Call it Stratford on the Hudson. Canada's Stratford Festival will make its way to New York shores with Moliere's The Miser and Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing in repertory at City Center Nov. 12-29. Tickets went onsale Aug. 17, via Citytix at (212) 581-1212.
Both the above shows were presented as part of the Strat's 1998 season in Ontario, both staged by artistic director Richard Monette.
Brian Bedford, a multiple Tony nominee (and winner for School For Wives) , will star in Much Ado, alongside Martha Henry and William Hutt. Henry and Hutt will also co-star in The Miser.
Bedford's last Tony nominations came for two Roundabout shows, London Assurance and The Moliere Comedies. Previous Tony-nominated NY roles include Timon of Athens and Two Shakespearean Actors.
Company members making the NY trip include Victoria Adilman, James Blendick, Evelyn Buliung, Shawn Campbell, Richard Curnock, Ian Deakin, Bradford Farwell, Rory Feore, John Gilbert, Michelle Giroux, David Glass, Jennifer Gould, Claire Jullien, Tim MacDonald, Michael Mawson, Tom McCamus, Anthony McLean, Jonathan W. Monro, Stephen Ouimette, Ngozi Paul, Chick Reid, Jeffrey Renn, Sandi Ross, Joseph Shaw, Michael Therriault, Laurel Thomson and Brian Tree. Both shows will feature scoring by Berthold Carriere and lighting by Michael J. Whitfield. Guido Tondino will do the Much Ado set, while Meredith Caron will design The Miser.
City Center has 2,600 seats but was ruled non-eligible for Tony consideration in this case. City Center Executive Director Judith E. Daykin months ago told Playbill On-Line she was hoping the works would be Tony eligible, even though City Center often isn't considered a Broadway space.
Daykin said of the Stratford visit, "Their position as the greatest repertory of classical theatre in North America will be evidenced during their season at City Center..." Much Ado opens Nov. 13; The Miser opens Nov. 15 (each show starting previews one day earlier). The double-bill will run to Nov. 29, and it's hoped this "Stratford Festival At City Center" project will return to NY annually.
In recent seasons Richard Monette, artistic director of Canada's Stratford Festival, has come under critical fire for not producing enough Shakespeare, but his 1998 season placated the grumblers with four works by The Bard spread across all three theatres.
According to the Philip Rinaldi press office, the Stratford Festival was founded 46 years ago and presents 12 shows annually, May-November. City Center, built as a Shriner meeting hall in 1923, became a "people's theatre" (Fiorello LaGuardia's words) in 1943.
For tickets ($30-$60) and information on Much Ado About Nothing and The Miser in NY call (212) 581-1212 after Aug. 17. Tickets are already available by fax at (212) 541-7979.
-- By David Lefkowitz