Skip to main content
FESTIVAL THEATRE CANOPY
July 29 – August 15
Cabaret

PLAY ON!

Curated by Robert Markus, Julia Nish-Lapidus and James Wallis
Directed by Julia Nish-Lapidus and James Wallis

A SHAKESPEARE-INSPIRED MIXTAPE

Shakespeare’s influence on Western culture extends even into your favourite pop hits. Whether it be direct lines from his plays appearing in Top 40 lyrics or whole songs inspired by his plots, whether the borrowers be Taylor Swift, Madonna, Elton John, The Beatles, Prince or Radiohead, Shakespeare is still there, lurking in the mainstream, as cool and as relevant as ever. This lively celebration of terrific tunes affords a great opportunity to introduce a younger audience to Shakespeare’s continuing role in popular culture.

House Program: Play On!

Approximate Runtime: One hour and 30 minutes no intermission.


Production support is generously provided by Barbara & John Schubert.

SHARE THIS

CAST & CREATIVE

    Gabriel Antonacci
    Romeo

    2021: Romeo in Play On! Eighth season. Stratford: Ed Gammidge in The Music Man, Phantom in The Rocky Horror Show, Al in A Chorus Line, Henrik Egerman in A Little Night Music, Rolf Gruber in The Sound of Music, Pinball Lad in Tommy, and appeared in Billy Elliot the Musical, Guys and Dolls, HMS Pinafore, Fiddler on the Roof and Carousel. Elsewhere: Johnny alternate in Green Day's American Idiot (first US tour); Hank Majewski in Jersey Boys (Dancap); Gilbert in Anne of Green Gables (Charlottetown). Film/TV: Captain von Trapp in The Pacifier. Training: Etobicoke School of the Arts. Online: Twitter/Instagram: @GabrielNacci. Et cetera: Huge thanks to Stratford and Colin McMurray for this opportunity. Thank you to my wife, Robin Calvert, for being the absolute best. This show is dedicated to his puppy, Sophie.

    Jacob MacInnis
    Richard

    2021: Richard in Play On! Stratford debut. Jacob MacInnis (they/them) is a Tkaronto-based performer and visual artist. After training for three years at Sheridan College's Music Theatre Performance Program, Jacob has gone on to entertain audiences all over Turtle Island in countless musicals, concerts and cabarets. In 2014 Jacob was nominated for a Dora Mavor Moore Award, and won the Toronto Theatre Critics' Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Musical (James and the Giant Peach, YPT). You can follow Jacob on Instagram @jacobmacinnis, check out their visual art @jacobmacinnisart, or listen to their original music on Spotify, Apple Music, or anywhere you listen. Jacob sends love to all the folx at TH, to their family, and to Tucker. #braverthanbrave

    Jennifer Rider-Shaw
    Beatrice

    2021: Beatrice in Play On! 11th season. Stratford: Ten seasons including Velma Kelly in Chicago, Janet in The Rocky Horror Show, Josephine in HMS Pinafore, Maggie in A Chorus Line, Sally Simpson in Tommy, Peggy Sawyer in 42nd Street. Elsewhere: Jennifer recently revived the role of Sally Simpson in The Who's Tommy In Concert, performing alongside Pete Townshend at The La Jolla Playhouse. She has also performed on stages across Canada: Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, Charlottetown Festival, Grand Theatre, Theatre Aquarius, Drayton Entertainment, Ross Petty Productions. COVID: Jen became a trained lash extension technician during 2020: @thelashroombyjen. Training: Music Theatre Performance (Sheridan), Acting (Red Deer College). Et cetera: Thank you to YOU, the patron, for returning to the theatre. I am filled with gratitude to be a part of the 2021 Stratford season. Love to Robert, Bruce & TH, Mom and Dad.

