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Excitement high as Stratford Festival rehearsals start


Rehearsals for the 2024 season at the Stratford Festival got underway Monday as the cast and crew of Something Rotten! met for the first time.

“Today is like going to a casino and playing the slot machine, you don't quite know what you're going to get,” actor Dan Chameroy, who will play Nostradamus, says. “You're aiming for a jackpot but anything, anything that happens.”

The musical is set in renaissance London where two struggling playwrights, the Bottom brothers, are looking for a hit. That’s easier said than done, given their chief competition is William Shakespeare.

“It’s a historical fiction and we find ourselves in Shakespeare’s world and he’s written this little thing Romeo and Juliet, which, you know, he’s a rock star,” director and choreographer Donna Feore explains.

Despite the play featuring “the Bard,” Feore says Something Rotten! is definitely not Shakespeare.

“You do not have to know anything about Shakespeare to come and see the show. You don't have to know anything about musicals. What you have to do is come prepared to laugh,” she says.

Planning for the production began in 2022.

Cast gets first look at play

Playing Nigel Bottom, Henry Firmston is back in Stratford after last year’s extended run of Spamalot.

“That was only 10 weeks ago, and now here we are starting another ridiculous comedy,” Firmston says.

The cast and crew of "Something Rotten!" pose for a photo on the first day of rehearsals, Feb. 5, 2024. (Jeff Pickel/CTV Kitchener)

For Olivia Sinclair-Brisbane of London, Ont., it’s her second time on the Stratford stage.

“Walking in on the first big day like this sounds really exciting. Sometimes I get a bit nervous because I can be actually quite shy even though I perform on stage a lot,” she says.

With the first preview shows coming in April, the cast and crew needs to get to work quickly – turning a vision into a reality.

Review performances of Something Rotten! begin April 16. Opening night is May 28. The play will run until Oct. 27.

The full Stratford Festival 2024 line-up is available here. Top Stories

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