Friday, February 29, 2008

Shrew Webcast Archived

In the Wednesday Webcast for February 27, director Peter Hinton and Stratford Shakespeare Festival General Director Antoni Cimolino took viewers on a backstage tour of The Taming of the Shrew (2008) and answered questions as they were posed live by the online audience.

You can now watch (or re-watch) that webcast in the video archives.

Don’t have a half-hour at the moment? No worries. Here are a few highlights:

-- The Taming of the Shrew (2008) has been rehearsing for four weeks now, and is just moving into the Festival Theatre (where previews begin May 19);

-- Director Peter Hinton believes that both Katherina (Irene Poole) and Petruchio (Evan Buliung) fall in love with each other. Cimolino thinks the result is a "gentle, thoughtful approach"” to the controversial play;

-- In the scene during which Petruchio and Lucentio (Jeff Lillico) exchange identities, they will also be exchanging their clothes on stage. And, since the actors are different sizes, it will be both comic "and believable";

-- Hinton is planning on using the induction. Often ignored for drawing attention to the play within a play, Hinton enjoys the induction not only because it sets the tone of the piece, but because it is the single portion of the canon that takes place in Shakespeare’s London;

-- Queen Elizabeth I (Barbara Fulton), an important element of that present, will be making an appearance in the induction as the lord who devises to put on the play. Her costume is based on the Ermine Portrait, pictured below.
Peter Hinton, who is spearheading the production of Shakespeare’s Universe (Her Infinite Variety) (2008), also managed to give us a few concrete details about what it will involve – scenes and sonnets from Shakespeare, period dances and songs, poetry written by Queen Elizabeth I, and a very special swordfight for the women.

If you missed the casting announcement for Shakespeare’s Universe (Her Infinite Variety) (2008), details are available here.

Watch the entire webcast (or selected parts via the "Video Playlist" tab) for more talk on working at the Studio Theatre versus the Festival Theatre, how Lucy Peacock ended up in the role of Grumio, and some great visuals in the costume and props shops.

NEXT WEDNESDAY: Go behind the scenes of Romeo and Juliet (2008) with Antoni Cimolino and director Des McAnuff.

In the News: Michael Therriault

Those of us not in London will soon get a chance to see Michael Therriault.

A vetran of the then-Stratford Festival and graduate of the Birmingham Conservatory for Classical Theatre Training, Therriault left Toronto to film the CBC miniseries Prairie Giant: The Tommy Douglas Story (2006) in Saskatchewan, then hopped the pond to resurrect his role as Gollum in the West End production of The Lord of the Rings: The Musical (2007, London).

There isn't even rumour of his return yet, either to Toronto or to Stratford (it wouldn't be this season, anyway), so we will tide ourselves over with his appearance in Guy Vanderhaeghe's The Englishman's Boy (2008).

And this feature about it in the Toronto Star:

"Nicholas Campbell and Michael Therriault have been arguing for an hour.

"It's the same argument, endlessly repeated, with movie director John N. Smith looking on intently.

"Therriault, the stage actor who made his screen debut as Tommy Douglas in a CBC film in 2005, is back in Saskatchewan, playing a screenwriter on the trail of a good yarn. He's all sincerity and earnestness.

"Campbell, a craggy-faced film and TV veteran who still wears the cloak of Dominic Da Vinci, is an old cowboy with a terrible secret. He's all pugnacity and pigheadedness.

"'Don't go off half-cocked,' the Therriault character pleads.

"'If I went off half-cocked, you wouldn't be standing where you are,' the grizzled Campbell snarls back.

"It's very much a Da Vinci moment, recalling the combative style of the Vancouver coroner portrayed by Campbell through Da Vinci's Inquest and Da Vinci's City Hall.

"But the deserted, burnt-out ranch house and barren moonscape terrain of the Dirt Hills, an hour or so southwest of Regina, meant to be a ranch in the Hollywood Hills in the 1920s, are light years from Da Vinci's Vancouver.

"Campbell and Therriault [pictured below], along with British star Bob Hoskins, are headlining The Englishman's Boy, which was shot in Regina and area in 2006. The $11 million two-nighter airs Sunday and March 9 on CBC. It will be out on DVD on March 11.
"Scripted by Saskatoon writer Guy Vanderhaeghe from his novel, an international bestseller and Governor General's Award winner, the miniseries was directed by Smith, who did the Tommy Douglas film and a slew of other TV projects, including the multi-award-winning Boys of St. Vincent.

