The List: 10 things Stratford artistic director Des McAnuff can’t live without
McAnuff’s production of Jesus Christ Superstar hits Broadway this month. Here, a few of his favourite things
1| My Litespeed racing bike
It’s the same kind of bike Robbie McEwen used to win his first green jersey at the Tour de France. The bike is a work of art, and I’m completely unworthy of it.
2| My Fender Telecaster
I bought my guitar in the summer of ’86 when I was playing in a rockabilly band in California. Since then, I’ve used it to play with Pete Townshend when we were doing Tommy, and I still sometimes play with the Jersey Boys band.
3| My scent
It’s very metro of me to admit this, but I’ve always liked cologne. My scent is Tobacco Vanille by Tom Ford. I get lots of compliments on it, which is nice, and it’s the closest I’ll ever get to smoking again.
4| Fast cars
I’ve been a fan of Formula 1 since I was 10 years old. I still follow it religiously—I’ve been known to get up at 4 a.m. to watch races in Europe. My hero is Gilles Villeneuve, the fastest man ever to drive a Ferrari. I’m also a fan of his son, Jacques.
5| My headgear
My grandfather was a great wearer of hats, and he got me into them. About 10 years ago in New York I came across an extraordinary haberdasher named Orlando, who works at Worth and Worth on 57th. He sized me up perfectly as soon as I walked into the store. I now have half a dozen hats, all fedoras.
6| My VibroGym
It’s a vibrating plate you can exercise on, developed for astronauts to prevent their muscles from becoming flaccid in space. I discovered it at a hotel gym in Abu Dhabi, of all places. I use it almost every day. My partner, Bryna, has even become a certified instructor.
7| A good Brunello
I’m not terribly knowledgeable about wine, so drinking it is a constant education. I’m fond of Italian Brunellos. Bryna and I went to Italy recently and fell in love with a boutique winery in the Brunello region called San Filippo.
8| The Bard
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare edited by Henry Hudson is my favourite edition. Christopher Plummer gave me a copy after I directed him in The Tempest. If I had to pick just one thing to do for the rest of my career, it would be Shakespeare. I’ve directed roughly a third of his plays now, so there’s still a long way to go.
9| My favourite painting
Eric Aldwinckle is my uncle. I fell in love with one of his pieces, Maelstrom, when I first saw it as a kid. To my amazement, he gave it to me when I turned 20. It’s been in every apartment I’ve had since then.
10| My spice fix
I didn’t discover Indian cooking until I was in my 30s. It was a complete revelation—I couldn’t believe there were so many wondrous tastes in a single cuisine. Raja, an Indian restaurant in Stratford, is terrific. I’m probably there three times a week in the off-season.