$10 tickets to MacHomer on May 3, 2012 at 11 a.m.!

Here’s a lucky last minute deal!

We’re offering you $10* tickets to see MacHomer, tomorrow, May 3, 2012 at 11 a.m.!  Simply login to our website using promotion code 43522 to take advantage of this amazing deal! There are a limited number of seats, so act quickly or you might be saying “d’oh”!

*Valid on new orders only and on specified date only.  Offer not valid on previously purchased tickets, on exchanges or in combination with any other offer. Offer subject to ticket availability. Performances, casting, dates and pricing subject to change without notice.  Excludes group orders (10 tickets or more to one performance date). Taxes and handling fees apply.  Offer may expire without notice.

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Rick Miller’s MacHomer starts previews | One-man show blends Shakespeare and The Simpsons

 May 2, 2012…Contemporary and classical pop culture converge in the ingenious and wildly entertaining multimedia production MacHomer. The one-person show, which tells the story of Shakespeare’s Macbeth through the characters of the television series The Simpsons, begins previews at the Studio Theatre on May 2.
 
This production is created and performed by Canadian Rick Miller, who adopts more than 50 different Simpsons character voices while retaining most of Shakespeare’s text. This one-man saga of blind ambition, fate and doughnuts has become an international hit, earning delighted acclaim from audiences of all ages.
 
“Rick Miller is an actor of monumental talents with a wicked sense of humour,” says Artistic Director Des McAnuff. “He and I had a marvellous meeting a year ago in Sydney, Australia, to talk about his promising future at Stratford. I am thrilled to have him presenting this brilliant one-man show as the inaugural production of our 60th season.”
 
“This production will delight not only audiences who know and love Macbeth but also those who have never dared to try a Shakespeare play before,” says General DirectorAntoni Cimolino. “I can’t think of a more hilarious introduction to our greatest cultural icon.”
 
The production runs for a limited engagement, opening officially on May 5 and closing on May 26.
 
MacHomer is a WYRD Production in association with Jeff Lord/KIDOONS Network, Erich Jungwirth/VoiceChair Productions and Richard Jordan Productions, Ltd.
 
MacHomer is adapted from William Shakespeare’s Macbeth and characters created by Matt Groening.

Tickets go on sale to the public for Stratford’s 60th season

January 5, 2012… Thanks to the vision and determination of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival’s pioneering artists, the adventure that began in 1953 with two productions in a tent is now North America’s premier repertory theatre. In a season celebrating 60 years of theatrical achievement, the Festival presents 14 productions in five venues, featuring Christopher Plummer and one of the finest acting companies in the world.

The box office for this thrilling season, which runs from April 12 to October 28, opens to the public on Saturday, January 7, at 9 a.m., with a special online advance sale starting at noon on Friday, January 6. Purchase tickets before January 31, and save up to 25% on ticket prices.

“2012 will be a great time to visit Stratford. It’s going to be a year of tremendous celebration,” says Artistic Director Des McAnuff. “We wanted our 60th season to represent Stratford in all its glory so we spread our arms wide to encompass as many different genres as we possibly could. Our playbill ranges from the very roots of drama, the tragedy of ancient Greece, to some of the finest playwrights working in Canada today. We are also offering Shakespearean comedy, history and romance, along with a varied musical theatre repertoire, which acknowledges our own era’s great contribution to the western dramatic tradition.”

“To celebrate this landmark season, we are presenting a number of special events and limited-run productions – including a one-man show by Christopher Plummer – around which patrons are going to want to build their Stratford visits,” says General Director Antoni Cimolino. “We encourage theatregoers to have a look at the calendar and make a commitment to come to Stratford for the 60th season. The early-booking discount is a significant discount; it applies to all shows, all seats, all dates – and it’s offered at a time when the best seats in the house are still available. There’s no better time to book.”

