The Stratford Festival has swapped one performance for another in its 2019 playbill.
The organization says the journalism-centred satire The Front Page is being added to next season’s roster while The Man Who Came to Dinner has been cut. Graham Abbey will direct playwright Michael Healey’s adaption of the 90-year-old play, which will be performed on the Festival stage.
In a statement, Festival artistic director Antoni Cimolino said The Man Who Came to Dinner won’t go ahead due to “creative collaborations that haven’t fallen into place.” But The Front Page, a dark-yet-funny drama set in the press room of Chicago’s criminal courts, was one of several classic American comedies Cimolino and Abbey considered including in next season’s lineup, making it a suitable – and timely – replacement.
“I can’t think of a better time and place to re-examine this landmark play than in the current political climate with a company of seasoned classical actors, adapted by one of this country’s great theatrical voices in Michael Healey,” Abbey said.
In 2015, Healey adapted The Physicists for the Festival.
The Front Page focuses on talented reporter Hildy Johnson, who announces he is leaving journalism to get married. But when accused Communist Earl Williams escapes jail hours before his execution and Johnson learns of the political machinations at work, he becomes determined to unearth the truth no matter the cost to his personal life.
“This truly is a classic play for our times and I know Graham will bring this dynamic comedy to hilarious and satiric heights, just as Michael Healey will bring his biting wit to the adaptation,” Cimolino said.