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Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Misanthrope starts previews at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival

 (News Release)

July 29, 2011…Tony Award-winning director David Grindley directs Molière’s comedic masterpiece The Misanthrope. The satirical comedy of manners about a cynic whose world is turned upside down by the powerful force of love begins previews at the Festival Theatre on July 31.

A celebrated director, Mr. Grindley received a Tony Award, as well as an Olivier Award nomination, for Best Revival of a Play for his production of R.C. Sherriff’s First World War play, Journey’s End. The production, which originally opened at the Comedy Theatre in London in 2004, was remounted in the West End for a limited run of 55 performances on July 19.


Mr. Grindley made his Stratford directorial debut in 2009 with his imaginative and contemporary production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

“I’m a huge fan of David Grindley’s work,” says Artistic Director Des McAnuff. “He has a remarkable way of approaching complex texts such as this with clarity and precision. We’re all very much looking forward to seeing what he does with The Misanthrope after his fascinating work with The Philanthropist in London and New York and Journey’s End on Broadway, a production which remains in my memory as one of the truly great theatrical events of the last 10 years.”

“We’re delighted to have Mr. Grindley back at the Festival this season,” says General Director Antoni Cimolino. “His production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 2009 was one of the highlights of our season. We’re all eagerly anticipating his interpretation of this deliciously witty and sublime play.”

Perpetually scornful of the hypocrisy around him, Alceste can’t help speaking frankly, regardless of whom he might offend. But even the sternest rectitude can succumb to the follies of the heart – and Alceste’s devotion to the beautiful and flirtatious Célimène is about to turn his world hilariously upside down.

“Despite the play being 500 years old, it engages audiences because of the authenticity of the relationship,” says Mr. Grindley. “If the story is clear and told with vigour, not only will the truth and the comedy of the piece emerge, but also its universality and continued relevance.”

The production was translated into English verse by Richard Wilbur and features an outstanding cast, including Ben Carlson as Alceste and Juan Chioran as Philinte. Back from her highly acclaimed performance as Gwendolen Fairfax in the Broadway remount of the Festival’s 2009 production of The Importance of Being Earnest, Sara Topham will play Célimène.

The cast also includes Martha Farrell as Eliante, Kelli Fox as Arsinoé, Peter Hutt as Oronte, Trent Pardy as Acaste and Steve Ross as Clitandre.

Set in beautiful and ornate 18th-century France, this production will feature a breathtaking set designed by John Lee Beatty and luxurious costumes by designer Robin Fraser Paye.

Rounding out the production’s artistic team are Michael Walton as Lighting Designer, Jim Neil as Sound Designer and Vikki Anderson as Associate Director.

Production support is generously provided by the Harkins family in memory of Susan Harkins. Support for the cast of The Misanthrope is generously provided by John H. Whiteside.

The Misanthrope opens officially on August 12 and runs until October 29. For tickets visit www.stratfordshakespearefestival.com or call 1.800.567.1600.

The Stratford Shakespeare Festival’s 2011 season runs until October 30, featuring The Merry Wives of Windsor, Camelot, Twelfth Night, The Misanthrope, The Grapes of Wrath, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Homecoming, Richard III, Titus Andronicus, Shakespeare’s Will, The Little Years and Hosanna.

Cast (in alphabetical order)
Alceste........................................................................... Ben Carlson
Philinte........................................................................... Juan Chioran
Footman........................................................................ Victor Dolhai
Eliante............................................................................ Martha Farrell
Arsinoé.......................................................................... Kelli Fox
Oronte........................................................................... Peter Hutt
Guard of the Marshalsea................................................. Robert King
Maid ............................................................................. Sarah Kitz
Acaste........................................................................... Trent Pardy
Basque........................................................................... Christopher Prentice
Clitandre........................................................................ Steve Ross
Footman........................................................................ Jaz Sealey
Understudy.................................................................... Timothy D. Stickney
Célimène........................................................................ Sara Topham
Dubois........................................................................... Brian Tree
Understudy.................................................................... Sophia Walker
Maid.............................................................................. Brigit Wilson

Artistic credits
Director......................................................................... David Grindley
Set Designer................................................................... John Lee Beatty
Costume Designer.......................................................... Robin Fraser Paye
Lighting Designer............................................................ Michael Walton
Sound Designer.............................................................. Jim Neil
Associate Director.......................................................... Vikki Anderson
Assistant Director........................................................... Dian Marie Bridge
Assistant Set Designer.................................................... Devon Bhim
Assistant Costume Designer............................................ Joanna Yu
Assistant Lighting Designer............................................. Siobhán Sleath
Stage Manager............................................................... Michael Hart
Assistant Stage Managers............................................... Holly Korhonen, Anne Murphy
                                                                                       Crystal Skinner
Production Assistant....................................................... Stephanie Meine
Production Stage Manager............................................. Margaret Palmer
Technical Director.......................................................... Jeff Scollon

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