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Stratford Festival Announces Casting for 2023 Season

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The sun sets behind the Stratford Festival's Festival Theatre building. A Canadian flag blows in the wind on the roof of the building, a bright splash across the orange sky. In the foreground is a translucent image of Canadian actor Paul Gross, imposed over the image. He wears a collared white shirt and a black vest, with his hands clasped in front of his chest. The image is from the Festival's 2000 production of Hamlet, in which Gross played the title role.
/By / Nov 3, 2022
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As the sun sets on the 2022 season, preparations for 2023 are underway at the Stratford Festival. Creative teams for next year’s productions are coming into place and the casting department is busy confirming key roles for the season. Soon the workshops will be abuzz with artisans building the season’s sets, props and costumes.

“This is a bittersweet moment. We have just closed our 2022 season, which feels like something of a miracle,” says Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino. “We feel enormous gratitude to our staff and company for the outstanding work they did to make this season come to life despite the many obstacles that Covid placed in our path. I was so proud of the work on our stages and all the efforts that made that work possible. And to our patrons, who returned to Stratford despite ongoing public health concerns, we are forever grateful. Now, we turn our thoughts to 2023 and hope today’s exciting news will entice even more theatre lovers to Stratford next season.” 

Programmed around a theme of Duty vs. Desire, next season features King LearRentMuch Ado About NothingLes Belles-SoeursMonty Python’s SpamalotA Wrinkle in TimeFrankenstein Revived, Grand MagicRichard IIWedding Band, Casey and DianaWomen of the Fur Trade, and Love’s Labour’s Lost.

“Mark Twain once said that ‘history never repeats itself, but it does often rhyme.’ And so it gives us endless variations on recurring themes — themes that, since the dawn of drama, artists have explored on stage,” says Cimolino. “The works on our 2023 playbill all seem to me to reflect in some way the age-old tension highlighted anew by the challenges of the pandemic era: the tension between duty and desire. As we navigate a world reshaped by the past years, these plays may help clarify the importance of finding a balance between pursuing our own wants, needs and dreams and helping others fulfill theirs.”

Tickets for the 2023 season will go on sale to Stratford Festival members beginning November 6, 2022. Early-bird sales are open to everyone on Monday, December 12.

The events of The Meighen Forum will be announced at a later date.

The Stratford Festival is proud to be partnered with BMO Financial Group and RBC for the 2023 season.


Festival Theatre

Support for the 2023 Festival Theatre season is generously provided by Daniel Bernstein and Claire Foerster.

King Lear

by William Shakespeare

April 24 to October 29 | Opens May 30, 2023
Support for King Lear is generously provided by Catherine & David Wilkes

Director: Kimberley Rampersad
Set Designer: Judith Bowden
Costume Designer: Michelle Bohn
Lighting Designer: Chris Malkowski
Composer: Sean Mayes
Sound Designer: Miquelon Rodriguez

King Lear: Paul Gross
Edmund: Michael Blake
Regan: Déjah Dixon-Green
Earl of Kent: David W. Keeley
Earl of Gloucester: Anthony Santiago
Edgar: André Sills
Cordelia: Tara Sky
Goneril: Shannon Taylor
Fool: Gordon Patrick White

Anousha Alamian
Gabriel Antonacci
Austin Eckert
Allison Edwards-Crewe
Andrew Iles
John Kirkpatrick
Josue Laboucane
Devin MacKinnon
Patrick McManus
Marissa Orjalo
Jennifer Villaverde
Rylan Wilkie

Perhaps Shakespeare’s greatest tragedy, King Lear is the story of an ageing king who demands a show of devotion from his three daughters. His actions will leave his kingdom divided, his family destroyed, the faithful banished, and the hateful left to wreak inhuman havoc in the realm.

