Monday, 28 June 2010
2011 Playbill Released: Brian Dennehy, Brian Bedford Return
“Brian Dennehy’s performances in Krapp’s Last Tape and Hughie in 2008 were unforgettable and among the most successful productions in terms of ticket sales at the Studio Theatre,” says General Director Antoni Cimolino. “I know our audiences will be eager to see his portrayal of Sir Toby, a role that is a perfect fit for his wonderful comedic talents.”
Mr. Dennehy will also play the raving patriarch Max in Harold Pinter's The Homecoming at the Avon Theatre, the first Pinter work to be produced at the Festival. It will be directed by Jennifer Tarver. Ms Tarver first directed Mr. Dennehy at Stratford, in the 2008 production of Krapp’s Last Tape. A winner of both the Pauline McGibbon Award and the John Hirsch Director’s Award, Ms Tarver also won a Dora Award for best director and was named Best Director of 2007 by Toronto’s Now magazine. Ms Tarver directed the 2009 production of Zastrozzi and is directing the 2010 production of King of Thieves.
Season to feature four Shakespeares
In addition to Twelfth Night, the 2011 season will feature three other Shakespeare works: The Merry Wives of Windsor, Richard III and Titus Andronicus.
Mr. Wyn Davies is currently playing Stephano in The Tempest, and his one-man show Do Not Go Gentle will open at the Festival on July 13. Mr. Wyn Davies’s extensive career includes film, television and stage work across North America and in the U.K. He has spent seven seasons at Stratford, playing a most memorable Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 2009, a season that also saw him play Duncan in Macbeth and the title role in Julius Caesar. His Polonius in the 2008 production of Hamlet received great critical acclaim.
“This is a project that Seana and I have been discussing for some time,” says Mr. McAnuff. “She is one of our greatest players and with this performance she will continue to further our united cause for non-traditional casting. I am thrilled to be able to support her dream to play Richard.”
Ms McKenna has been dazzling Stratford audiences for 19 seasons, most recently as Paulina in this season's production of The Winter's Tale. Other recent Stratford credits include the title roles in Phèdre and Medea, as well as Andromache in The Trojan Women. A multiple Dora Award-winner, Ms McKenna was recently awarded an honorary Master of Fine Arts in Acting from the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco.
The fourth Shakespeare, Titus Andronicus, will also play at the Tom Patterson Theatre. The director has yet to be announced.
Avon and Festival theatres to offer musicals
Gary Griffin will return for his third season, to direct Camelot at the Festival Theatre. Mr. Griffin has had terrific success at Stratford, with the breakout hit West Side Story in 2009 and the Festival's first rock opera, Evita, in 2010. The book and lyrics for Camelot were written by Alan Jay Lerner, the music by Frederick Loewe.
“Gary Griffin has become one of our principal directors in a very short time,” says Mr. McAnuff. “That is due to the fact that he is not only enormously talented but also highly skilled. He has a terrific feel for this institution and understands exactly how to take us to the limit.”
Geraint Wyn Davies will play King Arthur in the production. Mr. Wyn Davies’s musical roles at Stratford include Henry Higgins in the 2002 production of My Fair Lady and Antipholus Syracuse in the 1986 production of The Boys From Syracuse.
In 2011, the Festival will stage its second rock musical. Artistic Director Des McAnuff will direct Jesus Christ Superstar, with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice, at the Avon Theatre. In 2009, Mr. McAnuff directed his first Stratford musical, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, which was such a success that its run was extended and it was picked up by Mirvish Productions as part of its 2010-11 season in Toronto.
Mr. McAnuff is a two-time Tony winner for Best Musical for his productions of Big River and Jersey Boys and a two-time Tony winner for Best Direction of a Musical, for The Who’s Tommy and Big River. In 2010, he directed the critically acclaimed productions of As You Like It and The Tempest, featuring Christopher Plummer as Prospero. He also directed Mr. Plummer in the 2008 production of Bernard Shaw's Caesar and Cleopatra, which was made into a Gemini-nominated film.
“I have been speaking to Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber for some time about doing Superstar, which, along with The Who’s Tommy, I consider to be the greatest rock and roll musical of all time,” says Mr. McAnuff. “The audacious and virtuosic 1970s album had a profound effect on me when I was a budding theatre artist and I’m delighted that I’m going to be allowed to share it with Stratford audiences.”
The production will feature Paul Nolan as Jesus and Chilina Kennedy as Mary Magdalene, together again after their enormous success as Tony and Maria in West Side Story. This season, Mr. Nolan is playing Orlando in As You Like It. Ms Kennedy is playing the title role in Evita and Lois Lane in Kiss Me, Kate.
Season to feature classics ancient and modern
General Director Antoni Cimolino will direct The Grapes of Wrath by Frank Galati, based on the American classic novel by John Steinbeck, at the Avon Theatre. Mr. Cimolino directed the widely popular Bartholomew Fair in 2008. His other Stratford credits include As You Like It, with music by Barenaked Ladies; Coriolanus, featuring Colm Feore and Martha Henry; King John, with Stephen Ouimette; Love’s Labour’s Lost, with Brian Bedford; Twelfth Night, with William Hutt; The Night of the Iguana, with Seana McKenna; and Filumena, with Richard Monette.
“I was profoundly moved by Frank Galati’s adaptation of The Grapes of Wrath,” says Mr. Cimolino. “Our work in El Salvador – where Festival volunteers are helping CUSO with skills training and development work – has reinforced for me the fact that the plight of the tenant farmer and migrant worker has not changed over time. It is our responsibility in this production to let their voices be heard.”
“The Grapes of Wrath is a play ideally suited to the directorial strengths of Antoni Cimolino and I was thrilled that he agreed to take the helm of this production following his success with last year’s production of Bartholomew Fair,” says Mr. McAnuff. “Grapes is a play I am very close to. When I was Artistic Director at La Jolla Playhouse, I helped launched Frank Galati’s internationally successful adaptation of it, assisted by Stratford dramaturge Robert Blacker. I am doubly pleased to be using that adaptation and to have Frank with us in our 2011 season directing The Merry Wives of Windsor.”
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