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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Stratford Festival kicks off 63rd season with first preview of The Sound of Music

April 21, 2015… The Sound of Music, the most beloved movie musical of all time, marks its 50th anniversary this year.

To celebrate, the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic returns to the Festival stage for the first time in 14 years in a production directed and choreographed by Donna Feore. Previews began on April 21, signifying the first performance of the 2015 season.

Taking on the iconic role of Maria Rainer is newcomer Stephanie Rothenberg, who recently starred as Rosemary opposite Nick Jonas in the Tony-nominated Broadway revival of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. Ben Carlson, whose incredible musical abilities are a secret to no one, will mark his eighth season with his first role in a Stratford musical, playing Captain von Trapp.

The Sound of Music is one of my all-time favourites,” says Ms Feore, the force behind a growing list of hit musicals at the Festival, including Crazy for You and Fiddler on the Roof. “The chance to do this at the Festival is an absolute gift. I’m asking the audience to really invest in these characters, and there is no other theatrical space that allows for a more intimate and shared experience between actors and audience than the Festival stage. They’re getting every detail, every emotion. It changes everything.”


Based on a true story, The Sound of Music follows the von Trapp family overcoming great adversity through the love of family and the healing power of song. In a season built around the theme of Discovery, exploring the moments that change our lives, this timeless story of love, redemption and triumph of the human spirit is a natural fit.

“Like many of the titles on this season’s playbill, The Sound of Music tells an inspiring story of emotional and spiritual self-discovery,” says Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino. “Maria’s realization of her true destiny awakens her heart and leads to one of the most enduring love stories of our time.

“I’m thrilled to have Donna Feore at the helm of this production. She is a true master of our Festival stage, always bringing remarkably unique elements to her staging and choreography. While there may be no other musical so familiar, so ingrained in our hearts and minds, Donna has breathed new life into this beloved story, beautifully balancing the joyous moments with real emotion and depth.”

The cast features Shane Carty as impresario Max Detweiler, with Anita Krause as the Mother Abbess and Robin Evan Willis as Baroness Elsa Schraeder.

Artistic credits include Musical Director Laura Burton, Designer Michael Gianfrancesco, Lighting Designer Michael Walton and Sound Designer Peter McBoyle.

Suggested by the book “The Trapp Family Singers” by Maria Augusta Trapp, The Sound of Music features music by Richard Rodgers and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, with book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse.

The Sound of Music is co-sponsored by RBC and Union Gas Limited. Production support is generously provided by the Harkins/Manning families in memory of James & Susan Harkins, and by Riki Turofsky & Charles Petersen.

Support for the 2015 season of the Festival Theatre is generously provided by Claire and Daniel Bernstein.

The Sound of Music Forum Highlights

The Stratford Festival Forum is a series of activities and events, including fascinating talks, interactive presentations, concerts, comedy shows and performances, that offer theatregoers a unique opportunity to delve further into the ideas and issues raised by the 2015 playbill and its theme of Discovery: That Eureka Moment.

Themes related to The Sound of Music will be explored through several Forum events, including:

·         Discovering Hammerstein
Wednesday, July 15, 10:45 a.m. to noon
Tom Patterson Theatre
Ted Chapin, the world’s leading expert on Rodgers and Hammerstein, in conversation with NY1’s Frank DiLella, celebrates and reflects on the genius of the lyricist of both The Sound of Music and Carousel.

·         The Men Who Changed Broadway
Wednesday, July 1, 10:45 a.m. to noon
Studio Theatre
Together and apart, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II changed the course of the American musical. Robert Cushman examines the achievements and significance of two of the most talented and influential figures of the 20th-century theatre, with highlights performed by members of the company.
 
·         Another Sound of Music
Friday, July 10, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Festival Theatre Lobby
A lecture by Dr. Jean-Jacques Van Vlasselaer about music in the concentration camps: The Emperor of Atlantis mirrored in The Sound of Music.
 
·         The Sound of Music Lunch
Saturdays, June 13, July 4, August 22, September 12, October 3; Thursdays, July 9, August 13; Friday, August 7, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Starting with memorable music from the production, the afternoon features a themed buffet lunch and entertaining activities around the historical events that unfold in this timeless musical.

Sustaining support for the Forum is generously provided by Kelly & Michael Meighen and the T.R. Meighen Family Foundation.

Support for the 2015 season of the Forum is provided in memory of Dr. W. Philip Hayman.