Rent

Book, Music, and Lyrics by Jonathan Larson

April 8 to October 28 | Opens June 2, 2023
Production support is generously provided by The David & Amy Fulton Foundation

Director: Thom Allison
Choreographer: Marc Kimelman
Music Director: Franklin Brasz
Set Designer: Brandon Kleiman
Costume Designer: Ming Wong
Lighting Designer: Michael Walton
Sound Designer: Joshua Reid

Mimi Marquez: Andrea Macasaet
Mark Cohen: Robert Markus
Roger Davis: Kolton Stewart
Benjamin Coffin III: Jahlen Barnes
Angel Dumott Schunard: Nestor Lozano Junior
Maureen Johnson: Erica Peck
Tom Collins: Lee Siegel
Joanne Jefferson: Olivia Sinclair-Brisbane

Gabriel Antonacci
Noah Beemer
Malinda Carroll
Celeste Catena
Christine Desjardins
Nick Dolan
Kelly Holiff
Masini McDermott
Danielle Verayo
Alex Wierzbicki
Travae Williams

Set in Manhattan in the 1990s and inspired by Puccini’s opera La Bohème, the musical follows a group of young East Village artists, performers, and philosophers as they struggle through the hardships of poverty, societal discord, and the AIDS epidemic in the search for life, love, and art. With a song list that includes the iconic “Seasons of Love,” Rent tells a story as relevant today as when it took Broadway by storm more than 25 years ago.

Much Ado About Nothing

by William Shakespeare | Additional text by Erin Shields

May 29 to October 27 | Opens June 16, 2023
Support for Much Ado About Nothing is generously provided by Priscilla Costello; John & Therese Gardner; The Harkins & Manning families, in memory of Jim & Susan Harkins; The Jentes Family; and by Dr. Desta Leavine, in memory of Pauline Leavine.

Director: Chris Abraham
Designer: Julie Fox
Lighting designer: Arun Srinivasan
Composer and Sound Designer: Thomas Ryder Payne

Benedick: Graham Abbey
Beatrice: Maev Beaty
Don John: Michael Blake
Claudio: Austin Eckert
Hero: Allison Edwards-Crewe
Leonato: Patrick McManus
Antonio: Anthony Santiago
Don Pedro: André Sills

Anousha Alamian
Déjah Dixon-Green
John Kirkpatrick
Kevin Kruchkywich
Josue Laboucane
Cyrus Lane
Jennifer Villaverde
Gordon Patrick White
Rylan Wilkie
Micah Woods

Much Ado About Nothing follows Beatrice and Benedick, two quick-witted and sarcastic individuals who are happily single, but whose friends believe would make a great romantic match. Set in the Early Modern world, an era of ever-changing attitudes towards marriage and power, the play presents a society at once filled with progressive feminist impulses and countervailing forces rooted in traditional patriarchal values. With his astonishing wit and insight, Shakespeare explores the complexities that underlie these growing social tensions.

Les Belles-Soeurs

by Michel Tremblay | Translated by John Van Burek and Bill Glassco

August 8 to October 28 | Opens August 25, 2023
Support for Les Belles-Soeurs is generously provided by Sylvia D. Chrominska; Cathy & Paul Cotton; Jane Fryman Laird; Dr. Robert J. & Roberta Sokol; and Jack Whiteside.

Director: Esther Jun
Set Designer: Joanna Yu
Costume Designer: Michelle Bohn
Lighting Designer: Louise Guinand
Composer and Sound Designer: Maddie Bautista

Rose Ouimet: Seana McKenna
Germaine Lauzon: Lucy Peacock
Des-Neiges Verrette: Bola Aiyeola
Yvette Longpre: Joella Crichton
Olivine Dubuc: Diana Leblanc
Gabrielle Jodoin: Jane Luk
Therese Dubuc: Irene Poole
Marie-Ange Brouillette: Shannon Taylor
Lisette de Courval: Jennifer Villaverde

Akosua Amo-Adem
Allison Edwards-Crewe
Ijeoma Emesowum
Liza Huget
Marissa Orjalo
Antonette Rudder
Tara Sky

Les Belles-Soeurs portrays 15 Québécois women expressing their anger, desperation and frustration loudly, rudely and audaciously. Germaine Lauzon has won a million stamps in a contest. She invites her family and neighbours into her kitchen to help paste them into booklets. Fighting for any power in their suffocating lives, the women yell, backstab, dream, and steal in grand theatrical style. Les Belles-Soeurs portrays 15 Québécois women expressing their anger, desperation, and frustration loudly, rudely, and audaciously.


