Try something new! Join us for one of our world premières for only $39.

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

Hirsch
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

Wanderlust
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:

  1. Log into our website at www.stratfordfestival.ca with promotion code 44722
  2. Select any performance of The Best Brothers, Hirsch or Wanderlust in July (excluding their openings)
  3. Select your own seats
  4. Complete your checkout
  5. 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.

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Introducing Stratford Social Ticketing on our Facebook page!

by Christi Rutledge

We’re excited to announce a new ticketing feature on our Facebook page! Booking your seats has never been so social. Make your Festival visit a Facebook event, see where your friends are sitting in the theatre, book single tickets or arrange a group trip, all from the comfort of home – and without having to collect the money for the tickets.

Here are some key features that you’ll be able to take advantage of when using the Festival’s new Facebook Social Ticketing application!

  • Book single tickets without ever navigating away from Facebook;
  • Organize a  Facebook event that’s visible to private or public groups;
  • Propose multiple shows and dates and get feedback on your event page before making a final decision;
  • See where your Facebook friends are sitting in the theatre and join them… or don’t! 😉
  • Create a private account so that only you can see where you’re sitting, or create one that allows your Facebook friends to see you.

Here are some benefits of using Stratford Social Ticketing:

  • If you’re creating an event for a group, everyone can book individually, so no one has the responsibility of collecting money!
  • It’s safe! We use the same security measures on our Facebook page that we do on our website.

Here’s how to get started. (Steps 1-3 are only necessary the first time you use Stratford Social Ticketing!)

1. Sign into your Facebook account, visit the Festival’s Facebook page and click on “BUY TICKETS” to access Stratford Social Ticketing.

2. Once you’ve selected our app, you’ll get to choose who you want to share your Festival-going information with from the drop-down menu (as pictured below). After you’ve done that, click “Go to App.”

3. Select your permissions and click “Allow.”


4.  Now you’re ready to buy tickets! If you’re booking just for yourself, simply click “Buy Tickets” under the production that you’d like to see. But the really exciting thing about this app is that it allows you to create events for you and your friends – so let’s see how that’s done!

To create an event, select “Create Event” under the production you’d like to book with a group of your friends, co-workers, students, family… etc. (You get the picture!)


5. I’ve selected Cymbeline because I am in love with this show! Once you’re on the individual production page you’ll be able to select dates from the calendar that will appear in your “Suggested Show Times.”  Then you’ll be ready to invite friends!
*PLEASE NOTE- only one show time will be allowed to be suggested moving forward. 

5. You can type a personal message in the “Add more info to message” box, and from there you can either select friends from your personal list or make the event public by selecting “Anyone can view or RSVP (public event).”  To select a friend, simply click on their picture so that it’s highlighted. Then you’re ready to click “Create Event.”

6.  You’ll be redirected to the Stratford Social Ticketing homepage, where you’ll see your event under “Upcoming Events.” Click “Event Wall” to view the details and chat with your friends about your trip – or click “Finalize Event” if you’ve gotten everyone’s feedback or if you’ve already decided on a date. If you need to, you can delete your event by selecting – you guessed it! – “Delete Event.”

 7.  Your event wall will look exactly like any other event created in Facebook. You can add a picture, like I did, and discuss dates, times, restaurants, life, love… whatever!

8. Once you’ve settled on a date with your friends, you’ll be able to confirm the date either through the link provided on the page or on the Stratford Social Ticketing homepage. Only group organizers can finalize the date! Select your preference from “Your Original Choices” and it will appear in the box labelled “Your Selected Date and Time.” You can then click “Finalize Event.” If your final date isn’t one of your original choices, simply select “Choose a different date/time” from the bottom left corner and you’ll be able to pick another performance.


9. From there you’ll be redirected to the Stratford Social Ticketing homepage. You can either purchase tickets there by selecting “Purchase Tickets!” under your “Upcoming Events,” or you can order through your event wall. There will be a link there that your friends can click to book their seats, too!


10. The rest of the process is exactly like purchasing tickets through our website, with one really cool exception – you’ll be able to see where your friends are sitting in the theatre once they’ve purchased their tickets! Their Facebook profile picture will appear over their seat, so you can choose to sit beside them. (If you’ve set your account to “Me,” your picture will never be displayed to others.)

After you’ve selected your seats and are ready to check out, we’ll prompt you to sign into your Stratford Shakespeare Festival account. If it’s under the same e-mail address as your Facebook account, you can simply click “Continue,” as long as the right account number appears on the screen for you (take a moment to check!). If you’re a first-time user, you’ll need to set up an account before you complete your transaction.

Follow the prompts and complete your checkout, and you’re all set to come to the Festival!

We’re thrilled to be sharing this new app with you! And here’s a treat – get $20 tickets to The Matchmakeron June 9, 15 or 17, 2012,* when you purchase them using Stratford Social Ticketing! On the “Select Your Own Seat” page, enter promotion code 44146 in the box labelled “Have a promo code?” (shown below) and then click “Go”. You’ll be able to select the price type from the drop-down menu.

