Monday, May 30, 2011

59th Stratford Shakespeare Festival, May 30-Oct 30

Tonight is opening night for the 59th season of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Ontario, just 90 miles west of Toronto. The opening play is a Shakespeare comedy, The Merry Wives of Windsor. It will be directed by Tony Award-winning director Frank Galati in his Stratford debut, and stars Geraint Wyn Davies as Sir John Falstaff.

Three other Shakespeare plays will be staged over the coming months: Richard III, Titus Andronicus, Twelfth Night. They will also present the Shakespeare-themed Shakespeare's Will by Vern Thiessen about the recollections of Shakespeare's widow Anne Hathaway.

The other plays presented are not by Shakespeare. They are The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck), The Homecoming (Harold Pinter), Hosanna (Michel Tremblay), The Little Years (John Mighton) and The Misanthrope (Molière). They will also present the two musicals Camelot (Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe) and Jesus Christ Superstar (Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice).

The Stratford Shakespeare Festival runs until October 30 when it closes with afternoon performances of Camelot and The Homecoming.


2011 Playbill

The Merry Wives of Windsor

by William Shakespeare
Directed by Frank Galati

Festival Theatre
May 10 to October 14
Opens: May 30
DWilliam_small This production is dedicated to the memory of David William, Artistic Director from 1990 to 1993.

About the Play
Sir John Falstaff gets more than he bargained for when he simultaneously pursues two wealthy married women. Upon receiving identical copies of Falstaff’s love letter, the spirited Mistresses Ford and Page cook up a scheme of their own to teach the fat knight a lesson, with uproariously funny results.

A would-be seducer, a jealous husband and two resourceful housewives in a hilarious battle of wits and wiles.


Book and Lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner
Music by Frederick Loewe
Original Production Directed and
Staged by Moss Hart
Based on “The Once and Future King”
by T.H. White

Directed by Gary Griffin

Festival Theatre
April 16 to October 30
Opens: May 31

About the Musical
In the realm of Camelot, King Arthur has created a utopian land of chivalry and civil rule. But when his beloved Queen Guenevere and Sir Lancelot, his most trusted knight, succumb to their passion for one another, he faces a terrible dilemma that will rock his kingdom to its very foundation.

A gorgeous musical score gilds a legendary tale of idealism, passion and betrayal.

The Grapes of Wrath

Based on the novel by
John Steinbeck

Adapted by Frank Galati
Directed by Antoni Cimolino

Avon Theatre
April 23 to October 29
Opens: June 1

WRobson_small  This production is dedicated to the memory of Wayne Robson, who was to have made an outstanding Stratford debut this season. 
Wordpress logo  Share your thoughts and memories of Wayne Robson 

About the Play
Having survived the drought of the 1930s Dust Bowl only to see their home repossessed by the bank, the Joad family embark on a harrowing trek from Oklahoma to California, intending to begin anew as migrant farm workers. Their arrival in this “promised land,” however, brings its own test of the human spirit.

Inspired by the literary classic, this Tony Award-winning drama tells a timeless story of endurance and hope.

The Homecoming

by Harold Pinter
Directed by Jennifer Tarver

Avon Theatre
July 26 to October 30
Opens: August 11
About the Play
Teddy has been living in America for the past six years, away from the all-male household of his father, uncle and brothers. When he returns unexpectedly to the family’s North London home, accompanied by his wife, Ruth, the ensuing struggle for power leads to a shocking conclusion.

The family is the ultimate combat zone in this darkly witty drama by one of the defining playwrights of the 20th century.


by Michel Tremblay
Translated by John Van Burek
and Bill Glassco

Directed by Weyni Mengesha

Studio Theatre
July 26 to September 24
Opens: August 10
About the Play
Returning in tears from a Halloween party, Hosanna – a.k.a. transvestite Claude Lemieux – bickers with her partner, Cuirette, as the two prepare for bed. As the mystery of what has so upset her is gradually revealed, Hosanna must confront her illusions and insecurities and ask herself the question of who she really is.

