Today's announcement by Artistic Director Jackie Maxwell of the Shaw Festival's 2013 season introduces new and provocative conversations for its 52nd season. In a playbill rich with Culture Clashes, magical transformations and dazzling ideas, The Shaw continues its theatrical exploration of the mystery and beauty of contemporary life.
Presented on four distinct stages in Niagara-on-the-Lake, the Shaw Festival's 2013 playbill features ten productions including one of Shaw's most brilliant plays, a newly commissioned rewrite of one of his later pieces, two Tony Award-winning musicals, the Festival's first Tom Stoppard play and much more.
Commenting on the robust season, Ms. Maxwell noted: "The 2013 playbill features a season of plays which speak to one another on many levels. I've always believed that seeing one piece in the context of another generates wonderful conversations, both between the plays and certainly amongst our audiences!"
On the Festival Theatre stage: Two Shaw Festival premieres and a Wilde return
The Shaw Festival's successful re-envisioning of major musicals, like past seasons' My Fair Lady and Ragtime, has led to the selection of Guys and Dolls - a beloved musical with a delightful book and a memorable score. Polish director Tadeusz Bradecki, well known to Shaw audiences, will bring a new point of view to this revered classic. Also on the Festival stage is Enchanted April, the Tony Award-nominated stage adaptation by Matthew Barber of Elizabeth von Arnim's bestselling novel. Artistic Director Jackie Maxwell will direct this charming story about renewal and the rediscovery of love and hope as grey post WWI London gives way to the glories of Northern Italy. The final production on the Festival stage continues the rich relationship The Shaw has with Oscar Wilde as the Wilde wit returns in Lady Windermere's Fan. This glittering masterpiece will be directed by Peter Hinton, who directed the critically acclaimed 2011 production of Andrew Bovell's When the Rain Stops Falling.
Examination and exploration of Shaw continues in the intimacy of the Royal George and Court House Theatres
After an eight year hiatus, Major Barbara returns - this time to the intimate setting of the Royal George Theatre, where it has never been staged before - and will be directed by Ms. Maxwell, whose last foray into the works of Shaw was the celebrated production of St. Joan in 2007. The re-examination of Shaw's later, more complex plays also continues with the rethinking of Shaw's Geneva - a still pertinent tale of international co-operation and the lack thereof. Canadian playwright John Murrell (Waiting for the Parade, 2004) has created an exuberant adaptation re-titled Peace in Our Time: A Comedy, that still maintains the provocative ideas of Shaw's original work, giving us a dazzling world where politics meets the Marx Brothers! Ensemble member Blair Williams will direct this balletic extravaganza at the Court House.
The Light in the Piazza and Lunchtime at the Court House Theatre
Also at the Court House Theatre is the deeply moving Craig Lucas/Adam Guettel musical The Light in the Piazza – a six-time Tony Award-winning musical about a romance between a young American woman and an Italian man that hits some unexpected and disturbing obstacles. Ensemble member Jay Turvey, who created a stir with his stylish production of Trouble in Tahiti this past season, will direct. The ever popular Lunchtime will once again be presented at the Court House Theatre and features a duo of short plays, Susan Glaspell's Trifles and Eugene O'Neill's A Wife for a Life, which examine the stresses of marriage from two very different points of view.
Our Betters and Faith Healer at the Royal George Theatre
Sharing the Royal George's stage with Shaw's Major Barbara, is W. Somerset Maugham's Our Betters. Morris Panych returns to The Shaw to direct this smart, provocative comedy about free-spirited American social climbers who travel to Britain in search of aristocratic husbands - a new Maugham treasure for the many people who loved our productions of Maugham's The Circle and The Constant Wife. Also on the Royal George stage is Brian Friel's Faith Healer, a play that centres on a charismatic but deeply flawed "healer" and the night that changes his life. Talented young west coast director Craig Hall makes his Shaw directing debut with this fascinating drama.