Move over, Shakespeare.
A timeless tragedy by the great bard won’t be the only story playing out on the Centennial Concert Hall stage this week.
“Like Romeo and Juliet but we’re not a couple,” quips Craig Ramsay. “It’s a love story, a friendship, that has been through a lot.”
Alongside best friend Catherine Wreford, the pair reprise the roles of Lord and Lady Capulet in the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s Romeo and Juliet production.
Appropriately, it was at the RWB the dynamic duo was first introduced to one another before embarking on parallel careers in the performing arts which saw them working in Toronto and, ultimately, on Broadway in New York.
In 2013, the dream became a nightmare for Wreford when a CT scan revealed a “huge lump” in her head.
“It’s anaplastic astrocytoma,” explains Wreford, who was given 2-6 years to live after the cancer diagnosis.
“It’s been more than 10,” she says. “I like to say, ‘I’m past my expiration date.’”
Making the most of every moment has become a mantra for them both, one which played out on the national stage in 2022 as they participated on the Amazing Race Canada.
The pair, ultimately, ended up winning the eighth season of the show though it was an earlier performance with the RWB that gave them the confidence to apply in the first place.
Three years prior, they danced the roles of Lord and Lady Capulet for the first time.
Uncertain as to how challenging it would be for Wreford, the pair worked through their steps together and the results were astounding, says Ramsay.
“We saw her brain rewire itself and do the impossible,” he says.
“(That) inspired us to apply for the Amazing Race Canada,” explains Ramsay. “If we didn’t have the first go around (with RWB) ... we wouldn’t have had the confidence to know that Catherine could overcome. And, of course, she did. Not only did she survive the race, but she thrived, and we ended up winning.”
See the Lord and Lady Champions... er, Capulet... return to the Centennial Concert Hall stage February 15-18 in Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s Romeo and Juliet.
Visit: www.rwb.org for more details and tickets.