Jonson's Bartholomew Fair Gets Canadian Premiere, With Music by Barenaked Ladies' Page

News   Jonson's Bartholomew Fair Gets Canadian Premiere, With Music by Barenaked Ladies' Page
 
Bartholomew Fair, the comedy by Shakespeare contemporary Ben Jonson, begins May 27 at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Ontario. The Festival's general director Antoni Cimolino stages the revival — thought to be the first professional production of the play in Canada — at Stratford's Tom Patterson Theatre.

The creative team includes pop composer Steven Page, the former Barenaked Ladies front-man, who wrote music for Stratford's Coriolanus in 2006 and As You Like It in 2005.

Bartholomew Fair is billed as a "city comedy about the seamier side of life in Shakespeare's London." The characters are "seething with scurrilous and hilarious energy."

The production features the actors from the Birmingham Conservatory for Classical Theatre, along with seasoned actors Juan Chioran as Zeal-of-the-Land Busy, Kelli Fox as Joan Trash, Jonathan Goad as Quarlous, Randy Hughson as Jordon Knockem, Tom McCamus as Justice Overdo, Lucy Peacock as Ursla, Cliff Saunders as Lantern Leatherhead, Brian Tree as Humphrey Wasp and Brigit Wilson as Dame Purecraft.

Cimolino stated, "Bartholomew Fair is a brilliant satire of class and character in Jacobean London. But far from being bitter, it is a very warm and deliciously funny argument for tolerance. This warmth and inclusiveness, this humanity, have made me fall in love with the play."

The production team includes set and costume designer Carolyn M. Smith, lighting designer Michael Watson and sound designer Peter McBoyle, production stage managers Janine Ralph and Jennifer Schamehorn, stage manager Anne Murphy and assistant stage managers Martine Beland and Angela Marshall. Performances play to Oct. 2. Opening night is June 4. For tickets call the box office at (800) 567-1600 or visit www.stratfordshakespearefestival.com.

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Under artistic director Des McAnuff, the Stratford Shakespeare Festival's 2009 season (on four stages, in rep, though Nov. 1) features Macbeth; West Side Story; Cyrano de Bergerac; A Midsummer Night's Dream; The Importance of Being Earnest; Julius Caesar; A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum; Three Sisters; Bartholomew Fair; Ever Yours, Oscar; Phèdre; The Trespassers; Rice Boy; and Zastrozzi.

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