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Shaw Festival Announces 2011 Principal Casting and Creative Teams

Media Release #27

Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, November 10, 2010 … Artistic Director Jackie Maxwell proudly announced today the casting and creative teams for the Shaw Festival’s 50th season. This milestone season will run from April 7 to October 30 on the Festival’s four Niagara-on-the-Lake stages and will feature a dazzling array of theatre. See Shaw re-envisioned by both directors and writers, newly commissioned works, plays by a new generation of provocative playwrights, re-explored classics, returning Festival favourites and a special 50th season two-day event, The Speed of Ideas – A Theatrical Forum.

Alluding to the significance of this season, Artistic Director Jackie Maxwell stated: “Planning our 50th season has been an amazing journey – how to combine a celebration of our illustrious past and provide a clear vision for the future – showing that we are up and ready to be a vital part of the national and international theatrical conversation for the next 50 years! We are confident that the following plays and the brilliant selection of theatre artists, who will put their hearts and souls into bringing them to you, will achieve all of the above and most likely more!”

The extraordinary collection of Canadian acting talent has been assembled and all are poised to bring this landmark 50th season’s playbill to life. The Shaw warmly welcomes back 2010 Company members Michael Ball, Guy Bannerman, Neil Barclay, Anthony Bekenn, Kyle Blair, Donna Belleville, Wade Bogert-O’Brien, Norman Browning, Benedict Campbell, Krista Colosimo, Diana Donnelly, Saccha Dennis, Sharry Flett, Patrick Galligan, Jonathan Gould, Mary Haney, Deborah Hay, Patty Jamieson, Gabrielle Jones, Lorne Kennedy, Peter Krantz, Catherine McGregor, Patrick McManus, Thom Marriott, Julie Martell, Marla McLean, Jim Mezon, Peter Millard, Moya O’Connell, Laurie Paton, Melanie Phillipson, Gray Powell, Ric Reid, David Schurmann, Graeme Somerville, Ken James Stewart, Steven Sutcliffe, Wendy Thatcher, Jay Turvey, Mark Uhre and Jenny L. Wright. In keeping with the Festival’s emphasis on nurturing the careers of emerging theatre artists, participants of the Slaight Family Foundation’s 2010 inaugural Mandate Intensive — Julia Course, Ijeoma Emesowum, Robin Evan Willis, Billy Lake, Anthony Malarky, Craig Pike, Cherissa Richards, Louie Rossetti, Ben Sanders, Jacqueline Thair and Kelly Wong return, along with new members of the Company Colin Lepage, Heather McGuigan and Jonathan Tan.

The Shaw is also delighted to welcome back to its stages Andrew Bunker, Patricia Hamilton, Martin Happer, Jeff Irving, Claire Jullien, Corrine Koslo, Jeff Meadows, Tara Rosling, Nicole Underhay, William Vickers, Blair Williams and Nigel Shawn Williams, as well as Kevin Hanchard, who will make his Shaw Festival debut this season.

Creative teams and primary and secondary castings for the 2011 Season are as follows:

FESTIVAL THEATRE

My Fair Lady
By Frederick Loewe (music) & Alan Jay Lerner (adaptation & lyrics)
Based on Pygmalion by Bernard Shaw
Previews – April 13  Opens – May 28  Closes – October 30
Sponsored by: TD Bank Group

Directed by Molly Smith, musical direction by Paul Sportelli, choreography by Danny Pelzig, set design by Ken MacDonald, costume design by Judith Bowden, lighting design by Jock Munro, sound design by John Lott, projection design by Adam Larsen. Featuring Deborah Hay as Eliza Doolittle, Benedict Campbell as Henry Higgins, Neil Barclay as Alfred Doolittle and Patrick Galligan as Colonel Pickering, with Sharry Flett, Patty Jamieson and Mark Uhre.

