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2020 Casting and Media Release

MEDIA RELEASE

PLAYBILL

By WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE | Directed by CHRIS ABRAHAM | MAY 7 to OCTOBER 23 | Opens MAY 25 | Venue: Festival Theatre

 

Featuring Graham Abbey as Benedick and Maev Beaty as Beatrice

With Kaleb Alexander as Claudio and Andrea Rankin as Hero

Also in the cast are:  Jakob Ehman, Bruce Horak, Kevin Kruchkywich, Josue Laboucane, André Sills, Michael Spencer-DavisNorman Yeung

 

One of Shakespeare's great comedies, Much Ado About Nothing¸ is brought to you by director Chris Abraham, who was at the helm of a string of rollicking comedies on the Festival stage, including A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Taming of the Shrew and Tartuffe.

In an era of ever-changing attitudes towards marriage and power, Shakespeare presents us with a society at once filled with progressive feminist impulses and opposing forces rooted in traditional patriarchal values. With his astonishing wit and insight, Shakespeare explores the complexities that underlie these growing social tensions. With its fiery protagonists, Beatrice and Benedick, it has some of the funniest scenes in Shakespeare. 

Book by FRED EBB and BOB FOSSE | Music by JOHN KANDER | Lyrics by FRED EBB | Based on the play by MAURINE DALLAS WATKINS | Script adaptation by DAVID THOMPSON | Directed and choreographed by DONNA FEORE | APRIL 11 to NOVEMBER 1 | Opens MAY 26 | Venue: Festival Theatre

 

Featuring Dan Chameroy as Billy Flynn, Chelsea Preston as Roxie Hart and Jennifer Rider-Shaw as Velma Kelly

With Sandra Caldwell as Mama Morton and Steve Ross as Amos Hart

Also in the cast are: Robert Markus, Eric Abel, Gabriel Antonacci, Robert BallDevon Michael Brown, Colton Curtis, Amanda De Freitas, Henry Firmston, Bonnie Jordan, Heather Kosik, Bethany Kovarik, Jordan Mah, Amanda Mattar, Allison McCaughey, Lily McEvenue, Chad McFadden, Genny Sermonia, Jason Sermonia

 

The Festival has secured the rights to the first major production of Kander and Ebb's Chicago outside of New York and London in 30 years! Chicago is a musical for our time. It's about celebrity culture, corruption, lawyers and cynicism. It's about the power of leveraging all your assets to do the wrong thing. And it's filled with incredible music!

Barry Weissler, who controls the rights to Chicago, is a huge fan of the Stratford Festival and because of his enormous faith in director-choreographer Donna Feore, he went out of his way to allow the Festival to do an entirely new production here in Canada.

The hit musical, which holds the record for longest running musical revival on Broadway, will be entirely reimagined by Feore, whose work with musicals on the Festival stage has transformed classics and transfixed audiences. Under her creative guidance, this magnificent production will be created especially for the Festival's thrust stage and unlike any version of the show you may have seen before.

By WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE | Directed by PETER PASYK | APRIL 23 to OCTOBER 25  | Opens MAY 28 | Venue: Festival Theatre

 

Featuring Amaka Umeh as Hamlet

With Graham Abbey as Claudius, Kaleb Alexander as Laertes, Maev Beaty as Gertrude, Jakob Ehman as Horatio, Andrea Rankin as Ophelia and Michael Spencer-Davis as Polonius

Also in the cast are: Ijeoma Emesowum, Bruce Horak, Kevin Kruchkywich, Josue Laboucane, André Sills, Norman Yeung

 

Shakespeare's most famous play, Hamlet, is vital to present at a time of new beginnings because it takes the pulse of the time: it shows the form and pressure of the age, allowing us to see ourselves as we are now. Not only is it a great tragedy, it is also a great mirror.

Peter Pasyk, a two-time Dora Award nominee for outstanding direction, Pasyk, was at the helm of the recent critically acclaimed Toronto production of The Nether. He trained in the Festival's Langham Workshop for Classical Direction and served as assistant director of Birds of a Kind and The School for Scandal. His direction promises to be nuanced, insightful and compelling.

