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 “Othello,” will be a surefire hit of the season. Running May 3-Oct. 27 at the Festival Theatre and starring Michael Blake in the title role, the production is directed by Nigel Shawn Williams. TodayTix has exclusive $15 Rush tickets for the show, so make sure to unlock for your chance to purchase seats. Other Shakespeare titles this season include “The Merry Wives of Windsor” and “Henry VIII,”
TodayTix also has $15 Rush tickets for “Little Shop of Horrors” and “The Neverending Story.” The beloved musical about a lovesick flowershop attendant and his flesh-eating plant is playing at the Avon Theatre April 26-Nov. 1. “The Neverending Story,” based on the classic novel, will be at the same theatre May 16-Nov. 3. Make sure to unlock Rush tickets!
The big musical this year is “Billy Elliot: The Musical,” and the show about a young boy who dreams of being a ballet dancer during a mining strike is playing at the Festival Theatre through Nov. 3.
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.