Heartbreak House
by Bernard Shaw 
Previews – May 10  Opens – May 25  Closes – October 7
Sponsored by: CIBC

Directed by Artistic Director Emeritus Christopher Newton, designed by Leslie Frankish, lighting design by Lighting Design Director Kevin Lamotte. Featuring Michael Ball as Captain Shotover, Deborah Hay as Hesione Hushabye and Robin Evan Willis as Ellie Dunn, with Benedict Campbell, Patrick Galligan, Patricia Hamilton, Patrick McManus, Laurie Paton, William Vickers and Blair Williams.

The Admirable Crichton
by J.M. Barrie
Previews – June 22  Opens – July 9  Closes – October 29

Directed by Morris Panych, set design by Ken MacDonald, costume design by Charlotte Dean and lighting design by Alan Brodie, with music direction by Ryan deSouza, choreography by Valerie Moore. Featuring Steven Sutcliffe as Crichton, David Schurmann as The Earl of Loam and Nicole Underhay as Lady Mary Lasenby, with Kyle Blair, Martin Happer, Marla McLean, Moya O’Connell and Melanie Phillipson.

 
COURT HOUSE THEATRE

Drama at Inish – A Comedy 
by Lennox Robinson 
Previews – May 6  Opens – May 27  Closes – October 1

Directed by Artistic Director Jackie Maxwell, designed by Director of Design William Schmuck, with lighting design by Louise Guinand. Featuring Ric Reid as hotel owner John Twohig, Mary Haney as his sister Lizzie Twohig, Thom Marriott as Hector de la Mare and Corrine Koslo as Constance Constantia, with Donna Belleville, Julia Course, Diana Donnelly, Peter Krantz and Craig Pike.

On the Rocks
by Bernard Shaw
New version by Michael Healey
Previews – June 14  Opens – July 8  Closes – October 8
Sponsored by: Producers Circle

Directed by Joseph Zeigler, designed by Christina Poddubiuk, with lighting design by Louise Guinand. Featuring Peter Krantz as Sir Arthur Chavender and Steven Sutcliffe as Sir Dexter Rightside, with Guy Bannerman, Anthony Bekenn, Mary Haney, Thom Marriott, Marla McLean, Cherissa Richards and David Schurmann.

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

Directed by Artistic Director Jackie Maxwell, set design by Judith Bowden, costume design by Sue LePage, with lighting design by Kevin Lamotte and choreography by Eda Holmes. Featuring Julie Martell as Maria Severa and Mark Uhre as Armando, with Neil Barclay, Saccha Dennis, Sharry Flett, Jonathan Gould, Jeff Irving, Jacqueline Thair and Jenny Wright.


ROYAL
GEORGE THEATRE 

Candida
by Bernard Shaw
Previews – April 7  Opens – May 28  Closes – October 30 
Sponsored by: Scotiabank Group

Directed by Gina Wilkinson, designed by William Schmuck, with lighting by Jock Munro. Featuring Claire Jullien, as Candida, Nigel Shawn Williams as the Reverend James Mavor Morell and Wade Bogert-O’Brien as Eugene Marchbanks, with Norman Browning, Krista Colosimo and Graeme Somerville.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof  
by Tennessee Williams 
Previews – May 3  Opens – May 26  Closes – October 23
Sponsored by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and ArcelorMittal Dofasco

Directed by Eda Holmes, designed by Sue LePage, lighting design by Kevin Lamotte, original music composed by John Gzowski. Featuring Moya O’Connell as Maggie, Gray Powell as Brick, Corrine Koslo as Big Mama and Jim Mezon as Big Daddy, with Patrick McManus and Nicole Underhay.

One-Act Lunchtime:

The President  
by Ferenc Molnár
Adapted by Morwyn Brebner 
Previews – June 3  Opens – July 9  Closes – October 9
Sponsored by: Vintage Hotels

Directed by Blair Williams, designed by Cameron Porteous, lighting design by Jennifer Jimenez. Featuring Lorne Kennedy as President Norrison, with Julie Martell, Jeff Meadows, Peter Millard and a bevy of Ensemble members in multiple roles.


