The Stratford Festival's box office opens to the public this Saturday, January 5, at 9 a.m., with an online advance sale beginning at noon on Friday. Facebook fans, who want to use the Festival's new social ticketing app will be able to purchase tickets as of 9 a.m. today. Tickets are being offered at up to 25% off until January 31, with an opportunity to exchange dates with no added expense.
This season, the first under Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino, features 12 productions, from classical to contemporary, with Shakespeare as the centerpiece, and a new initiative, The Forum, which offers an extraordinary series of events to enrich the play-going experience. The playbill and The Forum have been designed to explore a number of themes related to community, and especially to communities in conflict and the role of the outsider in those communities.
"The plays and musicals we're presenting in 2013 are extraordinary creations that explore the human condition in very different ways," says Mr. Cimolino. "Presented by an exceptional company of actors and directors, who are among the finest in the world, these productions will open up lively conversations that can be further pursued through our many Forum events."
Mr. Cimolino will himself direct The Merchant of Venice, with Brian Bedford as Shylock and Tom McCamus as Antonio, and Friedrich Schiller's Mary Stuart, featuring Seana McKenna and Lucy Peacock with Ben Carlson, Brian Dennehy and Geraint Wyn Davies.
Mr. Bedford will also serve as director of Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit with Ben Carlson, Michelle Giroux, Seana McKenna and Sara Topham. Mr. Dennehy will play Pozzo in Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot, with Stephen Ouimette as Estragon and Tom Rooney as Vladimir, under the direction of Jennifer Tarver. And Ms Peacock will take the lead in the world première of Judith Thompson's The Thrill, an inspiring love story about two people on opposing sides of the right-to-die movement.
Martha Henry returns to direct Carmen Grant, Stephen Ouimette, Tom Rooney and Geraint Wyn Davies in Measure for Measure. Ms Henry will also play the Prof in Taking Shakespeare, a new play by John Murrell, directed by Diana Leblanc, which is an exploration of another 2013 production, Othello, which will be directed by Chris Abraham and feature Graham Abbey, Bethany Jillard and Dion Johnstone.
Rounding out the Shakespeare offerings is Romeo and Juliet, featuring Daniel Brière and Sara Topham and directed by Tim Carroll, who returns to Stratford hot on the heels of his stunning success with Twelfth Night and Richard III at Shakespeare's Globe in London.
Des McAnuff returns to blow the roof off the Avon Theatre with his production of Tommy, the blockbuster musical he created with The Who's Pete Townshend, winning five Tony awards, including best director and best score.
The main-stage musical, Fiddler on the Roof, is directed and choreographed by Donna Feore and features Kate Hennig and Scott Wentworth. Also at the Festival Theatre is the family favourite The Three Musketeers, directed by Miles Potter and featuring Graham Abbey, Jonathan Goad, Luke Humphrey and Mike Shara.