Stratford Festival kicks off 61st season with first preview of Fiddler on the Roof

April 23, 2013… The Festival Theatre stage will transform into a small Jewish village through the heartwarming tale of hope, faith and tradition that is Fiddler on the Roof. One of Broadway’s longest-running and most celebrated musicals begins previews in Stratford on Tuesday, April 23, marking the first performance of the 2013 season.

An affectionately humorous portrait of life in the small Russian shtetl of Anatevka, Fiddler on the Roof centres on Tevye, the village milkman, who finds his values challenged by his daughters’ insistence on following their hearts rather than the dictates of tradition. Gradually, Tevye comes to accept that change is inevitable, but he does not realize that other, tragic upheavals are on the horizon – some that threaten his community’s very existence.

The production is directed and choreographed by Donna Feore, who returns for her 19th season at the Festival, having helmed such much loved productions as Oliver!, Oklahoma!, Cyrano de Bergerac and last year’s You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.

“This is a classic musical with extraordinary heart,” says Ms Feore. “Tevye is not only dealing with change and uncertainty within his family, he is also dealing with uncertainty in the world around him. I think that is why people are so moved by this piece. Life is always changing. Like the fiddler on the roof, it’s unstable, and it’s about finding balance.”

In a playbill built around themes of community, Fiddler on the Roof is a natural fit.

“In putting together this season, I was particularly drawn to exploring the idea of cultural belonging: communities divided and how they bridge those gaps,” says Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino. “This is an iconic story of a community driven apart by the pressures of a changing world, but also one of bringing people together – a notion it takes beyond the stage by inviting us all to be Jewish, if only for a couple of hours. The combination of music and dance, humour and warmth makes Fiddler on the Roof a timeless work of art within the musical genre and a great night out at the theatre.”

Based on the stories of Sholem Aleichem, with book by Joseph Stein, music by Jerry Bock and lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, the Tony Award-winning musical was originally produced on the New York stage by Harold Prince and directed and choreographed by Jerome Robbins. The rousing, unforgettable score, featuring such beloved songs as “If I Were a Rich Man,” “Matchmaker, Matchmaker” and “Sunrise, Sunset,” will be brought to life in this production by an outstanding cast working alongside acclaimed Musical Director Shelley Hanson in her Stratford debut.

Two familiar faces from Festival seasons past make a welcome return in the musical: Scott Wentworth as Tevye and Kate Hennig as his wife, Golde. The cast also features Jacquelyn French as Hodel, Keely Hutton as Chava, Gabrielle Jones as Yente, André Morin as Motel, Mike Nadajewski as Perchik, Paul Nolan as Fyedka and Jennifer Stewart as Tzeitel.

Joining Ms Feore and Ms Hanson are Tony Award-nominated Set Designer Allen Moyer, Costume Designer Dana Osborne, Lighting Designer Michael Walton, Sound Designer Peter McBoyle and Fight Director John Stead.

Fiddler on the Roof Forum Highlights 

The Forum, the new festival within the Festival, is a series of activities and events designed to make a visit to Stratford an immersive, all-encompassing cultural experience. Through debates, talks, concerts, comedy nights, hands-on workshops and more, The Forum will offer theatregoers more ways to discover and examine the themes running through this season’s productions.

Themes related to Fiddler on the Roof will be explored through several Forum events, including: Tradition and the Jewish Composer, a concert by the ARC Ensemble (Artists of the Royal Conservatory) introduced by Artistic Director Simon Wynberg; Breaking with Tradition: Fiddler on the Roof and the 1960s Generation Gap, a talk by Marlis Schweitzer, associate professor of theatre at York University; and Fiddler’s Fortunes: The Mighty Afterlife of a Broadway Musical, a talk by Alisa Solomon, director of the Arts and Culture concentration in the MA program at Columbia Journalism School.

Support for the inaugural season of The Forum is generously provided by Kelly and Michael Meighen and the Province of Ontario, in partnership with the University of Waterloo, with media sponsorship provided by The Walrus. Support for the Speaker Series is generously provided in memory of Dr. Philip Hayman.

Fiddler on the Roof is co-sponsored by Union Gas Limited. Production support is generously provided by the Harkins Family in memory of Susan Harkins and by Celebrate Ontario.

Stratford Direct, the new daily return private bus service between Toronto and Stratford, begins May 1. Departing once daily from May 1 to 25 and October 1 to 20 and twice daily from May 27 to September 29 (on performance days only), the round trip costs only $20.

