Steven Page musical, Hamlet reimagining set for Stratford Festival's 2020 season

STRATFORD, Ont. — The Stratford Festival in southwestern Ontario is looking to put a modern spin on the classics as it launches a new theatre venue for its 2020 season.

Two shows are drawing from the Bard's canon to tell new kinds of stories.

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"Hamlet-911," from notable theatre-makers Ann-Marie MacDonald and Alisa Palmer, is set to recast the tragedy of the Danish prince to touch on issues young people face today.

"An Undiscovered Shakespeare" is billed as 30 unique performances in which improvisers will dramatize an audience member's love story in iambic pentameter, a poetic rhythm used by Shakespeare.

The festival is also set to debut a new musical from former Barenaked Ladies singer Steven Page, playwright Daniel MacIvor and director Donna Feore about the highs and lows of a rock duo in "Here's What It Takes."

Other musical offerings include mountings of Broadway hits "Chicago" and "Monty Python's Spamalot."

Acclaimed actor Colm Feore, who is returning to the festival for his 18th season, will help unveil the Tom Patterson Theatre Centre with a tribute to the past.

Organizers say Feore will deliver the first words on the stage as he assumes the leading role in Shakespeare's "Richard III" in a nod to the festival's inaugural play in 1953.

Also announced Tuesday are classics honouring the festival's roots such as "All's Well That Ends Well," "Hamlet" and "Much Ado About Nothing."

Additional highlights include "Frankenstein Revived," a new work from playwright and composer David Coulter that will focus on the horror story's young author Mary Shelley; a staging of Tomson Highway's "The Rez Sisters"; and Edward Albee's "Three Tall Women."

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