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To BNL Or Not To BNL: The Ladies Go All Stratford In 2005

Barenaked Ladies … Shakespeare. If you think the two don’t go hand in hand, you may be a little miffed when cruising on by the Stratford Festival next year. The band will be helping out the Bard in Stratford’s ’05 season, creating the music for five songs pulled right from the text of As You Like It.

“It’s hard to ask for a better co-writer,” singer Steven Page told the Torstar News Service. “Even if he is a little unbending in his approach to collaboration.”

With Shakespeare’s centuries-old witticisms and the Ladies’ ‘90s Can-pop sounds, it should turn out to be really, uh, weird. The band will also be recording incidental music for the remainder of the play.

Meanwhile the Ladies are still finishing up 2004 and will be bringing their latest tour to Toronto just in time for Christmas. In town to promote their yuletide disc, Barenaked For The Holidays, the band will by playing two Massey Hall shows on December 20 and 21. Their New Years Eve shows are supposed to be a blast, so these two dates should be fun. If you manage to miss both, though, you can also get either show via download or CD, from the their record label Nettwerk, who have been officially bootlegging all the band’s recent tours. Go here for details.

The Barenaked Ladies are currently so into the holidays that they even celebrate non-Canadian ones. The band were onhand for American Thanksgiving last month, appearing on a float in the Macy’s Parade in New York.

On the BNL blog, Page even admits to pulling an Ashlee Simpson on live TV, when his lip-synching cover was blown by a laughing fit. Apparently the ridiculousness of performing the band’s intentionally depressing intro to “Jingle Bells” with “a bevy of middle-aged women dressed as bobby-soxers sashaying in front of me” at the Macy parade was too much for the guy to keep a straight face.

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