    Kaitlyn Santa Juana
    Julia
    2021: Julia in Play On! Kaitlyn is excited to be making her Stratford Festival debut! Broadway: Dear Evan Hansen. Broadway/Tours: Mirvish Productions' Dear Evan Hansen, Toronto, Disney Cruise Line. She is a graduate of AMDA NY and is originally from Vancouver, British Columbia. Sending love and gratitude to the team at the Stratford Festival, The Talent House, and her family and friends. Instagram: @kaitsantajuana.
    Dale-Anne Brendon
    Drum Kit
    2021: Drum Kit for Why We Tell the Story and Play On! Stratford: Drummer for Tommy (2013), Jesus Christ Superstar (2011), Evita (2010). Elsewhere: Substitute drummer for Come From Away (Toronto), drummer for Randy Bachman's Heavy Blues album and tour (2015), drummer/percussionist for Jeans 'n Classics - North American touring band, percussion for Grey Gardens at Berkeley Street Theatre, Toronto (2016). Endorser of Yamaha drums, Sabian cymbals, ProMark drumsticks. Online: daleannebrendon.com; youtube.com/daleannebrendon.
    Reza Jacobs
    Keyboard
    2021: Music director of and Keyboard for Play On! and composer and sound designer of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Third season. Stratford: Musician for Up Close and Musical; composer, sound designer of Twelfth Night. Elsewhere: Reza is an award-winning composer, sound designer and music director known for his versatility in style and genre. His credits include sound design and composition for the Shaw Festival, Factory Theatre, Tarragon, Passe Muraille, Volcano, Cahoots, YPT, Luminato Festival and Harbourfront's World Stage Festival. He has won Dora Awards for Music Direction for Life After (Musical Stage Company), London Road (Canadian Stage), and Caroline, or Change (MSC). He has played Ted in 2 Pianos 4 Hands, most recently at the NAC, and has toured with Andrea Martin as her music director. His favourite gig of all time is being partner to Stephanie and father to Arabel and Iris. He also wishes to express his gratitude for his agent and friend, Emma Laird.
    Jon Maharaj
    Acoustic Bass, Electric Bass
    2021: Basses for Why We Tell the Story and Play On! Stratford debut. Jon Maharaj is a JUNO Award-winning bassist who has performed and/or recorded with The Tenors, Emilie-Claire Barlow, Allison Au, Amanda Tosoff and many others. He has toured North America extensively with a variety of artists and has performed overseas, everywhere from Tokyo to Monte Carlo. He is currently playing bass in the Canadian company of the Tony-winning musical Come From Away, a position he has held since January 2018. Jon is also on faculty at Humber College in Toronto, where he has been teaching since 2003.
    Kevin Ramessar
    Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar
    2021: Guitars for Why We Tell the Story and Play On! Eighth season. Multi-instrumentalist, conductor, and composer Kevin Ramessar enjoys collaborating on stage, in the studio and in the classroom. He teaches at Wilfrid Laurier University and is a frequent adjudicator and guest instructor. Stratford: Romero in Man of La Mancha, Guitars in A Chorus LineTommy, Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita; onstage musician in Bartholomew Fair, Fuente Ovejuna. Broadway: Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, Jesus Christ Superstar, Gettin' the Band Back Together. Elsewhere: Tony Awards orchestra; We're Gonna Die (Second Stage); London Road (Canadian Stage). Recordings: Spanish, classical and fingerstyle guitar recordings available in the Theatre Store (Sojourn, Echoes, Acoustic Christmas). Publications: Musicians Institute Curriculum Series: The Guitar Program, Reading (Volumes 2, 3, 4), WBH MusicWorks. Online: kevinramessar.com. Et cetera: Co-founder of Virtual Broadway (virtualbway.com).
    Robert Markus
    Co-Curator

    2021: Co-curator of Play On! and Singer in Why We Tell the Story. Fourth season. Stratford: Up Close and Musical (Stratfest@Home), The Rocky Horror Show, Tommy, The Music Man, Fiddler on the Roof. Elsewhere: Dear Evan Hansen (Mirvish); Lil' Red Robin Hood (Ross Petty Productions); Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Theatre Aquarius); Jacob Two-Two Meets the Hooded Fang, Seussical, James and the Giant Peach (YPT); Our Town, Sweeney Todd (Shaw Festival); UnCovered: Queen and Bowie (Musical Stage Company); Dream a Little Dream, Shrek (Grand Theatre); Chicago, Twist and Shout (Drayton Entertainment); Next to Normal (Citadel Theatre/Theatre Calgary); The Rocky Horror Show, A Christmas Carol (Citadel Theatre); Jesus Christ Superstar, Chicago (Mayfield); Hunchback (Catalyst). Film/TV: If I Only Had Christmas (Hallmark Channel). Training: BFA, University of Alberta. Online: robertmarkus.com. Instagram: @rjbmarkus. Et cetera: Special thanks to family, friends, TH, and JRS, for their constant support.

