Friday, January 22, 2016

It’s snowing in Cleveland, but look forward to spring and summer @ the Shaw Festival

The Canadian winds are whipping across Lake Erie!  Yes, the snow is on the ground, the weather is miserable, but soon the cold winds will subside and many Clevelanders will start their trek to the land of the maple leaf and cross one of the many bridges in their treks north to Canada for wonderful theater.

Many Clevelanders take the four-hour drive up to The Shaw, as it is called by locals, to participate in theater, tour the “most beautiful little city in Canada,” shop, eat at the wonderful restaurants, and take advantage of the very good exchange rate (as of January 21 $.70 U.S.=$1 Canadian).  Because of the good rate, charge everything as many of the stores give you dollar for dollar, while banks offer you the going rate.  If you pay cash, using the rate just quoted, you are losing 30-cents on every dollar you spend.

It’s a good idea to make theatre and lodging reservations early, especially for weekends.

Our home away from home is the beautiful and well-placed Wellington House (, directly across the street from The Festival Theatre, within easy walking distance of all the theatres and the home of Karen’s individually prepared delicious breakfasts.  

For information on other B&Bs go to

There are some wonderful restaurants.  My in-town favorites are The Grill on King Street (905-468-7222, 233 King Street) and Ginger (905-468-3871, 390 Mary Street).  Reservations are encouraged, even during the week.

The Shaw Festival is a tribute to George Bernard Shaw and his writing contemporaries and offers dramas, comedies and musicals.

This year’s Shaw theme is “Curiouser and Curiouser.”  The offerings include:

ALICE IN WONDERLAND based on the book by Lewis Carroll, adapted for the stage by Peter Hinton.  It is a musical tale of Alice’s adventures which attempts to make sense of the world of grown-up nonsense.  (April 27-October 16)—Festival Theatre

A WOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE by Oscar Wilde—Marriage, affairs, divorce, and, of course, the wickedly attractive and scandalously unmarried Lord Illingworth are all thoroughly discussed. (May 29-October 15)—Festival Theatre

SWEENEY TODD, THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET, A MUSICAL THRILLER by Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler—A darkly comic and brilliantly unsettling staging of one of Stephen Sondheim’s most celebrated musicals.  (July 17-October 16)—Festival Theatre

UNCLE VANYA by Anton Chekhov—A new version by American playwright Annie Baker gives a fresh look to a deeply human story of the collapse of the Russian aristocracy. (May 1-September 11)—Court House Theatre

MASTER  HAROLD AND THE BOYS  by Athol Fugard—Initially banned in South Africa the play speaks of inequality and injustice.  (June 30-September 10)—Court House Theatre

THE ADVENTURES OF THE BLACK GIRL IN HER SEARCH FOR GOD--adapted for stage by Lisa Codrington from a short story by G. B. Shaw—When a  young black girl is abandoned by her missionary for asking too many questions, she takes the phrase “Seek and ye shall find” a little too literally.  (June 10-September 11)—Lunchtime one-act in the Court House Theatre

OUR TOWN by Thornton Wilder—Considered one of the five most important plays in the American lexicon, this Pulitzer Prize play examines life from birth to death.  (April 9-October 15)—Royal George Theatre

MRS. WARREN’S PROFESSION by G. B. Shaw—As a daughter is about to strike out on her own, her mother thinks it is about time for her to find out about her mother’s profession.  (April 21-October 16)—Royal George Theatre

ENGAGED by W. S. Gilbert—A comic look at love, marriage and money from one-half of the team of Gilbert and Sullivan.  (June 15-October 16)—Royal George Theatre

THE DANCE OF DEATH by August Strindberg (in a new version by Conor McPherson)—A bleakly comic look at the travails of marriage.  (July 13-September 10)—Studio Theatre

For theater 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.

Go to the Shaw Festival! Meet the nice Canadian people.

Don’t forget your passport as it’s the only form of identification that will be accepted for re-entry into the US.