Cynthia Dale | My Favourite Places in Stratford

by Cynthia Dale

I adore Stratford. It’s where I live, work, play and raise my family. It’s the city in the middle of the cornfield – far enough away from Toronto to enjoy a simpler lifestyle, but close enough to make a quick trip to the big city!

Stratford is brimming with great restaurants, artists, culture and beauty. Here are a few of my favourite places in town.

COFFEE:
When it comes to coffee, Revel Café is my go-to stop. It’s a wonderful place to grab a quick drink to go or to sit and catch up with a good friend. It’s hard to go wrong ordering anything off their menu, and I do it all: French Press, Americano, Latté, it’s all good – especially the scones. They’re to die for. In addition, the owners have maintained the integrity and the heritage of the space; it’s beautiful.

SHOPPING:
There’s a lot of great shopping here in Stratford. I have friends who come here specifically to do their Christmas shopping. There are beautiful shops like Nectar and Small Mart – and when I’m looking for housewares, I always head to Bradshaws. They have the most phenomenal hand-crafted bowls – each made in Canada from one solid piece of wood – that are exquisite, different and functional, as well as beautiful pieces of art in their own right. I also love the wonderful clocks: different spoons, instruments and pieces of hardware ticking away make for a unique gift to give to a wonderful, one-of-a-kind human being.

When I’m looking for clothes, the city is my playground: I go everywhere and anywhere.  I know that I’ll always be able to find something original and that I’ll also always be able to find my basic white t-shirt and jeans. I’ve bought fabulous coats at the antique market and beautiful pieces at Danna Nicole and Resonance. It’s all about getting out there and exploring.

FOOD:
Stratford delivers on flavour, and there’s no limit to the delicious nosh in town. I go out for dinner with my family once a week and we’ve tried just about all of the restaurants around town. A few of our favourites are Down the Street, Foster’s, The Annex, York Street Kitchen, Mrs. Hanh’s Kitchen and Pazzo’s. If you find me at Pazzo’s, you can guarantee that I’ll be enjoying the mushroom crostini and the arugula salad – it’s a meal unto itself.

LEISURE:
I love to unwind by taking a walk around the Avon River – it’s peaceful, beautiful and a great way to exercise and relax. If you see me making the trek around the Avon, I’ll likely have my earphones in and be learning music and lyrics at the same time. Work is play!

During the summer months I always look forward to the HMS Razzamajazz – I love, love, love it! On Tuesday and Friday nights from June through August, there’s nothing better than heading down to the river to enjoy a bit of jazz as the boat gently drifts. Learning or listening to music by the river – it’s a perfect way to end the day.

BEST-KEPT SECRET:
Behind the old Rotary Complex near the Stratford Fairgrounds there’s a baseball diamond. There, at the far end of the park, is my very favourite place to do a morning meditation while running my dog.

So there you have it: the inside scoop on Stratford. I can’t wait to see you around town this season – and at my concert series, Outside Looking In.

Enjoy your visit!

Cynthia

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New Forum is taking shape with a fascinating 2013 lineup | Participants include: John de Chastelain, Stanley Wells, Adam Gopnik, Stephen Lewis, Colin Mochrie, Ian Brown, Seán Cullen, Cynthia Dale, Adrienne Clarkson, John Ralston Saul, Shawn Atleo

November 13, 2012… The new Stratford Festival Forum will host an exciting array of high-profile speakers and entertainers during the 2013 season. From the serious to the light-hearted, Forum events will offer a variety of riffs on themes running through the playbill, in particular themes of community, especially communities in conflict, and the role of the outsider in those communities.

These themes open the door to lively discussions on a number of topics that continue to inspire artists working in various media, including film-makers, comedians, novelists and composers. Forum events include performances and showcases, improv and stand-up comedy, speakers, active explorations and workshops, panels and debates, music, screenings, conversations and exhibits.

Participants range from Shakespeare scholar Stanley Wells to military leader John de Chastelain to comedian Colin Mochrie.

“We are building a festival within our Festival and we’re very proud of this exceptional program for the inaugural Forum,” says Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino. “We have found tremendous interest for the idea of addressing the themes of classical theatre as they are seen in our world today, and that interest has come from every corner – from political and religious thinkers, performers, writers, visual artists and others.