By MOLIÈRE | In a new version by RANJIT BOLT | Directed by ANTONI CIMOLINO | AUGUST 2 to OCTOBER 24 | Opens AUGUST 19 | Venue: Festival Theatre

 

Featuring Colm Feore as Harper

With Jessica B. Hill as Marianne, Ron Kennell as Jack, Qasim Khan as Charlie, Alexandra Lainfiesta as Eleanor, Jamie Mac as Victor, Steve Ross as the Detective and Brigit Wilson as Fay

Also in the cast are: Wayne Best, Michael Blake, David Collins, Roy Lewis

 

Stratford fans will get a double dose of Colm Feore next season! In addition to Richard III, Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino and Feore will come together again for Molière's The Miser. This great comedy is not only deliciously funny, but points to arguably the greatest malady that humanity has: our belief that through money we can get security and happiness, when in fact money seems to drive the exact opposite.

The production will use the translation by Ranjit Bolt, whose modern translation of Tartuffe was such a success in Stratford in 2017 that it moved on to Toronto in 2018. 

Schulich Children's Plays Wendy & Peter Pan |  Adapted by ELLA HICKSON | From the book by J.M. BARRIE | Directed by KEIRA LOUGHRAN | Choreographed by ALLEN KAEJA | APRIL 24 to NOVEMBER 1 | Opens MAY 27 | Venue: Avon Theatre

 

Featuring Cynthia Jimenez-Hicks as Wendy and Jake Runeckles as Peter

With Laura Condlln as Captain Hook and Tara Sky as Tiger Lily

Also in the cast are: Carla Bennett, Caryn Chappell, Aidan deSalaiz, Rodney Diverlus, Josh Doig, Camille Eanga-Selenge, Ryan Gifford, Eddie Glen, Josh Graetz, George Krissa, Heather McGuigan, André Morin, Marcus Nance, Trevor Patt, Mateo Galindo Torres

 

This beautiful new retelling of the Peter Pan story makes sense of Neverland in a way you've never seen before! Commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company, it opened to rave reviews and now the Stratford Festival has secured the rights to the North American première.

An imaginative re-telling of J.M. Barrie's classic family story, Wendy & Peter Pan looks at the story of the lost boys through the eyes of Wendy. It will be directed by Keira Loughran, with choreographer Allen Kaeja, who pioneered Kaeja Elevations, which includes a ground-breaking approach to flying. Together they are creating an unforgettable production. 

Book and Lyrics by ERIC IDLE | Music by JOHN DU PREZ and ERIC IDLE | A new musical lovingly ripped off from the motion picture "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" | From the original screenplay by GRAHAM CHAPMAN, JOHN CLEESE, TERRY GILLIAM, ERIC IDLE, TERRY JONES, MICHAEL PALIN | Directed by LEZLIE WADE | Choreographed by JESSE ROBB | MAY 9 to OCTOBER 25  | Opens MAY 29 | Venue: Avon Theatre

 

Featuring Jonathan Goad as King Arthur

With Eddie Glen as Patsy, George Krissa as Sir Galahad, André Morin as Prince Herbert, Trevor Patt as Sir Robin and Mark Uhre as Sir Lancelot

Also in the cast are: Carla Bennett, Aidan deSalaiz, Josh Doig, Camille Eanga-Selenge, Ryan Gifford, Josh Graetz, Heather McGuigan

 

And now for something completely different: the Tony-winning Best Musical of 2005, Monty Python's Spamalot! Adapted from the massive hit movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Spamalot is an irreverent parody of the Arthurian legend.

Spamalot gives us an absurdist view of the hunt for and belief in power. It's about the underpinnings of democracy versus monarchy - and it's hilarious from start to finish!

The musical comedy is directed by Lezlie Wade, who recently directed two amazing comic productions here: HMS Pinafore and An Ideal Husband.  She was also the assistant director on Jesus Christ Superstar and Christopher Plummer's one-man show, A Word or Two.

Returning from New York to his home country of Canada is choreographer Jesse Robb, who was the associate choreographer for the recent Broadway revival of Miss Saigon.

