Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Stratford Festival of Canada 2011 season

It's that time…plan for the Stratford Shakespeare Festival of Canada

Want to get away this spring, summer or fall? How about a drive to Canada for great theatre, good food, and nice scenery? Where? The Stratford Festival of Canada which takes place in Stratford, Ontario.

This season's productions are: THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR (A would-be seducer, a jealous husband and two resourceful housewives in a ballet of wits and wiles…Shakespeare), CAMELOT (A gorgeous musical score gilds a legendary tale of idealism, passion and betrayal…Lerner and Loewe), TWELFTH NIGHT (a riot of mischief-making and misplaced desire, considered the greatest romantic comedy of all time, starring Brian Dennehy…Shakespeare), THE MISANTHROPE (social critic meets social butterfly in a comedy of manners which is widely hailed as Moliere's masterpiece, starring Brian Bedford), THE GRAPES OF WRATH (Tony Award-winning drama based on the book by John Steinbeck, tells a story of endurance and hope), JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR (The rock opera that reinvented musical theatre for the modern age…Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber), THE HOMECOMING (The family is the ultimate combat zone in this darkly witty drama by Harold Pinter which stars Brian Dennehy), RICHARD III (a serial killer who wears a crown, with Ms. Seana McKenna as Richard!…Shakespeare), TITUS ANDRONICUS (considered the most shocking of Shakespeare's plays, Roman general Titus brings home his captive Queen Tamora, which results in a cycle of grotesque revenge…Shakespeare), SHAKESPEARE'S WILL (a portrait of Anne Hathaway, one of history's most famous women…Vern Thiessen), THE LITTLE YEARS (an inspiring look at an uncommon woman who is denied her role in life because of her sex…John Mighton), HOSANINA (a raw, tragic and outrageously fun Canadian classic, which examines the political and the personal…Michel Tremblay, in translation).

Besides their regularly scheduled plays, the Festival offers stage-side chats, the Celebrated Writers Series, Night Music, Table Talks, pre-show lectures, lobby talks, public lectures, the teaching Shakespeare School and The Teachers' Conference.

What's the lodging like? Hotels, motels and bed and breakfasts abound to fit any wallet. I like a b & b. You get to meet new people and there is a nice friendly feel of being a guest. I'm trying a new one this year. I'll let you know if it passes the test in my mid-summer review about the Festival.

Hungry? For moderate cost and high quality, try The Annex Cafe (38 Albert Street). For a relaxed and fairly inexpensive breakfast treat try Demetre's Family Eatery (1100 Ontario Street). Cleveland theatrical legends Dorothy and Reuben Silver, who are Stratford regulars, recommend The Waterlot Restaurant and Inn (17 Huron Street behind the Royal Bank) in New Hamburg, which is about 20 minutes away “and well worth the trip.”( Also on their favorites list is The Keystone Alley Cafe (34 Brunswick Street) in Stratford ( which has an outdoor patio.

Packages can be arranged by Stratford Escapes (, is an efficient way to make reservations. For individual tickets call 800-567-1600 or go on-line to

Helpful hints: The ride from Cleveland is about six hours through Buffalo. Go on-line to the festival to get directions. The routings offered by both the AAA and Yahoo maps are confusing and miles longer. And, to satisfy border requirements carry your passport. Nothing else will do).

Go to Stratford, Canada! Find out what lovely hosts Canadians are, and see some great theatre!