Saturday, April 2, 2011

Looking Forward to a New Season

Everyone appears to be ready to bust down doors in order to get out of the house and welcome spring with open arms. We too are excited, anticipating another wonderful season at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. Last season we posted our views on each performance as we saw them throughout the season. We will try to do this again this year, but at this time would like to share what we have heard about the upcoming play list.
While perusing the Visitor’s Guide we have noticed a re-occurring theme this year. That theme is amazing casting. This may be because we are now heading into our fourth season and becoming more and more familiar with the company and their amazing talents. Each and every play seems to have at least one cast member that we can’t wait to see in a given role.
In Merry Wives of Windsor, we are awaiting the performances of Lucy Peacock, Tom Rooney and Geraint Wyn Davies, for we anticipate their antics will be very amusing. As always we are suckers for the musicals and this year will be no different. We are expecting great things from Paul Nolan and Chilina Kennedy in Jesus Christ Superstar, as they have such great chemistry on stage. Ross is longtime fan of Brent Carver so will be waiting to see him in Camelot.
A lesser-known face to the Stratford Audience is Melissa O’Neil. Melissa was originally from Calgary and won Canadian Idol, and we can’t wait to see her on the Stratford Stage.
We think that Brian Dennehy could single handedly draw in the masses to both Twelfth Night and The Home Coming but the rest of the casts are extremely talented as well. On the heals of his success on Broadway in The Importance of Being Earnest it will be great to see what Brian Bedford will do with The Misanthrope both as an actor and director.
Corner Gas fans will see a different side of Janet Wright in The Gapes of Wrath. Another reason not to miss this American Classic will be to witness the chameleon like talents of Chilina Kennedy. Last year she did this with her lead role in Evita and Lois in Kiss Me Kate.
We can’t write about casting without noting the roles of Seana McKenna. We have never see Richard III cross cast but if anyone can pull it off Seana can. In opposition to this it will be great to see Seana’s more feminine side as Shakespeare’s widow Anne Hathaway in Shakespeare’s Will.
With the passing of Peter Donaldson it will be interesting to see the re-casting of Titus Andronicus. David Ferry is stepping into the role originally slated for Peter to play, so we wish him well in this endeavor. We will also be watching the performance of Amanda Lisman.
We have always had a special fondness the productions performed on the Studio Stage. This space is so intimate and the productions are always new and fresh. With this predisposition we look forward to seeing Yanna McIntosh & Chick Reid in The Little Years. And that leaves us with Hosanna. With the breathtaking success of Michel Tremblay’s For The Pleasure of Seeing Her Again last year we think that this play is going to be the hard to get ticket of the season. We are curious to see Gareth Potter journey as he transforms himself into a transvestite. Furthermore in light of the recent loss of the iconic actress Elizabeth Taylor this production should prove to be even more timely and poignant.
So as the buds try to break through the surface of their frozen beds we too await the opportunity to bask in the light of the many brilliant performances of the upcoming season.

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