CRAZY FOR YOU Begins Previews Tonight at Stratford Festival, Kicks Off 2014 Season

CRAZY FOR YOU Begins Previews Tonight at Stratford Festival, Kicks Off 2014 Season

Fresh from her triumph with last season's hit musical, Fiddler on the Roof, acclaimed director and choreographer Donna Feore returns for her 20th Festival season with an exciting new production of Crazy for You specially conceived for the Festival Theatre's thrust stage. The new Gershwin musical begins previews tonight, April 21, marking the first performance of the 2014 season.

Ms Feore, the force behind a growing list of hit musicals at the Festival, including You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown, Oklahoma! and Oliver!, has taken a completely fresh approach to Crazy for You, creating an entirely new production with its own unique staging and choreography. The show boasts more than 14 spectacular song-and-dance numbers featuring a broad range of styles, including jazz, Charleston, lindy hop, cancan and even the early stages of jitterbug.

"Not a single day has passed since I began work on the show that I have not heard something new in Gershwin's extraordinary music," says Ms Feore. "The complexity of his score inspired me to explore equally demanding styles of dance. I've based the choreography on the most exhilarating dance styles of the period. Gershwin loved hanging out at the Savoy Ballroom in the late twenties, and I'm certain that while there he was dazzled by the Charleston and the original swing dance - the lindy hop - a dance that was hot, wild and not a little dangerous."

Crazy for You tells the story of Bobby Child who is sent to Deadrock, Nevada, to foreclose on a derelict theatre but unexpectedly falls for its owner's daughter, Polly Baker. The high-energy comedy and romance are further elevated by the dazzling score packed with beloved Gershwin songs, including "I Got Rhythm," "Nice Work if You Can Get It," "They Can't Take That Away From Me" and "Someone to Watch Over Me."

Celebrating the joyous insanity of the bumpy road to love, Crazy for You is a lighthearted choice within the season's overall theme of Madness: Minds Pushed to the Edge.

"Crazy for You promises to be a masterpiece in every sense of the word: a song-and-dance spectacle with stunning dance routines, exquisite staging and costumes, and of course, the powerful force of the Gershwins' timeless music," says Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino. "Revamping the show especially for our stage, as Donna has so brilliantly done, brings the most spectacular dancers in the country up close and personal with our audiences, giving them an experience they can't find anywhere else in quite the same way."

The production features two Stratford newcomers: Josh Franklin as Bobby Child and Natalie Daradich as Polly Baker. Festival favourite Tom Rooney will play Broadway impresario Bela Zangler.

The cast also features Lally Cadeau as Mrs. Lottie Child, Shane Carty as Lank Hawkins, Keith Dinicol as Everett Baker, Robin Hutton as Irene Roth, Monique Lund as Patricia Fodor, Marcus Nance as Mingo, Stephen Patterson as Sam, Steve Ross as Moose and Shawn Wright as Eugene Fodor.

Artistic credits include Musical Director Shelley Hanson, Designer Debra Hanson, Lighting Designer Paul Miller, Sound Designer Peter McBoyle and Fight Director John Stead.

"The excitement of rediscovering these dances, these songs and Crazy for You's particular brand of screwball comedy has inspired our exceptional company to push themselves to the edge of madness," says Ms Feore. "I am blessed, thrilled and delighted to have found these most remarkably talented artists with whom to collaborate."

With music and lyrics by George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin, and book by Ken Ludwig, Crazy for You was co-conceived by Ken Ludwig and Mike Ockrent. The musical was inspired by material by Guy Bolton and John McGowan, and originally produced on Broadway by Roger Horchow and Elizabeth Williams.

Crazy for You Forum Highlights

The Stratford Festival Forum is a series of activities and events, including concerts, debates, talks, comedy and interactive presentations, that offer theatregoers a unique opportunity to delve further into the ideas and issues raised by the 2014 playbill and its theme of Madness: Minds Pushed to the Edge.

Themes related to Crazy for You will be explored through several Forum events, including: Song and Dance, in which company members teach a fun number from the show; The Mind and Music of George Gershwin, a lecture-performance by Juilliard-trained concert pianist and Harvard-educated psychiatrist Richard Kogan; and Creating Crazy for You, an interview with Ken Ludwig by CBC Radio producer Robert Harris. Mr. Ludwig will also present How To Teach Your Children Shakespeare, in which he shares the method he used to instil an understanding and a love of Shakespeare's plays in his own children.

Stratford Direct, the daily return private bus service, now offers two routes: Toronto to Stratford and Detroit to Stratford. The Toronto bus costs $20 round trip, departing once daily from May 3 to 24 and September 23 to October 12, and twice daily between May 26 and September 21.The Detroit bus costs $40 round trip, with Tuesday, Friday and Saturday departures from June 3 to September 28. Both routes run on performance days only.

CAST (in alphabetical order):

Jimmy................................................. Matt Alfano

Junior.................................................. Matthew Armet

Susie................................................... Carla Bennett

Mrs. Lottie Child.................................... Lally Cadeau

Lank Hawkins....................................... Shane Carty

Wyatt.................................................. Stephen Cota

Polly Baker........................................... Natalie Daradich

Everett Baker......................................... Keith Dinicol

Margie................................................ Marisa Falcone

Bobby Child ............................................. Josh Franklin

Pete.................................................... Sean Alexander Hauk

Patsy................................................... Alexandra Herzog

Irene Roth............................................. Robin Hutton

Tess................................................... Kayla James

Swing.................................................. Galen Johnson

Betsy.................................................. Bonnie Jordan

Swing................................................. Bethany Kovarik

Patricia Fodor....................................... Monique Lund

Elaine................................................. Ayrin Mackie

Slim, the bass player................................ Michael McClennan

Billy................................................... Chad McFadden

Louise................................................. Natalie Moore

Mingo................................................. Marcus Nance

Perkins, Custus....................................... Cory O'Brien

Sam.................................................... Stephen Patterson

Mitzi.................................................... Kimberley Rampersad

Bela Zangler.......................................... Tom Rooney

Moose.................................................. Steve Ross

Clem................................................... Jason Sermonia

Harry................................................... Mike Tracz

Sheila................................................... Breanna Willis

Eugene Fodor......................................... Shawn Wright

CREATIVE TEAM:

Director and Choreographer........................ Donna Feore

Musical Director....................................... Shelley Hanson

Designer............................................... Debra Hanson

Lighting Designer.................................... Paul Miller

Sound Designer....................................... Peter McBoyle

Fight Director......................................... John Stead

Producer............................................... David Auster

Casting Director...................................... Beth Russell

Creative Planning Director......................... Jason Miller

Associate Choreographer, Tap Vocabulary....... Kerry Gage

Associate Musical Director........................ Marilyn Dallman

Associate Fight Director........................... Geoff Scovell

Assistant Director................................... Ann Baggley

Assistant Set Designer.............................. Devon Bhim

Assistant Costume Designer....................... Jenna McCutchen

Assistant Lighting Designers...................... Kaileigh Krysztofiak, Tristan Tidswell

Assistant Sound Designer.......................... William Fallon

Dance Captain....................................... Stephen Cota

Fight Captain........................................ Matt Alfano

Stage Manager....................................... Cynthia Toushan

Assistant Stage Managers.......................... Krista Blackwood, Angela Marshall, Zeph Williams

Production Assistant................................ Jocelyn McDowell

Production Stage Managers........................ Margaret Palmer, Cynthia Toushan

Technical Director.................................. Jeff Scollon

Pictured: Natalie Daradich and Josh Franklin. Photography by Don Dixon and David Hou.

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