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Shaw Festival announces principal casting for 2015 season

– New and noteworthy names, familiar faces and returning favourites seen in extraordinary roles –

Media Release #23

Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON (October 29, 2014) – The Shaw Festival today announced principal casting and creative team details for its 54th season.

“I am very happy with our casting for the 2015 season,” said Artistic Director Jackie Maxwell. “It’s a vital and engaging combination of fresh faces, younger ensemble members stepping up and taking on leading roles, well-loved actors returning to The Shaw and core ensemble members taking on surprising new challenges.”

FESTIVAL THEATRE

Sweet Charity

Book by Neil Simon, music by Cy Coleman and lyrics by Dorothy Fields
Based on the original screenplay by Federico Fellini, Tullio Pinelli and Ennio Flaiano
Produced for the Broadway stage by Fryer, Carr and Harris
Originally conceived, staged and choreographed by Bob Fosse
Previews – April 17   Opens – May 16   Closes – October 31
Sponsored by TD Bank Group

Julie Martell returns as Sweet Charity

Julie Martell returns to the Shaw Festival to play dance hall hostess Charity Hope Valentine, joining Kyle Blair as Oscar Lindquist and Elodie Gillett as Helene, Charity’s friend and fellow Fandango Ballroom dancer. Newcomer Kimberley Rampersad makes her Shaw debut as Nickie, the third of the dance hall’s chief trio. This show also features company member Jeremy Carver-James stepping into the featured role of Daddy Brubeck, along with Jacqueline Thair as Ursula March, Jay Turvey as Herman and returning Festival favourite Mark Uhre as Vittorio Vidal.

Directed by Morris Panych, musical direction by Paul Sportelli, choreographed by Parker Esse, set designed by Ken MacDonald, costumes designed by Charlotte Dean, lighting designed by Bonnie Beecher, projections designed by Cameron Davis and sound designed by John Lott.

Pygmalion

By Bernard Shaw
Previews – May 31   Opens – June 27   Closes – October 24
Sponsored by BMO Financial Group

Patrick McManus and Harveen Sandhu star as the latest incarnations of Pygmalion duo

Harveen Sandhu is Eliza Doolittle, opposite Patrick McManus’s linguistics professor Henry Higgins and Jeff Meadows’s Colonel Pickering, in a Pygmalion set in modern day London. This new take on Shaw’s popular “anti-romantic” comedy also features Donna Belleville as Mrs. Higgins and Mary Haney as Mrs. Pearce.

Directed by Peter Hinton, set designed by Eo Sharp, costume designed by Christina Poddubiuk and lighting designed by Kevin Lamotte.

Light Up the Sky

By Moss Hart
Previews – June 25   Opens – July 25   Closes – October 11

Claire Jullien, Steven Sutcliffe, Kelli Fox, Laurie Paton and Thom Marriott lead Moss Hart backstage comedy

The Shaw is pleased to welcome back Steven Sutcliffe as neurotic director Carleton Fitzgerald and Kelli Fox as former ice skating star and first time producer, Frances Black. They join Claire Jullien as diva Irene Livingston, Laurie Paton as her stage mother Stella Livingston and Thom Marriott as producer Sidney Black in Moss Hart’s glorious ensemble comedy. Fiona Byrne, Charlie Gallant, Graeme Somerville, Kelly Wong and returning company member Shawn Wright join in the theatrical antics.

Directed by Blair Williams, designed by William Schmuck, lighting designed by Louise Guinand and original music by Marek Norman.


ROYAL GEORGE THEATRE

Peter and the Starcatcher

A play by Rick Elice
Based on the novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
Music by Wayne Barker
Originally produced on Broadway by Nancy Nagel Gibbs, Greg Schaffert, Eva Price, Tom Smedes and Disney Theatrical Productions
Previews – April 8   Opens – May 16   Closes – November 1
Sponsored by Scotiabank

Charlie Gallant and Kate Besworth lead company on a magical journey in Peter Pan prequel

Young Shaw ensemble members Charlie Gallant and Kate Besworth play the title roles in this delightful adventure. Martin Happer brings his derring–do to the role of pirate Blackstache and Patrick Galligan joins the exploits as Lord Astor. Billy Lake, Graeme Somerville, Jonathan Tan, Kelly Wong, Jenny L. Wright and Shawn Wright complete the cast for this rollicking tale.

Directed by Jackie Maxwell, movement by Valerie Moore, musical direction by Ryan deSouza, designed by Judith Bowden, lighting designed by Kevin Lamotte.

You Never Can Tell

By Bernard Shaw
Previews – April 26   Opens – May 14   Closes – October 25
Sponsored by Gabriel Pascal Memorial Fund

Gray Powell, Tara Rosling, Julia Course, Patrick McManus and Peter Millard in Shaw’s seaside comedy

Gray Powell is Valentine, the dentist; Julia Course is Gloria, the object of his affection; Tara Rosling is Mrs. Clandon, Patrick McManus plays her once lost husband Fergus Crampton, along with Peter Millard as the wise waiter William in Shaw’s most light-hearted play. The production also features Jennifer Dzialoszynski as Dolly and Stephen Jackman-Torkoff as Philip.

Directed by Jim Mezon, designed by Leslie Frankish, lighting designed by Kimberly Purtell, projections designed by Cameron Davis and original music and sound designed by John Gzowski.