"The Englishman's Boy story unfolds in two interwoven strands: the first, in 1873, involves the infamous Cypress Hills Massacre, a pivotal moment in Western Canadian history. A young drifter known as the Englishman's boy (played by newcomer Michael Eisner) joins a band of wolf hunters tracking horse thieves, a hunt that leads to the slaughter of a group of Assiniboine Indians. The second part of the story takes place some 50 years later, with Campbell playing the grown-up 'boy,' a legendary cowboy actor called Shorty.

"Besides Hoskins, playing the Hollywood studio head obsessed with a vision of the True West, and Therriault, as the scriptwriter assigned to write Shorty's story, the film also stars veteran Canadian film and stage actor R.H. Thomson as the leader of the wolf hunters. Don McKellar also turns up in a small role as a Hollywood director.

"Besides the plum role in The Englishman's Boy, the 55-year-old Campbell has several other projects on the go, including some directing and production work. He has filmed The Quality of Life, in which he reprises his Da Vinci character, but the movie has yet to air.

"His colleague Therriault is busy too. The actor, a favourite of Toronto audiences, who ate him up in The Producers [2003] and as Gollum in The Lord of the Rings [2005], has had 'an amazing, amazing few years. It's been a whirlwind, really.'

"Immediately after wrapping up the Tommy Douglas film, he went to New York for a five-month run in a revival of Fiddler on the Roof [2004], then, a week later, he was in Toronto doing LOTR. After the show closed, he had 'just one day off and then I was here, shooting this. It's fantastic, an actor's dream.'"

Part one of The Englishman's Boy (2008) will air Sunday, March 2, at 8 PM on CBC.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

$20 Theatre TiXX

More details have been announced about the $20 tickets being made available this year in the Festival Theatre.

TiXX will be available through the Stratford Shakespeare Festival website and – and no place else.

All tickets will be designated through a lottery system, which means that you don’t know whether you’ll be sitting in section A, B, or C, until you’ve paid.

But for $20, you can’t go wrong.

You can see all five Festival Theatre shows – Romeo and Juliet (2008), Hamlet (2008), The Taming of the Shrew (2008), All’s Well That Ends Well (2008), and Caesar and Cleopatra (2008) – for the price of an A+ seat to a single performance.

TiXX will be sold in three blocks, starting on March 1, June 1, and August 1, respectively. At least 60 seats in each performance have been designated for the program.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Martha Henry on the Birmingham Conservatory

Auditions for the next batch of students for the Birmingham Conservatory for Classical Theatre Training end this Saturday, March 1 in Chicago. It is the only stop outside of Canada for actor and Conservatory Director Martha Henry, who talks to Robert Cushman in today's National Post:

"When Henry was approached, in the fall of 2006, to be [the Conservatory's] new principal, it was, she told me over drinks at a Toronto hotel, 'a complete surprise. In fact I said no. I didn't want to stop acting. But they told me that wasn't the idea.'

"'They,' in this case, were Antoni Cimolino, Stratford's new general director and Marti Maraden, one of its even newer triumvirate of artistic directors; the other two are Des McAnuff and Don Shipley, and the team launches its first season this spring.

"Henry is part of that season as an actress, with major roles in The Trojan Women [2008] and All's Well That Ends Well [2008]. The idea, plainly, is that she should lead by example as well as by precept and experience.

"'They insisted that I should continue to act: Not necessarily just at Stratford, they're not guaranteeing me years of work there.' (Though why would they ever want to let her go?)

"Henry has not, by her own account, had 'a lot of pedagogical experience,' though she has taught before: at the National Theatre School in Montreal (at which, back in 1960, she had herself been one of the first students), at the Tarragon Theatre in Toronto and at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pa. She was also the artistic director of the Grand Theatre in London, Ont., for several successful years, with a de facto role in the nurturing of actors if not their formal training.

"When she began to think about the Stratford offer she 'tried to look back and see how much of it had gone into my head and my bones. At the end of two weeks I thought, I could do that. And so far that's proved to be true.'

"'So far' means the greater part of one theatrical/academic year. Henry's steering of her first group, the class of 07/08 has been, according to Cimolino, a roaring success: 'She's opened all kinds of doors, built all kinds of bridges.' She says herself that 'my greatest value is that I've done everything you can do as an actor; I've done stupid things, I've made all the mistakes.' (She's also done a lot of things right, which I suspect her students may find equally inspiring.)