“Our patrons hunger for opportunities to reflect on the work they see on our stages. They seek out opportunities that provide context, insight and illumination. The Forum is designed to feed that desire and to give people something they can’t get anywhere else: a chance to become fully immersed in theatre and the thoughts and feelings that it provokes.”

More than 100 events have already been programmed with many more still to be finalized. Some activities are recurring events to be enjoyed each week of the season. Others will be offered on a one-off or limited basis. “Forum Forays” – periods with a special concentration of Forum events – have been planned for June 12 to 16, July 9 to 14 and August 9 to 18.

Some Forum Highlights

John de Chastelain: Ancient Grudges and New Mutinies: June 15 at 10 a.m.

Canada’s former Chief of the Defence Staff and former ambassador to the U.S. reflects on the Prince of Verona’s role as peacekeeper in Romeo and Juliet and relates it to his own experiences in the military and through the United Nations. General de Chastelain played a key role in the Northern Ireland peace process and in the crafting of the Good Friday accord. He was also a leader in the negotiations on the decommissioning of arms in Northern Ireland.

ARC Ensemble

The ARC Ensemble (Artists of the Royal Conservatory) presents two concerts introduced by Artistic Director Simon Wynberg.

  • Tradition and the Jewish Composer: June 16 at 5 p.m.
  • Music Suppressed in Fascist Italy: September 20 at 11:30 a.m.

Sally Armstrong: Ascent of Women: June 16 at 10 a.m.

Journalist, author and human rights activist Sally Armstrong, a three-time winner of the Amnesty International Media Award and a Member of the Order of Canada, will address themes of repression and rebellion, which inform such productions as Measure for Measure, Mary Stuart, Fiddler on the Roof and Romeo and Juliet. Ms Armstrong was a member of the International Women’s Commission at the UN and is the author of four books: Ascent of Women; Veiled Threat: The Hidden Power of Women of Afghanistan; The Nine Lives of Charlotte Taylor; and Bitter Roots, Tender Shoots: The Uncertain Fate of Afghanistan’s Women.

Stanley Wells: Sex and Love in Verona, Venice and Vienna:August 16 at 5 p.m.

Stanley Wells is emeritus professor of Shakespeare studies at the University of Birmingham and general editor of the Oxford and Penguin Shakespeares.

A Night of Improv: August 15 at 11 p.m.

Four of Canada’s best improvisers, including Paul Bates, Christy Bruce and Colin Mochrie, take the stage to improvise scenes based on audience suggestions that resonate with our 2013 themes. Hosted by Joanne O’Sullivan.

Shakespeare and Feasting, with Adam Gopnik: May 31 at 5 p.m.

Raised in Canada, essayist and commentator Adam Gopnik is a staff writer for The New Yorker. He is the author of Winter: Five Windows on the Season, written for the 2011 Massey Lectures.

Screening: The Stratford Adventure: May 30 at 5:30 p.m.

This short film follows the founding of the Festival: how the idea grew, how a famous British director, international stars and Canadian talent were recruited, and how the Festival finally became a triumphant reality. Includes a post-screening chat with director Morten Parker.

Breaking with Tradition: Fiddler on the Roof and the 1960s Generation Gap: July 12 at 11 a.m. With Marlis Schweitzer, associate professor of theatre at York University.

Elizabeth and Mary, Rival Queens: A Study of Leadership Lost and Won: July 10 at 11 a.m.

Barbara Kyle, author of Blood Between Queens, to be published in May 2013, will sign books following her talk.

Stephen Lewis: Disability, Disillusion and Self-Discovery: August 17 at 10 a.m.

Stephen Lewis’s talk will touch on themes that pertain to such diverse productions as The Thrill, Tommy and Taking Shakespeare. Leader of Ontario’s New Democratic Party in the 1970s, Mr. Lewis later became Canada’s ambassador to the United Nations and the UN’s special envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa. He is currently the Board Chair of the Stephen Lewis Foundation.

