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Friday, May 24, 2013

The swashbuckling adventure The Three Musketeers starts previews at Stratford Festival

  May 23, 2013… Vowing eternal comradeship – “All for one, one for all” – the cadet D’Artagnan and his new friends Athos, Porthos and Aramis, three legendary swordsmen, embark on a whirlwind adventure in The Three Musketeers, which began previews at the Festival Theatre this past weekend.

A Schulich Children’s Plays presentation, The Three Musketeers is based on Alexandre Dumas’s classic adventure novel, adapted by Peter Raby specifically for the Festival stage. This is the fourth time this enduring family favourite has been staged at Stratford since its première in 1968.


A flamboyant tale of romance and heroism, Dumas’s story follows the adventurous youth D’Artagnan as he sets off for Paris and joins forces with the famous Musketeers to protect Louis XIII from the villainous Cardinal Richelieu and his accomplice Milady de Winter. When the Musketeers are sent to London to retrieve some incriminating diamonds that Queen Anne has given to the Duke of Buckingham, D’Artagnan finds himself becoming Milady’s prey – in more ways than one.

This season’s production is directed by Miles Potter, whose outstanding career in Canadian theatre spans more than 35 years, including such highly lauded Stratford productions as Richard III, Medea and Orpheus Descending.

“It’s a play about loyalty as well as betrayal; it’s about courage as well as conflict,” says Mr. Potter. “I hope this version will have something for all ages: colour and flash for the younger ones, a little moral complexity for the adults and, of course, for everyone – swordfights!”

Weaving together timeless themes of thwarted love, cultural belonging and the tensions between church and state, this is a production that works particularly well within the current Festival season, with its overall theme of community.

The Three Musketeers is a great sweeping romance, but also a powerful story about politics and society,” says Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino. “It’s a true feast for the eyes: a constant whirl of intrigue, bravado and white-knuckle fight scenes. Of course, it is especially meaningful to see this all play out on our very own thrust stage, for which this adaptation was specifically created. For audiences, it will be an experience that they can’t find anywhere else in quite the same way.”

The title characters will be played by Graham Abbey as Athos, Jonathan Goad as Porthos and Mike Shara as Aramis, with Luke Humphrey as D’Artagnan. The cast also features Michael Blake as The Comte de Rochefort, Skye Brandon as The Duke of Buckingham, Nehassaiu deGannes as Anne of Austria, Deborah Hay as Milady de Winter, Bethany Jillard as Constance Bonacieux and Steven Sutcliffe as Cardinal Richelieu.

The artistic team features Fight Director John Stead, Set Designer Douglas Paraschuk, Costume Designer Gillian Gallow, Lighting Designer Michael Walton, Composer Leslie Arden, Sound Designer Peter McBoyle and Movement Coach Shona Morris.

The Three Musketeers Forum Highlights

The Forum, the new festival within the Festival, is a series of activities and events designed to make a visit to Stratford an immersive, all-encompassing cultural experience. Through debates, talks, concerts, comedy nights, hands-on workshops and more, The Forum will offer theatregoers more ways to discover and examine the themes running through this season’s productions.

The Three Musketeers will be explored through several Forum events, including: All for Fun and Fun for All, an interactive, fun-filled workshop for 10-to 12-year-olds introducing the basics of swordplay; Star Talks, in which Toronto Star theatre critic Richard Ouzounian interviews the stars of the production; and Talking Theatre: The Dynamics of Marriage, in which Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino and Education Consultant Pat
Quigley lead a discussion on the views of marriage embodied in The Three Musketeers, Blithe Spirit, Romeo and Juliet and Othello.

Support for the inaugural season of The Forum is generously provided by Kelly and Michael Meighen and the Province of Ontario, in partnership with the University of Waterloo, with media sponsorship provided by The Walrus. Support for the Speakers Series is generously provided in memory of Dr. W. Philip Hayman.

The Three Musketeers officially opens on June 1 and runs until October 19. For tickets, contact the box office at 1.800.567.1600 or visit www.stratfordfestival.ca.

