Friday, April 09, 2010

Shaw Festival 2010 Preview

It’s the time of year to start thinking…..THE SHAW FESTIVAL

The brochure has arrived. The season is set. It’s time to start thinking about spending some time this spring, summer or fall at the SHAW FESTIVAL.

The Shaw Festival is conducted in four theatres in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada, an easy four-hour trip from Cleveland. Once you arrive, you will be entranced by the “most beautiful city in Canada.” Lovely flowers, classical home architecture and inviting well-stocked shops and galleries make for an inviting experience.

The season has actually opened already with lots more to come. It’s possible to see three or four shows a day and pack in an extra special event. As always, The Shaw has a balanced season…comedies, social critiques, musicals and dramas.

This season’s theatre offerings are: ‘AN IDEAL HUSBAND’ (Oscar Wilde), ‘THE WOMEN’ (Clare Boothe Luce), ‘THE DOCTOR’S DILEMMA’ (G. B. Shaw), ‘THE CHERRY ORCHARD’ (Anton Chekhov), ‘JOHN BULL’S OTHER ISLAND’ (G. B. Shaw), ‘AGE OF AROUSAL’ (Linda Griffiths), ‘HARVEY’ (Mary Chase), ‘ONE TOUCH OF VENUS’ (music by Kurt Weill, lyrics by Ogden Nash), ‘HALF AN HOUR’ (J. M. Barrie) and ‘SERIOUS MONEY (Caryl Churchill).

Besides the plays themselves, the Festival includes a play reading series, pre-cast chats, Tuesday Q&A, Saturday conversations, Sunday coffee concerts and backstage tours. Also check out the Shaw Workshops for Adults and the Teen Workshops.

The area itself is filled with activities ranging from a golf course within the city limits; an art park (, The Good Earth Cooking School (, the Jordan Village, a diverse blend of fine shopping, dining, and antique treasures (, an international chamber music festival (, learning vacations at Niagara College (www.niagaralearning, bike paths,
Mystery on the Lake (, and a Niagara river jet boat trip.

The Niagara area is dotted with wineries, many of which, besides offering wine tastings and sales, have fine dining restaurants. My favorite is Hillebrand Estates Winery. Friends love Peller Estates.

There are some wonderful restaurants including my favorite, Queenston Heights Restaurant ( The latter is located in a park just over the US-Canadian border and has a breathtaking view of the Niagara River gorge. (Make a reservation and ask for a window table.) Lunch often finds me at The Epicurian, next to the Court House theatre. A real find is the restaurant at the Niagara Culinary Institute (, at which student chefs hone their skills.

Downtown has a new influx of stores and restaurants. Old favorites include Greaves Jams and Marmalades which is famous for its products since 1927. A Niagara tradition is the Maple Leaf Fudge store.

The area has many excellent hotels and bed-and-breakfasts. Our home away from home is the beautiful and well-placed Wellington House (, directly across the street from The Festival Theatre. For information on other B&Bs go to

For theatre information, a brochure 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 day-of-the-show rush tickets and senior matinee prices.

Tired of waiting for a casino to come to Cleveland? Niagara Falls, a half-hour ride from Niagara-on-the-Lake, has several casinos. The falls area has a large outlet store complex for the bargain shopper. If you are taking kids, there is a huge indoor water park which connects to several hotels. And, of course, not to be overlooked are the attractions connected with the magnificent falls.

Helpful hint: To satisfy border requirements carry some official form of identification. A passport, US birth certificate or naturalization certificate) will all do.
Go to the Shaw Festival! Find out what lovely hosts Canadians are, and see some great theatre!