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Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Stratford Festival kicks off 62nd season with first preview of Crazy for You


Reimagined for the Festival stage by director and choreographer Donna Feore

April 21, 2014… Fresh from her triumph with last season’s hit musical, Fiddler on the Roof, acclaimed director and choreographer Donna Feore returns for her 20th Festival season with an exciting new production of Crazy for You specially conceived for the Festival Theatre’s thrust stage. The new Gershwin musical begins previews on Monday, April 21, marking the first performance of the 2014 season.

Ms Feore, the force behind a growing list of hit musicals at the Festival, including You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, Oklahoma! and Oliver!, has taken a completely fresh approach to Crazy for You, creating an entirely new production with its own unique staging and choreography. The show boasts more than 14 spectacular song-and-dance numbers featuring a broad range of styles, including jazz, Charleston, lindy hop, cancan and even the early stages of jitterbug.

“Not a single day has passed since I began work on the show that I have not heard something new in Gershwin’s extraordinary music,” says Ms Feore. “The complexity of his score inspired me to explore equally demanding styles of dance. I’ve based the choreography on the most exhilarating dance styles of the period. Gershwin loved hanging out at the Savoy Ballroom in the late twenties, and I’m certain that while there he was dazzled by the Charleston and the original swing dance – the lindy hop – a dance that was hot, wild and not a little dangerous.”

Crazy for You tells the story of Bobby Child who is sent to Deadrock, Nevada, to foreclose on a derelict theatre but unexpectedly falls for its owner’s daughter, Polly Baker. The high-energy comedy and romance are further elevated by the dazzling score packed with beloved Gershwin songs, including “I Got Rhythm,” “Nice Work if You Can Get It,” “They Can’t Take That Away From Me” and “Someone to Watch Over Me.”

Celebrating the joyous insanity of the bumpy road to love, Crazy for You is a lighthearted choice within the season’s overall theme of Madness: Minds Pushed to the Edge.

Crazy for You promises to be a masterpiece in every sense of the word: a song-and-dance spectacle with stunning dance routines, exquisite staging and costumes, and of course, the powerful force of the Gershwins’ timeless music,” says Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino. “Revamping the show especially for our stage, as Donna has so brilliantly done, brings the most spectacular dancers in the country up close and personal with our audiences, giving them an experience they can’t find anywhere else in quite the same way.”

The production features two Stratford newcomers: Josh Franklin as Bobby Child and Natalie Daradich as Polly Baker. Festival favourite Tom Rooney will play Broadway impresario Bela Zangler.

The cast also features Lally Cadeau as Mrs. Lottie Child, Shane Carty as Lank Hawkins, Keith Dinicol as Everett Baker, Robin Hutton as Irene Roth, Monique Lund as Patricia Fodor, Marcus Nance as Mingo, Stephen Patterson as Sam, Steve Ross as Moose and Shawn Wright as Eugene Fodor.

Artistic credits include Musical Director Shelley Hanson, Designer Debra Hanson, Lighting Designer Paul Miller, Sound Designer Peter McBoyle and Fight Director John Stead.

“The excitement of rediscovering these dances, these songs and Crazy for You’s particular brand of screwball comedy has inspired our exceptional company to push themselves to the edge of madness,” says Ms Feore. “I am blessed, thrilled and delighted to have found these most remarkably talented artists with whom to collaborate.”

With music and lyrics by George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin, and book by Ken Ludwig, Crazy for You was co-conceived by Ken Ludwig and Mike Ockrent. The musical was inspired by material by Guy Bolton and John McGowan, and originally produced on Broadway by Roger Horchow and Elizabeth Williams.

Crazy for You Forum Highlights

The Stratford Festival Forum is a series of activities and events, including concerts, debates, talks, comedy and interactive presentations, that offer theatregoers a unique opportunity to delve further into the ideas and issues raised by the 2014 playbill and its theme of Madness: Minds Pushed to the Edge.

Themes related to Crazy for You will be explored through several Forum events, including: Song and Dance, in which company members teach a fun number from the show; The Mind and Music of George Gershwin, a lecture-performance by Juilliard-trained concert pianist and Harvard-educated psychiatrist Richard Kogan; and Creating Crazy for You, an interview with Ken Ludwig by CBC Radio producer Robert Harris. Mr. Ludwig will also present How To Teach Your Children Shakespeare, in which he shares the method he used to instil an understanding and a love of Shakespeare’s plays in his own children.

