Eric McCormack to receive Stratford Legacy Award

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Actor Eric McCormack, known for his turn on television as Will Truman in the recently rebooted Will & Grace, is to be honoured with the Stratford Festival’s legacy award, which he will receive Sept. 18 at a gala in Toronto.

Will & Grace aired from 1998 to 2006. It broke ground because, at that time, shows with gay main characters were considered revolutionary.

McCormack has been in the news lately because the series is being revived with the original cast.

Toronto born and bred, McCormack was a member of the Stratford Festival’s acting company from 1985 to 1989 when he appeared in 17 productions, including Measure for Measure, Much Ado About Nothing, All’s Well That Ends Well, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Henry V.

His stage success extended south of the border, where he starred in the title role of The Music Man in 2001 on Broadway, and opposite stage and screen legends James Earl Jones and Angela Lansbury in the Tony-nominated The Best Man.

“At every point, his enormous talent and originality shone like a beacon. It’s a great pleasure now, 35 years after our first meeting, to celebrate his work and achievements as a Canadian artist,” artistic director Antoni Cimolino said in a statement.

“The Stratford Festival was an important Canadian institution from its inception,” echoed McCormack. “But it has become an international one, a shining example of how incredible classical theatre can be, and how much Canada has to offer the world artistically.”

Other legacy-award honourees include Christopher Plummer, Maggie Smith, Martha Henry and Gordon Pinsent.

The 2017 legacy gala will feature performances by Brent Carver, Daren A. Herbert, Chilina Kennedy, Danielle Wade and McCormack himself.

McCormack has also appeared in such motion pictures as 1998’s Free Enterprise, in which William Shatner co-starred as a morose, rapping version of himself.

Will & Grace’s cast includes Debra Messing as the flustered Grace, Sean Hayes as the flamboyant Jack and Megan Mullally as the sage Karen. The new series debuts on NBC on Sept. 28.

McCormack is also a producer, director and star on the sci-fi series Travelers.

— With files from Canadian Press

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