The Shaw Festival Announces 2022-2023 Season
This week, the Shaw Festival announced its 61st season!
Located in the charming town of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, The Shaw Festival is one of the largest repertory theatre companies in North America. Founded in 1962, the Shaw Festival originally featured shows written only by George Bernard Shaw, but has gone on to feature a wide variety of shows each season.
“As we continue to build on last season’s momentum, we step into 2023 with hope and pluck. A mix of classics, real hidden gems, new works and a variety of voices will be seen, heard and experienced in both our indoor and outdoor spaces next season,” professed Artistic Director Tim Carroll. “Including the newest addition, The Shaw’s own Spiegeltent – a large historic tent, we have brought over from Europe that was constructed at the turn of the century from exotic wood and canvas and decorated with mirrors and stained glass – a cabaret-style venue and an attraction in its own right. After these past two years, it’s time to further bolster our connection to one another. A heck of a theatrical ride is about to get underway. Come join us.”
The 2023 Shaw Festival playbill:
Written and adapted by Ravi Jain and Miriam Fernandes, using poetry from Carole Satyamurti's “Mahabharata: A Modern Retelling”
Original concept developed with Jenny Koons
A Why Not Theatre Production
In association with Barbican Centre
Commissioned and presented by the Shaw Festival
Directed by Ravi Jain
February 28 - March 26
Presented in partnership with Toronto’s innovative Why Not Theatre, Mahabharata is a contemporary take on a Sanskrit epic that is more than four thousand years old and foundational to Indian culture. This gripping story of a family feud is an exploration of profound philosophical and spiritual ideas. Why Not Theatre’s large-scale retelling stars a cast entirely of performers from the South Asian diaspora and presents a complex hybrid of cultures balancing East and West, traditional and contemporary. Mahabharata is a visually stunning spectacle presented in two full-length parts that takes audiences on a journey through the past in order to write a thrilling new future. Mahabharata is one of the 200 exceptional projects funded through the Canada Council for the Arts’ New Chapter initiative. With this $35M initiative, the Council supports the creation and sharing of the arts in communities across Canada. Mahabharata was developed with additional support from the National Arts Centre’s National Creation Fund. Why Not Theatre acknowledges the support of their Access Partner, Lindy Green Family Foundation, and the Wuchien Michael Than Foundation. This event has also been financially assisted by the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund, a program of the Government of Ontario through the Ministry of Tourism, Culture, and Sport, administered by the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund Corporation.
A Musical Fable, Book by ARTHUR LAURENTS
Music by JULE STYNE, Lyrics by STEPHEN SONDHEIM
Suggested by the memoirs of GYPSY ROSE LEE
Original Production by DAVID MERRICK and LELAND HAYWARD
Entire production originally directed and choreographed by JEROME ROBBINS
Directed by Jay Turvey
May 10 - October 8
Inspired by the memoirs of Gypsy Rose Lee, the world’s most famous strip-tease artist, and her relationship with Momma Rose – the ultimate stage mother. Stephen Sondheim’s timeless musical fable, featuring the legendary songs “Let Me Entertain You” and “Everything’s Coming up Roses”, explores the human cost of sex, power and blind ambition.
Noël Coward’s BLITHE SPIRIT
Directed by Mike Payette
June 14 - October 8
Novelist Charles, hoping to gather material for his next book, asks medium and clairvoyant Madame Arcati to conduct a séance at his house. It works so well his volatile first wife Elvira returns from the other side, with predictably disastrous results for his current wife, Ruth. A twisted tug-of-love comedy between the living and afterlife by one of theatre’s greatest wits.
THE AMEN CORNER
By James Baldwin
Directed by Kimberley Rampersad
July 30 - October 7
Set in a Harlem storefront church, a teenage musical prodigy must choose between his mother, the virtuous pastor and choir leader, and his terminally ill father with whom he shares a passion for jazz. Meanwhile his mother faces the harsh realization her community, built on Christian love and support, is capable of terrible bitterness and cruelty. Written by one of the 20th century’s profound voices, this searing drama of love and hate questions the role of the church in the Black community. The Shaw Festival production of Amen Corner features a repertoire of rousing songs performed by a gospel choir.
ROYAL GEORGE THEATRE
Adapted for the stage by Damien Atkins
Based on the novel by C.S. Lewis
Directed by Molly Atkinson
March 30 - October 8
One year after the events in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy hear the horn of Narnia summoning them back to the magical land. Joining forces with the Prince Caspian, the rightful heir to the Narnian throne, the Pevensie children set out to defeat an evil king and restore peace to the realm. Postponed by the pandemic, this gripping adaptation based on one of the best-loved C.S. Lewis books finally gets its world premiere.
ON THE RAZZLE
By Tom Stoppard
Adapted from Einen Jux will er sich machen by Johan Nestroy
Directed by Craig Hall
April 16 - October 8
After their wealthy, but tight-fisted, provincial boss jaunts off to Vienna to woo his fiancé, two shop assistants decide to also go “on the razzle”. Mistaken identities, romantic entanglements, double entendres and narrow escapes ensue – all the ingredients for a frothy farce that’s been whipped up into a feast full of dazzling linguistic gymnastics and playful puns. Adapted from the 19th century farce by Johan Nestroy, On the Razzle is an effervescent joyride taken at breakneck speed.