The 2012 season truly features something for everyone. For history lovers, there’s Henry V, The War of 1812 and Wanderlust, a new musical set during the gold rush of the Great North. Lovers of romance will enjoy The Matchmaker, as well as the classic Shakespeare plays Cymbeline and Much Ado About Nothing. Another classic, the Greek tragedy Elektra, comes from the hand of one of Greece’s most avant-garde directors. Lovers of literature will want to see Christopher Plummer’s A Word or Two. For families, there’s You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, MacHomer and The Pirates of Penzance. A season rich in musicals also features the Broadway favourite 42nd Street.

Those looking for new Canadian work will be thrilled to see three world premières. In addition to Morris Panych and Marek Norman’s Wanderlust, the Festival will present The Best Brothers by Daniel MacIvor and Hirsch by Alon Nashman and Paul ThompsoThompson. Fully half of the season’s works are by Canadian playwrights.

Limited runs and special events

A Word or Two, a special 60th season event, written, arranged and performed by Christopher Plummer, runs for 20 performances from July 25 to August 26. The production is an autobiographical journey through the literature that has stirred Mr. Plummer’s imagination since youth.

MacHomer is also in Stratford for a limited run, from May 2 to May 26. This solo show, created and performed by Rick Miller, is a hilarious mash-up of Shakespeare’s Macbeth and TV’s The Simpsons, suitable for fans of all ages.

Opening on Canada Day for a six-week run is VideoCabaret’s production of The War of 1812, a darkly witty, spectacularly staged production presented to mark the bicentennial of the conflict.

Most Friday evenings will have a new dimension in July and August thanks to Late Night with Lucy, a series of cabarets filled with music and conversation, featuring Lucy Peacock and a variety of special guest artists. The new Studio Theatre Annex, which will also be home to The War of 1812, will be transformed into “the living room” for these intimate late-night get-togethers. 

On June 15 the Festival will host a dramatic reading of Bingo. Written in 1973 by British playwright Edward Bond, the play examines an aging Shakespeare torn between his sensibility as an artist and his self-interest as a property owner. The reading will be followed by a question-and-answer session with the playwright.

The Celebrated Writers series presents four authors this season. Stephen Marche, a novelist and journalist who writes a column on culture for Esquire, will speak on themes from his new book, How Shakespeare Changed Everything, on July 14. Richard McCoy, Professor of English at Queen’s University and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, will speak on the subject of Shakespeare’s late romances on July 28. Company members Cynthia Dale and Tom McCamus will read from Michael Ondaatje’s newest novel, The Cat’s Table, with Mr. Ondaatje on hand for the reading and book signing on August 11. Margaret Atwood will round out the series on August 18. 

On August 8 the Festival will host It’s a Farce!, an event which will welcome Tappan Wilder, Thornton Wilder’s nephew and literary executor; Ken Ludwig, erstwhile collaborator with Thornton Wilder and acclaimed playwright in his own right; and The Matchmaker cast members for a lively panel discussion on comedy and farce.

The Festival will present an archival exhibition in a new facility across from the Avon Theatre. Most Rare Visions: 60 Years of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival will be open daily throughout the season at 104 Downie Street. It will feature a recreation of the backstage area of the original Festival tent, unique artifacts, photos, rare footage and new interviews from the Festival Archives, covering every decade of Festival history. Special Exhibition Talks will be held most Saturdays in July and August.

On June 2 at the Studio Theatre, the Festival will present a symposium Interpreting Shakespeare Across Settings and Media, examining how Shakespeare’s work lends itself to a broad range of interpretations and settings.

Master voice and Shakespeare teacher Patsy Rodenburg will return to work with the Festival’s acting company and present a series of special events: a public masterclass on July 18; a workshop for voice teachers, July 20 to 22; and a talk and book signing on July 21.

This season the Shakespeare School will expand to offer a day program for younger students, in Grades 5 to 7 in July and August. One- and two-week residential programs for high-school students are offered in July and August. The Theatre Performance Intensive for students in Grades 11 and 12 will be offered in two three-week sessions, by audition, July 8 to 28 and July 29 to August 18. A March Break Day Camp for 10- to 12-year-olds will be offered March 12 to 16.

