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Stratford to welcome prodigal stars for 2013

Stephen Ouimette, left, and Brian Dennehy share a laugh during a photo shoot at the Stratford Festival in Stratford, Ontario, August 2, 2011.

GEOFF ROBINS/The Globe and Mail

Many favourite company members will return to the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in 2013, the Ontario theatre company announced Tuesday morning.

Among the popular Canadian actors coming home after absences in the United States are Stephen Ouimette, Sara Topham, Dion Johnstone and Paul Nolan.

Ouimette, who recently gave a killer performance in The Iceman Cometh in Chicago opposite Nathan Lane and Brian Dennehy, will be back to play Lucio in Measure for Measure and Estragon in Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot. Directed by Jennifer Tarver, the latter production will reunite the Slings and Arrows star with Tony winner Dennehy, who will play Pozzo, and co-star Tom Rooney as Vladimir.

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Topham, who has been doing the U.S. regional-theatre circuit since her Broadway debut in The Importance of Being Earnest in 2011, will return to Stratford for her 13th season to play 13-year-old Juliet. Her Romeo will be Stratford newcomer Daniel Briere in a production set to be directed by the U.K.'s Tim Carroll.

Johnstone, who will be playing Mark Antony in an upcoming Chicago production of Julius Caesar, will be back to take on the title role in Othello in the Shakespearean directorial debut of Chris Abraham. The Border's Graham Abbey will be his antagonist Iago, while Bethany Jillard will play Desdemona.

Nolan, who played the title role in the Festival's Broadway transfer of Jesus Christ Superstar and who is about to star in a stage adaptation of The Flaming Lips' Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robot in California, will return for two musicals. The pride of Rouleau, Saskatchewan, will play Cousin Kevin in The Who's Tommy, directed by outgoing artistic director Des McAnuff, and Fyedka in Fiddler on the Roof. (Robert Markus - who only graduated from the Univeristy of Alberta's acting program in 2010 - will play the title role in Tommy.)

For the full Stratford Shakespeare Festival 2013 casting - there's a lot more - visit www.stratfordshakespearefestival.com. To see the members of the outgoing 2012 company dance to Psy's Gangnam Style with CBC anchor Peter Mansbridge, however, watch this.

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Theatre critic

J. Kelly Nestruck is The Globe's theatre critic. More

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