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Shaw Festival casts principal roles for Festival Theatre productions

Media Release #35

Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, November 1, 2011…Artistic Director Jackie Maxwell proudly announced the casting and creative teams for the three plays featured next season on The Shaw’s Festival Theatre stage. In making the announcement, Ms. Maxwell noted: “I am so inspired by the range of talent we’ve assembled to make up our 2012 Ensemble. This extraordinary group of artists will bring to life the vivid contemporary ideas of each and every playwright whose work we are proudly presenting.” 

 Thom Allison & Kate Hennig return to lead strong cast in Ragtime

After a successful run on Broadway in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Thom Allison returns to The Shaw to play Coalhouse Walker Jr. in the Terrence McNally/Lynn Ahrens/Stephen Flaherty musical epic Ragtime. He last appeared at The Shaw in the 2008 production of A Little Night Music. Kate Hennig, who wowed Broadway and Toronto audiences in Billy Elliott, returns to The Shaw after a seven year (2005, Gypsy) absence to appear as Emma Goldman. They are joined by Patty Jamieson as Mother, Jay Turvey as Tateh, Benedict Campbell as Father, Alana Hibbert as Sarah, Julie Martell as Evelyn Nesbitt and Evan Alexander Smith as Younger Brother. 

Book by Terrence McNally, lyrics by Lynn Ahrens,
music by Stephen Flaherty 

Previews – April 10  Opens – May 26  Closes – October 14
Sponsored by TD Bank Group

Directed by Jackie Maxwell, musical direction by Paul Sportelli, choreography by Valerie Moore, designed by Sue LePage, lighting designed by Alan Brodie, sound design by John Lott and  projection design by Sean Nieuwenhuis.

Nicole Underhay flanked by impressive ensemble in His Girl Friday 

Returning for her sixth season at The Shaw, Nicole Underhay portrays ace reporter Hildebrand ‘Hildy” Johnson. Benedict Campbell is the irascible editor Walter Burns, with Neil Barclay, Kevin Bundy, Kevin Hanchard, Peter Krantz, Ric Reid and Jeff Meadows filling up the newsroom as fellow hack reporters and visitors.

His Girl Friday
Adapted by John Guare, from The Front Page by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur and the Columbia Pictures film His Girl Friday

Previews – June 10  Opens – July 7  Closes – October 5 

Directed by Jim Mezon, designed by Peter Hartwell, lighting designed by Kevin Lamotte and original music and sound design by John Gzowski.

Present Laughter brings O’Connell & Sutcliffe back together again

They first appeared as adversaries in the 2010 production of An Ideal Husband, then in the 2011 season they were stranded on an island together in The Admirable Crichton. In 2012, Moya O’Connell and Steven Sutcliffe will delight audiences again when they appear together in Noël Coward’s classic comedy, Present Laughter. Steven Sutcliffe will add the celebrated role of Garry Essendine to his long list of credits and will also be joined on stage by Claire Jullien and Mary Haney along with Patrick McManus, Gray Powell, Julia Course, Jonathan Tan and Jennifer Phipps.

Present Laughter
by Noël Coward

Previews – May 3  Opens – May 23  Closes – October 28

Directed by David Schurmann, designed by William Schmuck and lighting designed by Kevin Lamotte.

Casting for the Court House Theatre, Royal George Theatre and Studio Theatre will be announced at a later date. 


The Shaw Festival welcomes and acknowledges the generous support of the following sponsors for the 2012 Season:

Major Sponsor

Official Payment Card – Visa Infinite

Major Supporter

The Slaight Family Academy – The Slaight Family Foundation

Production Sponsors

Ragtime TD Bank Group
Misalliance Scotiabank Group
The Millionairess PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
Trouble in Tahiti Vintage Hotels
Helen’s Necklace Paradigm Capital Inc. 

 Project Sponsors

Arts Accessibility Program – Sun Life Financial
Education Partner – Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life
Apprenticeship Program – RBC

Product Sponsors

Jackson Triggs Niagara Estate Winery
Inniskillin Winery
Peller Estates

Tickets for the Shaw Festival’s 51st season will go on sale to Shaw Festival Members on November 5. Visa Infinite cardholders can purchase tickets before the general public by phone and online beginning December 3. Tickets to the general public go on sale January 9 and can be ordered by mail, fax or online at www.shawfest.com. Ticket orders by phone or in person will be accepted beginning January 14. Ticket prices range from $24 to $30 for youth, $41 to $45 for seniors and $32 to $110 for regular priced tickets. To become a Member and order tickets now, call 1-800-511-7429.

*Information accurate as of November 1, 2011.


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/the-news-room for other Shaw Festival media releases. 

Image Bank
Our digital image bank features 300 dpi images of the 2012 season photo illustrations, the Ensemble, as well as photographs of our theatres, Bernard Shaw and the town of Niagara-on-the-Lake. To access our image bank, please 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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