In addition, the Festival’s ongoing Beyond the Stage offerings are designed to enhance the theatre experience:

  • ·        Night Music, most Monday evenings in July and August with one performance in June;
  • ·        Table Talk, featuring lunch and a lecture, select dates in July and August;
  • ·        Lobby Talks, on selected weekdays, June through September;
  • ·        Theatre Explorer, a variety of scheduled activities, for adults and children, to enjoy prior to selected performances, selected dates, June through October;
  • ·        Pre-show lectures, most Thursdays in July and Wednesdays in August;
  • ·        Public Library Lectures inToronto (Tuesdays, March 6 to 27),Guelph (Thursdays, March 8 to 22) andHamilton (Wednesday, April 11 to 25);
  • ·        Festival Courses, your chance to learn from the elite team of teaching artists and spoken voice, dialect, text, movement and Alexander Technique coaches who work with the Festival’s acting company.

“The playbill for this milestone season seems to me to embody perfectly the marriage of tradition and innovation that has characterized our Festival since its founding,” says Mr. McAnuff. “It will give our audiences great cause for celebration in 2012.”

“We look forward to sharing this celebration with our loyal audiences – some of whom have been coming since the days of the tent,” says Mr. Cimolino. “And with a playbill offering everything from Shakespeare to new work, classic comedy to family favourites, we hope to welcome record numbers of first-time visitors as well.”

For full details of the season and to order tickets, visit the Stratford Shakespeare Festival online at www.stratfordshakespearefestival.com, or call the box office at 1.800.567.1600.

The Festival’s 2012 season partners are American Express, The Dominion of Canada General Insurance Company, Scotiabank Group, Sun Life Financial and Union Gas.

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

2012 Shakespeare Overview

By Aaron Kropf

As we all know by now, 2012 marks the Diamond 60th Season of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. In this milestone year of celebration, the Festival brings you three plays that reveal very different facets of Shakespeare’s genius – a comedy, a history and a romance – together with a hilarious comic take on one of his most popular tragedies. Let’s have a quick look at each of the Shakespeare shows on our 2012 playbill, starting with the one that opens first.

MacHomer is Shakespeare with a difference, pairing one of his best-known plays with one of the 20th century’s most recognizable families. Actor and comedian Rick Miller has entertained audiences around the globe with this mashup of Macbeth and – wait for it – The Simpsons. Now, I know many of you are asking: why would the Stratford Shakespeare Festival present a send-up of Shakespeare? Well, for two reasons: first, MacHomer is brilliantly entertaining in its own right, and second, it’s a great way of introducing Shakespeare to new audiences. Younger folks whose only experience of these plays has come from reading them in school will discover the amazing world of Shakespeare in performance – via a popular-culture phenomenon they’re already comfortable with. MacHomer runs at the Studio Theatre early in the season, from May 2 to May 26, with its official opening May 5.

The show featured in this season’s gala opening is Much Ado About Nothing. Directed by Christopher Newton (former Artistic Director of the Shaw Festival), this high comedy contains some of Shakespeare’s best-loved characters and some of his most glorious wit. If you haven’t already read the article on Much Ado’s “merry war” of words in our November issue of SceneNotes, be sure to take a look at it here. With a fantastic cast led by real-life husband and wife Ben Carlson and Deborah Hay as Benedick and Beatrice, this is one production you won’t want to miss. Much Ado About Nothing runs at the Festival Theatre from April 26 to October 27, opening May 28.

Next to open is the romance Cymbeline, directed by Stratford Shakespeare Festival General Director Antoni Cimolino. Being produced for only the fourth time in the Festival’s history, this beautifully moving play has a cast that includes Cara Ricketts as Imogen and Geraint Wyn Davies in the title role. Don’t miss your chance to see this rarely performed masterpiece – who knows when the opportunity will come again? Cymbeline plays at the Tom Patterson Theatre from May 10 to September 30, opening May 31.