Stratford Direct, the daily return private bus service, now offers two routes: Toronto to Stratford and Detroit to Stratford. The Toronto bus costs $20 round trip, departing twice daily from May 4 to September 19. The Detroit bus costs $40 round trip, departing once daily from May 26 to September 19. Both routes are available on performance days with some exceptions.

Stratford Direct is generously sponsored by the Peter Cundill Foundation.

The 2015 season, which runs from April 21 to October 18, features Hamlet, The Sound of Music, Carousel, The Diary of Anne Frank, The Taming of the Shrew, She Stoops to Conquer, The Physicists, The Alchemist, Love’s Labour’s Lost, Oedipus Rex, Possible Worlds, The Last Wife and The Adventures of Pericles. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit stratfordfestival.ca or call 1.800.567.1600.

Cast (in alphabetical order)

Ensemble…………………………     Matt Alfano
Rolf Gruber………………………     Gabriel Antonacci
Ensemble…………………………     Matthew Armet
Gretl von Trapp…………………..     Zoë Brown
Captain von Trapp………………..    Ben Carlson
Max Detweiler……………………    Shane Carty
Swing…………………………….     Stephen Cota
Kurt von Trapp…………………...    Alec Dahmer
Marta von Trapp………………….    Sarah DaSilva
Friedrich von Trapp……………….   Sean Dolan
Understudy………………………..   Brayden Ellis
Understudy………………………..   Adrienne Enns
Understudy………………………..   Natalie Francis
Frau Schmidt……………………..    Barbara Fulton
Sister Sophia……………………...    Alexis Gordon
Liesl von Trapp…………………...    Alexandra Herzog
Ensemble…………………………     Alana Hibbert
Louisa von Trapp…………………    Effie Honeywell
Herr Zeller………………………..     Peter Hutt
Ensemble…………………………     Bonnie Jordan
Mother Abbess……………………    Anita Krause
Brigitta von Trapp………………..     Graci Leahy
Understudy……………………….    Krista Leis
Sister Berthe……………………...    Monique Lund
Ensemble…………………………     Ayrin Mackie
Ensemble…………………………     Chad McFadden
Ensemble…………………………     George McLeary
Swing…………………………….     Melanie McInenly
Ensemble…………………………     Marcus Nance
Baron Elberfeld…………………..    Cory O’Brien
Ursula…………………………….     Denise Oucharek
Sister Margaretta…………………     Glynis Ranney
Ensemble…………………………     Jennifer Rider-Shaw
Maria Rainer……………………..     Stephanie Rothenberg
Understudy………………………     Clara Sebben
Ensemble………………………...      Jason Sermonia
Franz……………………………..     Ian Simpson
Ensemble………………………...      Gabriel Sizeland
Young Postulant…………………     Cynthia Smithers
Admiral von Schreiber…………..      Curtis Sullivan
Elsa Schraeder…………………...     Robin Evan Willis

Artistic Credits

Director and Choreographer……..     Donna Feore
Musical Director…………………     Laura Burton
Designer…………………………      Michael Gianfrancesco
Lighting Designer……………….      Michael Walton
Sound Designer………………….     Peter McBoyle
Producer………………………….     David Auster
Casting Director………………….     Beth Russell
Creative Planning Director………     Jason Miller
Assistant Director………………..     Ann Baggley
Assistant Choreographer…………     Stephen Cota
Assistant Set Designer…………...     Nancy Anne Perrin
Assistant Costume Designer……..     Holly Lloyd
Assistant Lighting Designers…….     George Quan, Tristan Tidswell
Assistant Sound Designer………..     William Fallon
Historical Advisor………………..     Dr. Darren C. Marks
Monastical Advisor……………..       Kelly Walker
Dance Captain…………………..      Stephen Cota
Stage Manager…………………..      Cynthia Toushan
Assistant Stage Managers……….      Krista Blackwood, Angela Marshall, Elizabeth McDermott
Production Assistant…………….      Katherine Dermott
Production Stage Manager………     Margaret Palmer
Technical Director………………       Jeff Scollon

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Stratford Festival 55 Queen Street PO Box 520 Stratford ON | N5A 6V2
Box Office: Toll Free 1.800.567.1600 Local 519.273.1600
stratfordfestival.ca

2015 Season | April to October
Hamlet | The Taming of the Shrew | Love’s Labour’s Lost| The Adventures of Pericles
The Sound of Music | Carousel | The Diary of Anne Frank | She Stoops to Conquer 
The Physicists | Oedipus Rex | The Alchemist | Possible Worlds | The Last Wife

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