"The [C]onservatory runs a 20-week, six-day-a-week, course -- she hopes, next year, to expand it to 21 weeks -- divided into three terms. They come in September, and emerge in mid-February, having spent five months in the Tanya Moiseiwitsch Rehearsal Hall, named for Stratford's first great designer and situated in the theatre basement.

"It sounds gruelling, not least for its principal who by her own admission is not a naturally early riser: 'They go from 10 to six, alternating voice and movement every morning. I sit in on classes, and I meet with them every Sunday.' The current group spent their first term working with a variety of teachers, including people from the company; they were also exposed to such visiting luminaries as Olympia Dukakis .

"In their second term, David Latham -- Henry's predecessor as principal and now in charge of the expanding area of training within the main company -- worked with the students on Macbeth and taught them mask-work.

"'David,' says Henry [pictured above], 'teaches with enormous concentration on the depth in Shakespeare: what goes on underneath the text. I try to give them the skills to do that.' (This includes 'giving them yellow Post-it notes on diction.') In their third term, Henry has been working with them on Twelfth Night -- and finding new things in a text she thought she knew off by heart.

"The Conservatory started during former artistic director Richard Monette's regime; it was one of his most cherished projects, along with the Festival theatre studio. Some of our best young actors emerged from the Conservatory's earlier years: Michael Therriault, Jonathan Goad, Michelle Giroux, and others.

"Goad [who will prove his singing talents this season in The Music Man (2008)] and Therriault [who will appear in the two-part adaptation of The Englishman's Boy (2008), airing the next two Sundays on CBC] were already in the Festival company when they enrolled in the conservatory, and some other experienced actors have gone there; a notable example is Dan Chameroy, already a well-known performer in musicals who has painstakingly and rewardingly made himself over into a dramatic and character actor.

"For the most part, though, the conservatory in Monette's time enlisted, as Henry says, 'people fresh out of school.' The new emphasis is slightly different: 'The present directorate want actors capable of playing medium or big parts in the fairly new future. For that to happen, you need fewer people with more experience. Last year, from hundreds of applications, we took eight, not 12 (the previous customary intake). They mostly have two years in the professional theatre -- no more than that, before they develop bad habits.'

"Conservatory actors generally progress into the main company; the current batch have small roles in several of the coming season's shows and will have one of them, the perennially young play Love's Labour's Lost, more or less to themselves. 'If you bring in twelve people every year willy-nilly, you end up after five years with a lot of the company being inexperienced young people. The company begins to look semiprofessional.'

"'I've enjoyed,' Henry says, 'watching these kids evolve, trying to make sure that what we're doing for them is the most constructive use of them in the long run. I don't care if they're in pain in week four, but I do care about their well-being at the end of week 20.'

"By their well-being, she means 'their potential as actors. If they can absorb the Shakespearean text, they can do just about any text.' Nor, obviously, can they all be expected to spend their entire careers at Stratford.

"Henry herself hasn't, though she's been a powerful presence there ever since playing Miranda in The Tempest in 1962, fresh from her own training. "It's very important to me that the students come out of this being productive members of the society and the community; that they're proactive-- terrible word--in rehearsals or in the running of a theatre. I want artistic directors, in any theatre in the world, to be glad to have them. No theatre school can teach what the Conservatory can -- being exposed to designers, cutters, lighting designers, what it's like to make a wig, how to treat dressers and stage managers -- that's with the assumption that they already have a natural graciousness. I had to learn all this by hook or by crook. Nobody said to me 'this is the way you say hello to a wig.'

"After checking my notes on this, I phoned her to ask if I had made a mistake. Didn't she mean, how to say hello to a wigmaker? 'No,' she said firmly. 'I want them to know how to talk to a wig.'"

Renovations Under Way at the Discovery Centre

From Tori Sutton at the Stratford Gazette:

"Apprentices from the Ontario Masonry Training Centre have been hard at work since the start of January, putting a new limestone facade on the north wall and repointing brick on the east wall. Old fire exit doors on the north wall are also being replaced with windows.

"Discovery Centre board vice president and chair of property Andy Werner said the project will establish the north wall as the focal point of the building and its main entrance. 'This is to reorient the building toward the Festival,' he said, adding it made sense because the majority of pedestrian traffic is on that side of the building. 'Once we get this done, it will be the dramatic entrance to the building.'