Finally, to round out our 60th season celebration, we’re presenting the epic drama Henry V – which will open at the Festival Theatre on the anniversary of our very first performance in 1953. This is a play with special significance for Stratford: when we first presented it in 1956 (our last season in the original tent), Christopher Plummer played the title role and the production became a legend in Canadian theatrical history. Aaron Krohn, who won such critical acclaim in 2011 for his performance as Lenny in The Homecoming, will play Henry this time round, in a production directed by our Artistic Director, Des McAnuff. Henry V runs June 24 to September 29, opening July 13. Here’s a video that will tell you a little more about the show:

We hope you’ll join us in 2012: it promises to be a stellar 60th season!

Get ready for the 2012 season!

By Christi Rutledge

Well, we officially wrapped up the 2011 season last weekend with the closing of Jesus Christ Superstar at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. It has been an absolutely fabulous season – and as sad as I am to see it close, I can’t help but get excited about 2012! We have a spectacular line-up to celebrate our 60th season of world-class theatre. Take a tour with me as we explore what’s being offered on our five (!) stages next year.

The Festival Theatre will host four productions: Henry V, Much Ado About Nothing, 42nd Street and The Matchmaker. Henry V will return to the Festival stage for the first time in 11 years. Directed by Des McAnuff, this production will no doubt be spectacular and have lots to say about war, leadership and friendship. Expect to see a familiar face on stage as Aaron Krohn, who played Lenny in The Homecoming this year, takes on the title role. Mr. Krohn is joining the ranks of some luminous actors – the part of Henry V was first performed at the Festival by a man named Christopher Plummer.

Much Ado About Nothing is high comedy perfection – and with a cast featuring Ben Carlson and Deborah Hay as Benedick and Beatrice, it will be impossible for anyone to resist this performance. Expect to see a Brazilian flare to this witty comedy directed by Christopher Newton, former Artistic Director of the Shaw Festival.

The Festival is also extremely excited to welcome back Cynthia Dale, who will play Dorothy Brock in Gary Griffin’s production of 42nd Street. This smash Broadway hit tells the classic story of a small town girl moving to the big city to make a name for herself. And it’s full of sensational tap dancing!

And last, but certainly not least, the Festival stage will feature The Matchmaker– Thornton Wilder’s story of a wealthy merchant named Horace Vandergelder (played by Tom McCamus) who searches for a wife with the help of his matchmaker, Dolly Levi (Seana McKenna). This production will be directed by Chris Abraham, who brought you The Little Years (2011) and For the Pleasure of Seeing Her Again (2010).

Over at the Avon Theatre, the greatly anticipated return of Gilbert and Sullivan has finally come with Ethan McSweeny’s staging of The Pirates of Penzance. The theatre will also house a one-hander called A Word or Two, written and performed by the legendary Christopher Plummer and directed by Des McAnuff. And there will be a production that appeals to the child in everyone – You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.

It is always exciting for us at the theatre and for our patrons when we get to put on a show as magical as Pirates. It’s one of the first plays that my brother saw as a child here at the Festival, and I remember him coming home from his school trip in 1994 and telling me how fascinated he was by it. Filled with wit and with cherished musical numbers, this is a great play for children and adults alike.

A Word or Two will no doubt be difficult to get tickets to, so the sooner you order yours, the better. You won’t want to miss seeing Mr. Plummer back on our stage to offer an intimate look at his life-long love of literature. And Donna Feore’s production of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown – presented for the first time at the Festival thanks to Schulich Children’s Plays – will be another heart-warming show to bring the family to. For all the baby-boomers out there, it also offers a chance to revisit a beloved childhood icon.

My favourite theatre, the Tom Patterson, will feature three productions next year: Cymbeline, Wanderlust and Elektra. I am particularly excited for this set of shows!

Cymbeline will be directed by Antoni Cimolino. After falling in love with The Grapes of Wrath this season, I can hardly wait to see how he interprets this fantastic Shakespearean romance.

Another show to get excited about is Wanderlust, a new Canadian musical by Morris Panych and Marek Norman. Wanderlust is a fictional story about the adventures of Robert Service, the great Bard of theYukon, as he grapples with his love for his co-worker Louise, who is engaged to a forbidding man. With songs based on Service’s poetry and Tom Rooney playing the lead (as well as Lucy Peacock playing his landlady, Mrs. Munsch!), this piece had me at “hello.”

