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J.M. Barrie’s The Admirable Crichton begins previews today at The Shaw

“There must always, my lady, be one to command and others to obey” 

Media Release #20

Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, June 22, 2011… J.M. Barrie’s fantastical fable, The Admirable Crichton, begins previews today at The Shaw’s Festival Theatre.

Crichton (Steven Sutcliffe) is the perfect butler in the home of Lord Loam (David Schurmann), a lord whose radical desire to topple the natural order of things is completely at odds with his peers, not to mention his ultra conservative butler. Loam’s ideas suffer a serious rethink, however, when the family gets shipwrecked on a desert island far from the shores of England. Slowly the group surrenders to the natural order of things — British class distinctions disappear and the social order is challenged. Who will lead this new society? Indeed it is Crichton who ends up the master and man in charge, but when they are eventually rescued and returned to civilization, can they resume the roles they were born to play?

Inspired by Charles H. Bennett’s illustrated Aesops Fables, director Morris Panych, set designer Ken MacDonald and costume designer Charlotte Dean incorporate many of Barrie’s descriptive stage directions into the action of the play. Integrating animal masks and live music from the roaring 1920s, along with a few dreamlike dance numbers, results in an unconventional storybook frame for this delightfully subversive comedy.

The cast of The Admirable Crichton also features Nicole Underhay as Lady Mary Lasenby and includes Kyle Blair, Martin Happer, Marla McLean, Moya O’Connell and Cherissa Richards, with Guy Bannerman, Anthony Bekenn, Ijeoma Emesowum, Patty Jamieson, Melanie Janzen, Gabrielle Jones, Billy Lake, Colin Lepage, Anthony Malarky, Heather McGuigan, Katie Murphy, Gray Powell, Louie Rossetti, Kiera Sangster, Jonathan Tan, Devon Tullock, Kelly Wong, Ben Sanders and Kellan Ziffle.

The Admirable Crichton has lighting design by Alan Brodie, music direction by Ryan deSouza, sound design by Emily Porter and choreography by Valerie Moore. The stage management team includes Stage Manager Allan Teichman and Assistant Stage Managers Leigh McClymont and Kristopher Weber.

Suitable for families with children ages nine and up, The Admirable Crichton is another great play from the author of Peter Pan. Family friendly packages such as From Pauper to Proper and Upstairs/Downstairs are also available bringing participants further into the world of The Admirable Crichton.

Written in 1902, The Admirable Crichton was first produced in London, then in New York in 1903 and was produced at the Shaw Festival in 1976 (with Michael Ball as Crichton). The play was also made into a film called Paradise Lagoon in 1957, which starred Kenneth More as Crichton. 

The Admirable Crichton, which has already reached $1 million in ticket sales, begins preview performances Wednesday, June 22; opens Saturday, July 9; and plays in repertory until Saturday, October 29.

The Shaw Festival’s milestone season began April 7, 2011, runs until October 30, 2011 and also features productions of My Fair Lady, Candida, On the Rocks, Drama at Inish – A Comedy, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The President, 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 on theatre packages, visit www.shawfest.com or call 1-800-511-7429 or 905-468-2172 (local).

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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                   

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

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