Tuesday, February 21, 2012

2012 Stratford Shakespeare Festival

Stratford Shakespeare Festival, a season for Celebration

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the Stratford Festival of Canada. Want to get away this spring, summer or fall? Drive to Canada for great theatre, good food, and nice scenery.

This season’s productions are:
•MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING (A Shakespeare romp of deception which finds Claudio wooing his beloved Hero, and his friend Benedick and Hero’s cousin, Beatrice, trading insults in their merry war of mutual disdain.)
•THE MATCHMAKER (Thornton Wilder’s play finds matchmaker, Dolly Levi, making her own plans to hook wealthy merchant Horace Vandergelder. It’s HELLO DOLLY without music.)
•42TH STREET (Warren and Dubin’s toe-tapping musical about how a chorus girl becomes a star.)
•HENRY V (Shakespeare’s story of civil strife in which the new British monarch decides to enforce his claim to the throne of France.)
•THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE (Gilbert and Sullivan’s operatic romp about soft-hearted pirates.)
•YOU’RE A GOOD MAN CHARLIE BROWN (Clark Gesner’s delightful musical takes on the Peanuts comic strip characters.)
•A WORD OR TWO (Christopher Plummer’s one-man show which takes the audience on an autobiographical journey through the literature that stirs his imagination.)
•CYMBELINE (Shakespeare’s adventure which finds Imogen, the daughter of King Cymbeline, trying to win back the man she loves.);
• WANDERLUST (Panych and Norman’s musical about Robert Service and his dreams to escape to a new life in the Great North.)
•ELEKTRA (Sophocles’ tale of Electktra’s attempt to avenge her father’s death.)
• MACHOMER (One of Shakespeare’s most popular tragedies meets one of TV’s most popular families in this comic tour-de-force.)
•HIRSCH (A one-person production staring John Hirsch as a Hungarian Holocaust survivor who finds refuge in Canada.)
•THE BEST BROTHERS (A tale of two brothers who learn to understand each other after the death of their mother.)
•THE WAR OF 1812 (The history of the Village of the Small Huts: 1812-1815.)

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 more than a guest. My favorite is the Avery House (www.averyhouse.com).

Hungry? For moderate cost and high quality, try The Annex Cafe (38 Albert Street). Cleveland theatre 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 (www.waterlot.com).

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

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 AAA and Yahoo maps are confusing and miles longer. 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!