Sustaining support for the Forum is generously provided by Kelly & Michal Meighen and the T.R. Meighen Foundation. Support for the 2014 Forum is generously provided by Nandita & Julian Wise. Selected Forum events supported by Bell Let’s Talk.

Crazy for You is co-sponsored by Union Gas Limited and RBC. Production support is generously provided by Riki Turofsky & Charles Petersen. Support for the 2014 season of the Festival Theatre is generously provided by Claire and Daniel Bernstein.

Stratford Direct, the daily return private bus service, now offers two routes: Toronto to Stratford and Detroit to Stratford. The Toronto bus costs $20 round trip, departing once daily from May 3 to 24 and September 23 to October 12, and twice daily between May 26 and September 21.The Detroit bus costs $40 round trip, with Tuesday, Friday and Saturday departures from June 3 to September 28. Both routes run on performance days only.

The Stratford Direct Presenting Sponsor is OLG. Support for Stratford Direct is generously provided by The Peter Cundill Foundation.

The 2014 season runs from April 21 to October 12, featuring King Lear; Crazy for You; two versions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream; The Beaux’ Stratagem; Man of La Mancha; Alice Through the Looking-Glass; Hay Fever; King John; Mother Courage and Her Children; Antony and Cleopatra; Christina, The Girl King; and more than 200 events in The Forum.

Cast (in alphabetical order)
Jimmy………………………………………….         Matt Alfano
Junior…………………………………………..        Matthew Armet
Susie…………………………………………...         Carla Bennett
Mrs. Lottie Child………………………………        Lally Cadeau
Lank Hawkins…………………………………         Shane Carty
Wyatt…………………………………………..        Stephen Cota
Polly Baker…………………………………….        Natalie Daradich
Everett Baker…………………………………..        Keith Dinicol
Margie…………………………………………         Marisa Falcone
Bobby Child ………………………..................        Josh Franklin
Pete…………………………………………….        Sean Alexander Hauk
Patsy…………………………………………...        Alexandra Herzog
Irene Roth……………………………………...        Robin Hutton
Tess……………………………………………         Kayla James
Swing……………………………………….....         Galen Johnson
Betsy…………………………………………..         Bonnie Jordan
Swing………………………………………….         Bethany Kovarik
Patricia Fodor…………………………………         Monique Lund
Elaine………………………………………….         Ayrin Mackie
Slim, the bass player…………………………..         Michael McClennan
Billy……………………………………………        Chad McFadden
Louise………………………………………….        Natalie Moore
Mingo………………………………………….         Marcus Nance
Perkins, Custus…………………………………       Cory O’Brien
Sam…………………………………………….        Stephen Patterson
Mitzi…………………………………………....        Kimberley Rampersad
Bela Zangler……………………………………        Tom Rooney
Moose…………………………………………..       Steve Ross
Clem……………………………………………        Jason Sermonia
Harry……………………………………………       Mike Tracz
Sheila…………………………………………...       Breanna Willis
Eugene Fodor…………………………………..       Shawn Wright

Artistic Credits
Director and Choreographer……………………       Donna Feore
Musical Director……………………………......       Shelley Hanson
Designer………………………………………..        Debra Hanson
Lighting Designer………………………………       Paul Miller
Sound Designer………………………………...       Peter McBoyle
Fight Director…………………………………..       John Stead
Producer………………………………………..        David Auster
Casting Director………………………………..        Beth Russell
Creative Planning Director…………………….        Jason Miller
Associate Choreographer, Tap Vocabulary…....        Kerry Gage
Associate Musical Director……………………         Marilyn Dallman
Associate Fight Director………………………         Geoff Scovell
Assistant Director……………………………..         Ann Baggley
Assistant Set Designer…………………………        Devon Bhim
Assistant Costume Designer…………………..         Jenna McCutchen
Assistant Lighting Designers………………….         Kaileigh Krysztofiak, Tristan Tidswell
Assistant Sound Designer……………………..         William Fallon
Dance Captain…………………………………        Stephen Cota
Fight Captain………………………………….         Matt Alfano
Stage Manager………………………………...         Cynthia Toushan
Assistant Stage Managers……………………..         Krista Blackwood, Angela Marshall, Zeph Williams
Production Assistant…………………………..         Jocelyn McDowell
Production Stage Managers..………………….         Margaret Palmer, Cynthia Toushan
Technical Director…………………………….          Jeff Scollon


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