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Stratford's next season to feature gender-swapped Shakespearean roles

October 17, 2017 - 1:43 PM

TORONTO - Stage stalwart Seana McKenna stars in a gender-bending production of "Julius Caesar" slated for the Stratford Festival's upcoming season, where several women will tackle some of William Shakespeare's greatest male roles.

The festival says McKenna stars as the tragic hero opposite two other women in traditionally male roles — Irene Poole as Cassius and Michelle Giroux as Mark Antony. Jonathan Goad plays Brutus in a show that runs July 31 to Oct. 27, 2018.

McKenna tackles the Roman classic after playing nearly all of Shakespeare's leading ladies, in addition to previously performing as Richard III and Jaques at Stratford. McKenna is also set to star as Lear in a production by the Groundling Theatre Company.

But Stratford's gender-swapping doesn't end there: actresses Beryl Bain and Jessica B. Hill will each play a twin accidentally separated at birth in "The Comedy of Errors."

Bain plays Dromio of Syracuse and Josue Laboucane plays identical sibling Dromio of Ephesus, while Hill plays Antipholus of Syracuse and Qasim Khan plays twin brother Antipholus of Ephesus. Directed by Keira Loughran, it runs May 15 to Oct. 14, 2018.

The announcements follow word that festival veteran Martha Henry will play Prospero in "The Tempest," directed by artistic director Antoni Cimolino and running May 10 to Oct. 26.

Tickets go on sale to members Nov. 12 and to the general public Jan. 5, 2018.

In other casting news, Andre Sills takes the title role in "Coriolanus," directed by Robert Lepage in his Stratford debut. It runs June 9 to Oct. 20.

Meanwhile, Daren A. Herbert makes his Stratford debut as Harold Hill in "The Music Man, while Danielle Wade, who won CBC-TV's "Over the Rainbow" reality show in 2012, makes her debut as Marion Paroo.

Also planned for the new season: "The Rocky Horror Show," "To Kill a Mockingbird," "An Ideal Husband" and "Long Day's Journey into Night."

News from © The Canadian Press, 2017
The Canadian Press

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