Avon Theatre

Monty Python’s Spamalot

Book and Lyrics by Eric Idle | Music by John Du Prez and Eric Idle
A new musical lovingly ripped off from the motion picture Monty Python and the Holy Grail
From the original screenplay by Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin

April 19 to October 28 | Opens May 31, 2023
Monty Python’s Spamalot is generously supported by The David & Amy Fulton Foundation and The William & Nona Heaslip Foundation.

Director: Lezlie Wade
Choreographer: Jesse Robb
Music Director: Laura Burton
Designer: David Boechler
Lighting Designer: Renée Brode
Sound Designer: Emily Porter
Projection Designer: Sean Nieuwenhuis

King Arthur: Jonathan Goad
Patsy: Eddie Glen
Sir Lancelot: Aaron Krohn
Sir Robin: Trevor Patt
Lady of the Lake: Jennifer Rider-Shaw
Sir Galahad: Liam Tobin

Carla Bennett
Devon Michael Brown
Amanda De Freitas
Aidan deSalaiz
Josh Doig
Henry Firmston
Evangelia Kambites
McKinley Knuckle
Bethany Kovarik
Ayrin Mackie
Anthony MacPherson
Heather McGuigan
Kyla Musselman
Jason Sermonia

Monty Python’s Spamalot offers up a hefty share of irreverence in a hilarious spoof of the story of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table as they go in search of the Holy Grail. This outrageous comedy allows audiences to look at their flaws and foibles and in doing so, allows them to laugh at the things that make us human.

Frankenstein Revived

a World Première
by Morris Panych | Music by David Coulter
Based on Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein”

August 6 to October 28 | Opens August 24, 2023
Support for Frankenstein Revived is generously provided by The Fabio Mascarin Foundation; Jody & Deborah Hamade; and Martie & Bob Sachs. Support for the creation of Frankenstein Revived is generously provided by The Foerster Bernstein New Play Development Program.

Director: Morris Panych
Music Director: David Coulter
Movement Choreographer: Wendy Gorling
Dance Choreographer: Stephen Cota
Set Designer: Ken MacDonald
Costume Designer: Dana Osborne
Lighting Designer: Kimberly Purtell
Sound Designer: Jake Rodriguez

Doctor Frankenstein: Charlie Gallant
Mary Shelley: Laura Condlln
The Creature: Marcus Nance

Sean Arbuckle
Carla Bennett
Devon Michael Brown
Amanda De Freitas
Josh Doig
Mateo G. Torres
Eddie Glen
McKinley Knuckle
Bethany Kovarik
Ayrin Mackie
Anthony MacPherson
Heather McGuigan
Kyla Musselman
Trevor Patt
Jason Sermonia

Focussing on Mary Shelley, who at just 18 wrote the most celebrated horror story in English literature, this exuberant and passion-filled theatrical movement-based piece explores the big question at the heart of her work: what does it mean to be human?

Schulich Children’s Plays

A Wrinkle in Time

a World Première Adaptation
by Madeleine L’Engle | Adapted for the stage by Thomas Morgan Jones

May 18 to October 29 | Opens June 17, 2023
Support for A Wrinkle in Time is generously provided by The Schulich Foundation.

Director: Thomas Morgan Jones
Set Designer: Teresa Przybylski
Costume Designer: Robin Fisher
Lighting Designer: Kimberly Purtell
Composer and Sound Designer: Deana H. Choi
Projection Designer: jaymez

Charles Wallace Murry: Noah Beemer
Meg Murry: Celeste Catena
Mrs. Which: Kim Horsman
Mrs. Whatsit: Nestor Lozano Junior
Calvin O’Keefe: Robert Markus
Mrs. Who: Khadijah Roberts-Abdullah

Jahlen Barnes
Christine Desjardins
Nick Dolan
Kelly Holiff
Evangelia Kambites
Germaine Konji
Beck Lloyd
Jamie Mac
Masini McDermott
Erica Peck

In this beloved family story, a young heroine leads her brother and a friend on a spectacular journey through space and time, from galaxy to galaxy, to save the world and rescue her father who mysteriously disappeared while working on an astounding scientific concept.


