Stratford, Ontario - Travel to Stratford this summer, and you can take a tour focused exclusively on Justin Bieber, who was raised here.You can hear the organist who played at the recent English royal wedding as part of a five-week music festival that covers the waterfront, from Evensong to Brazilian choro.Mc Anuff makes clear at play's end that the victories these jesters may enjoy over Malvolio - the prim and proper clock-puncher who foreshadows our own equally humorless and regimented world - won't last.It's a chilling conclusion to a production that - without more - is itself worth the road trip from Milwaukee. Director Gary Griffin, who has been knocking it out of the park in Chicago for a long time, gives us a "Camelot" that focuses on the meaning of marriage, helping us remember that there is more to this chestnut than Frederick Loewe's score.The 26th annual edition opened with a sequined and sparkly send-up of the plethora of religious-themed shows suddenly appearing on Broadway, mixed with a friendly poke at television’s behind-the-scenes hit .The number was directed and choreographed by Rommy Sandhu, with music direction and arrangements by Ben Cohn.
Canadian playwright John Mighton's "The Little Years" tells the story of such an undervalued woman, while also profiling her mother, sister-in-law and niece.You can choose among many fine restaurants, often helmed by chefs from Stratford's own cooking school and emphasizing organic ingredients - par for the course from a town with a farmers market dating from 1855 as well as a Slow Food Market held each Sunday.And you can take a break from shopping in bookstores, art galleries and boutiques by people-watching in one of Stratford's pubs or cafes.It's all waiting for you, in a drive just a few hours longer than it takes to reach Bayfield.
*** Stratford, Ontario, is 525 miles from Milwaukee; the drive each way (including the border crossing, which requires a passport) took me just over nine hours.
In an appropriately understated performance that moved me to tears, Irene Poole played the lead, a math and science prodigy who never gets her chance, for reasons having nothing to do with her talent.