Len Cariou, a Tony winner for creating the title role in the original Broadway production of Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd, is this year’s recipient of the Stratford Festival’s Legacy Award, which will be given at a September 12 gala in Toronto’s Four Season’s Hotel.
Eric McCormack, who was presented with the award in 2017, will host the evening featuring tribute performances by André Sills, Dan Chameroy, Robert Ball, and Sandra Caldwell, accompanied by Franklin Brasz.
“I have such enormous admiration for Len Cariou,” says Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino, “and I am so very pleased that we can recognize his outstanding contributions to theatre with this Legacy Award. The depth and versatility he shows as an actor is second to none. Here at the Festival he performed some of the greatest classical roles, and on Broadway he created two of the most unforgettable musical figures in modern theatrical history. We were very fortunate indeed that Len not only came to Stratford to build his career, but also returned as a leading player, generously mentoring younger actors while continuing to grow within the Stratford company.”
Cariou did six seasons at the Stratford Festival in the early 1960s, returning in the early '80s. From 1962 to 1964, he performed in 12 productions, including Cléonte in Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, Longaville in Love’s Labour’s Lost, and Servilius in Timon of Athens. He went on to star in more than a dozen Broadway productions, originating the role of Fredrik Egerman in A Little Night Music and the vengeful barber Sweeney in the aforementioned Sweeney Todd. Cariou returned to Stratford for the 1981 and 1982 seasons, playing the title role in Coriolanus, Petruchio in The Taming of the Shrew, Prospero in The Tempest, Brutus in Julius Caesar, and Major Sergius Saranoff in Arms and the Man. He is a Member of the Order of Canada and was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 2004.
The Stratford Festival launched its Legacy Award in 2011 to honor important figures from its history. The first award was presented to Christopher Plummer; subsequent recipients include Dame Maggie Smith, William Shatner, Martha Henry, Colm Feore, McCormack, Gordon Pinsent, Megan Follows, and Andrea Martin.