Lastly, let’s take a look at Elektra – a play that should be on everyone’s must-see list for the 2012 season. This classic Greek tragedy will be led by the fabulous Yanna McIntosh in the title role, along with Seana McKenna as Clytemestra. Athenian director Thomas Moschopoulos will be making his Festival debut with this production; you may know him as the artist behind the Olympic closing ceremony in Athens in 2004.

The Studio Theatre is home to three productions in our 60th season: MacHomer, The Best Brothers and Hirsch. Rick Millers’ MacHomer, directed by Sean Lynch, reimagines Shakespeare’s Macbeth through the voices of more than fifty characters from The Simpsons. If you’re dying to see this hilarious production, make sure to book tickets soon – it’s only running through the month of May!

Daniel MacIvor’s The Best Brothers is another new Canadian play that we’re excited to feature in its world première. Associate Artistic Director Dean Gabourie helms this two-man show, in which Mr. MacIvor will star. It’s about two brothers, Hamilton and Kyle Best. Upon the unexpected death of their mother, Hamilton and Kyle mourn in very different ways, leading them to some profound realizations about each other and the woman who raised them.

The last play that we’ll be showing on the Studio stage is Hirsch, a play chronicling the life of John Hirsch, former Artistic Director of the Festival. Mr. Hirsch was orphaned at a young age by the Holocaust, but survived and eventually moved to Canada, where his fierce talent and stormy temperament won him acclaim in the theatre. It’s a gripping play, created and conceived by two celebrated Canadian theatre makers: Alon Nashman and Paul Thompson.

One final production, I promise, and then I’m done!

Next year we will be hosting special guest ensemble VideoCabaret in a brand new theatre space. The Studio Theatre Annex will be accessible through the Studio Theatre and will feature The War of 1812, a satirical examination of Canada’s past from Michael Hollingsworth’s series The History of the Village of the Small Huts.

PHEW – I got through them all! I am so excited to share more about our 2012 productions and hope that you find a great selection of shows to come see during our 60th season.

Any shows that you’re already looking forward to? Share your thoughts on our 2012 season!

 

 

Press Release: Artistic Director Des McAnuff extended through 2013 season Festival announces 2012 playbill

The Stratford Shakespeare Festival’s Board of Governors is delighted to announce that Des McAnuff will continue as Artistic Director through the 2013 season.

“Mr. McAnuff is a very gifted director and leader who is much in demand, and we are delighted that he has agreed to continue as our Artistic Director for an additional two years,” says Dr. Lee Myers, Chair of the Board of Governors.

“Stratford is an extraordinary place,” says Mr. McAnuff. “The Festival is a treasured institution for our audiences, our artists and our country. We’ve been able to make some great strides in the last four years, both building on our longstanding traditions and infusing a renewed spirit of innovation. I’m thrilled to continue as Artistic Director through to the 2013 season.

“I’ve completed the planning on our 2012 season, the Festival’s milestone 60th, and have some preliminary plans in place for 2013. Although I have some exciting projects emerging in my work outside of Stratford that will pull me away following the 2013 season, I do hope to serve as a director in the future here and to continue to play an active role in the development of this magnificent theatre.”

“Mr. McAnuff has made his mark on Stratford in his first four years at the helm as Artistic Director,” says Dr. Myers. “He has strengthened our exceptional acting company and added to our ensemble of internationally renowned directors and other theatre artists. He has successfully expanded the Festival’s work into other media, filming productions of Caesar and Cleopatra and The Tempest for cinema release and television broadcast.

“At the same time, our work is finding a home further afield with the co-production of Phèdre in San Francisco, the transfer of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum to Toronto, and the extended run of Brian Bedford’s hugely successful production of The Importance of Being Earnest in New York, for which Mr. Bedford received a Tony Award nomination.