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

The Stratford Festival’s 2013 season runs until October 20, featuring Romeo and Juliet, Fiddler on the Roof; The Three Musketeers, The Merchant of Venice, Tommy, Blithe Spirit, Othello, Measure for Measure, Mary Stuart, Waiting for Godot, Taking Shakespeare, and The Thrill, along with more than 150 events at The Forum.

Cast (in alphabetical order)

Alfons……………………………………………..       Matt Alfano

Gavril Kanevski…………………………………       Gabriel Antonacci

Levi Hayes………………………………………       Matthew Armet

The Fiddler……………………………………..       Anna Atkinson

Fruma-Sarah…………………………………….        Jewelle Blackman

Nachum…………………………………………        Matthew G. Brown

Mashel…………………………………………..        Stephen Cota

Benesh………………………………………….       Sean Dolan

Hodel……………………………………………       Jacquelyn French

Grandma Tzeitel………………………………..       Barbara Fulton

Bielke, alternating.……………………………..        Anna Gough

Yussel…………………………………………..       Sean Alexander Hauk

Shaindel…………………………………………       Valerie Hawkins

Golde……………………………………………       Kate Hennig

Avram…………………………………………..       Larry Herbert

Bielke, alternating………………………………       Effie Honeywell

Chava……………………………………………       Keely Hutton

Rifka……………………………………………       Robin Hutton

Zeff Orenstein………………………………….       Galen Johnson

Yente……………………………………………       Gabrielle Jones

Swing…………………………………………..        Julia Juhas

Clarinet Player….………………………………       Gary Kidd

Mordcha………………………………………..        Jeremy Kushnier

Shprintze……………………………………….        Krista Leis

Mendel…………………………………………        Robert Markus

Motel…………………………………………..         André Morin

The Rabbi………………………………………         Sam Moses

Perchik…………………………………………        Mike Nadajewski

Swing…………………………………………..        Nicholas Nesbitt

Fyedka………………………………………….       Paul Nolan

Charna………………………………………….        Katrina Reynolds

Swing…………………………………………..        Jennifer Rider-Shaw

Lazar Wolf……………………………………..        Steve Ross

The Constable………………………………….        Brad Rudy

Sasha……………………………………………        Julius Sermonia

“To Life” Tenor………………………………..        Lee Siegel

Itsaak……………………………………….…..       Shayne Simpson

Tzeitel………………………………………….        Jennifer Stewart

Tevye…………………………………………..        Scott Wentworth

Artistic Credits

Director and Choreographer……………………        Donna Feore

Musical Director……………………………….        Shelley Hanson

Set Designer……………………………………        Allen Moyer

Costume Designer………………………………        Dana Osborne

Lighting Designer………………………………       Michael Walton

Sound Designer…………………………………       Peter McBoyle

Fight Director…………………………………..       John Stead

Producer………………………………………..        David Auster

Casting Director………………………………..        Beth Russell

Creative Planning Director…………………….        Jason Miller

Associate Choreographer………………………        Kerry Gage

Associate Conductor……………………………       Marilyn Dallman

Assistant Director………………………………        Ann Baggley

Jewish Culture Consultant……………………..        Dr. Darren C. Marks

Assistant Set Designer…………………………        Brandon Kleiman

Assistant Costume Designer……………………        Alix Dolgoy

Assistant Lighting Designers…………………..        Sean Poole, Tristan Tidswell

Assistant Fight Directors………………………        Geoff Scovell, Anita Nittoly

Dance Captain…………………………………        Stephen Cota

Fight Captain……………………………….….        Brad Rudy

Stage Manager…………………………………        Cynthia Toushan

Assistant Stage Managers………………………        Krista Blackwood, Melissa Rood, Zeph Williams

Production Assistant……………………………        Linsey Callaghan

Production Stage Manager…………………….        Margaret Palmer

Technical Director………………………….….         Jeff Scollon

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PHOTOGRAPHY:

Promotional photos for Fiddler on the Roof:

http://www.stratfordfestival.ca/imagegallery/imagegallery.aspx?id=20295

Headshots:

http://www.stratfordfestival.ca/imagegallery/imagegallery.aspx?id=14315

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Celebrate the birthday Bard with an amazing deal!