By HILARY MANTEL | Adapted for the stage by MIKE POULTON | Directed by ted witzel and GERAINT WYN DAVIES | JULY 28 to OCTOBER 24 | Opens AUGUST 13 | Venue: Avon Theatre

 

Featuring Geraint Wyn Davies as Thomas Cromwell

With Sarah Orenstein as Wolsey and André Sills as King Henry VIII

Also in the cast are: Kaleb Alexander, Jakob Ehman, Josue Laboucane, Andrea Rankin, Jake Runeckles, Michael Spencer-Davis, Amaka UmehNorman Yeung

 

For the first time on stage in Canada! The famed Tudor story told by Hilary Mantel in her Man Booker Prize-winning novel, Wolf Hall, enjoyed by millions through the thrilling BBC mini-series. Adapted for the stage by Mike Poulton, this suspenseful and hugely entertaining story was first produced by the RSC in 2013 and had a limited run on Broadway in 2015, winning eight Tony nominations. 

Fans of this season's Henry VIII and Mother's Daughter will be lining up for this award-winning Tudor story. It is a gripping tale about power at a time of huge change in Britain as the Reformation takes hold. While policy and religious rights are fundamental to the Tudor story, this play gives us what we all want - juicy gossip about relationships and marriages!

The production will be co-directed by ted witzel and Geraint Wyn Davies. Actor and director Wyn Davies presented a reading of Wolf Hall at the Forum and is fiercely looking forward to bringing it to the stage. Witzel, whose work is always inventive and irreverent, served as assistant director of 2016's Shakespeare in Love and 2015's Oedipus Rex, and is the Festival's Assistant Creative Producer for the Laboratory. Together they have a fascinating vision for the production. 

By WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE | Directed by ANTONI CIMOLINO | MAY 6 to OCTOBER 23 | Opens MAY 30 | Venue: Tom Patterson Theatre

 

Featuring Colm Feore as Richard III

With Michael Blake as the Duke of Clarence, Ben Carlson as Lord Hastings, David Collins as Stanley, Martha Henry as the Duchess of York, Jessica B. Hill as Lady Anne, Seana McKenna as Queen Margaret, Lucy Peacock as Queen Elizabeth, Tom Rooney as Buckingham and Mike Shara as Catesby

Also in the cast are: Marion Adler, Wayne Best, Jacklyn Francis, Andrew Iles, Ron Kennell, Qasim Khan, Alexandra Lainfiesta, Roy Lewis, Jamie Mac, Gordon Patrick White, Brigit Wilson, Mamie Zwettler

 

Richard III is the play that launched the Stratford Festival in 1953, in a massive tent overlooking the Avon River. To launch the glorious new Tom Patterson Theatre, Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino has invited stage and screen star Colm Feore home to play the historically significant title role in the play.

Having recently been honoured with a Governor General's Performing Arts Award for a lifetime of creative achievement, Feore will play Richard, a psychopath determined to seize the crown. In examining an individual who is shameless in his drive to achieve power, Shakespeare encourages us to ask: How do bad people rise to power? Why do we support those who are obviously corrupt and immoral?

Feore promises to be an extraordinary Richard III, injecting the character with elements of danger, intelligence and razor sharp wit.

Cimolino and Feore collaborated on the 2014 production of King Lear, a production that was a huge critical and popular success, launching the Stratford Festival on Film series and becoming one of the top-selling Shakespeares in the Festival's history.

By WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE | Directed by SCOTT WENTWORTH | MAY 15 to OCTOBER 24 | Opens JUNE 11  | Venue: Tom Patterson Theatre

 

Featuring Jessica B. Hill as Helena and Seana McKenna as the Countess of Rossillion

With Ben Carlson as the King of France and Tom Rooney as Parolles

Also in the cast are: Marion Adler, Wayne Best, Michael Blake, David Collins, Nicole Joy-Fraser, Qasim Khan, Ron Kennell, Alexandra Lainfiesta, Roy Lewis, Jamie Mac, Mike Shara, Gordon Patrick White

 

Director Scott Wentworth will be at the helm of this Shakespearean comedy of heartbreak and deception. As the title suggests, it all works out in the end - but there are dozens of surprising twists and hilarious turns getting there.

All's Well That Ends Well was one of two plays that launched the Stratford Festival back in 1953. Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino has programmed both plays to celebrate the opening of the new Tom Patterson Theatre Centre.