"Two years ago, the fire escape was removed from the north wall and last year, new entrance doors were installed. The most recent work should be wrapped up in March, in time for the tourist season and the opening of the Festival’s Theatre Store, which will now be located on the first level of the Discovery Centre.

"The improvements will keep with the character of the building, said Werner. Marklevitz Architects have helped in planning the project, while Owen Sound Ledgerock Inc. donated $110,000 worth of limestone. Superior Propane has donated the propane to heat the enclosure in which the apprentices work. While the work is of obvious benefit to the building and the city, the apprentices also benefit from working on the historic project.

"'They need something to apply the teaching of these young apprentices so it gives them a spot to do that,' he said. 'One of the things they want to do is train masons so they realize what they have to do to work year round.'"

On Stratford Stage anticipates that the new Discovery Centre will be featured in one of the Wednesday Webcasts, as announced earlier today.

2008 Casting News

Director Peter Hinton will soon be featured in an archived Wednesday Webcast, during which he and Stratford Shakespeare Festival General Director Antoni Cimolino will discuss his plans for The Taming of the Shrew (2008).

In the meantime, there’s new casting news about Hinton’s grander undertaking (he’s the writer for this one, too): Shakespeare’s Universe: Her Infinite Variety (2008).

Matthew MacFadzean, Karen Robinson, Peggy Coffey, Michael Spencer-Davis, Laura Condlln, and Dayna Tekatch will be singing, dancing, dialoguing, and monologuing (and more!) on the stage of the new Festival Pavilion this season (July to September only; see sidebar).

Shakespeare’s Universe: Her Infinite Variety (2008) is designed to explore the role of women in Elizabethan England and Shakespeariana, especially the work included in the playbill.

Wednesday Webcasts to be Regular Feature

This time last month, we were gearing up for a live webcast with General Director Antoni Cimolino (the archived version is available here).

This time this month, we’re sorry there wasn’t a great deal of notice about the live webcast behind the scenes of Taming of the Shrew (2008) with Cimolino and director Peter Hinton.

It will be archived soon (we promise), but until then, please enjoy this good news: the Stratford Shakespeare Festival will feature a live webcast every Wednesday at 4:30 ET.

There are eight more webcasts until the season begins on April 23. Here’s what you can look forward to:

MARCH 5 – Behind the scenes of Romeo and Juliet (2008) with Antoni Cimolino and director Des McAnuff;

MARCH 12 – See the 76 trombones being used in The Music Man (2008) with an as-yet-unidentified host.

MARCH 19 – A sneak peek of Cabaret (2008);

MARCH 26 – Discussions (participation welcome) about classical theatre and why it is relevant – and necessary – to us today;

APRIL 2 – Guest actors (to be announced) will be featured in this webcast about Romeo and Juliet (2008);

APRIL 9 – A guided tour of the renovations at the Festival, most likely including the new Festival Theatre lobby and Discovery Centre gift shop (and perhaps the Festival Pavilion);

APRIL 16 – Hamlet (2008) gets a facelift, and you get an exclusive preview;

APRIL 23 – Promoting and discussing the uncommon works on the playbill, such as Emilia Galotti (2008) and Fuente Ovejuna (2008). The season begins with a matinee preview of Hamlet (2008)!

We’ll be bringing you updates (yes, about the mysterious guest actors) and details each week on Webcast Wednesday. Just look for the tag.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Ha'Penny Bridge Cancelled

When principle casting for the North American production of The Ha'Penny Bridge was announced late last month, there were rumours that it might end up on Broadway after a premiere in Toronto and a run in San Francisco.

That dream is no more.

In a press release yesterday, producer Garrett McGuckian declared that the show was being cancelled because it was not "commercially ready" for a May 16 opening, despite the fact that director Donna Feore and the rest of the creative team have been working on it for two years.

Richard Ouzounian reported that a discussion with McGuckian revealed the pull was more likely due to a lack of funds.

"We had been trying to create a big Broadway-style production," McGuckian told him, but it was too much for just two cities.

At press time, there were no estimations of what might fill the gap at the Princess of Wales Theatre between The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, which ends April 20, and The Sound of Music, which opens in October.

Mirvish Vice-President of Communications, John Karastamatis, however, assured Michael Posner that they would "find another terrific show for subscribers".

Meanwhile, the thirty-six (36) Canadians in the cast and creative team are now out of work.

"Our cancelling of this show has nothing to do with Donna Feore, whom we can't praise highly enough," said McGuckian.