Shakespeare’s 449th birthday is nearly upon us! On April 23 we’re celebrating the Bard of Stratford-upon-Avon with the launch of The Forum – a.k.a. the Shakespeare Slam – at Toronto’s Koerner Hall. Join us for an evening of irreverent and provocative entertainment featuring the outstanding talents of Adam Gopnik, Torquil Campbell and Rufus Wainwright. Ticket information and other details are available here.

As part of our birthday celebration, we’ll also have an amazing ticket offer for some of the Festival’s 2013 Shakespeare plays!

2013-FB-BdayBard Get A or B seats for any May or June performance of Romeo and Juliet or Measure for Measure for the cost of a C seat – that’s just $49! But you’ll have to hurry – this great offer is only available from April 23 at 12:01 a.m. until April 24 at midnight, and only using Stratford Social Ticketing on the Festival’s Facebook page.

What can you expect from Romeo and Juliet and Measure for Measure?

Director and Shakespeare aficionado Tim Carroll joins us this season to direct the most powerful love story ever told, Romeo and Juliet.  Mr. Carroll’s extensive work on original practice at the Globe theatre in London has been widely praised by critics and fans alike, and we’re thrilled to have him back at the Festival this season directing a period production of Romeo and Juliet (he also directed Peter Pan in 2010). Festival favourite Sara Topham will play Juliet alongside a new face this season, Daniel Briere as Romeo.

Learn more about Daniel in this exclusive interview!

Martha Henry makes her directorial return this season with Measure for Measure. Ms Henry’s film noir-inspired version of Measure will explore Shakespeare’s “problem” play in the world of 1940s Vienna. Measure’s star-studded cast includes Tom Rooney as Angelo, Stephen Ouimette as Lucio, Geraint Wyn Davies as Duke Vincentio and Carmen Grant in her break-out role as Isabella.

Read more about this year’s production of Measure for Measure.

To celebrate the birthday Bard with $49 tickets…

*Promotion not available on previously purchased tickets or in conjunction with any other offer. Offer is only redeemable through Stratford Social Ticketing on the Festival’s Facebook page and cannot be used to purchase A+ tickets. May expire without notice. Some conditions apply.

You’re invited to our Forum launch – the Shakespeare Slam!

The Stratford Festival invites you to see Shakespeare in a whole new light, channelled through the remarkable perspectives of some of Canada’s most provocative thinkers and performers, Torquil CampbellAdam Gopnik and Rufus Wainwright.

ShakespeareSlam

A CELEBRATION OF CULTURE

On April 23 (Shakespeare’s birthday) the Festival will be in Toronto to present the Shakespeare Slam, a thought-provoking and irreverent event to mark the launch of the Festival’s newest initiative, The Forum. This celebration of culture – both classical and pop – will look at how Shakespeare continues to entertain and inspire in today’s world. Like The Forum itself, the evening will offer insightful debate, along with music and other entertaining explorations.

EVENT HIGHLIGHTS & SNEAK PEEKS

New Yorker staff writer and acclaimed essayist ADAM GOPNIK will face off against indie rocker  TORQUIL CAMPBELL of Stars in the debate “Pop Culture vs. Classical Culture: Which has the reigning impact on our world?”

TORQUIL CAMPBELL and multi-instrumentalist JULIAN BROWN will perform songs from the work that Mr. Campbell is developing at the Festival with playwright Ann-Marie MacDonald and director Alisa Palmer.

Read more about this new collaboration here!

RUFUS WAINWRIGHT, singer, songwriter and composer extraordinaire, takes the evening to new heights with a performance of some of his own songs set to Shakespeare’s words. LUCY PEACOCK joins him with relevant readings from the Bard.

The evening will be filled out by original Shakespeare-inspired haikus by company member ROY LEWIS, accompanied by GEORGE MEANWELL, original screenings and other entertainment.

Listen to Rufus Wainwright sing Sonnet no. 29

Plus, we’ll be looking at some of the ways in which Shakespeare has infiltrated contemporary pop culture:

THE DETAILS

Date: Tuesday, April 23, 2013 (Shakespeare’s birthday)

Time: 8:00 – 9:45 p.m.

Location: Koerner Hall, 273 Bloor Street West, Toronto

Tickets:  $30 to $45 and $20 for students

RESERVE YOUR SEAT TODAY

To order your tickets, contact the Stratford Festival Box Office at 1.800.567.1600, the Koerner Hall’s Weston Family Box Office at 416.408.0208 or online.

On Facebook? Join our Shakespeare Slam event page and watch for updates – or invite a friend of family member who would be interested in attending this one-time event!

For more information on upcoming Forum events and activities, click here.