Like Richard III, All's Well That Ends Well is about the birth of the modern world. Both plays compare a set of values, a set of expectations about loyalty and service in a world that is already disappearing: a feudal era that is giving way to a modern world of capitalism.

Because Richard III and All's Well That Ends Well are both about the past and the future, they are ideal plays to begin a theatre with, as Tyrone Guthrie, the founding artistic director of the Stratford Festival, knew that when he selected them back in 1953.

Wentworth has created a number of magnificent Shakespeare productions for the Festival recently. His Romeo and Juliet touched people's hearts. His Pericles made an often difficult play into a sweeping fairy tale. And his un-gendered Julius Caesar gave us a new window into one of Shakespeare's most rousing history plays.

World Première | Stratford Festival Commission |  Music and Lyrics By STEVEN PAGE | Book by DANIEL MACIVOR | Additional Music and Lyrics by CRAIG NORTHEY | Directed and Choreographed by DONNA FEORE | JUNE 5 to OCTOBER 24 | Opens JUNE 30 | Venue: Tom Patterson Theatre

 

Featuring Sean Arbuckle as George Rhodes, Scott Beaudin as Young Walker, Dan Chameroy as Walker Earle and Robert Markus as Young George

With Robert Ball as Brent, Robin Hutton as Carla and Vanessa Sears as Angela  

Also in the cast are: Eric Abel, Gabriel Antonacci, Henry Firmston, Bonnie Jordan, Heather Kosik, Jordan Mah, Amanda Mattar, Chad McFadden, Chelsea Preston, Jennifer Rider-Shaw, Genny Sermonia

 

Canadian Music Hall of Famer Steven Page, Siminovitch Prize-winning playwright Daniel MacIvor and musical-theatre director extraordinaire Donna Feore will bring a brand new musical to a brand new stage. Here's What It Takes is a vibrant, funny and moving exploration of two lives lived creating music. 

It charts the musical highs and living-the-life lows of rock duo Walker and Rhodes on their journey from performing at children's birthday parties in the early '80s to the top of the pops in the '90s and on to the rocky roads of the new century.   

What better way to highlight the excitement of a new theatre than with a new musical - especially one created by this extraordinary team of outstanding Canadian artists? 

From his days in Barenaked Ladies on, Steven Page has been a Canadian music icon, and is a longtime contributor to the Stratford Festival, composing the music for six of Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino's productions.

Daniel MacIvor is a brilliant writer and dramatist, who has brought dozens of celebrated projects to the stage and screen, including The Best Brothers, a poignant and funny drama that had its world première here in 2012.

Donna Feore has directed a string of hit musicals for the Festival, including this season's Billy Elliot the Musical and Little Shop of Horrors, as well as the longest running show in Stratford history, The Rocky Horror Show

World Première | By MORRIS PANYCH | Music by DAVID COULTER | Based on the novel by MARY SHELLEY | Directed by MORRIS PANYCH | Movement choreographed by WENDY GORLING | Dance choreographed by STEPHEN COTA | AUGUST 2 to OCTOBER 22 | Opens AUGUST 20 | Venue: Tom Patterson Theatre

 

Featuring Jonathon Young as Doctor Frankenstein

With Laura Condlln as Mary Shelley and Marcus Nance as the Monster

Also in the cast are: Devon Michael Brown, Sandra Caldwell, Caryn Chappell, Colton Curtis, Amanda De Freitas, Rodney Diverlus, Bethany Kovarik, Allison McCaughey, Lily McEvenue, Jason Sermonia, Mateo Galindo Torres

 

From Morris Panych, co-creator of the landmark movement piece The Overcoat, and internationally acclaimed composer David Coulter, comes a thrilling new work: Frankenstein Revived. Focussing on Mary Shelley, who at just 18 wrote the most celebrated horror story in English literature, this exuberant and passion-filled movement piece explores the big question at the heart of her work: what does it mean to be human? 

As we struggle with the implications of creating artificial intelligence, we cannot help but consider Dr. Frankenstein, to whom Mary Shelley granted the power to create intelligent life. From her story, Panych and Coulter have created a beautiful and evocative piece that points to future concerns and aspirations for humanity.