This Is That – A Conversation with the Nation: Date TBA

Pat Kelly and Peter Oldring, of CBC’s This Is That, bring Stratford audiences a live rendition of the award-winning satirical radio show. Nothing is off limits – politics, culture, justice, religion – if it’s relevant to Canadians. This Is That finds a way to fabricate a story. Subject matter: totally Canadian. Truth factor: totally questionable.

The Playwrights Crucible: July 11 at 11 p.m.

Put the heat on a sharp playwright, a bold director and four top-rate actors and what do you get? A new play created right in front of your eyes. Created by Joanne O’Sullivan.

Alex Bulmer: The Insight of Blindness: Date TBA

Canadian-born writer and theatre artist Alex Bulmer, now based in the U.K., shares her experience creating Disable-led Art after losing her sight. Her work includes Breathe, a multidisciplinary performance piece that opened the sailing events at the London Olympics.

Astrology and Shakespeare: The Secret Key to The Merchant of Venice: August 1 at 11 a.m.

With Priscilla Costello, counselling astrologer.

Original Pronunciation: June 1 at 10 a.m.

Using scenes from Romeo and Juliet as illustration, we explore the implications of original pronunciation in the performance of Shakespeare’s plays.

Anti-Semitism and The Merchant of Venice: August 21 at 11 a.m.

Len Rudner and Frank Bialystok from the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs and Shakespeare expert Vivian Rakoff look at the confrontation of synagogue and state in The Merchant of Venice.

Writing about the Right to Die: August 15 at 10:30 a.m.

With journalist, broadcaster and author Ian Brown (The Boy in the Moon), author Zoe FitzGerald Carter (Imperfect Endings) and playwright Judith Thompson (The Thrill). Moderator: Alex Bulmer.

Cynthia Dale in Concert: May 23, 24, 29, 30 and June 6, 8, 13, 15, 20 and 22

Cynthia Dale will present a series of concerts featuring songs that reflect on the themes of the season.

The Foreign Exchange, with Donna Michelle St. Bernard: August 11 at 5:30 p.m.

Honorary “Foreign Ministers” are invited to illuminate and ignite candid conversations about race and culture.

Shakespeare in Kabul: August 22 at 11 a.m.

With Stephen Landrigan and Qais Akbar Omar, authors of Shakespeare in Kabul. The authors will sign copies of their book following the talk.

Alisa Solomon: Fiddler’s Fortunes: September 21 at 10 a.m.

Former theatre critic and cultural and political reporter for The Village Voice, Alisa Solomon directs the Arts and Culture concentration in the MA program at Columbia Journalism School. She will discuss the long-lived legacy of Fiddler on the Roof.

Shylock Appeals: October 5 at 10:30 a.m.

Witness the appeal of Shylock’s sentence as argued by prominent lawyers before a court of outstanding Canadian judges.

Dear Mary, Dear Elizabeth: Dates TBA

Introduced and contextualized by Dr. Ted McGee, company members Seana McKenna and Lucy Peacock present readings of letters between Elizabeth I and Mary Stuart.

Geraint Wyn Davies Presents … “Wordplay”: Dates TBA

Members of the company join host Geraint Wyn Davies for a series of dramatic readings.

Israeli Folk Dancing: June 23 and September 21 at 12:30 p.m.

Created in the early 20th century by settlers in what later became the state of Israel, Israeli folk dancing is now a fixture at Jewish celebrations all over the world. Learn a few of the dances that the grandchildren of the characters in Fiddler on the Roof might have done at their weddings.

How to Disappear Completely: August 11, 15 and 17 at 2 p.m.

Itai Erdal performs this award-winning solo work, demonstrating his approach to theatrical lighting while also reflecting on the events that followed his mother asking him to take her life. Surprisingly funny, incredibly personal, this unique show continues to tour internationally. Produced by The Chop Theatre.

Stand Off: June 13 at 11 p.m.

Using themes of the season, stand-up comics, including Seán Cullen, Chris Gibbs and Sharron Matthews, compete to write the best stand-up sets in under 15 minutes. Hosted by Joanne O’Sullivan.

The Power of Women / Women in Power: August 18 at 7 p.m.

With author, playwright and activist Susan G. Cole, scholar Margaret Jane Kidnie and other panelists to be announced.

