Photo Flash: DOUBT, A Parable At Canadian Stage Company

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The Canadian Stage Company wraps its 2008.2009 season with Doubt, a parable, the award-winning play that's taken North America by storm. The production stars Canadian theatre icons Seana McKenna (Canadian Stage's The Clean House, Wit) and David Storch (Canadian Stage's Frost/Nixon and director of Palace of the End), and is helmed by renowned director Marti Maraden (Canadian Stage's Trying). The production runs from through May 30, 2009 (media night: May 7) at the Bluma Appel Theatre, 27 Front Street East. For tickets and information, contact 416-368-3110 or canstage.com.

Doubt, a parable has been heralded by critics as the most powerful theatrical event of the decade. It is the recipient of the 2005 Pulitzer Prize and Tony, Drama Desk, New York Drama Critics' Circle, Outer Critics Circle and Obie Awards. This Broadway and West End sensation took critics by storm. It was voted Best Play of the Year by over ten major U.S. newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Time Magazine. The play premiered at the Manhattan Theatre Club, New York in 2004. Doubt was made into a feature film in 2008, directed by playwright and screenwriter John Patrick Shanley, starring Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams and Viola Davis. The film received five Academy Award nominations: one for Best Writing, and one for each of the four stars.

Doubt, a parable is currently the most celebrated play in the country. The topical play has been produced from coast-to-coast this season, including Arts Club Theatre (Vancouver), Citadel Theatre (Edmonton), Theatre Calgary, Globe Theatre (Regina), Manitoba Theatre Centre (Winnipeg), Centaur Theatre (Montreal), Neptune Theatre (Halifax) and The Canadian Stage Company.

Set in a Bronx Catholic school in 1964, Doubt, a parable is a gripping, suspense-filled tug-of-war between a popular priest and a strong-minded nun who suspects her colleague of improper conduct with a new student. The controversial play dramatizes issues ripped from today's headlines and tackles themes of religion, morality and authority with knowing detail and a judicious eye.

Written by John Patrick Shanley, Doubt, a parable stars Seana McKenna, David Storch, Daniela Vlaskalic and Raven Dauda, and is directed by Marti Maraden. Set Design by John Lee Beatty, Costume and Additional Prop Design by Charlotte Dean, Lighting Design by Louise Guinand and Sound Consultation by Peter McBoyle. Nancy Dryden is Stage Manager and Janet Gregor is Assistant Stage Manager.

Bronx, NY native John Patrick Shanley is renowned for his impressive Broadway debut: the multi-award-winning play Doubt, a parable, which was also made into a major motion picture with Shanley as screenwriter and director. He has been writing for the theatre since 1978, and made his London debut in 1984 with Danny and the Deep Blue Sea. His big break came in 1987 when he won the Academy Award and Writer's Guild of America Award for Best Original Screenplay for Moonstruck. He made his cinematic directorial debut in the 1990 Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan film Joe Versus the Volcano, for which he also wrote the screenplay. Other screenwriting credits include Five Corners (1987 Special Jury Prize, Barcelona Film Festival), Alive (1993) and Congo (1995). He is also author of the teleplays Danny i Roberta (1993) and Live from Baghdad (2002). Other playwriting credits include Savage in Limbo, The Dreamer Examines His Pillow, Italian American Reconciliation, Four Dogs and a Bone, Beggars in the House of Plenty, Psychopathia Sexualis, Cellini, Where's My Money?, Dirty Story, and Defiance.

Marti Maraden is a celebrated classical and Contemporary Theatre director and a champion of Canadian work. She has directed for various stages in North America, including The Canadian Stage Company, Stratford (17 seasons), the Shaw Festival, the Manitoba Theatre Centre, the Saidye Bronfman Centre for the Arts and Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Memorable productions include The Merchant of Venice (Stratford, 1996) and Elliott Hayes's Homeward Bound (Stratford, 1991; Canadian Stage, 1994), which went on to stages across the continent. She has directed numerous plays for Canadian Stage, including Trying (2005) and most recently staging a workshop production of Joanna McClelland-Glass's new play Mrs. Dexter and Her Daily for the 2007 Raw!Raw!Raw! Festival of New Plays. Maraden was co-artistic director of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival 2008 season, artistic director of English Theatre at the National Arts Centre (NAC) from 1997-2005, and was also one of the driving forces behind the Magnetic North Theatre Festival, the first-ever national festival dedicated to Canadian work. Maraden will next be directing the world premiere of Mrs. Dexter and Her Daily (Arts Club Theatre, NAC English Theatre). About joining the Canadian Stage 2008.2009 season Maraden says, "I am very happy to return to my long partnership as a director with Canadian Stage to do this remarkable and thought-provoking play."

