Ontario's Stratford Fest Will Premiere Elizabeth Rex in 2000

News   Ontario's Stratford Fest Will Premiere Elizabeth Rex in 2000 The 2000 season of the Stratford Festival in Ontario will include the world premiere of Elizabeth Rex, a play by Timothy Findlay and Paul Thompson about the unsuccessful revolt against Queen Elizabeth I in 1601.

The 2000 season of the Stratford Festival in Ontario will include the world premiere of Elizabeth Rex, a play by Timothy Findlay and Paul Thompson about the unsuccessful revolt against Queen Elizabeth I in 1601.

In it, the Virgin Queen spends the eve of the Earl of Essex's execution with William Shakespeare and his troupe.

The 2000 May-to-November season of Stratford, one of North America's major producing organizations, was announced Sept. 1. The 11 productions spotlight writers from Ancient Greek (Euripides) writers to contemporary Canadian and American writers (Findlay and Donald Margulies, respectively).

Elizabeth Rex (slated for the tiny Tom Patterson Theatre) joins growing list of Stratford commissions, including In the Ring, Alice Through the Looking Glass and the new translation of Filumena.

Fiddler on the Roof, the 1964 Sholom Aleichem-based musical by Joseph Stein, Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick, will have its first production by the prestigious festival, on the flagship Festival stage. Not surprisingly, musicals have become major cash cows for the Shakespeare rooted nonprofit fest. (West Side Story is a major draw in the 1999 season.) Also on the Festival stage are Hamlet, Moliere's Tartuffe and The Three Musketeers. Paul Gross, of TV's "Due South" will play the melancholy Dane in Hamlet.

On the proscenium Avon Theatre stage will be As You Like It, the four-act version of Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest (said to be the North American debut of this version) and the recent Broadway adaptation script of The Diary of Anne Frank by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, newly revised by Wendy Kesselman.

The intimate, three-quarter space, the Tom Patterson, will house Shakespeare's bloody Titus Andronicus (in vogue lately, with a film version expected soon from director Julie Taymor), Euripides' Medea ("freely adapted by Robinson Jeffers") and, as previously announced, acting legend Uta Hagen reprising her New York role in Donald Margulies' Collected Stories.

-- By Kenneth Jones