinephiles along with the rest of Hondo’s trail-blazing work. (, 608 College St., 8 p.m.)WEDNESDAY
Watch this if: You’ve never seen one of the first Canadian movies to really showcase our diversity.
This nation’s movies were a whole lot whiter before the arrival of two pioneering dramas by Indo-Canadian filmmakers in Toronto in 1991: Deepa Mehta’s first feature, , and , the story of a hard-luck orphan trying to get his life in order years after his family was killed in an airline explosion in India. A bold debut for writer-director Srinivas Krishna, it made a big impact on moviegoers before undeservedly slipping out of circulation. It gets a free screening thanks to TIFF’s See the North series with a post-screening Q&A by Krishna. (TIFF Bell Lightbox, 350 King St. W., 8:45 p.m.)FRIDAY
Watch this because: On the scale of brilliant to train wreck, he never lands in the middle.
Almost 15 years and many more screeds on from his last concert appearance here, it’s hard to know what to make of this return for the ex-Smiths frontman/antagonist — or whether to bother at all. For one thing, the music’s been spotty out of the soon-to-be-60 Moz in the interim, his most ambitious composition being an autobiography entitled (and by the way, it’s a fab read). That last show came off like a bent Vegas revue, at once thrillingly louche and oh so over the top, right down to his name in flashing lights onstage and the usual swooning, panties-tossing stage-crashers keeping the security fellas busy. All hail the returning misanthrope. (Sony Centre, 1 Front St. E., 8 p.m., also Saturday at 8 p.m.)
- Next to Normal
Watch this if: You want to witness one of the most challenging roles in musical theatre.
premiered on Broadway a decade ago and made a huge splash with its unprecedented portrayal of bipolar disorder and the strain of mental health issues on a family. It won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize and lead actor Alice Ripley won a Tony for her performance in a famously emotional and demanding role. In this production by Musical Stage Company, presented in the Off-Mirvish season, Ma-Anne Dionisio (Kim in the original Canadian cast of ) takes it on. (CAA Theatre, 651 Yonge St., 8 p.m., on until May 19)SATURDAY
Watch this if: You want to see why everyone’s talking about this Shakespearean story.
The Stratford Festival launches its 2019 season with its own production of and indie company Shakespeare Bash’d just performed it in a Little Italy bar. Now the Canadian Opera Company offers its take on the infamous tragedy. With overt themes of racism, violence against women and toxic masculinity, there are many triggers to unpack in this day and age. (Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, 145 Queen St. W., 7:30 p.m., on until May 21)