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Thursday, 2 January 2014

Kudos from the media for Wentworth, Cimolino

End-of-year wrap-ups from Canada's entertainment media had kind words for the 2013 Stratford Festival season:

"Actor Scott Wentworth was already working a full schedule at last year's Stratford Festival when the call came to do more.
He was giving a wonderful lead performance as Tevye, in the festival's hit production of the musical, Fiddler on the Roof, and was also playing Capulet in Romeo and Juliet.But in late June, when Wentworth was already dealing with a heavy workload, the festival had an emergency. Veteran actor Brian Bedford, who had been set to play Shylock in Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, had to withdraw for health reasons. With rehearsals already underway, who could the festival find on such short notice?
Artistic director Antoni Cimolino turned to Wentworth, long one of the most dependable members of the Stratford company and an artist versatile enough to move easily between Shakespeare and musical theatre. To tackle Shylock when he was already involved in two major productions was daunting. Wentworth said later there were times when he was so exhausted that he would sleep on his dressingroom floor between performances. But he learned his lines in time, and a superb characterization of Shylock was clearly taking shape during the rehearsal period. So when Merchant finally opened in August, Wentworth had another achievement on his hands. He had also scored an acting first - portraying two of theatre's seminal Jewish characters in repertory in the same season, often on the same day.
The past season also marked Wentworth's triumphant return to the festival stage after an extended absence during the regime of previous artistic director Des McAnuff. It was so good to have him back." - Jamie Portman

"Despite some admittedly low moments (Wherefore art thou, Romeo?), this was a glorious season at the Stratford Festival. And the best part? It was mostly all nutritious steak with little empty sizzle. Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino’sMary Stuart led the way, a show that could stand proudly on any stage around the world. Donna Feore’s Fiddler on the Roof gave a heart and soul back to Stratford musicals and Jennifer Tarver’s Waiting for Godot united four fine actors with one of the world’s great plays. Scott Wentworth gets the Most Valuable Player award for not only playing a richly textured Tevye in Fiddler, but leaping into the breach when Brian Bedford became too ill to play Shylock in Cimolino’s flawed but thoughtful The Merchant of Venice. Oh yes, Des McAnuff revived his 1993 production of Tommy, adding lots of bells and whistles. That deaf, dumb and blind kid sure plays a mean pinball." - Richard Ouzounian

" 'Tis the season to lazily start articles with “tis the season” and make lists. I’m not immune to either of these impulses. Here is a list of my 10 favourite productions of 2013 drawn strictly from my theatregoing in Canada (mostly in Toronto, it is true), with one New York show that had a strong Canadian contingent thrown in. You can still catch six of them somewhere if you’re willing to fork out for plane fare. Now, in no particular order: Mary Stuart Written by Friedrich Schiller. Directed by Antoni Cimolino. Schiller thriller. Good work, new Stratford Festival boss. Read my review." - J Kelly Nestruck

" FIDDLER ON THE ROOF (Stratford Festival)Fiddler on the Roof is such a classic American musical, that most avid theatre-goers have seen a production of it at some point in their lives.Regardless of how many times they had already seen it, everyone this writer has spoken to who had the opportunity to catch Stratford Festival's production this past 2013 season, has commented that it was the best they had ever seen. Scott Wentworth's heartwarming, and heartbreaking performance as Tevye was lauded as a must-see at the festival, and said performance became even more fascinating when Wentworth ended up taking over the role of Shylock in THE MERCHANT OF VENICE. Portraying two of the most famous Jewish characters in literature...sometimes on the same day, Mr. Wentworth's brilliance alone was enough of a reason to see this show. There were many more reasons however. In this production, directed by Donna Feore, the entire cast brought the village of Anatevka to life, and brought a beautiful sense of community to every performance at the Festival Theatre. Then there was the dancing....spectacular is the only word that comes to mind. Some of Canada's top dancers were in this ensemble, and they brought the house down every night!

Mary Stuart (Stratford Festival)Directed by Stratford Festival Artistic Director, Antoni Cimolino; Mary Stuart explored the complex relationship between Queen Elizabeth I of England and her cousin Mary Stuart--the former queen of Scotland-and, and in the eyes of some, a more rightful heir to the English throne. The play was originally written by Friedrich Schiller and this production was based on the adaptation written by Peter Oswald. This play, performed in Stratford's Tom Patterson Theatre, was gripping from start to finish, and its popularity caused the festival to extend its run on three separate occasions, making it the runaway hit of the season. Lucy Peacock and Seana McKenna shone as the feuding cousins in a production that was filled with intrigue and excitement, and provided a social commentary that it many ways is still very relevant in the world today." - Lauren Gienow

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