Tom Patterson Theatre

Grand Magic

a World Première Translation
by Eduardo De Fillipo | In a new translation by John Murrell

May 6 to September 29 | Opens June 3, 2023
Support for Grand Magic is generously provided by Robert & Mary Ann Gorlin; Dr. M.L. Myers; Northpine Foundation; and Sylvia Soyka.

Director: Antoni Cimolino
Set Designer: Lorenzo Savoini
Costume Designer: Francesca Callow
Lighting Designer: Lorenzo Savoini
Composer: Wayne Kelso
Sound Designer: Ramil Sonnadara

Otto Marvuglia: Geraint Wyn Davies
Marta Di Spelta: Beck Lloyd
Calogero Di Spelta: Gordon S. Miller
Zaira Marvuglia: Sarah Orenstein

Elizabeth Adams
Hilary Adams
David Collins
Sarah Dodd
Thomas Duplessie
Justin Eddy
Christo Graham
Jordin Hall
Kim Horsman
Stephen Jackman-Torkoff
Matthew Kabwe
Germaine Konji

This funny, thought-provoking and deeply moving play will be presented in a new English translation by John Murrell. In it, we find Otto Marvuglia, a once master illusionist, reduced to performing magic for money at a seaside resort. When one of his tricks seems to go awry, a guest tumbles into a world of illusion as another escapes an unhappy reality.

Richard II

by William Shakespeare | Adapted by Brad Fraser | Conceived by Jillian Keiley

May 23 to September 28 | Opens June 17, 2023
Support for Richard II is generously provided by The Westaway Charitable Foundation.

Director: Jillian Keiley
Choreographer: Cameron Carver
Set Designer: Michael Gianfrancesco
Costume Designer: Bretta Gerecke
Lighting Designer: Leigh Ann Vardy

Richard II: Stephen Jackman-Torkoff
John of Gaunt: David Collins
Bolingbroke: Jordin Hall
Northumberland: Sarah Orenstein
Edmund Duke of York: Michael Spencer-Davis
Duke of Aumerle: Emilio Vieira

Malinda Carroll
Sarah Dodd
Thomas Duplessie
Charlie Gallant
Matthew Kabwe
Heather Kosik
Marcus Nance
Debbie Patterson
Steve Ross
Tyrone Savage
Olivia Sinclair-Brisbane
Jane Spidell
Mateo G. Torres
Danielle Verayo
John Wamsley
Alex Wierzbicki
Hannah Wigglesworth
Travae Williams

In a revolutionary adaptation by Brad Fraser, this Richard is the story of a king who believes that God gives him the right to live above the rules and who ultimately suffers the consequences. The story is embedded in a time of great freedom that is soon crushed – the late 1970s and early ’80s: when lives were lived at great volume against a suffocating strain of conservatism and fear. Fraser’s adaptation maintains Shakespeare’s text but draws on sources beyond Richard II.

Wedding Band

by Alice Childress

June 20 to October 1 | Opens July 14, 2023
Support for Wedding Band is generously provided by Peter & Carol Walters.

Director: Sam White
Set Designer: Richard H. Morris Jr.
Costume Designer: Sarah Uwadiae
Lighting Designer: Kathy A. Perkins
Sound Designer: Debashis Sinha

Herman: Cyrus Lane
Julia: Antonette Rudder

Maev Beatty
Joella Crichton
Ijeoma Emesowum
Liza Huget
Lucy Peacock
Bola Aiyeola
Kevin Kruchkywich
Irene Poole
Micah Woods

This stellar work, written with great precision and powerful storytelling, gives an emotional portrayal of a relationship between a Black seamstress, Julia, and a white baker, Herman, in the shadow of the First World War and the 1918 flu epidemic in Charleston, South Carolina. The couple’s deep love and commitment face the cruel racism of the Deep South in a revealing portrayal of interracial love. They are forced to navigate the societal racism of laws and culture, along with heartbreaking judgment from their own families and communities.


