Plum Viewing

Maggie Fairs
3 min readNov 13, 2020


Welcome to the latest edition of Plum Viewing, my weekly roundup of arts and culture to view online. Happy viewing!

We are in for a treat this weekend. Jazz at Lincoln Center is celebrating the timeless talents of the wonderful Ella Fitzgerald with the re-airing of the 2017 concert marking her centennial. The lineup is ridiculously good. Harry Connick Jr. is our host, with performances by Renée Fleming, Roberta Gambarini, Diana Krall, Marilyn Maye, Audra McDonald, and of course, all accompanied by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis. We can almost (almost!!) thank the pandemic for providing the opportunity to see this show. Ok. This is a stretch I KNOW but I am trying my hardest to be a ‘glass half full’ kinda gal :) The concert is streaming on Saturday, Nov 14 and will be available for 72 hours. Tickets are $20 and can be reserved here.

As wonderful as celebrating Ella will be, Saturday Nov 14 will mark a sad day for many in Toronto as the beloved Second City venue will say its final good-bye. As we all know, the Second City franchise has been one of the victims of this crisis (here, I revert back to ‘glass half empty’ mode). But, God bless the Toronto cast who are determined to entertain us to the end. As a farewell, we have one final revue, titled, of course, CERB Your Enthusiasm.

So pour yourself a drink, think of all the greats to have graced the Second City Stage (Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara, John Candy, Dan Aykroyd, and so many more) and enjoy this last performance.

The always provocative Red Bull Theatre is back again with another stellar offering: A benefit reading of Ana Caro’s The Courage to Right a Woman’s Wrongs. Here’s the plot: It is a comedy of intrigue and lively ingenuity, in which our heroine, Leonor crosses geographical boundaries and defies gender expectations in order to bring her fickle lover, Juan, to justice and restore her lost honor. Disguised as the dashing Leonardo, she travels from Seville to Brussels, where she finds Juan and initiates her shrewd plan for revenge. What follows is a hilarious feat of masterful maneuvering, replete with cross-dressing and unexpected twists, as she repeatedly outwits the men around her — already we love this woman! The play puts the notions of masculine honor under a microscope and offers instead a space for women and their agency. Well done, Ana!!

The performance, which starts streaming on Monday, Nov 16, is free and tickets can be reserved here.

Venus Smiles Not in the House of Tears, as our Shakespeare fans might know is from Romeo and Juliet: Act 4, Scene 1 (and, yes I am feeling very smug at the moment — also thank you google!). It is also a completely original concert event, written and produced by Samora Pinderhughes and Jack DeBoe and brought to us for free by the Public Theater. The New Times describes it as “an intimate, radical experiment in multi-genre storytelling, full of pathos-laden melody and heart-rending harmonies.” Pinderhughes, given the title of one of his generation’s most captivating composers, explores romance, grief, and memory in relationships past. Well, that’s enough for me. I’m sold. It is streaming through November 20 and can be accessed here.

Boston Marriage is a term I have just learned (this is indeed an educational Plum Viewing this week!!). It was first used in the 19th century to describe households where two women lived together, independent of any male support. I literally had no idea. Well, if ever there was someone to school us on just about anything, it is the GREAT Patti LuPone, who stars in David Mament’s play by the same name.

Let’s face it, for us Broadway nerds, Patti LuPone could read the phone book and we would heartily give her a standing ovation. She is simply that divine. Combining all that makes Patti, well Patti with David Mamet’s punchy dialogue, we are in for a treat. It closes on Nov 16 and you can reserve your ticket here.


And, an ask: While we’re enjoying these wonderful performances, let’s remember that for the arts organizations producing this incredible content, this is their livelihood; not a hobby. If we can, now is our time to continue to support our incredible arts community!

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