Brian Bedford will direct and star in Equus, while John Wood directs Richard III and Tom McCamus sings "Camelot." All are part of the 1997 Stratford Festival in Stratford, Ontario, which began May 21 and runs to Nov. 9.
Up next, two shows open at the Festival Aug. 8: Oedipus Rex and Wingfield Unbound.
W. B. Yeats' adaptation of Sophocles' Oedipus Rex, directed by Douglas Campbell, plays Aug. 8 through Oct. 11 at the Festival Theatre. It's Campbell's 22nd season at the Strat, where he's played Falstaff and King Lear, and directed the Festival's 1995 Country Wife.
Most surprising about the production is that Campbell will be directing his own son, Benedict Campbell, who plays the title role. Not only that, Campbell senior played Oedipus in the Strat's 1955 staging of Sophocles' tragedy.
Starring with Campbell the younger in Oedipus Rex are Diane D'Aquila, Keith Dinicol, Lewis Gordon, Roland Hewgill and Douglas Rain.
Also opening Aug. 8 will be Dan Needles' comedy, Wingfield Unbound, about life in a rural township. Needles directs his own one-man work, which stars Rod Beattie as Walt and runs Aug. 8-Sept. 19. Lighting design is by Louise Guinard.
As for the rest of the Stratford Festival, opening first, June 2, was a revival of Lerner & Loewe's 1960 Camelot, starring Dan R. Chameroy (Lancelot), Cynthia Dale (Guenevere) and McCamus (King Arthur). Directed by Richard Monette, choreographed by Timothy French, Camelot runs to Nov. 8 at the Festival Theatre. Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, opened at the Stratford Festival, June 3. The play, running to Nov. 8 at the Avon Theatre, will be directed by Diana Leblanc, with Al Waxman in the title role of Willy Loman. Martha Henry will play Linda Loman.
Next came Shakespeare's Taming Of The Shrew, opening June 4 and playing to Nov. 8 at the Festival Theatre. Richard Rose directs Peter Donaldson as Petruchio and Lucy Peacock as Katharina. This is Donaldson 16th season at the Strat; Peacock's 20th. Other cast-members include Benedict Campbell (Hortensio), Jonathan Crombie (Lucentio), Richard Curnock (Gremio), Cynthia Dale (Bianca), Keith Dinicol (Tranio), John Gilbert (Baptista), Bernard Hopkins, Stephen Ouimette and Leon Pownall.
This marks the sixth time Taming Of The Shrew has been done at the Stratford Festival. The tale of strong-minded Petruchio "taming" the tantrum-prone Katherine is designed by Charlotte Dean.
June 6 brought Romeo And Juliet (Jonathan Crombie and Marion Day) to the Fest, directed by Diana Leblanc. The tragedy runs to Nov. 9 at the Festival Theatre.
Wood directs Stephen Ouimette as Richard III, Shakespeare's malformed and manipulative villain, June 25 to Sept. 25 at the Tom Patterson Theatre. Also in that cast are Barbara Bryne, Joyce Campion, Diane D'Aquila, Peter Donaldson, David Keeley, Lucy Peacock, James Blendick and Stephen Russell. Patrick Clark and John Munro serve, respectively, as set and lighting designers.
James Blendick and Lally Cadeau are Jack and Juno in O'Casey's Juno And The Paycock, directed by Janet Wright and running June 26-Sept. 21 at the Patterson. The cast also features Cara Hunter (Mary) and Brian Tree (Joxer). Patrick Clark designs the show, which looks at an Irish family going from rags to riches to rags in the 1920s.
Shakespeare's Coriolanus runs June 27-Sept. 20 at the Patterson, directed by Richard Rose and starring Martha Henry as Volumnia. Also in the cast are Rod Beattie, James Blendick, Richard Curnock, John Gilbert, David Keeley, Tom McCamus, Leon Pownall (Titus) and Lucy Peacock (Valeria). The story follows an exiled Roman military hero preparing to lead an attack on his former home. Designing the show are Patrick Clark (set) and Kevin Fraser (lighting).
The Festival then turns to Louisa May Alcott's Little Women, as adapted by Marisha Chamberlain. Marti Maraden directs the drama, which features Kristina Nicoll as Jo and plays to Nov. 8 at the Avon Theatre.
Eduardo de Filippo's 1977 comedy, Filumena, takes the Avon stage Aug. 9 to Oct. 11, directed by Antoni Cimolino and starring Lally Cadeau and Richard Monette.
Equus, directed by and starring Bedford, opens Sept. 10. Peter Shaffer's Tony-winning drama runs to Nov. 9 at the Avon Theatre and co stars Nicolas Van Burek. Bedford was nominated for a Tony Award in 1995 when his Stratford production, The Moliere Comedies, transferred to Broadway.
Also on tap for the Stratford Season is its "Celebrated Writers Series," which will offer lectures by Anne-Marie MacDonald (July 13), author of the brilliant Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet), and several Canadian writers of non-fiction on other dates.
The Festival also premiered its Table Talk Series -- lectures by English professors designed to coincide with play productions. July 25 will offer Ted McGee discoursing on Coriolanus; Aug. 7 brings Douglas Richard Letson in to talk about Camelot; Aug. 20 offers Jill Levenson on Romeo And Juliet; and Sept. 10 promises Lynne Magnusson discussing Taming Of The Shrew..
As for Death Of A Salesman, Al Waxman, (of TV's "Cagney & Lacey" and "King of Kensington") reportedly has longed to play Willy. Surprisingly, this will be the first time on a Stratford stage for the prominent Canadian actor, who has compiled more than 1,000 radio, television, film and theatre credits. Currently he is directing Lost in Yonkers for the Atlantis Theatre. Waxman is also well known for his volunteer and philanthropic work, for which he was inducted into the Order of Ontario in September 1996.
Returning for her 23rd season at Stratford, Henry has received widespread acclaim as both a director and an actor. Earlier this year Henry was named a recipient of the Governor General's Performing Arts Award.
For information on the 1997 Stratford Festival, call 1-800-567-1600.