The Shaw Festival Announces 50th Season Playbill

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2011 season celebrates Ontario theatre’s past and future with three Bernard Shaw plays, musicals including My Fair Lady, comedies including The Admirable Crichton, and contemporary plays such as Top Dog/Underdog and much more

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Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON The Shaw Festival is pleased to announce its 50th Seasons playbill, one which celebrates the past, while enthusiastically looking forward. The 2011 Season will feature eleven diverse productions that include: Shaw re-envisioned by both directors and writers, newly commissioned works, plays by a new generation of provocative playwrights, re-explored classics and returning Festival favourites appearing on the Festival’s four Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario stages: the Festival Theatre, the Court House Theatre, the Royal George Theatre and the new Studio Theatre. As explained by Artistic Director Jackie Maxwell, “This milestone season gives us an opportunity to honour the extraordinary achievements of our past, while creating vivid new signposts for our future, showing how the Shaw Festival will play a leading role in the theatrical conversation of the next 50 years or more.

The 50th Season Playbill includes:

Three plays by Shaw on three Festival stages
Heartbreak House
by Bernard Shaw
Directed by Christopher Newton
Previews – May 10 Opens – May 25 Closes – October 7
Festival Theatre

Bernard Shaw’s epic masterpiece returns for our 50th season. An unexpected family reunion leads to fireworks both indoors and out.

On the Rocks
by Bernard Shaw
Directed by Joseph Zeigler
Previews – June 14 Opens – July 8 Closes – October 8
Court House Theatre

Bernard Shaw’s political comedy gets a “contemporary remix” by Dora-award winning playwright Michael Healey. This re-envisioned version of Shaw’s play asks the question: when the citizens are about to revolt, what’s better — a Prime Minister with too many ideas or not enough of them?

by Bernard Shaw
Directed by Gina Wilkinson
Previews – April 7 Opens – May 28 Closes – October 30
Royal George Theatre

The delightful comedy that opened the Shaw’s first season returns for the Festival’s 50th — the classic story of a love triangle about a dutiful wife torn between her pastor husband and the ardent love of a young poet.

Two musicals: a timeless classic re-envisioned; the other a world premiere
My Fair Lady
By Frederick Loewe (music) & Alan Jay Lerner (adaptation & lyrics).
Based on Pygmalion by Bernard Shaw
Directed by Molly Smith
Previews – April 13 Opens – May 28 Closes – October 30
Festival Theatre

Making its much anticipated first appearance at the Shaw Festival, the glorious music, book and lyrics of the Lerner and Loewe musical, based on Pygmalion by Bernard Shaw, is celebrated in a fresh new vigorous production of this beloved story.

Maria Severa
Book, music & lyrics by Jay Turvey & Paul Sportelli
Directed by Jackie Maxwell
Previews – July 19 Opens – August 5 Closes – September 23
Court House Theatre
World Premiere

A romantic new musical about the legendary Maria Severa and the birth of Fado, the Portuguese music of the street that touched the heart of a people, makes its world premiere at The Shaw.

50th Season also features comedies, drama and a remount of the 2008 hit The President
The Admirable Crichton
by J.M. Barrie
Directed by Morris Panych
Previews – June 22 Opens – July 9 Closes – October 29
Festival Theatre

An aristocratic lord’s theories of class equality are put to the test when they are cast out of civilization and left shipwrecked on a desert island. Only their butler, the admirable Crichton knows what to do; but when they return home will this new island hierarchy survive amongst Victorian society? A hilarious social satire.

Drama at Inish – A Comedy
by Lennox Robinson
Directed by Jackie Maxwell
Previews – May 6 Opens – May 27 Closes – October 1
Court House Theatre
Canadian Premiere

Introducing a delightful Irish ensemble gem, Drama at Inish – A Comedy. When the usual visiting comedy troupe is replaced by the De La Mare Repertory Company and their serious dramatic fare, the citizens of Inish are mesmerized and transformed, with hilarious results. A play that speaks to the power of theatre.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
by Tennessee Williams
Directed by Eda Holmes
Previews – May 3 Opens – May 26 Closes – October 23
Royal George Theatre

Mendacity and money pit Brick against Maggie the Cat and Big Daddy. The tension-laden Pulitzer Prize winning family drama brings the sultry heat of Mississippi Delta and Tennessee Williams’ rich language back to the Shaw. The last Tennessee Williams work presented at the Shaw Festival was 2007’s Summer and Smoke.

The President
by Ferenc Molnár
Adapted by Morwyn Brebner
Directed by Blair Williams
Previews – June 3 Opens – July 9 Closes – October 9
Royal George Theatre

Following audience and critical acclaim, the inspired one-act whirlwind about a bank CEO who transforms a lowly cabdriver into a suitable suitor for the girl in his charge returns to the Shaw. This hilarious, must-see production was a smash hit of the 2008 season.

The exploration of provocative, subversive contemporary playwriting continues

by Suzan-Lori Parks
Directed by Philip Akin
Previews – July 19 Opens – August 6 Closes – August 27
Studio Theatre
Canadian premiere
Presented in association with Obsidian Theatre

This award-winning play by one of North America’s most thought-provoking playwrights features a dark comic portrait of two brothers, sardonically named Lincoln and Booth, their struggle to survive and their confrontation of history, family and the future. A Canadian premiere this season at the Shaw Festival.

When the Rain Stops Falling
by Andrew Bovell
Directed by Peter Hinton
Previews – August 11 Opens – August 26 Closes – September 17
Studio Theatre
Canadian premiere

Celebrated Australian playwright Andrew Bovell’s compelling generational epic When the Rain Stops Falling will make its Canadian premiere at the Shaw Festival. An epic and intimate journey that crosses two continents, spans four generations and weaves an intricate story of connections, loss and mystery begins with a son trying to reconnect with his father and a fish that falls from the sky.

Tickets for the 50th Season go on sale to Shaw Festival Theatre Membership beginning November 6. Tickets to the general public go on sale in January. Ticket prices remain the same as 2010 and range from $23 to $30 for youth, $40 for seniors and $35 - $105 for regular tickets. Be the first in line to order tickets to The Shaw’s landmark 50th season. Call 1-800-511-7429 to become a Member. To learn more about the Shaw Festival, visit

*Please note: dates are subject to change.

About The Shaw Festival
In the spirit of Bernard Shaw, the Shaw Festival provokes the mind and stirs the soul through a theatre experience so compelling that, year after year, ever-broadening groups of artists, audiences and supporters are drawn to the work of our Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario theatre.
Odette Yazbeck    
Public Relations Director    
905-468-2153 or 1-800-657-1106 ext. 2222


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