Stratford Direct, the new daily return private bus service between Toronto and Stratford, began May 1. Departing once daily from May 1 to 25 and October 1 to 20 and twice daily from May 27 to September 29 (on performance days only), the round trip costs only $20.

Support for Stratford Direct is generously provided by The Peter Cundill Foundation.

The Stratford Festival’s 2013 season runs until October 20, featuring Romeo and Juliet, Fiddler on the Roof; The Three Musketeers, The Merchant of Venice, Tommy, Blithe Spirit, Othello, Measure for Measure, Mary Stuart, Waiting for Godot, Taking Shakespeare and The Thrill, along with more than 150 events at The Forum.

Cast (in alphabetical order)
Athos…………………………………………...       Graham Abbey
Patrick…………………………………………..       Karl Ang
Lord de Winter………………………………....       Wayne Best
Kitty……………………………………………        Shauna Black
The Comte de Rochefort………………………        Michael Blake
The Duke of Buckingham……………………..         Skye Brandon
Bicarat…………………………………………         Daniel Briere
The Abbess….…………………………………        Lally Cadeau
Cardinal Guard.………………………………..        Tyrell Crews
Anne of Austria………………………………..        Nehassaiu deGannes
Ensemble………………………………………         Shawn DeSouza-Coelho
Louis XIII……………………………………..         Keith Dinicol
Ensemble………………………………………         Thompson Duff
M. de Treville……..……………………………        Victor Ertmanis
Doña Estefania…………….…………………..        Sara Farb
Porthos…………………………………………        Jonathan Goad
Milady de Winter………………………………        Deborah Hay
D’Artagnan…………………………………….        Luke Humphrey
Constance Bonacieux………………………….        Bethany Jillard
Mr. O’Reilley………………………………….         Robert King
The Shoulder of Mutton Inkeeper….………….        Andrew Lawrie
The Executioner……………………………….         Roy Lewis
M. la Porte……………………………………..        Tim MacDonald
Earl of Ormsby………………………………...        Ron Pederson
Ensemble……..………………………………..         Cal Potter
Lt. John Felton…………………..…………….         Gareth Potter
M. Bonacieux………….………………………         Anand Rajaram
Grimaud……………………………………….         Andrew Robinson
Mme. Coquenard……………………………...         Sabryn Rock
Jussac………………………………………….         Tyrone Savage
Aramis…………………………………………         Mike Shara
Cardinal Richelieu…………………………….         Steven Sutcliffe
Ensemble………………………………………         Reid Vanier
Mme. de Chevreuse…………………………..          Sophia Walker
Planchet……………………………………….         Antoine Yared

Artistic Credits
Director………………………………………..         Miles Potter
Fight Director………………………………….        John Stead
Set Designer……………………………………        Douglas Paraschuk
Costume Designer……………………………..         Gillian Gallow
Lighting Designer……………………………..         Michael Walton
Composer……………………………………...         Leslie Arden
Sound Designer………………………………..        Peter McBoyle
Movement……………………………………..         Shona Morris
Producer……………………………………….         David Auster
Casting Director……………………………….         Beth Russell
Creative Planning Director……………………         Jason Miller
Associate Fight Director………………………         Geoff Scovell
Assistant Director……………………………..         Kevin Bennett
Assistant Set Designer………………………...         Brandon Kleiman
Assistant Costume Designer…………………..         Jennifer Goodman
Assistant Lighting Designer…………………...        Sean Poole
Assistant Fight Directors………………………        Anita Nittoly, Kostas Tourlentes
Fight Captain………………………………….         Wayne Best
Movement Captain…………………………….        Bethany Jillard
Stage Manager…………………………………        Maxwell T. Wilson
Assistant Stage Managers……………………...        Angela Marshall, Zeph Williams
Apprentice Stage Manager…………………….        Stephanie Meine
Production Assistant…………………………..         Linsey Callaghan
Production Stage Manager…………………….        Margaret Palmer
Technical Director…………………………….          Jeff Scollon

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