By Bernard Shaw
Directed by Selma Dimitrijevic
June 8 - October 7
Subtitled “A Comedietta for Two Voices”, this enchanting two-hander takes place on a round-the-world cruise. Two unlikely travelling companions – anti-social writer (‘A’) and spunky young woman (‘Z’) – separated by class, affluence and mindset fall head over heels for one another. As unpredictable as love itself, the casting of A and Z will be left to chance at each performance and chosen by lottery.
THE SHADOW OF A DOUBT
By Edith Wharton
Directed by Peter Hinton-Davis
July 16 - October 15
Former nurse Kate Derwent has recently married up. Many are suspicious of her rise in society, while others want to use a secret from her past to destroy her. Pulled from obscurity, this recently rediscovered three-act mystery drama is the only known finished play by the author of The Age of Innocence and The House of Mirth.
JACKIE MAXWELL STUDIO THEATRE
THE PLAYBOY OF THE WESTERN WORLD
By J.M. Synge
Directed by Jackie Maxwell
May 25 - October 7
The Shaw Festival’s Artistic Director Emerita Jackie Maxwell returns to helm this legendary Irish comedy in the theatre named for her. In a small Irish town where the only entertainment is gossip, Christy Mahon’s arrival has everyone talking. On the run after the murder of his father, he finds himself a local celebrity, not so much condemned as admired, and even desired. Everything is going Christy’s way … until his father turns up very much alive.
THE APPLE CART
By Bernard Shaw
Directed by Eda Holmes
June 7 - October 7
A power struggle between a fictional English King and his prime minister triggers a full-blown constitutional crisis. With a great deal to say about the true nature of governmental power, this brilliant satirical comedy is not only prophetic, but a political extravaganza, and one of Bernard Shaw’s biggest hits.
By Helen Edmundson
Directed by Jessica Carmichael
August 3 - October 6
Englishman Robert and his Irish wife Madeleine are united by a passionate love; but when Oliver Cromwell’s brutal ethnic cleansing campaign against the Irish Catholics reaches their doorstep, long-held loyalties and devotion face the ultimate test. As powerful forces close in – threatening their lives, livelihoods, and those dearest to them – they are forced to make the most difficult choice of all.
OUTDOORS @ THE SHAW
Written and directed by Selma Dimitrijevic
June 1 - September 2
Beautiful and powerful, this celebrated one-act play explores the nature of the changing relationships between children and their parents. The hit of the London Fringe Festival, it features a real-life mother and daughter plucked from the audience at every performance.
THE GAME OF LOVE AND CHANCE
A romantic comedy by Pierre de Marivaux
As improvised by the Shaw Festival Ensemble
Directed by Tim Carroll
June 28 - October 8
Two young people agree to have their nuptials arranged. Unbeknownst to each other, they both assume their servants’ identities to check each other out. Mayhem and mistaken identities ensue, revealing how untamable love really is. Matching the spirit of this romantic comedy, a different cast will perform at each show (and the learning of any lines is enthusiastically discouraged). It’s a theatrical free-for-all where literally anything can happen.
RODGERS & HAMMERSTEIN’S A GRAND NIGHT FOR SINGING
Music and Lyrics by RICHARD RODGERS and OSCAR HAMMERSTEIN II
Musical Arrangements by Orchestration by FRED WELLS, MICHAEL GIBSON and JONATHAN TUNICK
Conceived by WALTER BOBBIE
Directed by TBC
June 29 - September 30
Showcasing the music of Richard Rodgers and the lyrics of Oscar Hammerstein II, this musical review features songs like “Maria”, from The Sound of Music and “I’m Gonna Wash that Man Right Outa my Hair” from South Pacific. A GRAND NIGHT FOR SINGING is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals. www.concordtheatricals.com .
Originally produced by Roundabout Theatre Company, New York City, in 1993.
A SHORT HISTORY OF NIAGARA
Created by Alexandra Montagnese and Mike Petersen
With original sound design by Ryan Cowl
Commissioned and presented by the Shaw Festival
July 20 - August 13
Returning for its third season, this charming half-hour of pure storytelling features stories about the Maid of the Mist to Laura Secord to the founding of the Shaw Festival. Silent puppets, accompanied by sound effects and music, bring the rich history of the Niagara Region to life.
A CHRISTMAS CAROL
By Charles Dickens
Adapted and originally directed by Tim Carroll
Directed by TBC
Royal George Theatre
November 5 - December 23
Ebenezer Scrooge returns! The Shaw’s charming production of the beloved classic A Christmas Carol will once again warm the cockles of the most frigid of hearts and rekindle childhood holiday memories in all.
LERNER AND LOEWE’S BRIGADOON
Book and Lyrics by ALAN JAY LERNER; Music by FREDERICK LOEWE
Original dances created by AGNES DE MILLE
Revised book by BRIAN HILL
Directed by Glynis Leyshon
November 15 - December 23
Two American tourists happen upon Brigadoon, a Scottish town that appears for one day every 100 years. When one of the visitors becomes infatuated with a young woman from the mythical town, he finds himself asking what he’d give up for love. This musical is packed with much-loved songs by Lerner and Loewe like “Almost Like Being in Love” and “I’ll Go Home with Bonnie Jean”, the musical team who created My Fair Lady.
The 2023 season casts, creative teams and additional Outdoor @ The Shaw events and activities will be announced at a later date. Further updates will also be available at shawfest.com. Dates listed are subject to change. Tickets to the 2023 season will be on sale beginning November 5 for Friends of The Shaw and December 3 for the public.
You can find more information at tickets at https://www.shawfest.com