Richard Ouzounian, Toronto Star Theatre Critic
Cynthia Dale returned to the Stratford Shakespeare Festival stage this summer, after a 5-year absence, dazzling the crowds as over-the-hill stage star Dorothy Brock in 42nd Street.
But the show is proving to be the biggest seller so-far this season, proving that Dale herself is still in her prime when it comes to drawing audiences.
The 51 year-old, Toronto-born star has been on stage since she was a child, but she became a household name in the late 1980s as the vamp-till-ready villainess of Street Legal, Olivia Novak.
Her second career began in 1997 when the late Richard Monette cast her as Guinevere in Camelot at Stratford and for 10 years, she remained the Festival’s leading lady, packing the houses in a variety of shows, both musical and dramatic.
After her departure, she had more time for her 3 favourite things in the world: her husband, CBC anchor Peter Mansbridge, their son, 13 year-old William and her love for travel. Lucky for us!
What’s Your Favourite Vacation Spot?
Nationally, it would be my cottage in Thornbury on Georgian Bay. The sunrises and sunsets are heaven. I love the view, I love the water, it calms me right down. It’s a very tranquil place for me. I love to paint there and just be myself there.
Internationally, no question: London. Because I think I was an old soul there many lives ago,. It feels very familiar and homelike to me . I walk and look and take pictures and drink it all up. I also drink tea and Guinness and eat everything they put in front of me. I also love to people watch and shop. Harrod’s? No way. I would rather do Selfridge’s any day.
What’s Your Must-Have Travel Item?
Good books. I still carry books, although I use a Kobo and I love my Kobo. Still, I love bookstores and I still would rather hold a book. I do my travel reading before I take off. I usually take a tome, one or two big books I can get into. I’d rather read for five hours than watch bad movies. I cry a lot on airplanes,. Often because of what I’m reading. I also always bring good walking shoes, a good moisturizers and my boy, Willie; he’s a great traveler.
What Was Your Worst Travel Experience?
It was in Canada, what should have been a simple journey from Banff to the Calgary airport. I was jammed into the back of a very small crowded bus. A charter kind of bus that stopped at every red light. I was claustrophobic. I almost screamed, I almost threw up. I almost jumped out of the window. All of the above. I love Banff. I love the Calgary airport. But I hated getting from one to the other.
What Is Your Dream List of Travel Places To Visit?
Fiji…for the sand and the blue water. Wales….I’ve wanted to go on an Arthurian treck there long before I ever played Guinevere. Prague….because I hear it’s the most fascinating city. And Spain….all those amazing old cities from the 14th and 15th centuries. I’m getting old, so I like old places!
What Drives You Crazy About Travelling?
Airport security. I respect what they do. I understand why they have to do it. I know it’s just their job. But the whole having to undress and walk through the detector in bare feet thing just drives me crazy!
Do You Ever Try to Disguise Yourself While Travelling?
No, I wear a placard. That’s a joke. Never, I’m not that well known. Whenever someone says “You look familiar, do I know you?” and I try to modestly suggest why, they tell me they never go to Stratford, never watch CBC and think I must have gone to high school with them.
What is Your Most Memorable Trip?
Last June I went to Paris with Roma Downey, one of my best friends. We went for five days. Her husband couldn’t go. So I stood in for him at an incredible event at the Louvre. We danced until 4:30 in the morning. I did a cartwheel in the Louvre and got into huge trouble, because that’s what I do. It was a glorious, once in a lifetime, giggling girlfriend, dressed to the nines occasion. I loved it.