STUDIO THEATRE

The Shaw’s on-going exploration of contemporary Shavians continues with the Canadian premieres of two productions by two current celebrated playwrights.

Topdog/Underdog 
by Suzan-Lori Parks
Previews – July 19  Opens – August 6  Closes – August 27 
Sponsored by: Paradigm Capital Inc.
Canadian premiere

Directed by Philip Akin, designed by Camellia Koo, lighting design by Kevin Lamotte. Featuring Kevin Hanchard as Booth and Nigel Shawn Williams as Lincoln.

When the Rain Stops Falling 
by Andrew Bovell 
Previews – August 11  Opens – August 26  Closes – September 17
Sponsored by: Paradigm Capital Inc.
Canadian premiere

Directed by Peter Hinton, designed by Camellia Koo, lighting design by Kevin Lamotte. Featuring Donna Belleville, Wade Bogert-O’Brien, Diana Donnelly, Jeff Meadows, Peter Millard, Ric Reid, Tara Rosling, Graeme Somerville and Wendy Thatcher.

A number of special events and exhibits are planned to commemorate and celebrate this milestone 50th season including:

The Speed of Ideas – A Theatrical Forum
July 23 – July 24, 2011
A 50th season celebratory event, this unique two-day forum of debate and discussion celebrates the core of the Shaw Festival’s mandate – the necessity of provocative ideas, and features two of North America’s most thought-provoking playwrights Tony Kushner and Suzan-Lori Parks, along with renowned theatre critic and commentator Michael Billington of The Guardian.

Commemorative Book: Shaw Festival – The First 50 Years
Written by Shaw scholar Leonard Conolly and designed by Scott McKowen, Art Director of The Shaw’s house programmes, this commemorative book tells the story of the Shaw Festival from its beginning to the present day celebrating its rich 50-year history. Scheduled to be released in April 2011.

The Shaw Festival welcomes Visa Infinite as a Major Sponsor and acknowledges the generous support of the following sponsors for the 2011 Season:

Major Sponsor
Official Payment Card – Visa Infinite

Major Supporter
The Slaight Family Academy – The Slaight Family Foundation

Production Sponsors
My Fair Lady TD Bank Group
Heartbreak House CIBC
On the Rocks Producers Circle
Candida Scotiabank Group
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
                                        – ArcelorMittal Dofasco
The President Vintage Hotels
Topdog/Underdog Paradigm Capital Inc.
When the Rain Stops Falling Paradigm Capital Inc.

 Project Sponsors
Education Partner – Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life
Theatre Programs for Youth – Lombard Insurance Company
Arts Accessibility Program – Sun Life Financial
Apprenticeship Program – RBC Foundation

Media And Product Sponsors
CTV
Toronto Star
98.1 CHFI
Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate Winery
Inniskillin Winery

Tickets for the Shaw Festival’s 50th Season went on sale to Shaw Festival Members on November 6. Visa Infinite cardholders can purchase tickets by phone and online beginning December 4. Tickets to the general public go on sale January 10 and can be ordered by mail, fax or online at www.shawfest.com. Tickets orders by phone or in person will be accepted beginning January 15. Ticket prices range from $24 to $30 for youth, $41 for seniors and $32 to $106 for regular tickets. Call 1-800-511-7429 to order tickets or to become a Member.

*Information accurate as of November 10, 2011.

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In the spirit of Bernard Shaw, the Shaw Theatre 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 our work in Niagara-on-the-Lake and beyond.

Please visit our website at www.shawfest.com/news for other Shaw Festival media releases. For more information, or to download images from our image bank to accompany this release, members of the media may contact:

Odette Yazbeck
Public Relations Director
1-800-657-1106 or 905-468-2153 ext. 2222
odette@shawfest.com

Jenniffer Anand
Public Relations Coordinator
1-800-657-1106 or 905-468-2153 ext. 2224
janand@shawfest.com

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