Stratford Festival set for a GUlNNESS WORLD RECORDS™ achievement at Pinballapalooza

May 2, 2013… Calling all pinball wizards! The Stratford Festival invites you to be a part of history. On Thursday, May 16, the Festival will be in Toronto to host Pinballapalooza, an exciting event to celebrate the opening of its much-anticipated rock musical, Tommy.

One hundred pinball machines will fill the main lobby of First Canadian Place in an official GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS attempt to log the greatest number of pinball machines being played simultaneously at a single venue. An all-day occasion, the event will feature free game play, exclusive Tommy ticket deals through an on-site pop-up box office and spectacular live performances by Tommy cast members Robert Markus, Paul Nolan, Gabriel Antonacci and Matthew Armet.

Tommy is the biggest musical we have ever mounted in Stratford,” says Executive Director Anita Gaffney, “and what better way to celebrate it than by throwing a larger-than-life pinball tournament that would impress even Tommy, the pinball wizard himself.

“Hosting the event outside of Stratford gives us a rare opportunity to showcase our theatre to a wider audience – an audience we hope to see more of with the help of Stratford Direct, our new daily return bus service between Toronto and Stratford. Whether you are a pinball pro, a theatre fan or you just happen to be in the area, come on out and help us make history!”

For those who cannot attend, the Festival offers two other opportunities to practise your pinball moves: a Tommy-inspired pinball machine found at different locations in Stratford throughout the season and a virtual pinball game at http://tommypinball.com.

EVENT: Pinballapalooza

Date: Thursday, May 16, 2013

Location: First Canadian Place, 100 King Street West, Toronto

Time: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Attempt time: 12:40 p.m.

Live performances: 12:15 p.m. and 1:15 p.m. on the Waterfall Stage

Admission and all game play is free. For more information on the event, please visit: www.stratfordfestival.ca/pinball.

Based on The Who’s 1969 concept album of the same name, Tommy tells the story of a young man who, despite having lost the faculties of speech, sight and hearing, becomes a pinball virtuoso – and the centre of a celebrity cult. In a new production helmed by its original Tony Award-winning director, Des McAnuff (who co-wrote the show with The Who’s Pete Townshend), the explosive rock opera features such unforgettable hits as “Pinball Wizard,” “See Me, Feel Me,” “Acid Queen” and “We’re Not Gonna Take It.”

Set to start previews on Saturday, May 4, at the Avon Theatre, the production features Robert Markus as Tommy, Jewelle Blackman as the Gypsy, Kira Guloien as Mrs. Walker, Jeremy Kushnier as Captain Walker, Paul Nolan as Cousin Kevin and Steve Ross as Uncle Ernie.

Set Designer John Arnone, Choreographer Wayne Cilento and Costume Designer David C. Woolard, key members of the original creative team, have reunited for this production to join Musical Director and Supervisor Rick Fox, Lighting Designer Howell Binkley, Sound Designer Andrew Keister, Projection Designer Sean Nieuwenhuis and Fight Director Steve Rankin.

Tommy is sponsored by Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation. Production support is generously provided by Richard Rooney & Laura Dinner and by the Ontario government.

Support for the 2013 season of the Avon Theatre is generously provided by the Birmingham Family.

Stratford Direct is the new daily return private bus service between Toronto and Stratford. Departing once daily from May 1 to 25 and October 1 to 20 and twice daily from May 27 to September 29 (on performance days only), the round trip costs only $20.

Support for Stratford Direct is generously provided by The Peter Cundhill Foundation.

The Stratford Festival’s 2013 season runs until October 20, featuring Romeo and JulietFiddler on the RoofThe Three MusketeersThe Merchant of VeniceTommyBlithe SpiritOthelloMeasure for MeasureMary StuartWaiting for Godot and two new Canadian plays, Taking Shakespeare and The Thrill, along with more than 150 Forum events.

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