Reviews by Keith Tomasek StratfordFestivalReviews
Please note that Brent Carver has withdrawn from the season citing personal reasons and André Morin will assume the role of Ariel in Tempest.
Brent will still be performing a concert with the Art of Time Ensemble at the Stratford Festival Forum on August 25
Get ready to do the "Time Warp" at the Stratford Festival in southwestern Ontario.
The festival says it plans to present The Rocky Horror Show as part of its 2018 season, which includes a wide variety of theatrical genres along with its usual Shakespeare works.
Donna Feore will direct the Richard O'Brien cult classic.
The festival notes the production "speaks to our desire to live life in an uninhibited way," which falls in line with the 2018 season's theme of free will.
The repertory theatre company plans to present a total of 12 productions next year.
Tickets for the 2018 season will go on sale to festival members on Nov. 12 and to the general public on Jan. 5.
Artistic director Antoni Cimolino will helm The Tempest, starring stage veteran Martha Henry as Prospero.
Meanwhile, Feore will helm another song-and-dance production, "The Music Man."
Other shows in the lineup include the previously announced Coriolanus, directed by theatre maverick Robert Lepage in his festival debut. The festival says the production will use real-time video and elements of social media.
Director Nigel Shawn Williams will make his directorial debut at the festival with To Kill a Mockingbird.
Jackie Maxwell, former artistic director of the Shaw Festival, will direct Paradise Lost.
The playbill also includes: Julius Caesar, directed by Scott Wentworth; The Comedy of Errors, directed by Keira Loughran; Long Day's Journey Into Night, directed by Miles Potter; Napoli Milionaria, directed by Cimolino; An Ideal Husband, directed by Lezlie Wade; and Bronte: The World Without, directed by Vanessa Porteous.
Cross-gender casting in Shakespeare productions has been a headline-grabbing trend over several years, part of efforts to increase gender equity onstage and provide fresh takes on well-known works. But with four female Stratford veterans taking traditionally male lead roles next summer, this approach is fast becoming a mainstream, commonplace choice.
In the 2018 season opener, Stratford Festival artistic director Antoni Cimolino’s production of The Tempest will feature Martha Henry in the role of Prospero, in her 44th season with the festival — her first was in 1962, when she played Prospero’s daughter Miranda. This cast also includes Stratford favourites Graham Abbey, Michael Blake, Tom McCamus, Stephen Ouimette, André Sills and Brent Carver as the spirit Ariel.
After helming Romeo and Juliet this year, Scott Wentworth returns to directing with Julius Caesar (the play that drew major protests this summer in New York City from Trump supporters), starring Seana McKenna as Julius Caesar, Michelle Giroux as Mark Antony and Irene Poole as Cassius, with Jonathan Goad as Brutus.
The season’s other Roman history Shakespeare, Coriolanus, directed by legendary Quebec theatre artist Robert Lepage, also has a surprising star — André Sills, who has spent the last few seasons at the Shaw Festival, including acclaimed turns in Athol Fugard’s “Master Harold” . . . and the Boys and the lead in this season’s buzzy An Octoroon. Actors Graham Abbey, Michael Blake, Tom McCamus, Stephen Ouimette, Lucy Peacock and Tom Rooney join Sills in Lepage’s Stratford directorial debut, which the Star announced in April.
The season’s two musicals, both directed and choreographed by Donna Feore (a consistent talent for Stratford), will also bear some new faces. Daren A. Herbert (Onegin, Father Comes Home from the Wars) makes his Stratford debut as Harold Hill in The Music Man, as will his co-star Danielle Wade (winner of the CBC’s Over the Rainbow) who will play Marion Paroo. For a different set of musical tastes, The Rocky Horror Show will see names like Dan Chameroy, Jennifer Rider-Shaw and Sayer Roberts return to the festival as Dr. Frank N. Furter, and the car-troubled couple Janet and Brad, respectively.
Other highlights in the 2018 Stratford Festival season include Jonathan Goad as Atticus Finch and Irene Poole as the Narrator in To Kill a Mockingbird, Tim Campbell and Brad Hodder as Sir Robert Chiltern and Mr. Hodder in An Ideal Husband, Tom McCamus and Brigit Wilson in the Cimolino-directed Italian comedy Napoli Milionaria!, and heavy-hitting duo Scott Wentworth and Seana McKenna as Mary and James Tyrone in Miles Potter’s production of Long Day’s Journey Into Night.
The Complete Stratford Festival 2018 Playbill
Romeo and Juliet
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Scott Wentworth
Guys and Dolls
A musical fable of Broadway
Based on a story and characters of Damon Runyon
Music and Lyrics by Frank Loesser
Book by Abe Burrows and Jo Swerling
Directed and choreographed by Donna Feore
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Martha Henry
Directed by Chris Abraham
By Robert Louis Stevenson
Directed by Mitchell Cushman
Book and Lyrics by W.S. Gilbert
Music by Arthur Sullivan
Directed by Lezlie Wade
Choreographed by Kerry Gage
The School for Scandal
By Richard Brinsley Sheridan
Directed by Antoni Cimolino
TOM PATTERSON THEATRE
Timon of Athens
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Stephen Ouimette
By Thomas Middleton
Directed by Jackie Maxwell
A new version by Anne Carson
Directed by Jillian Keiley
The Madwoman of Chaillot
By Jean Giraudoux
Directed by Donna Feore
The Virgin Trial
By Kate Hennig
Directed by Alan Dilworth
The Breathing Hole
By Colleen Murphy
Directed by Reneltta Arluk
The Komagata Maru Incident
By Sharon Pollock
Directed by Keira Loughran
Tickets for the 2017 season on sale now online
or at 1800 567 1600