Sunday, March 25, 2007

Shaw Festival preview-2007


Every trip to the Shaw Festival, located in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada, convinces me more and more that it is the premiere repertory theatre venue in North America. The plays are generally excellent, the acting company superb, the show variety provides something for everyone, and the settings and costumes are creatively and lavishly conceived.

The Shaw Festival is conducted in three theatres. This season starts on April 4 and runs through October 28, Tuesday through Sunday. Each day has matinee, evening and even some lunch time productions. For real theatre buffs that means a three night/four-day stay can result in experiencing seven shows. The festival is an easy four-hour trip from Cleveland on roads which pass through the wine countries of Ohio, New York and Canada. Niagara-on-the-Lake is a lovely city brimming with flowers, classical architecture and inviting shops. This is like going to theatre heaven.

Jackie Maxwell, Shaw’s Artistic Director, each year chooses a focus for the plays. This season it is matters of the heart , carried out with a blend of comedies, musicals and dramas.

This season’s plays include Bernard Shaw’s drama ‘SAINT JOAN;’ Michael Stewart and Jerry Herman’s musical ‘MACK AND MABEL;’ Georges Feydeau’s farce ‘HOTEL PECCADILLO;’ Somerset Maugham’s drama ‘THE CIRCLE;’ ‘THE PHILANDERER,’ a Shaw comedy; Tennessee Williams’ drama, ‘SUMMER AND SMOKE;’ Brian Friel’s humorous drama ‘A MONTH IN THE COUNTRY;’ the comedy ‘THE CASSILIS ENGAGEMENT’ by St. John Hankin;’ ‘TRISTAN,’ a musical with book, music and lyrics by Paul Sportelli and Jay Turvey; and Lady Augusta Gregory’s ‘THE KILTARTAN COMEDIES,’ a duet of Irish plays.

Besides the plays, the Festival includes a reading series, Sunday coffee concerts, a Village Fair and Fete, seminars, backstage tours, pre-show chats, Tuesday Questions and Answers and Saturday Conversations.

For theatre information, a brochure, lodging suggestions or tickets call 800-511-7429 or go on-line to Ask about packages that include lodging, meals and tickets. Also be aware that the festival offers Sunday night specials, day-of-the-show rush tickets and senior matinee prices.

For recommendations on bed-and-breakfasts, restaurants and other events, go to and click on one of the Shaw listings.