In an interview from her Stratford home, Feore, who last directed Oklahoma! (2007) at the Festival, told Ouzounian that she is "saddened that the producers were unable to put together the venues that were required to make this a commercially viable show."

Rehearsals were slated to begin in five weeks' time, and would have included Kyle Blair, Keith Dinicol, Susan Henley, and Mary Ann McDonald.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

McKenna and Reid in their Clean House

Stratford vetrans Seana McKenna and Fiona Reid begin previews tomorrow for The Clean House at the Bluma Appel Theatre in Toronto.

In an interview with Richard Ouzounian, the girls talk about the play (by Sara Ruhl), their roles, the 1982 Shakespeare 3 company at Stratford in which they first met, and each offer some high praise for the other.

An excerpt:

Reid answers the question, What do you think the play is trying to say, ultimately?

"I think perhaps the play is asking its characters to stretch beyond what they perceive themselves to be capable of in their lives, to exceed their limitations and expectations and ultimately to act with compassion. The Clean House challenges the assumptions we make about ourselves and others."

McKenna answers the question, Do you feel your method of working on a role is different from hers?

"I would have to have a method to answer that question. Perhaps a director watching us could answer with accuracy. I do know that we are both hard workers and feel a great responsibility to the playwright. And we speak in shorthand when discussing a choice or a move or an intention. We know what the other is attempting, and can support each other quite effortlessly, often without words. We've got about 60 years experience between us, so that helps. (Fiona has more, of course.)"

Read the entire interview, in which they exchange questions.

In this season at Stratford, Seana McKenna will have roles in The Trojan Woman and Fuente Ovejuna; and Fiona Reid will appear as Eulalie Mackecknie Shinn in The Music Man.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Help Canadians in the West End

Join On Stratford Stage in supporting our Canadian shows (and one actor) abroad. Vote now for the 2008 London Theatregoers' Choice Theatre Awards.

Nominations are as follows.

For The Drowsy Chaperone (2007, London):

-- The Superbreak Best New Musical (book by Bob Martin and Don McKellar; music and lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison);
-- Best Actress in a Musical (Summer Strallen);
-- Best Supporting Actress in a Musical (Elaine Paige);
-- Best Choreographer (Casey Nicholaw).

For The Lord of the Rings: The Musical (2007, London):

-- The Superbreak Best New Musical (book and lyrics by Shaun McKenna and Matthew Warchus; music by AR Rahman, Varttina, and Christopher Nightingale);
-- Best Actor in a Musical (James Loye);
-- Best Supporting Actor in a Musical (Michael Therriault);
-- Best Supporting Actress in a Musical (Laura Michelle Kelly);
-- Best Set Designer (Rob Howell);
-- Best Choreographer (Peter Darling).

Noticably absent is Man in Chair Bob Martin, who was nominated yesterday for a Laurence Olivier Award for his delightful, unapologetic theatre addict.

On the flip side, we're thrilled to see a nod for Michael Therriault, who was neglected by the Olivier Awards.

Therriault was a darling of the first Birmingham Conservatory, and made a name for himself at the then-Stratford Festival of Canada with such classic roles as Ariel in The Tempest (1999) and Sir Andrew Aguecheek in Twelfth Night (2001).

His musical theatre credits include Motel the Tailor in Fiddler on the Roof (2000, Stratford; 2004, Broadway) and Leo Bloom in The Producers (2003, Toronto).

Vote now for Therriault at

Olivier Nominates Canadian Shows

Last night nominations were announced for the Laurence Olivier Awards, which celebrate the best in theatre, opera, and dance in London, England.

Canadian content this year accounts for a total of ten nominations, with five each for two shows.

For The Drowsy Chaperone (2007, London), the fantastic musical within a comedy:

-- Best New Musical (book by Bob Martin and Don McKellar; music and lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison);
-- Best Actor in a Musical (Bob Martin);
-- Best Actress in a Musical (Summer Strallen);
-- Best Theatre Choreographer (Casey Nicholaw);
-- Best Costume Design (Gregg Barnes).

For The Lord of the Rings: The Musical (2007, London), the highly technical financial disappointment that has found a better audience overseas:

-- Best New Musical (book and lyrics by Shaun McKenna and Matthew Warchus; music by AR Rahman, Varttina, and Christopher Nightingale);
-- Best Set Design (Rob Howell);
-- Best Costume Design (Rob Howell);
-- Best Lighting Design (Paul Pyant);
-- Best Sound Design (Simon Baker).

