February 2, 2011… The people have voted and they love the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. Broadwayworld.com this week announced the winners of the first Theatre Fans’ Choice Awards in Toronto, and the Festival won in five categories, including Best Play for The Tempest.
Artistic Director Des McAnuff, who directed The Tempest, also directed Jersey Boys (a Dancap Production), which won for Best Musical. Mr. McAnuff has an impressive season lined up for 2011, which includes Twelfth Night and Jesus Christ Superstar, both of which he will direct.
“What a great way to hear the voice of theatre lovers!” says General Director Antoni Cimolino. “We know from Facebook and Twitter that fans really enjoyed the Stratford experience last season, and now we’re grateful that they have taken the time to show their support by voting for us online. Thanks go to Broadwayworld.com for initiating the awards and for spreading the word about all the great theatre in Toronto and the surrounding area.”
“What is particularly gratifying about this recognition,” says Mr. McAnuff, “is that it comes from the very people for whom we make theatre in the first place: the theatregoing public. I am delighted that the work of our Stratford company has met with such positive response in three key areas of our repertoire – Shakespeare, musical theatre and family-oriented drama – and I extend my warmest congratulations to all our award-winners.”
The Tempest was a true favourite among voters. Christopher Plummer was named Best Actor in a Play for his portrayal of Prospero. Julyana Soelistyo, who played Ariel, shared the award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role. Her co-winner, also from the Festival, Seana McKenna, was chosen for her performance as Paulina in The Winter’s Tale.
Fans are already eagerly anticipating Ms McKenna’s return to Stratford this season. Having played almost every one of Shakespeare’s leading ladies, she now starts taking on the men, playing the title role in Richard III. She will also perform the one-woman show Shakespeare’s Will.
Newcomer Josh Young was voted Best Actor in a Musical for his portrayal of Che in Evita, his Stratford debut. He returns this season to play Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar and Connie in The Grapes of Wrath.
The award for Best Direction of a Play went to Tim Carroll for Peter Pan, which was indeed a huge hit for fans of all ages. The production marked Mr. Carroll’s Stratford directorial debut.
Broadwayworld.com says tens of thousands of votes were cast over six weeks in the 2010 Theatre Fans’ Choice Awards. There were 430 nominees in 25 categories. The Stratford Shakespeare Festival and its artists garnered dozens of nominations and received 23 runner-up awards in addition to the five wins. A full list of winners and runners-up can be found at http://www.toronto.broadwayworld.com/.
Tickets for the exciting 2011 season are on sale now. To order call the box office at 1.800.567.1600 or visit http://www.stratfordshakespearefestival.com/.
The season, which begins April 16, features The Merry Wives of Windsor, Camelot, Twelfth Night, The Misanthrope, The Grapes of Wrath, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Homecoming, Richard III, Titus Andronicus, Shakespeare’s Will, The Little Years and Hosanna.