Jesus Christ Superstar

Lyrics by Tim Rice
Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber

Directed by Des McAnuff

Avon Theatre
May 16 to October 29
Opens: June 3
About the Musical
The zeal with which Christ’s followers are hailing him as the Son of God has become a source of dismay to his disciple Judas Iscariot. Fearing that this tide of religious fervour will provoke brutal repression by the occupying Romans, Judas must make his fateful choice between faith and betrayal.

The greatest story ever told – in a groundbreaking rock opera that reinvented musical theatre for the modern age.

The Little Years

by John Mighton
Directed by Chris Abraham

Studio Theatre
June 29 to September 24
Opens July 13
About the Play
As a girl growing up in the 1950s, Kate is fascinated by the physics of space and time, an interest dismissed by those around her as unbecoming to a young woman. While her brother William achieves literary renown, her family struggles to reach the brilliant Kate as she grows from teen to troubled woman – but will her inquiring spirit leave no legacy behind?

An inspiring look at an uncommon woman and the myriad ways in which we touch each other’s lives.

The Misanthrope

by Molière
Translated into English Verse by Richard Wilbur

Directed by David Grindley

Festival Theatre
July 31 to October 29
Opens: August 12
About the Play
Perpetually scornful of the hypocrisy around him, Alceste can’t help speaking frankly, regardless of whom he might offend. But even the sternest rectitude can succumb to the follies of the heart – and Alceste’s devotion to the beautiful and flirtatious Célimène is about to turn his world hilariously upside down.

Social critic meets social butterfly in a sparkling comedy of manners widely hailed as Molière’s masterpiece.

Richard III

by William Shakespeare
Directed by Miles Potter

Tom Patterson Theatre
May 19 to Sept 25
Opens: Jun 2

About the Play
Revelling in his own villainy, the deformed yet charismatic Richard, Duke of Gloucester, carves a murderous path through his own family to reach the English throne. To seize power, however, is one thing; to hold on to it is another – and Richard soon finds the ghosts of his past rising up to challenge his rule.

The serial killer who wears a crown – depicted as you’ve never seen him before.

Shakespeare's Will

by Vern Thiessen
Directed by Miles Potter

Studio Theatre
June 30 to September 2
Opens: July 13

About the Play
On the eve of William Shakespeare’s funeral, his widow, Anne Hathaway, recalls her life with – and without – the enigmatic poet. As she prepares to read her husband’s will, she reveals the enthralling story of a wife and mother who has made tremendous sacrifices for love, and who still grieves over an event of the more distant past.

An imaginative portrait of one of history’s most famous women – and a poignant journey into the heart of her mystery.

Titus Andronicus

by William Shakespeare
Directed by Darko Tresnjak

Tom Patterson Theatre
June 23 to September 24
Open: July 14
DBlythe_small This production is dedicated to the memory of former company member Domini Blythe.

About the Play
Victorious in his wars against the Goths, Roman general Titus Andronicus brings home as his captives Queen Tamora, her lover Aaron, and her three sons. Ignoring Tamora’s pleas, Titus hands over her eldest son for sacrifice – thus setting in motion a relentless cycle of revenge as horrific as it is grotesque.

The most shocking play in Shakespeare’s canon – an extraordinary fusion of the savage and the sublime.

Twelfth Night

by William Shakespeare
Directed by Des McAnuff

Festival Theatre
June 26 to October 28
Opens: July 15
Peter Donaldson This production is dedicated to the memory of Peter Donaldson, a cherished member of our acting company.

About the Play
Shipwrecked on the coast of Illyria, Viola adopts male disguise and enters the service of Duke Orsino, only to find herself part of a triangle of unrequited love. Meanwhile, in the household of the Countess Olivia, Sir Toby Belch and his unruly companions trick Olivia’s strict and disapproving steward, Malvolio, into believing that she loves him.

A festive riot of mischief-making and misplaced desire – perhaps the greatest romantic comedy of all time.

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