Richard "Bugs" BurnettWhat’s on in Montréal courtesy of Tourisme Montréal


Maestro Rafael Payare conducts the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal and internationally-acclaimed violinist and OSM Concertmaster Andrew Wan in Andrew Wan and Beethoven’s Immortal Violin Concerto in three concerts at the Maison Symphonique on October 25 and 26.


Montreal burlesque legend Scarlett James

Montreal burlesque legend Scarlett James will headline the Montreal Burlesque Festival Oct 13 and 14

Montreal burlesque legend Scarlett James welcomes international stars from the world of burlesque to the 13th edition of her Montreal Burlesque Festival at Club Soda on October 13 and 14.

Headliners this year include New Zealand’s Chris Oh, Britain’s Miss Betsy Rose and American Jessabelle Thunder. On October 13, burlesque stars will also compete at the Lili St-Cyr Award, named for the burlesque icon who found fame headlining Montreal’s Gayety Theatre (today the Théatre du Nouveau Monde) during Montreal’s notorious Sin City era.

“Montreal was the entertainment capital of North America long before Las Vegas,” Scarlett recently told me. “Burlesque was very popular in the 30s, 40s and 50s, but today few people really know burlesque. I want to change that. My shows are a celebration. I’m here to offer beauty, dreams, fantasy and fancy.”


The first show of the Centaur Theatre’s 2023-24 season is playwright Drew Hayden Taylor’s alterNatives, an English-language revival of alterIndiens, a comedy of manners that shines a light on the cultural divides that still exist between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Canada, by bringing new life to a classic dramatic scenario – the dinner party gone wrong. Runs October 17 to November 5.

The Segal Centre for Performing Arts presents the Tony and Grammy-winning Broadway smash Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, the inspiring true story of Carole King’s remarkable journey from teenage songwriter to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The show features some two dozen pop classics including “You’ve Got a Friend” and “Natural Woman.” Starring Tess Benger as Carole King. Runs October 15 to November 5.

The Segal also presents the world premiere of the Tableau D’Hôte Theatre production Mizushōbai (The Water Trade) by playwright Julie Tamiko Manning which explores the life of Kiyoko Tanaka-Goto, a Japanese picture-bride turned ‘underground’ businesswoman in 1930s British Columbia. The narrative marks a historic moment in Canadian theatre as it features an all-Japanese-Canadian female cast – including Montreal’s own Hanako Brierley making her professional stage debut – and the Montreal directorial debut of acclaimed Indigenous director Yvette Nolan. Runs October 10 to 22.

MainLine Theatre presents their hugely popular annual remount of Richard O’Brien’s The Rocky Horror Show from October 19 to 31. Complete with live band. This will sell out, so buy your tickets early.

Gardens of Light

Gardens of Light at the Botanical Gardens until October 31


The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts presents the major touring exhibition Marisol: A Retrospective, the most comprehensive survey devoted to the groundbreaking artist (1930-2016). In addition to Marisol’s canonical works from the 1960s and 1970s and later projects, this retrospective includes examples of the artist’s source materials, sketches, studies and personal photographs to further illuminate her working methods, life and times. Runs October 7 to January 21, 2024.


This year’s edition of Gardens of Light illuminates the Botanical Garden until October 31.


The 52nd edition of the Festival du nouveau cinéma will screen more than 100 features from 57 countries from October 4 to 15. The opening film on October 4 is the Canadian premiere of La Passion de Dodin Bouffant (The Pot-au-Feu) by Trần Anh Hùng who won the best director award at Cannes 2023. The closing film is Le Règne animal (The Animal Kingdom) with two screenings on October 14 and 15.

The Orchestre symphonique de Montréal presents Charlie Chaplin’s first talkie The Great Dictator in the first North American screenings of its remastered version at the Maison Symphonique on October 18 and 19. The original soundtrack by Chaplin and Meredith Willson was restored by the guest conductor for the occasion, Timothy Brock.


Scottish comic superstar Danny Bhoy headlines the Olympia on October 21.


Christine and the Queens at MTELUS and Kim Petras at the Olympia, both on October 15; the massive Enrique Iglesias, Pitbull & Ricky Martin show takes over the Bell Centre on October 20, a few days before the Montreal return of two music icons: Shania Twain at Bell Centre (October 25) and Bob Dylan at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier (October 29).

Dubbed “Mr. Montreal” by the CBC, arts and culture journalist and columnist Richard “Bugs” Burnett knows Montreal like a drag queen knows a cosmetics counter.