Who Chooseth Me: August 11 at 11 a.m.

Practising psychoanalyst Mavis Himes speaks with Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino about the insights psychoanalysis can bring to The Merchant of Venice.

Late Night with Lucy: July 5 and 19, August 9 and 23 at 11:30 p.m.

By popular demand, Lucy Peacock presents a second series of after-hours cabarets with special guest performers.

What’s Past is Prologue: Classical Theatre in Our Times: August 18 at 10:30 a.m.

With artistic directors Peter Hinton, Jackie Maxwell, Bill Rauch and others. Chaired by Antoni Cimolino.

Screening: Dark Lullabies: June 15 at 5:30 p.m.

Having grown up in the shadow of the Holocaust, Canadian film-maker Irene Lilienheim Angelico reaches for comprehension through interviews with survivors and their children in Montréal and Israel – and with their contemporaries in Germany. Winner of six international awards, and selected as one of the fifty greatest documentaries of all time at the international Salute to the Documentary, the film will be followed by a chat with Ms. Angelico.

Reform it Altogether: Directing Shakespeare Today: July 14 at 11 a.m.

With directors Chris Abraham, Tim Carroll, Antoni Cimolino and Martha Henry. Chair: David Prosser.

A Rose by Any Other Name: June 15 at 5:30 p.m.

Practising psychoanalyst Mavis Himes speaks with Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino about the insights psychoanalysis can bring to Romeo and Juliet.

For the Love of Godot: June 12 at 5:30 p.m.

Brian Dennehy, who plays Pozzo in this season’s Waiting for Godot, discusses all things Beckett with the production’s director, Jennifer Tarver.

Screening: Budrus: August 14 at 2 p.m.

An award-winning documentary about a Palestinian community organizer who united Fatah and Hamas members with Israeli supporters to save his village from destruction. Includes a post-screening chat with producer Ronit Avni.

Tommy Guitar School: July 20 and August 24 at 6 p.m.

Bring your electric guitar and learn some riffs from the score of Tommy.

The Festival Exhibition: May 27 to October 20

Four Shakespeare Masterpieces at the Stratford Festival: Present and Past Productions of Othello, Romeo and Juliet, Measure for Measure and The Merchant of Venice.

All for Fun and Fun for All: July 7 and October 6 at 10:30 a.m.

This interactive, fun-filled workshop on The Three Musketeers immerses 10- to 12-year-olds in the historical time period and introduces the basics of swordplay.

Screening: Hollywoodism: Jews, Movies and the American Dream: July 14 at 8 p.m.

Based on Neal Gabler’s best-selling book An Empire of Their Own, this award-winning feature-length documentary tells the story of the men who founded Hollywood. All were immigrants, or children of immigrants, who wanted to reinvent themselves as Americans. In the process, they reinvented America. The screening includes a talk by director Simcha Jacobvici.

The LaFontaine-Baldwin Symposium

Under the leadership of former Governor General Adrienne Clarkson and author John Ralston Saul, the Institute for Canadian Citizenship will move the annual LaFontaine-Baldwin Symposium to Stratford as part of The Forum, on August 9 and 10. This symposium on the public good features lectures on democracy, civic engagement and citizenship with an opportunity for participants to engage through round-table discussions and online. This year’s speaker will be Shawn A-in-chut Atleo, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations in Canada. Events include:

  • “Adopting” One’s Culture, with Adrienne Clarkson and John Ralston Saul.
  • First Nations and the Future of Canadian Citizenship, with Shawn A-in-chut Atleo.
  • Diaspora Dining, a roundtable with Shawn A-in-chut Atleo, Adrienne Clarkson, John Ralston Saul and guests.

The 2013 season begins on April 23 and runs until October 20, featuring Romeo and JulietFiddler on the RoofThe Three MusketeersThe Merchant of VeniceTommy,Blithe SpiritOthelloMeasure for MeasureMary StuartWaiting for Godot, Taking Shakespeare and The Thrilland The Forum

Tickets go on sale to Members today and to the general public on January 5. For more information visit www.stratfordfestival.ca.

