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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Stratford Festival performances begin with first preview of Music Man

(News Release)

April 17, 2018… The Stratford Festival’s 66th season is off to an exhilarating start with Meredith Willson’s Tony Award-winning musical comedy The Music Man. Previews began today at the Festival Theatre, marking the first performance of the season. 

The Music Man follows a charming but fraudulent salesman who arrives in River City, Iowa, to work his usual scam – only to find that a bill of goods can be the real deal. Directed and choreographed by Donna Feore, the production features a colossal cast of 40 performers, showcasing Ms Feore’s original choreography in spectacular dance numbers, and a live 19-piece orchestra, led by Music Director Franklin Brasz, playing such hits as “Shipoopi,” “Till There Was You” and the show-stopping “Seventy-Six Trombones.”


“This musical has so many beautiful elements,” says Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino. “Donna has made it a massive dance show, which injects an infectious vibrancy throughout, but with an irresistible love story at its heart – and not just for the main characters, but for the whole River City community whose hearts are opened by the power of music. It’s an enduring master work, perfect for the entire family, and just itching to be shared with the next generation.” 

“The term classic is often used to describe shows that have been around for a while and have enjoyed successful runs on stages from Broadway to high school gyms,” says Ms Feore. “Something about these shows keeps drawing us back again and again. In the case of The Music Man, it’s one thing. One voice. Meredith Willson’s voice.

“Willson puts real people and real love before us, imperfections intact. Harold Hill is a con man, a liar. And yet Willson allows Marian Paroo, the show’s moral compass, to fall for him – but with her eyes open. Harold may attack with his massive charm and may have won over the whole of River City, but he doesn’t fool Marian for a minute. Marian doesn’t need anyone. When and if she chooses, she will choose wisely. And Harold, the agent of change, will in his turn be changed. And, all in the end, for the better.” 

Daren A. Herbert and Danielle Wade, both making their Stratford debut, play Harold Hill and Marian Paroo. Mr. Herbert is a stage and screen star, appearing in such Hollywood blockbusters as This Means War and Dreamgirls. Ms Wade is well-remembered as the winner of CBC’s Over the Rainbow, a reality show to find Dorothy in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Wizard of Oz

They are joined by Denise Oucharek as Mrs. Paroo, Steve Ross as Mayor Shinn, Mark Uhre as Marcellus Washburn and Blythe Wilson as Eulalie MacKecknie Shinn. 

The creative team includes Set Designer Michael Gianfrancesco, Costume Designer Dana Osborne, Lighting Designer Michael Walton, Sound Designer Peter McBoyle and Fight Director John Stead.

The Music Man features book, music and lyrics by Meredith Willson, and story by Meredith Willson and Franklin Lacey.

The Music Man officially opens on May 29 and runs until November 3. 

Production support is generously provided by Mary Ann & Robert Gorlin, by the Harkins & Manning families in memory of Jim & Susan Harkins, and by Riki Turofsky & Charles Petersen. 

The Music Man is co-sponsored by Union Gas and RBC Royal Bank.

Support for the 2018 season of the Festival Theatre is generously provided by Daniel Bernstein and Claire Foerster. 

Explore The Music Man at the Forum

The Forum is a series of events, such as exclusive showcases, guest speakers, special meals, music and family fun, that offer theatregoers a unique opportunity to delve deeper into the ideas and issues raised by the 2018 playbill.

·         ICE CREAM SOCIAL
June 16, July 15 & August 11
11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Take the whole family back in time for a turn-of-the-century Ice Cream Social! Try your luck with some old-fashioned carnival games, get creative with some picnic crafts and enjoy the melodious sounds of a barbershop quartet. Features a buffet lunch and extraordinary ice cream bar with all the fixins.

Featured quartets: Imagine That Quartet (London, Ontario) and HOPE Quartet (Stratford, Ontario)

Saturday, June 16
10:30 a.m. – noon
CBC Radio host and The Globe and Mail music critic Robert Harris joins acclaimed musical theatre director Donna Feore for an in-depth discussion with director and journalist Richard Ouzounian on re-envisioning classic musicals for a contemporary audience.
 
