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Stratford Shakespeare Festival

Bedford As Shylock, Dennehy in Stuart
Highlight Stratford's 2013 Schedule

Stratford Shakespeare Festival logoBrian Bedford has been tapped to take the part of Shylock in William Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice, and Brian Dennehy is returning to Stratford, Ontario, for leading roles in Mary Stuart and Waiting for Godot as the Stratford Shakespeare Festival recently released its schedule and cast list for the 2013 season.

The Festival plans to stage four Shakespeare plays: Merchant, Romeo and Juliet, Othello, and Measure for Measure. But the highlight of the season may be Friedrich Schiller's Mary Stuart with 22-year Stratford veteran Seana McKenna playing Elizabeth to 25-year-vet Lucy Peacock's Mary Stuart (in her 60th production) and Dennehy as the Earl of Shrewsbury. Running in the Avon Theatre, Mary Stuart will be directed by Antoni Cimolino.

Joining Bedford in Merchant on the Festival Stage will be Festival favorite Tom McCamus as Antonio along with Michelle Giroux as Portia, Jonathan Goad as Gratiano, and Hannah Miller as Jessica. This play will also be directed by Cimolino, who directed McCamus as Iachimo in this past season's Cymbeline.

Daniel Briere and Sara Topham are paired as the lovers in the Festival Theatre production of Romeo and Juliet, directed by Tim Carroll. This will be Briere's Stratford debut while Topham returns for her 13th season. The season's centerpiece musical in the Festival Theatre will be Fiddler on the Roof, directed and choreographed by Donna Feore and staring Kate Hennig and Scott Wentworth as Golde and Tevye. The Festival Theatre's other production will be The Three Musketeers, directed by Miles Potter, with Graham Abbey, Jonathan Goad, and Mike Shara as the titular threesome and Luke Humphrey making up a fourth as D'Artagnan.

Othello will ply the boards in the Avon Theatre, with Dion Johnstone as the Moor, Graham Abbey as Iago, and Bethany Jillard as Desdemona. Chris Abraham directs. Also in the Avon Theatre, Bedford takes the director's reins for Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit, featuring Seana McKenna as Madame Arcati, Ben Carlson as Charles, Michelle Giroux as Elvira, and Sara Topham as Charles' second wife, Ruth. The Who's Tommy will also play at the Avon, directed by Des McAnuff and choreographed by Wayne Cilento (both of whom staged the original Broadway production), and starring Stratford newcomer Robert Markus, a 2010 graduate of the University of Alberta's acting program, in the title role.

In the smaller Tom Patterson Theatre, Martha Henry will direct Measure for Measure, featuring Carmen Grant as Isabella, Stephen Ouimette as Lucio, Tom Rooney as Angelo, and Geraint Wyn Davies as Duke Vincentio. Samuel Becket's Waiting for Godot will also be in the Tom Patterson Theatre, with Dennehy as Pozzo, Stephen Ouimette as Estragon, and Tom Rooney as Vladimir. Jennifer Tarver directs.

A new Canadian play called Taking Shakespeare by John Murrell will play in the the Studio Theatre. Directed by Diana Lebrlanc, it features Martha Henry as the professor and Luke Humphrey as the student. Also scheduled for the Studio Theatre is a Festival- commissioned work called The Thrill by Judith Thompson, directed by Dean Gabourie. Peacock will play the leading role of Elora.

“At the heart of the Festival stand extraordinary artists,” Cimolino said in a press release. “I am immensely proud of the company we have assembled for the 2013 season, bringing together some of our finest actors as well as some exceptionally promising newcomers. We look forward to working with them to present the most exciting stories ever told.” He will take over as artistic director on November 1,

Tickets for the 2013 season will go on sale to members of the Stratford Festival on November 11 and to the public on January 5. To purchase tickets, contact the box office at 1-800-567-1600 or visit

Check Bard on the Boards for the run dates of these productions.

October 20, 2012

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