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Festival officially launches 60th season on Monday

May 25, 2012… The Stratford Shakespeare Festival launches its 60th season on Monday, May 28, with a gala performance of Much Ado About Nothing. This is the final season under the artistic directorship of Des McAnuff, and one that promises an array of wonderful theatre for every taste and age group.

“The 60th season is representative of Stratford in all its glory,” says Mr. McAnuff, who is directing Henry V and Christopher Plummer’s A Word or Two, both of which open later in the season. “Embodying Stratford’s hallmark marriage of tradition and innovation, the Cplaybill ranges from the very roots of drama to some of the finest playwrights working in Canada today. Shakespearean comedy, history and romance are complemented by a hilarious contemporary pastiche of Shakespearean tragedy, while the season’s varied musical theatre repertoire acknowledges our own era’s great contribution to the western dramatic tradition. Meanwhile, the strength of our acting company is being showcased not only in Stratford but also on Broadway, with the Tony-nominated Jesus Christ Superstar.”

“As we celebrate our Festival’s 60th season, the glorious heritage of our past provides us with a clear signpost to the way ahead,” says General Director Antoni Cimolino. “Our pioneering artists and those who supported them sought to create in Stratford nothing less than the finest classical theatre in the world. Thanks to their vision and determination, the adventure that began in 1953 with two productions in a tent is now North America’s premier repertory theatre, featuring 14 productions in five venues. That same spirit drives us today as we explore the classics of the past and give birth to the classics of the future.”

Much Ado About Nothing is directed by Christopher Newton, who was a member of the Festival’s acting company from 1966 to 1968. It features Ben Carlson as Benedick and Deborah Hay as Beatrice.

Five other productions will open during the week: 42nd Street, directed by Gary Griffin and featuring Sean Arbuckle as Julian Marsh, Kyle Blair as Billy Lawlor, Cynthia Dale as Dorothy Brock, and Jennifer Rider-Shaw as Peggy Sawyer; You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, directed by Donna Feore, featuring Stephen Patterson as Snoopy, Erica Peck as Lucy and Ken James Stewart as Charlie Brown; Cymbeline, directed by Antoni Cimolino, featuring Graham Abbey as Posthumus, Tom McCamus as Iachimo, Cara Ricketts as Innogen, and Geraint Wyn Davies as Cymbeline; The Pirates of Penzance, directed by Ethan McSweeny, featuring Sean Arbuckle as the Pirate King, Kyle Blair as Frederic, C. David Johnson as the Major General, and Amy Wallis as Mabel Stanley; and The Matchmaker, directed by Chris Abraham, featuring Tom McCamus as Horace Vandergelder and Seana McKenna as Dolly Levi.

The 60th season will feature a number of special events, including Christopher Plummer’s one-man show A Word or Two, which will run from July 25 to August 26. Most Rare Visions: 60 Years of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival is an exhibition of Festival artifacts, including rare footage of our pioneers, at a new space kitty-corner to the Avon Theatre, at 104 Downie Street. A symposium, Interpreting Shakespeare Across Settings and Media, featuring Colm Feore, Norman Lloyd, Dr. Katherine Lowe and the Festival’s Director of Archives, Dr. Francesca Marini, will be held on June 2. A dramatic reading of Edward Bond’s Bingo, about an aging William Shakespeare, will be held on June 15, with the playwright on hand for a Q&A with the audience. Lucy Peacock will hold a number of cabarets – Late Night with Lucy – in the new Studio Annex, in July and August, featuring music and conversation. The Celebrated Writers Series returns with Stephen Marche, author of How Shakespeare Changed Everything; Richard McCoy, author of Faith in Shakespeare; Michael Ondaatje, author of The Cat’s Table; and Margaret Atwood, author of In Other Worlds. Master voice and Shakespeare teacher Patsy Rodenberg will present three special events from July 18 to 22, to mark 60 years of the Festival’s extensive actor training activities. The Festival will launch a special 60th season book on June 2, Stratford: Behind the Scenes, which will available through the Theatre Store. These special events are all in addition to the Festival’s usual enrichment activities.

