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Previews of the Shaw Festival’s lunchtime comedy The President begin tomorrow


“It must be very wonderful, sir, to have almost all mankind at your disposal.”

Media Release #17

Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, June 2, 2011… The President, the fast-paced mad-cap comedy hit of the 2008 season, begins previews tomorrow at the Royal George Theatre. Written by Ferenc Molnár and adapted by Morwyn Brebner, the delightful lunchtime returns with many of the original cast, including Lorne Kennedy in his tour de force role as President Norrison. 

The minutes in Molnár’s manic world start ticking down for powerful bank president Norrison (Lorne Kennedy) when the young heiress under his care (Julie Martell) announces her secret marriage to a Communist taxi driver (Jeff Meadows). Norrison tries in vain to convince her to divorce him, but she is prepared to make her big announcement to her parents, who are arriving imminently. So begins an hour of hilarity and tongue twisting dialogue where Norrison sets about to transform this wholly unsuitable suitor into a perfectly well-bred, well-mannered, well-spoken son-in-law before time runs out.

The cast of The President also includes Andrew Bunker, Michael Ball, Julia Course, Jonathan Gould, Kevin Hanchard, Peter Millard, Laurie Paton, James Pendarves, Tara Rosling, Ken James Stewart, William Vickers and Jenny L. Wright.

Director Blair Williams and designer Cameron Porteous revisit The President once again, along with lighting designer Jennifer Jimenez. The stage management team includes Stage Manager Beatrice Campbell and Assistant Stage Manager Barry Burns.

Hungarian playwright, novelist and journalist Ferenc Molnár (1878-1952) achieved international recognition for such plays as The Devil, The Swan, The Play’s the Thing and Olympia, as well as for his novel The Paul Street Boys. Morwyn Brebner, a playwright-in-residence at Toronto’s Tarragon Theatre, is known to Shaw audiences as the adapter of two Chekhov farces in the delightful Love Among the Russians in 2006. Her adaptation of The President had its premiere at The Shaw in 2008.

The President begins preview performances Friday, June 3; opens Saturday, July 9; and plays in repertory until Sunday, October 9. The President is sponsored by Vintage Hotels

The Shaw Festival’s milestone season began April 7, 2011, runs until October 30, 2011 and features productions of My Fair Lady, Candida, The Admirable Crichton, Drama at Inish – A Comedy, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, On the Rocks, Maria Severa, Heartbreak House, Topdog/Underdog, When the Rain Stops Falling on the Festival’s four Niagara-on-the-Lake stages. The 2011 season also includes a special 50th season two-day event, The Speed of Ideas: A Theatrical Forum featuring award-winning playwrights Tony Kushner and Suzan-Lori Parks and author and renowned theatre critic Michael Billington. For more information on our 50th season celebrations, please visit www.shawfest.com/our-50th-season. For tickets and information, visit www.shawfest.com or call 1-800-511-7429 or 905-468-2172 (local).

 Visa Infinite is the official payment card of the Shaw Festival.

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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 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 
905-468-2153 or 1-800-657-1106 ext. 2222                   
odette@shawfest.com                                                      

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

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