    Julia Nish-Lapidus
    Co-Curator and Co-Director
    2021: Co-curator and co-director of Play On! Third season. Stratford: Assistant director: Private Lives, All's Well That Ends Well (interrupted by COVID-19). Elsewhere: Co-Artistic Director and Co-Founder of Shakespeare BASH'd (Best Site-Specific Theatre Company, NOW Magazine, 2018 and 2019). Director: Cymbeline, Richard III, The Comedy of Errors, The Duchess of Malfi (staged reading) (Shakespeare BASH'd); Romeo & Juliet (& Joni) (Untitled Productions); The Duchess of Malfi, The Revenger's Tragedy (Ryerson Theatre School); The Tom and Gertie Letters Project (SpringWorks); Talk to Me Like the Rain and Let Me Listen, This Property is Condemned (Playwright Project). Text coach: As You Like It (Theatre by the Bay); Titus Andronicus (Hart House). Co-creator: Modern Love (Canadian Stage/Next Stage). Training: Sheridan/University of Toronto. Online: @ShakesBASHd, shakespearebashd.com.
    James Wallis
    Co-Curator and Co-Director

    2021: Co-curator and co-director of Play On! Fourth season. Stratford: Assistant director of Macbeth, Bunny, Romeo and Juliet and Julius Caesar. Elsewhere: Director: Romeo and Juliet, Love's Labour's Lost, Macbeth, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Edward II (staged reading), King John, The Changeling (staged reading), Twelfth Night, Volpone (staged reading), Othello, A Midsummer Night's Dream (co-director) (Shakespeare BASH'd - also Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director); Shakespeare in Hospitals (Spur of the Moment Collective); As You Like It (Theatre by the Bay); Reasons to Be Pretty (Labute Cycle); Titus Andronicus (Hart House Theatre); Henry IV Part 1 and 2 (Theatre Erindale); The Tom and Gertie Letters Project (Springworks); Pygmalion, The Revenger's Tragedy, The Duchess of Malfi (Ryerson); Romeo & Juliet (& Joni) (Untitled Productions - co-director workshop). Training: Ryerson Theatre School. Online: @ShakesBASHd; shakespearebashd.com. Et cetera: Thanks to Julia for everything.

    Reza Jacobs
    Music Director
    2021: Music director of and Keyboard for Play On! and composer and sound designer of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Third season. Stratford: Musician for Up Close and Musical; composer, sound designer of Twelfth Night. Elsewhere: Reza is an award-winning composer, sound designer and music director known for his versatility in style and genre. His credits include sound design and composition for the Shaw Festival, Factory Theatre, Tarragon, Passe Muraille, Volcano, Cahoots, YPT, Luminato Festival and Harbourfront's World Stage Festival. He has won Dora Awards for Music Direction for Life After (Musical Stage Company), London Road (Canadian Stage), and Caroline, or Change (MSC). He has played Ted in 2 Pianos 4 Hands, most recently at the NAC, and has toured with Andrea Martin as her music director. His favourite gig of all time is being partner to Stephanie and father to Arabel and Iris. He also wishes to express his gratitude for his agent and friend, Emma Laird.
    Kaileigh Krysztofiak
    Lighting Designer

    2021: Lighting designer of Why We Tell the Story, You Can't Stop the Beat, Play On!, Freedom and Finally There's Sun. Ninth season. Stratford: Lighting designer, Othello, The Comedy of Errors. Assistant lighting designer, six seasons (2011-2016). Selected credits: A Chorus Line, Tommy, A Word or Two, Jesus Christ Superstar. Studio Theatre technical director, 2013. Elsewhere: Honour Beat (Grand), After the Fire, The Particulars (Punctuate, The Theatre Centre); Kinky Boots, Newsies (Drayton Entertainment); Salt-Water Moon (Mirvish, Factory, Why Not); Wildfire (RARE, Soulpepper); The Emancipation of Ms. Lovely, The Breath in Between (Crow's); Superior Donuts (Coal Mine); Laurier (Charlottetown Festival, TNB); Beaver (Storefront); Noises Off (Soulpepper); A Line in the Sand, The Crackwalker (Factory Theatre); Hana Hashimoto (Carousel Players). Training: National Theatre School of Canada. Et cetera: Course Lecturer at Ryerson University, Instructor at the NTSC, General Manager of Lights On Stratford, a two-time Dora nominee and a 2020 Pauline McGibbon Award nominee.

