Romeo and Juliet, McAnuff's First Task as Stratford Artistic Director, Begins May 7

News   Romeo and Juliet, McAnuff's First Task as Stratford Artistic Director, Begins May 7
Romeo and Juliet, Tony Award winner Des McAnuff's first production as artistic director at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, begins May 7 at the Ontario festival's flagship space — the Festival Theatre.
Romeo and Juliet's Nikki M. James and Gareth Potter.
Romeo and Juliet's Nikki M. James and Gareth Potter. Photo by David Hou

Romeo is played by Gareth Potter, who has been with the Festival since he was selected as a member of the Birmingham Conservatory for Classical Theatre in 2003.

Nikki M. James makes her Stratford debut as Juliet. James starred in McAnuff’s production of The Wiz at the La Jolla Playhouse, winning the San Diego Critics Circle Award for Best Actress.

McAnuff said in production notes, "There are scenic elements that you will not have seen before on the Festival stage. However, we are very true to the principles of [Stratford founding designer] Tanya Moiseiwitsch's and Shakespeare’s stage. The spatial relationships are very similar."

Set designer Heidi Ettinger (Broadway's The Secret Garden and more) "helped bring McAnuff's vision to life by incorporating the classic 'enter above' employed by Shakespeare's stage and by Moiseiwitsch in her now iconic design of the Festival's thrust stage," according to notes.

"We also introduced some of the heat and color of ancient Verona in a way we hope will make the play feel immediate, vivid and contemporary to the Festival audience," Ettinger stated. Romeo and Juliet opens May 26 and plays in repertory until Nov. 8.

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The Romeo and Juliet company includes Dalal Badr as Balthazar, Wayne Best as Escalus, Prince of Verona, Evan Buliung as Mercutio, David Collins as An Apothecary, Jon de Leon as Second Musician, Aidan deSalaiz as Page to Mercutio, Peter Donaldson as Friar Laurence, Paul Dunn as Peter, Jesse Aaron Dwyre as Gregory, Alana Hawley as Page to Paris, Melanie Keller as Margery Marchpane, Ian Lake as Potpan, Roy Lewis as Montague, Gordon S. Miller as Benvolio, Michelle Monteith as Third Musician, Azeem Nathoo as Anthony, Trent Pardy as Samson, Lucy Peacock as Nurse to Juliet, Irene Poole as Montague's Wife, André Sills as Abraham, Chief Watchman, Stacie Steadman as Apothecary's Wife, Timothy D. Stickney as Tybalt Steven Sutcliffe as County Paris, Brian Tree as Old Capulet, Friar John, First Musician, John Vickery as Capulet and Sophia Walker as Capulet's Wife.

The creative team also includes Paul Tazewell (costume designer), Robert Thomson (lighting designer), Michael Roth (composer), Todd Charlton (sound designer), Robert Blacker (dramaturge), Steve Rankin (fight director), Kelly Devine (choreographer), Tracey Flye (movement), Brian Scott (stage manager), Margaret Palmer (production stage manager).

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