The Stratford Festival in Ontario will present 14 productions in 2001, including Rodgers and Hammerstein's The Sound of Music and the linked history plays Henry IV, Part 1, Henry IV, Part 2 and Henry V>
Artistic director Richard Monette announced the season Aug. 28, saying the slate "fulfills a long-held ambition of mine to mount a cycle of Shakespeare's history plays in the same season [the Henrys] so that patrons can experience these great dramas of power and personality either as individual stories or as part of a grand and sweeping epic saga."
Shakespeare will also be represented in 2001 by The Merchant of Venice and Twelfth Night.
In its ongoing effort to stage new Canadian works, the fest mounts four new works, including an adaptation of late novelist Robertson Davies' Tempest-Tost. Dan Needles has penned a new installment of his rural Canadian comedy series, Wingfield, which will have its world premiere at Stratford. A onetime radio play by Timothy Findley, The Trials of Ezra Pound, about the American poet's anti-Semitism and its repercussions 1945-46, will have its stage premiere. Damien Atkins, a 23-year-old Stratford actor, will see the premiere of his Good Mother, about the problems faced by a family struggling to stay together after a parent becomes ill.
The season officially opens May 28, 2001, and previews begin April 25, 2001. The season continues to Nov. 4. The 2001 season at a glance:
Festival Theatre (a Shakespearean thrust stage): The Merchant of Venice, Rodgers and Hammerstein's The Sound of Music, Twelfth Night and Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee's Inherit the Wind.
Avon Theatre (a proscenium stage): Noel Coward's Private Lives, Henry V, Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Chekhov's The Seagull, Dan Needles' Wingfield.
Tom Patterson Theatre (three-quarter thrust stage): Henry IV, Part 1, Henry IV, Part 2, Richard Rose's adaptation of Tempest Tost, Timothy Findley's The Trials of Ezra Pound, Damien Atkins' Good Mother.
The Stratford festival was founded in 1952 by Tyrone Guthrie.
-- By Kenneth Jones