War Horse will officially open Feb. 28, 2012. The National Theatre of Great Britain, National Angels, Bob Boyett and David Mirvish produce the Toronto run. The all-Canadian cast begins rehearsals Dec. 19.
Tony Award-winning directors Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris will reunite with members of the original creative team to recreate the production for Canadian audiences. The epic drama incorporates life-size equestrian puppets to tell its tale of a young English boy and his horse at the dawn of WWI.
Newcomer Alex Furber will take on the role of Albert Narracott, who develops a strong bond with a young foal named Joey. Stratford Festival veteran Brad Rudy will play Ted Narracott, with Tamara Bernier-Evans (Mamma Mia!) as Rose Narracott, Richard McMillan (The Boys in the Photograph, The Lion King) as Arthur Narracott and Patrick Galligan (Shaw Festival's My Fair Lady) as Friedrich Muller.
The cast will also include Steven Yaffe as Billy Narracott, Melanie Doane as Song Person #1 and Tatjana Cornij as Song Person #2. The acting ensemble includes Neil Foster, Bruce Godfree, Ryan Hollyman, Cara Hunter, David Hurwitz, Araya Mengesha, Brendan Murray, Brian Paul, Geoffrey Pounsett, Dylan Roberts and Brendan Wall.
Also announced are the actor/puppeteers who manipulate the lifelike horses. Joey as a foal will be inhabited by Mairi Babb, Patrick Kwok-Choon and Rahnuma Panthaky. Joey and Topthorn, as adults, will be played by Christy Adamson, Brad Cook, Adam Cunningham, Caden Douglas, James Retter Duncan, Troy Feldman, Bryan Hindle, Grant Landry, Ryan Reid, Sean Robertson, Brendan Rowland and Dayna Tietzen. Based on Michael Morpurgo's 1982 children's novel, War Horse premiered in London in 2007 and officially opened on Broadway April 14 at the Vivian Beaumont Theater. Lincoln Center Theater aligned with the National Theatre of Great Britain and producer Boy Boyett to import the acclaimed drama. It continues to play a celebrated West End run. The Broadway production earned five 2011 Tony Awards, including Best Play and Best Direction.
The production features costumes and drawings by Rae Smith and original puppet design and construction by Adrian Kohler, lighting by Paule Constable, and movement and horse choreography by Toby Sedgwick. The puppetry directors are Basil Jones and Adrian Kohler; video designers are Leo Warner and Mark Grimmer; and songs are by John Tams. War Horse has music by Adrian Sutton and sound by Christopher Shutt.
Here's how the creators bill the work: "England, 1914. As World War I begins, Joey, young Albert’s beloved horse, is sold to the cavalry and shipped to France. He’s soon caught up in enemy fire, and fate takes him on an extraordinary journey, serving on both sides before finding himself alone in No Man’s Land. But Albert cannot forget Joey and, though not old enough to enlist, he embarks on a treacherous mission to find his horse and bring him home."
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