Studio Theatre

Casey and Diana

a World Première | Stratford Festival Commission
by Nick Green

May 23 to June 17 | Opens June 1, 2023
Production support for Casey and Diana is generously provided by Alan Rowe & Bryan Blenkin, and by three donations from the Schubert family. Support for the creation of Casey and Diana is generously provided by The Foerster Bernstein New Play Development Program.

Director: Andrew Kushnir
Designer: Joshua Quinlan
Lighting Designer: Louise Guinand
Composer & Sound Designer: Debashis Sinha
Dramaturge: Bob White

Thomas: Sean Arbuckle
Pauline: Laura Condlln
Marjorie: Linda Kash
Andre: Davinder Malhi
Diana: Krystin Pellerin
Vera: Sophia Walker

Casey and Diana is set in 1991, as the Toronto AIDS hospice, Casey House, prepares for the historic visit of Diana, Princess of Wales. This potent and moving drama vividly captures a moment in time when a rebel Princess, alongside less famous caregivers and advocates, reshaped the course of a pandemic – and how those stricken by the virus found hard-won dignity, community, and love in the face of astonishing hardship.

Women of the Fur Trade

by Frances Koncan

July 8 to July 30 | Opens July 15, 2023
Support for Women of the Fur Trade is generously provided by Karon C. Bales and Charles E. Beall.

Director: Yvette Nolan
Costume Designer: Jeff Chief
Lighting Designer: Michelle Ramsay
Composer & Sound Designer: Debashis Sinha

Cecilia: Jenna-Lee Hyde
Marie-Angelique: Kathleen MacLean
Eugenia: Joelle Peters
Louis Riel: Keith Barker
Thomas Scott: Nathan Howe

Set in eighteen hundred and something-something, somewhere upon the banks of a Reddish River in Treaty One Territory, three very different women with a preference for 21st-century slang sit in a fort sharing their views on life, love, and the hot nerd Louis Riel. This lively historical satire of survival and cultural inheritance shifts perspectives from the male gaze onto women’s power in the past and present through the lens of the rapidly changing world of the Canadian fur trade.

Love’s Labour’s Lost

by William Shakespeare

August 23 to October 1 | Opens September 9, 2023
Support for the production of Love’s Labour’s Lost is generously provided by the Tremain Family. The appearance of members of the Birmingham Conservatory in Love’s Labour’s Lost is generously supported by The Marilyn & Charles Baillie Fund and by Alice & Tim Thornton.

Director: Peter Pasyk
Set Designer: Julie Fox
Lighting Designer: Arun Srinivasan
Composer & Sound Designer: Thomas Ryder Payne

Berowne: Tyrone Savage
Annabelle: Amaka Umeh
Don Armado: Gordon S. Miller
Boyet: Steve Ross
Holofernes: Michael Spencer-Davis

Hilary Adams
Christo Graham
Matthew Kabwe
Qianna MacGilchrist
Chanakya Mukherjee
Khadijah Roberts-Abdullah
Andrew Robinson
Jane Spidell
Emilio Vieira
Hannah Wigglesworth

A beloved early comedy by Shakespeare, is reimagined for modern audiences. Seeking self-improvement, the King of Navarre and his three best friends swear off sex and love for three years, just as the Princess of France and three other women arrive on a diplomatic mission. Light-hearted drama reaches its climax in the twist ending of this touching and funny coming-of-age story.


Casting for the 2023 Stratford Festival is ongoing, and Intermission will be updating this article as new information becomes available. For more information, please visit the Stratford Festival’s website.

Jessica Watson
WRITTEN BY

Jessica Watson

Jessica is a former associate editor at Intermission, as well as a writer, classically-trained actor, and plant enthusiast. Since graduating from LAMDA in the UK with her MA in acting, you can often find her writing screenplays and short plays in the park, writing extensive lists of plant care tips, or working on stage and screen (though she uses a stage name). Jessica freelances with various companies across Canada, but her passion lies in working with theatre artists and enthusiasts.

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