The Stratford Shakespeare Festival’s 2012 season runs until October 28, featuring Much Ado About Nothing; 42nd Street; The Matchmaker; Henry V; You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown; The Pirates of Penzance; A Word or Two; Cymbeline; Wanderlust; Elektra; MacHomer; The Best Brothers; Hirsch and The War of 1812.

Opening Week Itinerary

Sunday, May 27
Garden Party
1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Festival Theatre lobby and gardens

Monday, May 28
Gala Opening of Much Ado About Nothing
Festival Theatre, 55 Queen Street, Stratford
6:30 p.m. Pipe Band parades to front of theatre and performs
7:00 p.m. Red Carpet arrivals
7:30 p.m. Performance of Much Ado About Nothing begins
10:10 p.m. Performance concludes

Tuesday, May 29
11:30 a.m. Book Launch – Festival Lobby
The Adventures of Adrian and Tiddlywinks by the late John Sullivan Hayes, former Producer of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival
Opening of 42nd Street
Festival Theatre
8:00 p.m. Performance begins
10:20 p.m. Performance concludes

Wednesday, May 30
Opening of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown
8 p.m. Avon Theatre
9:55 p.m. Performance concludes

Thursday, May 31
Opening of Cymbeline
8 p.m. Tom Patterson Theatre
11 p.m. Performance concludes

Friday, June 1
Opening of The Pirates of Penzance
8 p.m. Avon Theatre
10:35 p.m. Performance concludes

Saturday, June 2
10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Symposium, Studio Theatre (please contact Andrea Smitko to reserve tickets)
1:00 to 1:45 p.m. Book Launch – Stratford: Behind the Scenes. Rehearsal Hall 3, Studio Theatre.
Opening of The Matchmaker
8 p.m. Festival Theatre
10:40 p.m. Performance concludes

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Energizing tap musical 42nd Street starts previews | Cynthia Dale returns to the Festival with a sizzling performance

April 12, 2012… The inspiring story of a small-town girl chasing her dream in the big city is told through exhilarating tap dance numbers in the hit musical 42nd Street. Featuring Cynthia Dale and directed by Gary Griffin, this production begins previews at the Festival Theatre on Thursday, April 12.

The quintessential backstage musical, 42nd Street tells the story of Peggy Sawyer, a young girl from Allentown, Pennsylvania, who travels to New York City with the dream of becoming a Broadway dancer. To her delight she lands a part in the chorus of the new musical Pretty Lady, but when the show’s star is injured, Peggy is offered the chance of a lifetime.

“Based on the 1933 movie, 42nd Street reflects an era when the marriage of popular music and the theatre achieved unprecedented heights,” says Artistic Director Des McAnuff. “This show is a masterpiece of its kind: a song-and-dance spectacle that tells a tremendously inspiring story. In the hands of Gary Griffin, who has become a master of the Festival stage, it’s a dazzling highlight of our 60th season.”

“This is a classic and touching story that resonates with all of us,” says General Director Antoni Cimolino. “With the return of Cynthia Dale, Gary Griffin’s directorial leadership and the invigorating tap dancing numbers, this production will be an uplifting, wildly entertaining theatrical experience for theatre lovers of all ages.”

Set during the Great Depression, this piece shows how the hopeful innocence and will of one person can provide inspiration for all in the most challenging and difficult of times.

“This is a story about reawakening your dreams,” says Mr. Griffin. “Most of the characters have become jaded in one way or another. Their dreams have been jaundiced by the Depression, by disappointment, by failure. And then along comes Peggy Sawyer, this little light, who has a very simple dream: she wants to dance on Broadway. All of a sudden this girl has a very pure view that really reinvigorates everyone.”

The production features Sean Arbuckle as Julian Marsh, the director of Pretty Lady; Kyle Blair as Billy Lawlor, Pretty Lady’s lead male; and Cynthia Dale as Dorothy Brock, the show’s star and resident Broadway diva. Jennifer Rider-Shaw plays Peggy Sawyer, after two previous seasons at Stratford performing in Jesus Christ Superstar, Camelot, Kiss Me, Kate and Evita.

Other cast members include Naomi Costain as Annie “Anytime” Reilly, Kyle Golemba as Andy Lee, C. David Johnson as Pat Denning, Gabrielle Jones as Maggie Jones and Geoffrey Tyler as Bert Barry.