The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt

By Michel Marc Bouchard, translated by Linda Gaboriau
Previews – July 5   Opens – July 24   Closes – October 11
Sponsored by James and Diane King

Fiona Reid is the “Divine Sarah” in the world premiere of a Michel Marc Bouchard commissioned work

Fiona Reid plays Sarah Bernhardt, the legendary actress and theatrical superstar, alongside Ben Sanders and Wade Bogert-O’Brien as the young seminarians Michaud and Talbot, whose lives become intertwined with hers. The production also features Darcy Gerhart as Madeleine Courteline, Mary Haney as Madame Talbot and Martin Happer as Brother Casgrain.

Directed by Jackie Maxwell, designed by Michael Gianfrancesco, lighting designed by Bonnie Beecher and original music and sound designed by John Gzowski.

COURT HOUSE THEATRE

The Lady from the Sea

By Henrik Ibsen, in a new version by Erin Shields
Previews – April 30   Opens – May 15   Closes – September 13

Moya O’Connell revisits Ibsen as Ellida, the lady from the sea

After playing the iconic title role in Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler, Moya O’Connell takes on another Ibsen heroine – the mysterious and elusive Ellida in The Lady from the Sea. Ric Reid is Doctor Wangel, her kindly provincial husband. They are joined by ensemble members Neil Barclay, Kyle Blair, Darcy Gerhart, Jacqueline Thair and Mark Uhre as the Stranger.

Directed by Meg Roe, designed by Camellia Koo, lighting designed by Kevin Lamotte and original music and sound designed by Alessandro Juliani.

Top Girls

By Caryl Churchill
Previews – May 23   Opens – June 26   Closes – September 12
Sponsored by Intersect International

Top female talents assembled to present powerful contemporary classic

Fiona Byrne leads a brilliant cross-generational ensemble of Shaw women as Marlene, the ultimate “Top Girl”. A warm welcome back to Tara Rosling, who plays her sister Joyce. They join the cast of Catherine McGregor, Claire Jullien, Laurie Paton, Julia Course and Tess Benger in one of contemporary theatre’s most celebrated works.

Directed by Vikki Anderson, designed by Sue LePage and lighting designed by Louise Guinand.

The Twelve-Pound Look

By J.M. Barrie
Previews – June 11   Opens – June 27   Closes – September 12
Sponsored by Vintage Hotels

Patrick Galligan, Moya O’Connell and Kate Besworth in one-act J.M. Barrie Lunchtime

As Sir Harry Sims, Patrick Galligan discovers what twelve pounds and an ounce of freedom can do for a woman. Moya O’Connell is Kate, his former wife, and Kate Besworth is Lady Sims, his current wife, in one of Barrie’s most witty and inventive one-act plays. The production also features Neil Barclay and Harveen Sandhu.

Directed by Lezlie Wade and designed by William Schmuck.

STUDIO THEATRE

The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures

By Tony Kushner
Previews – July 11   Opens – July 26   Closes – October 10
Sponsored by Paradigm Capital Inc.

Tony Kushner’s iHO features dream cast of Jim Mezon, Kelli Fox, Steven Sutcliffe, Gray Powell and Fiona Reid

Some of the Shaw Festival’s heaviest hitters have been assembled for this production of Kushner’s masterpiece – Jim Mezon as family patriarch Gus; Kelli Fox as Empty, Steven Sutcliffe as Pill, Gray Powell as Vic, his three children; and Fiona Reid as his sister Clio; with Diana Donnelly as Maeve, Thom Marriott as Adam and Ben Sanders as Eli.

Directed by Eda Holmes, designed by Peter Hartwell, lighting designed by Kevin Lamotte and original music by Paul Sportelli.

STUDIO UNDERGROUND

The Next Whisky Bar – A Kurt Weill Cabaret

Created by Paul Sportelli and Jay Turvey
Opens – August 21   Closes – September 5
Sponsored by James F. Brown

For six nights only, in the Studio Underground, a 1920s dockside bar in Germany will materialise populated by lost souls presenting their hopes, dreams and hurts to the beguiling music of composer Kurt Weill. Grab a drink and listen to David Ball, Tess Benger, Jeremy-Carver James, Elodie Gillett, Patrick McManus, Peter Millard and Julain Molnar sing a combination of known and not-so-known songs by Kurt Weill accompanied by a six-piece band.

Directed by Jay Turvey, designed by William Schmuck, lighting designed by Kevin Lamotte and sound designed by John Lott.

The Shaw also welcomes back current Shaw Ensemble members Kristi Frank, Aaron Hastelow, Peter Krantz, Kiera Sangster, Travis Seetoo, as well as new members Ayinde Blake, Andrew Broderick, Jasmine Chen, Colton Curtis, James Daly, Howard J. Davis, Starr Domingue, Lindsey Frazier, Kelly Grainger, Matt Nethersole and Genny Sermonia who will be making their Shaw Festival debuts this season.

2015 season ticket on-sale dates to note:

  • Governor’s Council and Premier Members: Saturday, November 1, 2014
  • Peter and the Starcatcher Gift Pack (2 adults, 2 children, $220): November 1, 2014
  • Sustaining, Contributing and Business Members: Monday, November 3, 2014
  • Supporting Members: Thursday, November 6, 2014
  • Annual Members: Saturday, November 8, 2014
  • Special Starcatcher Family Package: Saturday, November 29, 2014
  • General Public: Wednesday, January 7, 2015
    • Fax, mail and online beginning Wednesday, January 7
    • By phone and in-person beginning Saturday, January 10.

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About the Shaw Festival

The Shaw Festival is a theatre company inspired by the work of Bernard Shaw. We produce plays from and about his era and contemporary plays that share Shaw’s provocative exploration of society and celebration of humanity.

For more information, or to acquire images, 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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