    Peter McBoyle
    Sound Designer
    2021: Sound designer of Why We Tell the Story, You Can't Stop the Beat, Play On!, Freedom and Finally There's Sun. 26th season. Stratford (selected): Over 60 productions including Billy Elliot, Little Shop of Horrors, The Music Man, The Rocky Horror Show, Guys and Dolls, A Chorus Line, Shakespeare in Love, Crazy for You, A Word or Two. Elsewhere: Peter has worked at most major Canadian theatres and in US cities such as New York, Las Vegas, Boston, Los Angeles, Dallas and Atlanta. Broadway credits: Come Fly Away and Barrymore. Tours include Sister Act, Catch Me If You Can, Come Fly Away, Legally Blonde and West Side Story. Recent projects include Little Canada (Toronto), Immersive Van Gogh (Canada/US), Battle of the Blades (CBC). Training: Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Music (McGill). Awards: Suzi (Atlanta), Come Fly Away; Dora nomination, Caroline, Or Change, Fire. Et cetera: Thanks to Meghan, Ella and Beatrice for their unending support.
    Kim Lott
    Stage Manager

    2021: Stage manager of Play On! 24th season. Stratford: Stage manager credits (selected): Wendy & Peter Pan (interrupted by COVID), Mother's Daughter, The Matchmaker, Titus Andronicus, Evita, West Side Story. Assistant stage manager credits (selected): Treasure Island, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, South Pacific, The King and I, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Henry V, Much Ado About Nothing. Elsewhere: Stage manager credits (selected): Ring of Fire, Hana's Suitcase, Annie, Twist and Shout (Grand Theatre); My Fair Lady (Drayton Entertainment). Et cetera: To my loved ones, here and in Shanghai, let's enjoy the adventures.

     

    Cynthia Toushan
    Production Stage Manager

    2021: Production stage manager of the Festival Theatre Canopy. 25th season. Stratford: Shows include Chicago (interrupted by COVID), Billy Elliot, A Chorus Line, Crazy for You, Fiddler on the Roof, Camelot, Oklahoma!, West Side Story, My Fair Lady, Man of La Mancha, Hello, Dolly!, The King and I and others. Elsewhere: Over 40 years as a stage manager in live entertainment including gala events, music concerts, opening ceremonies and fundraising events including A Christmas Carol for the Stratford Hospice. Over 25 years with the Canadian Opera Company as a stage manager; production stage manager and resident director of Jersey Boys, Toronto; 25 years as a singer/dancer and choreographer in Canadian theatre; associate director/choreographer to her mentor, Alan Lund. Et cetera: Love to Paul, daughters Stephanie and Jennifer, son-in-law Andrew, and her grandchildren, Kennedy, Koston and Connor. I am so grateful to be back at work.

PHOTOGRAPHY & VIDEO

PLAY SCHEDULE


Is the performance you want sold-out? Can’t find the number of seats you want? Join the Waiting List!

Call our box office at 1.800.567.1600 and pay the regular price for the number of tickets you need. If tickets become available, we’ll reach out to you by phone. If not, we’ll refund you in full. Members receive priority access within the waiting list.

For more information about the Waiting List, click here.

Wed, Aug 04
11:00 AM
SOLD OUT
Thu, Aug 05
11:00 AM
Fri, Aug 06
11:00 AM
Sat, Aug 07
3:00 PM
Sat, Aug 07
7:00 PM
Sun, Aug 08
11:00 AM
Tue, Aug 10
11:00 AM
Play On! - Filmed Performance. Guest image may be captured.
Tue, Aug 10
3:00 PM
Play On! - Filmed Performance. Guest image may be captured.
Wed, Aug 11
11:00 AM
Thu, Aug 12
11:00 AM
Fri, Aug 13
11:00 AM
Sat, Aug 14
7:00 PM
Sun, Aug 15
11:00 AM

FESTIVAL THEATRE CANOPY  
To find out more about all our theatres, please visit the Theatre Maps & Guides page.