Winners will be announced March 9 in the West End, London.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Third Revival for Mirvish in 2008-2009

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (2008) will be flying in from across the pond for the 2008-2009 Mirvish Productions season.

This stage adaptation - the first ever of the Ian Fleming novel - is based on a book by Jeremy Sams, with music and lyrics by Richard Sherman and Robert Sherman.

Adrian Noble directed the premiere production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (2002) in London, England, which consisted of over 60 cast members and 10 dogs. Nobel will be directing a considerably smaller company in Hamlet (2008) this season at Stratford.

After three years at the London Palladium, Chitty Chitty (2005, tour) traveled Britain and spent a year on Broadway before landing in Singapore late last year.

The famous car itself even made it into the Guiness World Record books as the most expensive prop in the history of British theatre; it weighs 1.5 tonnes and actually flies!

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (2008) will open at the Canon Theatre in Toronto this November.

Previously announced in the 2008-2009 Mirvish season are The Boys in the Photograph (2008) and The Sound of Music (2008), the latter of which begins in October at the Princess of Wales Theatre.

CanStage Rattled by Shakeup, Star Reports

From the Toronto Star online:

"The Canadian Stage Company, which has a stated aim to create and produce the best in Canadian theatre, will not produce any Canadian work on its mainstage next season, industry sources say.

"The country’s largest regional theatre laid off up to a dozen people yesterday as part of a major restructuring effort in the face of ongoing financial and artistic problems.

"The news is likely to raise a few eyebrows from the federal, provincial and civic funding bodies that give CanStage roughly 18 per cent of its operating budget — significantly more than the 8 per cent for Soulpepper and 4 per cent for Stratford.

"The resignation of artistic director David Storch on Wednesday, it seems now, was just the tip of the iceberg and a sign that a lot more rough water is ahead.

"According to reliable industry sources the beleaguered company won’t be producing any shows of its own in its Berkeley St. venue next season, and will instead depend on three of the city’s major alternative theatres — Nightwood, Studio 180 and Necessary Angel — to provide productions for Canadian Stage.

"Artistic producer Martin Bragg would only respond with a 'no comment' when asked about that development, but representatives for both Studio 180 and Nightwood Theatre confirmed that they are 'in negotiations' with Canadian Stage for next season.

"Both Bragg and his general manager, David Abel, refused to discuss details of the downsizing, citing confidentiality agreements with the employees in question.

"A number of senior artistic and administrative staff, including long-time employees, dramaturge Iris Turcott, and director of audience development and education, Patty Jarvis, will no longer be working for the company, industry sources confirmed.

"Although Bragg insists that new play development — Turcott’s normal area of responsibility — will still be a source of focus for the organization, their immediate future doesn’t seem to indicate that.

"'No comment' was Bragg’s answer again when asked if there would be any Canadian works in the 2008-2009 mainstage season. The Star has learned that in all likelihood, there won’t be."

Continue reading.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Are You Next?

Canadian performers between the ages of 16 and 26 are invited to show off their singing, dancing, and acting talents at open call auditions for the unannounced second season of CBC's Triple Sensation.

After two initial rounds, contenders for the $150,000 scholarship for the performing arts will find themselves in front of the Marquee Panel.

If that sounds intimidating, it probably is.

On the Marquee Panel sit five well-known award-winning threats:

-- Actor CYNTHIA DALE, who has starred in such Stratford productions as My Fair Lady (2002) and South Pacific (2006), but will not be returning this season;

-- Producer GARTH DRABINSKY, who also created the show;

-- Composer MARVIN HAMLISCH, who, at age seven, was the youngest ever admitted to the Julliard School of Music;

-- Director ADRIAN NOBLE, who will be helming this season's production of Hamlet (2008) at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival;

-- Choreographer SERGIO TRUJILLO, whose credits at include West Side Story (1999, Stratford) , The Sound of Music (2001, Stratford), and Jersey Boys (2005, Broadway). Jersey Boys (2007, tour) was directed by Des McAnuff, one of three artistic directors at the Festival, and will be coming to Toronto audiences August 21, 2008, courtesy of Dancap Productions.

Last year, the the panel selected 17 year-old John-Michael Scapin as the winner of the scholarship, which allows him to attend any theatrical training institute in the world.

This year, it could be you. Look here for dates and details.