Seana McKenna is a three-time Dora Award-winner (acting in Orpheus Descending and Saint Joan; directing Valley Song), a Jessie Award-winner (Wit for Vancouver Playhouse/Canadian Stage), Genie Award-winner (The Hanging Garden) and an unsolicited Tyrone Guthrie Award-winner. McKenna starred in The Canadian Stage Company's production of The Clean House in the 2007.2008 season and has starred in the Canadian Stage productions of Lucy, Boy Gets Girl, Wit, Odd Jobs, The Show-Off, Benefactors and The Road to Mecca. A 17-year veteran of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, she most recently appeared in the Festival productions The Trojan Women and Fuente Ovejuna. Other stage credits include A Streetcar Named Desire, Born Yesterday, Dancing at Lughnasa, Hedda Gabler, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (MTC); Candida, Pygmalion (Shaw); Vincent in Brixton (Vancouver Playhouse); Boston Marriage (Merrimack Rep, Massachusetts). She has also performed at Tarragon, Theatre Passe Muraille, TNB, Blyth, The Neptune, The Grand and The National Arts Centre. TV credits include the BBC mini-series Burn Up, CTV's The Eleventh Hour, HBO's Handel's Last Chance and CBC TV's Opening Night and Margie Gillis: Wild Hearts in Strange Times. Next, she will play the lead roles in Phèdre (Stratford Shakespeare Festival & American Conservatory Theater) and The Year of Magical Thinking (Belfry).

David Storch is an award-winning, 20-year veteran of the stage. He has had a successful and varied career as an actor, director and teacher. A graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada, he has worked with companies across the country, including the Belfry Theatre, Citadel Theatre, Manitoba Theatre Centre, Stratford Festival, Soulpepper Theatre Company, National Arts Centre and Neptune Theatre. He was Artistic Associate at the Vancouver Playhouse from 1997-1999 and has taught at the National Theatre School, George Brown College and Dalhousie University. His affiliation with Canadian Stage spans 19 seasons. He began as assistant director to Peter Hinton on The Comedy of Errors in 1989. He was an Associate Artist with the Company from 2004-2006, Artistic Consultant for the 2006.2007 season and Artistic Director for the 2007.2008 season. He has acted in many of the Company's productions, including Angels in America, The Lonesome West (for which he won a Dora Award), Amadeus, and Take Me Out, and directed Sunday Father, The Beard of Avon, Twelfth Night, Omnium Gatherum, Take Me Out (with Morris Panych), A Number, most recently starring as David Frost in Frost/Nixon. He also directed The Canadian Stage Company's 2007.2008 season productions of Palace of the End and Misery.

Nationally and internationally acclaimed, The Canadian Stage Company is Canada's leading not-for-profit Contemporary Theatre company. Founded in 1987 with the merger of CentreStage and Toronto Free Theatre, the Company is dedicated to programming international Contemporary Theatre and to developing and producing landmark Canadian works which have been awarded some of the country's most prestigious literary and performing arts honours, including the Governor General's, Chalmers and Dora Mavor Moore Awards. The Company presents the richest variety of Canadian and international plays and musicals - from edgy and provocative work at the Berkeley Street Theatre to productions with universal appeal at the Bluma Appel Theatre and a summer of Shakespeare at the Canadian Stage TD Dream in High Park. Canadian Stage has a long-standing commitment to education and enhancement programs for the public, nurturing theatre professionals, and developing new Canadian plays, while producing thought-provoking theatre and quality entertainment in Toronto, one of North America's largest theatre centres. For more information, refer to canstage.com.

DATES:

May 4-6 Previews

May 7 Opening Night

May 30 Closing Night

SCHEDULE: Monday-Saturday at 8 p.m.; matinees Wednesday 1:30 p.m. and Saturday 2 p.m.

LOCATION: Canadian Stage - Bluma Appel Theatre, 27 Front Street East

TICKETS: From $20. Available online at canstage.com; by phone 416.368.3110; and in-person at Berkeley Street Theatre, 26 Berkeley St., or Bluma Appel Theatre, 27 Front St. E., Toronto.

RUSH SEATS: Available for any performance at 50% off the regular ticket price. Tickets are subject to availability and must be purchased in person at the box office one hour prior to show time.

PAY-WHAT-YOU-CAN: For Monday-night performances only. Subject to availability. Must be purchased in person at our Customer Service Centres beginning at 10 a.m. on the day of performance.

cheapTHRILLS Youth Access Pass: Individuals aged 24-and-under are eligible to purchase a cheapTHRILLS pass for $15 and enjoy impressive savings on tickets - only $5 - for any performance. Prices include all service charges.

GROUPS OF 10+ SAVE: Contact Christina Hotz, Group Sales Manager at 416.367.8243 x266 or chotz@canstage.com

TALK BACKS: Informal question-and-answer periods provide a chance to meet the artists following a performance at the theatre. After every Tuesday evening and Wednesday matinee show, excluding previews. No registration required.

THEATRE CLUB: Free. Structured like a book club with an opportunity to discuss the play and the Canadian Stage Reads book selection. Saturday, May 30 at 10:30 a.m. at Nicolas Hoare Books, 45 Front St. E. Registration required theatreclub@canstage.com.

FOR MORE INFO: CANSTAGE.COM

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