by Christi Rutledge
Some of my absolute best theatre experiences have come out of seeing new shows. Last year, The Little Years absolutely blew me away. I didn’t know a whole lot about the production before I went to see it, but I went into it with an open mind and found it refreshing to see a new work! This year we have the incredible privilege of having not one, not two, but three world premières on our stages, all written by Canadians: The Best Brothers, by Daniel MacIvor; Hirsch, by Alon Nashman and Paul Thompson; and Wanderlust, by Morris Panych and Marek Norman. If you’ve never taken a chance on a new play or musical, I want to encourage you to join us this season for one or all three of our world premières.
I’ve been to see all three shows now, so let me give you a little bit more information about each of them!
The Best Brothers
By Daniel MacIvor; Directed by Dean Gabourie.
If you’ve ever had a sibling, mother or dog, or have lost a relative (that’s pretty much all of us), this show will hit home. The Best Brothers follows the brothers Kyle (played by John Beale) and Hamilton (played by Daniel MacIvor) as they cope with the death of their mother, Ardith “Bunny” Best. The two of them are like oil and water, which means that the already difficult task of arranging their mother’s affairs is even more trying. But together, through their struggle (which is coloured with humour), they come to learn more about themselves, each other and the woman who gave them life. The Best Brothers will have you laughing, crying and, more than likely, identifying with Mr. MacIvor’s beautifully imperfect characters.
“Best Brothers was excellent! Definitely in my top three plays of the year at the Festival.” – Facebook
By Alon Nashman and Paul Thompson; Directed by Paul Thompson.
Hirsch allows us a look at the personal and artistic life of past Stratford Shakespeare Festival Artistic Director John Hirsh, with powerful effect. A happy and art-filled childhood ends very darkly for a young John Hirsch, who was orphaned at age thirteen in the Holocaust. After three years wandering alone in Europe, Hirsch finds sanctuary in Winnipeg, Canada. Alon Nashman, who portrays Hirsch, highlights the director’s amazing talent and fiery temperament, which made him a fierce cultural force on the national and international theatre scenes. Throughout the play we are reminded of the painful formative experiences that shaped Hirsch’s life. On more than one occasion I found myself in tears as Mr. Nashman embodied them vividly on the stage of the Studio Theatre. But with the hurt there is also hope, humour and joy – all of which weave into a stunning tapestry of a life that was truly extraordinary.
“Just caught a preview of #ssfHirsch … wow, wow, wow!!! So inspired. Alon Nashman is brilliant!” – Twitter
Book by Morris Panych; Music by Marek Norman; Based on the poems of Robert Service with additional lyrics by Morris Panych; Directed by Morris Panych.
Wanderlust, a new musical based on the poems of Robert Service, has absolutely captivated me! If you’re expecting a biographical retelling of Service’s life, you might be in for a bit of a surprise. Morris Panych – who adapted and directed Moby Dick (2008) and wrote and directed The Trespassers (2009) – uses the poems of Service to tell a story about imagination and the liminal space between dreaming and doing. Tom Rooney takes the lead as the Bard of the Yukon, Robert Service, and Panych leverages Service’s fictional characters, Louise (played by Robin Hutton), Dan McGrew (played by Dan Chameroy), Mr. McGee (played by Randy Hughson) and Mrs. Munch (played by Lucy Peacock) as his real-life friends and foes. The result is pure imagination! Mr. Norman’s beautiful score is quite literally music to your ears. Unlike some modern musicals there is a beautiful sense of fluidity and use of melody that ties the production together. The set, the staging, and the lighting … well, you’ll just have to come and see for yourself!
“#ssfwanderlust was amazing. The best, most innovative staging I have seen this year. Well done again @stratfest!” – Twitter
Try something new this year and join us for The Best Brothers, Hirsch and Wanderlust! Here’s the best part: if you purchase tickets to any of these shows between today and Monday, July 9, at 11:59 p.m., you can take advantage of our special $39 world première ticket deal!
Here’s what you need to do to take advantage of this limited-time offer:
- Log into our website at www.stratfordfestival.ca with promotion code 44722
- Select any performance of The Best Brothers, Hirsch or Wanderlust in July (excluding their openings)
- Select your own seats
- Complete your checkout
- Enjoy the show! 🙂
*Offer may expire without notice. Not valid on MMP performances or in conjunction with any other promotion, including SSP, Family Experience, TiXX and PlayOn. Offer is not available on A+ seating. Promotion is only available online through our website or through Stratford Social Ticketing on the Festival’s Facebook page. Promotion excludes the July 11 performance of Wanderlust and the July 12 performances of The Best Brothers and Hirsch.