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Stratford Festival Premieres New Cabaret Series This Thursday

These concerts will roll out in the coming weeks on Stratfest@Home.

As winter descends and the pandemic continues, the Stratford Festival offers up some heartwarming new content to entertain and inspire as we await the days when we will be able to gather in theatres again.

Up Close and Musical, a series of nine intimate cabarets featuring some of the Festival's greatest musical performers, takes you back inside the Festival Theatre for the first time since the pandemic cancelled performances last spring.

Filled with emotion, love and laughter, these intimate cabarets feature songs from musical theatre greats and beloved songwriters - from standards to recent compositions. Each artist takes you on a personal journey inspired by and transcending these days of pandemic.

Featuring (in order of release) Marcus Nance, Robert Markus, Alexis Gordon, Cynthia Dale, Robert Ball, Chilina Kennedy, Kimberly-Ann Truong, Vanessa Sears and Dan Chameroy, Up Close and Musical was conceived and directed by Richard Ouzounian, with music director Franklin Brasz, lighting designer Lorenzo Savoini, sound recording and mixing engineer Thomas Ryder Payne and associate director Thom Allison.

"I can't tell you how moved I was, when I watched these wonderful concerts, to see the beautiful Festival stage in use once more," says Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino. "It has stood empty for far too many months now. To have these incredible artists fill that auditorium with life and music gives me hope for the future, which can feel so far away."

These concerts will roll out in the coming weeks on Stratfest@Home, the Festival's $10-a-month subscription service, which offers a rich mine of theatrical content, including new and legacy films, documentaries and conversations, and original new content. They will also be available for free viewing at weekly Thursday night watch parties on the Festival's YouTube Channel, beginning on January 28.

Up Close and Musical was captured in the fall under strict Covid guidelines in the Festival Theatre.

"This series, like our other new content, has helped us to employ people at a time when we are not able to have our theatres open," says Executive Director Anita Gaffney. "We have been extremely encouraged by the public response to Stratfest@Home and are pleased to be able to offer some new entertainment options for people as we all do our part to follow government advice to stay home to curb the spread of the virus."

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