With music by Harry Warren, lyrics by Al Dubin, and book by Michael Stewart and Mark Bramble, this production boasts a rich and exciting score straight out of the big-band era, and features a 16-piece orchestra that, for the first time in Festival history, is positioned on stage in full view of the audience.

“This musical has a brash energy that befits its subject matter, and because of that I didn’t want the music to come through a sophisticated sound system from an invisible source up in the orchestra loft,” says Mr. Griffin. “I wanted the audience to see and feel the presence of the musicians. That’s why we’ve put the entire orchestra on stage. It was important to me to put the musicians into the world of the play.”

Artistic credits for this production include Alex Sanchez as choreographer and Michael Barber as musical director.

Other credits include Debra Hanson, designer, Paul Miller, lighting designer and Peter McBoyle, sound designer. Kerry Gage is the associate choreographer, Franklin Brasz is the associate conductor and Simon Fon is the stunt coordinator.

Production support for 42nd Street is provided by The Dominion of Canada General Insurance Company and Union Gas Limited.

This year, the Stratford Shakespeare Festival celebrates its 60th season, with 14 productions presented from April 12 to October 28:  Much Ado About Nothing42nd StreetThe MatchmakerHenry VYou’re a Good Man, Charlie BrownThe Pirates of PenzanceA Word or TwoCymbelineWanderlustElektraMacHomerThe Best BrothersHirsch; and The War of 1812.

Cast

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42 reasons to see 42nd Street

By: Christi Rutledge

We asked our fans why they were excited to see 42nd Street this season and they came up with a huge list of reasons!  Here are 41 responses that we collected… and a very special 42nd reason!

  1. The fabulous Cynthia Dale as Dorothy Brock!
  2. Tap dancing, done by the Festival company
  3. An upbeat musical score
  4. To “hear the beat of dancing feet”
  5. Kyle Blair as Billy Lawlor
  6. “A great orchestra! Seriously, most of the time this show is done, the band is cut down to a combo.  Festival goers will get to hear the score in all its big band glory!”
  7. Sean Arbuckle’s “sparkle” as Julian Marsh
  8. The 42nd Street marquee sign
  9. Seeing orchestra members – onstage!
  10. The 72 larger-than-life silver coins that will rain all over the stage
  11. 1934-inspired costuming
  12. Gary Griffin, who directed CamelotEvita and West Side Story at the Festival, will be also be directing 42nd Street
  13. This amazing sculpted eagle!
  14. Sparkly underwear
  15. The amazing behind-the-scenes process of creating the set – and awesome technology like miked stage floors!
  16. A production worth celebrating as part of our 60th season!
  17. Jennifer Ryder-Shaw as newcomer Peggy Sawyer!
  18. Cynthia Dale and C. David Johnson working together again – from Street Legal to 42nd Street
  19.  Classic lines like “You’re going out there a youngster, but you’ve got to come back a star!”
  20. Naomi Costain as Anytime Annie
  21. Set created by the amazing Debra Hanson – a true master of the Festival stage!
  22. This will be the first time that 42nd Street will be produced at the Festival
  23. It’s a play within a play – two productions for the price of one!
  24. Classic Broadway tunes likes “Lullaby of Broadway”
  25. A portrait created by Kevin Kemp for Pretty Lady
  26. Footlights concealing audio speakers
  27. Geoffrey Tyler as Bert Barry
  28. Amazing use of colour
  29. “There’s a Sunny Side to Every Situation”
  30. If you’re in the front row, expect to be up close and personal with the actors – the stage has been extended and the actors will be tapping around the edge of the stage!
  31. A 10-foot balcony!
  32. Stage floor inspired by oldHollywood
  33. “We’re in the money!”
  34. Past productions of 42nd Street have won Drama Desk Awards, a Theatre World Award, a Tony Award, a Laurence Olivier Award… and more!
  35. “You’re Getting to Be a Habit with Me,” sung by Cynthia Dale
  36. The music of Harry Warren and the lyrics of Al Dubin –  awesome combo!
  37. Festival favourite Steve Ross as Abner
  38. Classic tale of a small-town girl who moves to the city to make it big
  39. There’s not a bad seat in the house – you’ll have a great view from every angle
  40.  Lighting and Sound by designers Paul Miller and Peter McBoyle
  41. Kyle Golemba as Andy Lee
  42. $42 tickets for A, B and C seating for April performances of 42nd Street!* This awesome deal is only available until Sunday night at 11:59 p.m.  Log in to our website now using promotion code 42917 to get the best available seats!

