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Molly Smith helms two musicals wowing audiences in U.S. and Canada




My Fair Lady
at the Shaw Festival and Rodgers And Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! at Arena Stage are simultaneously breaking records 

Media Release #29

Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario/Washington, D.C., September 14, 2011…Artistic Director of Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theatre Molly Smith finds herself with two record-breaking shows in North America at the same time: Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! at her home theatre in D.C. and My Fair Lady in the 50th season of the Shaw Festival at Niagara-on-the-Lake. Under her direction, both shows have become the best-selling productions in the companies’ histories.
Smith’s fresh interpretation of My Fair Lady, the popular Lerner and Loewe musical based on Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion, which has garnered praise from both audiences and critics alike, will have attracted close to 90,000 people when its run ends October 30 after 126 performances in the Shaw’s Festival Theatre.

The 2010 Helen Hayes Outstanding Resident Musical Oklahoma! has reached more than 100,000 people during both engagements of the critically acclaimed production last fall and this summer. With 174 public performances over 23 weeks, the combined runs make Oklahoma! the longest-running mainstage production in Arena Stage’s 61-year history. Oklahoma! must close October 2.

“Molly’s production of My Fair Lady here at the Shaw Festival is a jewel in the crown of our 50th season,” noted Shaw Festival Executive Director Colleen Blake. “Like her remarkable Oklahoma!, My Fair Lady continues to delight audiences from across the United States and Canada.”

“I just saw Molly’s production of My Fair Lady this past weekend at Shaw,” shares Arena Stage Managing Director Edgar Dobie. “Like Oklahoma! it is a huge hit and each ticket sold (and there have been hundreds of thousands of them) to both shows is the best vote of confidence in Molly’s gift as a first-class director of the greatest of American musicals. Multi-national audiences so obviously agree!”

For additional information regarding Oklahoma! visit www.arenastage.org and for My Fair Lady visit www.shawfest.com.

Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theatre is a national center dedicated to the production, presentation, development and study of American theatre. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Molly Smith and Managing Director Edgar Dobie, Arena Stage is the largest company in the country dedicated to American plays and playwrights. Arena Stage produces huge plays of all that is passionate, exuberant, profound, deep and dangerous in the American spirit, and presents diverse and ground-breaking work from some of the best artists around the country. Arena Stage is committed to commissioning and developing new plays through the American Voices New Play Institute. Now in its sixth decade, Arena Stage serves a diverse annual audience of more than 300,000. www.arenastage.org

Now in its 50th season, the Shaw Festival is the only theatre in the world that produces and presents the works by Bernard Shaw, his contemporaries, playwrights writing anywhere in the world during, or about, the era of Shaw’s lifetime; and the work of contemporary Shavians – writers whose work, like Shaw’s, continue to question the status quo in new and different ways. Led by Artistic Director Jackie Maxwell and Executive Director Colleen Blake, the Shaw Festival is one of the few theatre companies maintaining a permanent acting company and the only one in the world specializing in such a defined historical period. The Shaw Festival is not only renowned internationally for single-handedly revitalizing and re-energizing the works of Bernard Shaw, but is also committed to presenting them anew in fresh, interesting and innovative ways. Through its Play Development Program, the Shaw Festival is also dedicated to the development and production of new plays that can sit alongside those of Shaw, Chekhov and Coward, as well as new adaptations and translations that convey classic stories in a contemporary way.  www.shawfest.com


Arena Stage Contact: Kirstin M. Franko; press@arenastage.org, 202-600-4055
Shaw Festival Contact: Odette Yazbeck; odette@shawfest.com, 1-800-657-1106 ext. 2222

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