“Mr. McAnuff’s progressive stance on casting has increased the company’s diversity, a trend that has been lauded in the media and among members of the industry. Deeply committed to developing new audiences and increasing student attendance, he is also dedicated to providing the best training for Stratford’s artists through our Birmingham Conservatory for Classical Theatre and the Michael Langham Workshop for Classical Direction, thereby ensuring that future audiences will continue to enjoy superb classical theatre.

“His strong commitment to new play development is evidenced by the numerous world premières staged over the last four years, including this year’s new version of The Little Years by John Mighton, which was commissioned by the Festival.

“The Stratford Shakespeare Festival is in extremely good hands under the leadership of Mr. McAnuff and General Director Antoni Cimolino, and I’m particularly excited about the plans for the forthcoming 60th season in 2012.”

2012 season covers ‘complete Stratford landscape

A one-man show adapted, arranged and performed by Christopher Plummer is one of the highlights of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival’s 60th season, a season that also features three world premières – including a new Canadian musical.

The playbill announced today by Mr. McAnuff includes three Shakespeare plays (plus a comic one-man adaptation of Macbeth), a tragedy by Sophocles, a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta and a selection of other musicals and comedies that will appeal to audiences of all ages.

“I’m very excited about our 2012 season,” says Mr. McAnuff. “It covers the complete Stratford landscape, from Shakespeare – and an innovative Canadian take on Shakespeare – to a substantial body of new work.

“By including one of the classic Greek tragedies on our playbill, we touch the very roots of western drama; and to have the great Christopher Plummer return to our company in a show of his own creation seems to me to embody perfectly the marriage of tradition and innovation that characterizes our Festival.

“I know our patrons will be as delighted as I am to see Gilbert and Sullivan back on our stages. I’m thrilled, too, that we once again have family-oriented repertoire on the playbill, and I am immensely proud of the fact that we will also be premièring a new Canadian musical.”

“I want to congratulate Des and all of the Festival artists who will be involved in what I know will be an outstanding 60th season,” says Mr. Cimolino. “As someone who was intimately involved with the planning of the 50th season and had the pleasure of playing Romeo in the 40th season, I take great joy in watching this theatre flourish and grow. Des has created a tremendous playbill with which to mark this milestone. It reaches into every corner of our mandate, from classics to new commissions, and will give our audiences great cause for celebration in 2012.”

At the Festival Theatre, Mr. McAnuff will direct Henry V, perhaps Shakespeare’s most penetrating study of kingship. Ending years of civil strife occasioned by his father’s seizure of the crown, Henry unites his people by means of a campaign against the French, culminating in his famous against-the-odds victory at Agincourt.

Also at the Festival Theatre will be one of Shakespeare’s most popular comedies, Much Ado About Nothing, directed by Christopher Newton, former Artistic Director of the Shaw Festival and a member of the Stratford Festival acting company in the 1960s. Featuring the famously bickering duo of Beatrice and Benedick, it’s a tale of young love disrupted by the villainous Don John, whose machinations are finally brought to light by the hilariously inept Dogberry.

42nd Street, with music by Harry Warren, lyrics by Al Dubin and book by Michael Stewart and Mark Bramble, follows the journey of Peggy Sawyer, a chorus girl who becomes a star when she takes over a leading Broadway role on opening night. Regarded by many as the quintessential backstage musical, it will be directed by Gary Griffin, whose Stratford productions of West Side Story, Evita and Camelot have won widespread popular and critical acclaim.

Completing the line-up at the Festival Theatre is Thornton Wilder’s The Matchmaker, a comedy that owes its existence in part to the Festival’s first Artistic Director, Tyrone Guthrie, who in the early 1950s urged Wilder to rework its earlier incarnation, The Merchant of Yonkers.

“There’s a fascinating bit of trivia about Guthrie’s involvement with The Matchmaker that I’ve heard from both Michael Langham and Christopher Plummer,” says Mr. McAnuff. “Wilder actually came to Stratford to work with Guthrie on the new version of his play – and while he was here, Guthrie also put him to work in the prop shop.”