·         INNOVATION, EDUCATION AND ART
Wednesday, July 11
10:45 a.m. to noon
In The Music Man, the introduction of music transforms a troubled town. Mathematician, author and playwright John Mighton, Kathleen Gallagher of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education and veteran teacher Neil Johnston discuss creative approaches to learning, both in the classroom and society, and the change it can lead to.
 
The Stratford Festival’s 2018 season runs until November 4, featuring The Tempest, The Comedy of Errors, Coriolanus, Julius Caesar, The Music Man, The Rocky Horror Show, Long Day’s Journey Into Night, An Ideal Husband, To Kill a Mockingbird, Napoli Milionaria!, Brontë: The World Without and Paradise Lost.

For tickets and more information, visit stratfordfestival.ca or call 1.800.567.1600.

CAST (in alphabetical order)

Linus Britt...................................... Eric Abel
Ed Gammidge................................ Gabriel Antonacci
Constable Locke............................. Sean Arbuckle
Michael Squires.............................. Aidan Benton
Tobias Britt..................................... Logan Brideau
Tommy Djilas................................. Devon Michael Brown
Elizabeth Squires............................ Zoë Brown
Gracie Shinn................................... Megan Caines
Swing.............................................. Mariah Campos
Eddie Squires................................. Colton Curtis
Amaryllis Dunlop........................... Sarah DaSilva
Alice Britt....................................... Christine Desjardins
Winthrop Paroo.............................. Alexander Elliot
Davey Dunlop................................ Henry Firmston
Charlie Cowell................................ Mark Harapiak
Harold Hill...................................... Daren A. Herbert
Terence Britt................................... Evan Alexander Johnson
Mrs. Dunlop.................................... Bonnie Jordan
Barney Hix..................................... Nathaniel Keith
Zaneeta Shinn................................. Heather Kosik
Ewart Dunlop................................. George Krissa
Mrs. Squires.................................... Bethany Kovarik
Maud Britt...................................... Monique Lund
Lillian Hix....................................... Carlee MacKenzie
Jacey Squires.................................. Robert Markus
Sadie Britt...................................... Lily McEvenue
Swing.............................................. Reid McTavish
Olin Britt........................................ Marcus Nance
Mrs. Paroo...................................... Denise Oucharek
Ian Bell........................................... Trevor Patt
Alma Hix........................................ Jennifer Rider-Shaw
Oliver Hix....................................... Sayer Roberts
Mayor Shinn................................... Steve Ross
Gertrude Hix.................................. Genny Sermonia
Clarence Clayton Hix..................... Jason Sermonia
Ethel Toffelmier............................. Kimberly-Ann Truong
Marcellus Washburn....................... Mark Uhre
Marian Paroo.................................. Danielle Wade
Eulalie MacKecknie Shinn............. Blythe Wilson
Henry Dunlop................................. Thomas Winiker

ARTISTIC CREDITS

Director and Choreographer........... Donna Feore
Music Director................................ Franklin Brasz
Set Designer................................... Michael Gianfrancesco
Costume Designer.......................... Dana Osborne
Lighting Designer........................... Michael Walton
Sound Designer.............................. Peter McBoyle
Fight Director................................. John Stead
Producer......................................... David Auster
Casting Director............................. Beth Russell
Creative Planning Director............. Jason Miller
Assistant Director........................... Ann Baggley
Associate Choreographer................ Stephen Cota
Assistant Choreographer................ Stephan Dickson
Assistant Set Designer.................... Holly Meyer-Dymny
Assistant Costume Designer........... Caitlin Luxford
Assistant Lighting Designers.......... Hilary Pitman, Angeline St. Amour
Assistant Sound Designer.............. Brian Kenny
Associate Fight Director................. Anita Nittoly
Stage Manager................................ Cynthia Toushan
Assistant Stage Managers............... Krista Blackwood, Elizabeth McDermott,
         Gregory McLaughlin
Production Assistants..................... Madison Kalbhenn, Steven Smits
Production Stage Managers............ Meghan Callan, Cynthia Toushan
Technical Director.......................... Jeff Scollon

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