What to See, Where to Eat, and More at The Stratford Festival
If it weren’t for The Stratford Festival, Broadway’s “Escape to Margaritaville” and “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” might not have their current stars. The historic festival, recognized worldwide for its productions of Shakespeare’s plays — and named for the Bard’s birthplace — carved a career for actors like Paul Alexander Nolan, Chilina Kennedy, and Josh Young. The trio, who’ve become Broadway stars in their own right, debuted on the Great White Way when the acclaimed Stratford production of “Jesus Christ Superstar” transferred to Broadway in 2012. But more stars are on the rise in Canada, so here’s what you need to know about North America’s largest classical repertory theatre company.
Known for their take on works by Shakespeare, Stratford’s production of “Coriolanus,” directed by Robert Lepage, will be a surefire hit of the season. Running June 9-Oct. 20 at the Avon Theatre and starring André Sills in the title role, the production will make use of various projections to transport audiences into the visual world under legendary Roman leader Caius Marcius Coriolanus. Also enticing is a gender-bending “The Tempest,” starring Martha Henry as Prospero in Shakespeare’s final masterpiece, which runs May 10-October 26 at the Festival Theatre.
If contemporary drama is more your thing, make sure to check out Christopher Sergel’s adaptation of Harper Lee’s seminal novel “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Nigel Shawn Williams directs this masterpiece. TodayTix has your exclusive $15 Rush tickets to every performance.
For the more musically inclined, two massive musicals will play simultaneously — both directed and choreographed by Donna Feore. “The Music Man” runs April 17-November 3 at the Festival Theatre, and “The Rocky Horror Show” plays April 27-October 31 at the Avon Theatre. Make sure to get your exclusive $15 Rush tickets to “The Rocky Horror Show,” only on TodayTix.
Getting to the Fest
For theatregoers coming from Toronto, the festival offers a Stratford Direct Bus Service for a round-trip price of $29. The bus leaves twice a day and gets audiences to the festival with enough time for lunch before the matinee or dinner and drinks before the evening performance. Other travel options are available, including flights into Waterloo and trains to Stratford.
Bars and Bites
The go-to eatery for gourmet Italian meals and trendy cocktails pre- and post-show is Pazzo Pizzeria and Taverna, which is known for its thin crust pizza and signature pasta dishes. If time permits, head to Jenn and Larry’s dessert shop for an ice cream cone to enjoy along the Avon River before getting to the theatre.