Do you have any more reasons to add to the list?  Leave them in the comment box below!

*Offer may expire without notice. Not valid on MMP performances (April 14, 2012) or in conjunction with any other promotion. Tickets are only available on A, B and C seating zones for April performances of 42nd Street.

Photo credits: Cynthia Dale, Kyle Blair (far right). Also pictured: Sarah Afful, Carla Bennett, Rachel Crowther, Monique Lund Andrew Eccles photo

C. David Johnson returns for major roles in Pirates, 42nd Street | Jennifer Rider-Shaw to play Peggy Sawyer in 42nd Street

January 23, 2012… The Stratford Shakespeare Festival is pleased to announce that C. David Johnson, currently starring on Broadway in Priscilla Queen of the Desert, will return to the Festival for the 60th season.

Mr. Johnson was last seen at Stratford in 2001, when he played Captain von Trapp in The Sound of Music opposite Cynthia Dale’s Maria. The two, who also starred as lovers on the popular CBC TV series Street Legal from 1987 to 1994, will be reunited in 42nd Street, as Pat Denning and Dorothy Brock.

Mr. Johnson will also play Major-General Stanley in The Pirates of Penzance.

In his 30-year career, which began at Theatre New Brunswick, Mr. Johnson has appeared in numerous television series and on stages throughout Canada, including as Patrick Flanagan in Jitters, and Davison in Mary Stuart at Soulpepper; George Love in Tryst at the Segal Centre; and Helmut Schmidt in Democracy at Tarragon. He first appeared at Stratford in 1984, playing Speed in The Two Gentlemen of Verona and Poins in Henry IV, Part I. He is currently playing Bob in the Broadway production of Priscilla Queen of the Desert.

Mr. Johnson will be joined in 42nd Street by Jennifer Rider-Shaw, who will play Peggy Sawyer. Ms Rider-Shaw made her Stratford debut in 2010, appearing in Kiss Me, Kate and Evita, followed by Jesus Christ Superstar and Camelot last season. A graduate of Sheridan’s music theatre performance program, Ms Rider-Shaw was a contestant on CBC’s Triple Sensation, for which Cynthia Dale was a judge. She has also appeared in Ross Petty’s Robin Hood, Drayton Entertainment’s The Wizard of Oz, and Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story at Theatre Aquarius.

As previously announced, 42nd Street – directed by Gary Griffin – will also feature Sean Arbuckle as Julian Marsh and Kyle Blair as Billy Lawlor, with Naomi Costain as Anytime Annie, Kyle Golemba as Andy Lee, Gabrielle Jones as Maggie, and Geoffrey Tyler as Bert Barry.

The Pirates of Penzance – directed by Ethan McSweeny – will also feature Sean Arbuckle as the Pirate King, Kyle Blair as Frederic and Amy Wallis as Mabel Stanley, with Gabrielle Jones as Ruth and Steve Ross as the Sergeant of Police, as previously announced.

Production co-sponsors for 42nd Street are The Dominion of Canada General Insurance Company and Union Gas.

Production co-sponsor for The Pirates of Penzance is RBC. Production support is generously provided by Dr. Dennis and Dorothea Hacker.

Support for the 2012 season has been provided by the Canada Council, the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund and the Ontario Arts Council.

Tickets are now on sale for the Stratford Shakespeare Festival’s 2012 season, which features 14 productions presented from April 12 to October 28: Much Ado About Nothing; 42nd Street; The Matchmaker; Henry V; You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown; The Pirates of Penzance; A Word or Two; Cymbeline; Wanderlust; Elektra; MacHomer; The Best Brothers; Hirsch; and The War of 1812. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit stratfordshakespearefestival.com or call 1.800.567.1600.

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