Panych wrote and directed The Trespassers in 2009 and was the director and librettist for the world première of the musical Wanderlust in 2012. He also adapted and directed 2008's Moby Dick, another movement-based work he created for the Stratford stage.

By EDWARD ALBEE | Directed by DIANA LEBLANC | MAY 25 to SEPTEMBER 27 | Opens JUNE 12 | Venue: Studio Theatre

 

Featuring Martha Henry, Lucy Peacock and Mamie Zwettler

The cast also includes Andrew Iles as The Boy

 

Edward Albee's Three Tall Women is like an x-ray, examining unresolved and unresolvable relationship conflicts as experienced by different generations of women. This great American classic will be directed Diana Leblanc, a pioneering director in this country.

Leblanc has brought a number of beautiful plays to life on the Stratford stage, including heart-rending productions of Long Day's Journey Into Night in 1994 - one of the most memorable shows ever staged here - Death of a Salesman, The Cherry Orchard, A Delicate Balance, and many more. With her expert hand and an exceptional cast, this will be an unforgettable production. 

By TOMSON HIGHWAY | Directed by JESSICA CARMICHAEL | JULY 21 to SEPTEMBER 26 | Opens AUGUST 14 | Venue: Studio Theatre 

 

Featuring Jani Lauzon as Pelajia Patchnose 

With Brefny Caribou as Zhaboonigan Peterson, Nicole Joy-Fraser as Veronique St. Pierre, Kathleen MacLean as Emily Dictionary, Cheri Maracle as Philomena Moosetail, Madison Walsh as Annie Cook and Michaela Washburn as Marie-Adele Starblanket

The cast also includes Justin Many Fingers as Nanabush

 

A group of unforgettable women leave their reservation and head to Toronto for the "Biggest Bingo in the World" - a trip they hope will change their lives forever. Tomson Highway's The Rez Sisters is a seminal theatrical work, a beautiful, moving play that will have you laughing and crying your heart out.

The play will feature an Indigenous team, led by Jessica Carmichael, a gifted director who has been part of our Langham Workshop for Classical Direction. She served as assistant director for The Aeneid in 2016 and Christina, The Girl King in 2014. Carmichael is also an assistant professor at Concordia University's theatre department and former artistic director of Carousel Players.

 

World Première | Stratford Festival Commission | By ANN-MARIE MACDONALD | Based on an idea by ALISA PALMER | Directed by ALISA PALMER | AUGUST 5 to SEPTEMBER 26 | Opens AUGUST 19 | Venue: Studio Theatre

 

Featuring Mike Shara as Guinness Menzies 

With Amelia Sargisson as Sue, Scott Wentworth as Rex and Gordon Patrick White as Yorick 

Also in the cast are: Marion Adler, Eva Foote, Jacklyn Francis, Andrew Iles, Wahsonti:io Kirby

 

Hamlet-911 is a new play created by a powerhouse team of Canadian theatre-makers. This extraordinary play uses the bones of Shakespeare's great tragedy Hamlet to tell a story very much about our time. It looks at the issues that young people face today, particularly around suicide and relationships with parents and partners.

This extremely moving new work was created by Ann-Marie MacDonald, a brilliant playwright, novelist, broadcaster and actor, and Alisa Palmer, a key leader in the Canadian theatre community, a respected director and head of the National Theatre School's English Division.

 

A spontaneous theatre creation by REBECCA NORTHAN, with BRUCE HORAK and KEVIN KRUCHKYWICH | Directed by REBECCA NORTHAN | JUNE 30 to SEPTEMBER 18 | Opens JULY 13 | Venue: Lazaridis Hall at the Tom Patterson Theatre 

 

In An Undiscovered Shakespeare, an audience member is invited to share their memory of first love. Then Rebecca Northan and her brilliant team of improvisers - Ashley Botting, Ijeoma Emesowum, Bruce Horak, Kevin Kruchkywich and Lee Smart - turn that tale into a full-blown, five-act, faux-Shakespearean drama - created on the spot, in iambic pentameter, before your very eyes (and ears). Each performance is a unique, never-to-be-repeated feat of theatrical virtuosity. 

 

 

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2020 Season Media Releases
Antoni Cimolino announces 2020 season