The story of marriage broker Dolly Gallagher Levi, who sets her own sights on one of her clients, the irascible businessman Horace Vandergelder, The Matchmaker was later adapted into the musical Hello, Dolly! (presented at the Festival in 2005). It will be directed by Chris Abraham, who directed a memorable production of For the Pleasure of Seeing Her Again for the 2010 season and is directing The Little Years, opening later this season.

Meanwhile at the Avon Theatre, the incomparable Christopher Plummer takes to the stage to present his one-man show A Word or Two, a deeply personal work that focuses on his love of literature and the way it has shaped his life. Including selections from Stephen Leacock, Bernard Shaw and, of course, William Shakespeare, A Word or Two will be supervised and directed by Mr. McAnuff.

Two musicals will be presented at the Avon Theatre: Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic operetta The Pirates of Penzance and the family favourite You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.

Directed by Ethan McSweeny, whose acclaimed production of Dangerous Liaisons was a highlight of the Festival’s 2009 season, The Pirates of Penzance is the delightfully zany story of the love between Frederic, indentured to a pirate crew made up entirely of orphans, and the lovely Mabel Stanley, whose father is “the very model of a modern Major-General.”

You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, inspired by the world-renowned comic strip Peanuts, brings to the stage all Charles M. Schultz’s beloved characters – including Charlie’s beagle, Snoopy, and his nemesis, Lucy – in a musical guaranteed to delight the whole family. With book, music and lyrics by Clark M. Gesner, the show will be directed by Donna Feore, whose most recent Festival credit was her 2009 production of Cyrano de Bergerac.

The season’s third Shakespeare play, Cymbeline, will be presented at the Tom Patterson Theatre, where it will be directed by Mr. Cimolino. It tells of the trials of Imogen, separated from her husband Posthumus through the villainy of the would-be seducer Iachimo. Like The Winter’s Tale and The Tempest, Cymbeline belongs to a group of plays Shakespeare wrote late in his career in which he explored themes of loss, reunion and reconciliation.

Joining Cymbeline at the Tom Patterson Theatre is a classic from ancient Greece: Sophocles’ Elektra, in a translation by celebrated Canadian poet Anne Carson. A timeless tale of vengeful matricide and the price that must be paid for it, Elektra will be staged by Athenian director Thomas Moschopoulos, one of modern Greece’s most internationally acclaimed theatre artists.

Four Canadian works, including three world premières developed through the Festival’s New Play program, will round out the 2012 season.

Robert Service, who immortalized the Yukon in such beloved poems as “The Shooting of Dan McGrew” and “The Cremation of Sam Magee,” is the subject of the new musical Wanderlust, to be presented at the Tom Patterson Theatre. Written and directed by Morris Panych, with music by Marek Norman, this Festival commission celebrates both the allure of the frontier and the power of the imagination with a wit that matches the best of Service’s poetry.

In The Hirsch Project (working title), developed through the Festival’s New Play  program, Alon Nashman and Paul Thompson paint an intimate portrait of former Festival Artistic Director John Hirsch. Compiled from documents, letters and interviews, this play for a solo performer tells the story of Hirsch’s escape from the Holocaust, his arrival in Canada and his rise to national and international acclaim as a theatre director. Mr. Nashman will perform the piece, which will be directed by Mr. Thompson at the Studio Theatre.

In another world première developed with the New Play Department, Daniel MacIvor’s The Best Brothers, two brothers re-examine their lives and relationships – with their partners and with each other – after the death of their beloved mother. This brilliant and biting comedy will be staged at the Studio Theatre under the direction of Dean Gabourie, the Festival’s Assistant Artistic Director, who directed 2009’s hilarious production of The Two Gentlemen of Verona.

Also at the Studio will be MacHomer, an ingenious and wildly entertaining multi-media production in which Shakespeare’s Macbeth meets the animated TV show The Simpsons. Created and performed by Canadian Rick Miller, who adopts more than 50 different Simpsons character voices while retaining most of Shakespeare’s text, this one-man saga of blind ambition, fate and doughnuts has become an international hit, earning delighted acclaim from audiences of all ages.