Take advantage of this cool social ticketing feature and let us know about your experience using our app! If you have any questions, please contact socialmedia@stratfordfestival.ca.

*This promotion is only available through the Stratford Social Ticketing application on our Facebook page. Tickets are non-refundable, not available with any other promotion and are subject to applicable taxes and handling fees. Tickets are only available in A, B and C seating zones. Promotion expires on June 17, 2012.

Celebrate May 2-4 all month long with the Stratford Shakespeare Festival!

by Lisa Middleton

The warm weather is here and so is our 60th season! The long weekend is never quite long enough, so we want to help you get a head start on celebrating Victoria Day (and even extend it a little bit). We’re offering you $24 tickets to all May performances of The Matchmaker – and because we like you, we’re throwing in the June 1 performance as well!

What makes this offer extra special? You can book any seat in the house, from the front of the orchestra to the back of the balcony!  But don’t wait— this great offer is only available from 2 p.m. today until 4 p.m. tomorrow!

Here’s a bit more about The Matchmaker:
With his eye ever fixed on the bottom line, wealthy merchant Horace Vandergelder can’t see the value of love – even as he searches for a wife. His matchmaker, Dolly Levi, however, is making her own plans for him, while his clerks pursue their hearts’ desires in the big city.

Some things you might not know about this show:

  • If the plot of The Matchmaker sounds familiar, you’ve probably seen the musical inspired by this loveable comedy – Hello, Dolly! (maybe when it played at the Festival in 2005).
  • Playwright Thornton Wilder developed The Matchmaker in Stratford – and when he needed a break from working on the play, he spent his time helping out in the prop shop!
  • If you enjoyed Seana McKenna and Tom McCamus’ chemistry in the 2010 production of Dangerous Liaisons, you’ll be thrilled to see this superstar pair together again in the leading roles of Dolly Levi and Horace Vandergelder.
  • The designer, Santo Loquasto, has long been creating for the Festival stage – and his set and costume designs for The Matchmaker are exquisite.  If you’ve seen Dangerous Liaisons (2010), Cyrano de Bergerac (2009) or Oliver! (2006) – to name just a few productions – you’ve probably admired Mr. Loquasto’s work.

Are you ready to enjoy The Matchmaker? Log into our website with promotion code 43618 to purchase your tickets, then kick back and get ready to celebrate the long weekend all month long!

p.s. Tickets to The Matchmaker make a great Mother’s Day gift. Order yours just in time to celebrate Mom this Sunday!

*Offer may expire without notice. Taxes and service charges extra. Some conditions apply. Only available online.

Happy 448th birthday, Shakespeare!

by Christi Rutledge

Monday, April 23, marks the date of Shakespeare’s birth! Interestingly, it also marks the date of his passing, 396 years ago (poetic to the very end). What better way to celebrate the Bard’s life than planning a trip to see some of his masterful work on stage!

We’re offering you a special 24-hour birthday promotion. You can attend all preview performances of Much Ado About Nothing, Cymbeline and Henry Vplaying April through June – for just $29!* This awesome birthday deal is only available online on April 23 from 12:01 a.m. until 11:59 p.m. Be sure to use promotion code 43284!

Here are our preview performance dates:

Much Ado About Nothing:
April 26, 2012, 2:00 p.m.
May 1, 2012, 2:00 p.m.
May 4, 2012, 8:00 p.m.
May 8, 2012, 2:00 p.m.
May 11, 2012, 2:00 p.m.
May 14, 2012, 2:00 p.m.
May 17, 2012, 2:00 p.m.
May 22, 2012, 2:00 p.m.
May 26, 2012, 1:00 p.m.

Cymbeline:

May 10, 2012, 2:00 p.m.
May 11, 2012, 2:00 p.m.
May 15, 2012, 2:00 p.m.
May 18, 2012, 2:00 p.m.
May 22, 2012, 2:00 p.m.
May 24, 2012, 2:00 p.m.
May 26, 2012, 7:00 p.m.
May 29, 2012, 2:00 p.m.

Henry V:
June 24, 2012, 2:00 p.m.
June 26, 2012, 2:00 p.m.
June 28, 2012, 8:00 p.m.
June 30, 2012, 8:00 p.m.

How do you like to celebrate your birthday?  Share your favourite tradition with us in the comment box below and you and a friend could win a pair of tickets to any of performances listed in this post!  We’ll announce the winner on April 23, 2012 by 9:30 a.m. on our blog – be sure to check back!

*Promotion is only available from April 23, 2012 at 12:01 a.m. until April 23, 2012 at 11:59 p.m. and may expire without notice. Offer not available in conjunction with any other promotions including MMP performances. Only available online in A, B and C seating zones.

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