Thursday, July 25, 2013

News: Shaw Announces 2014 Playbill (Press release)

The Shaw announces Festival Theatre’s 2014 playbill
Festival main stage currently experiencing a hat-trick of audience and critically favoured productions

Media Release #25

Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, July 25, 2013 . . . With three acclaimed and popular productions currently playing on its Festival Stage, the Shaw Festival today announced how it intends to repeat the hat-trick in 2014.

“As it is the largest of our four theatres, it's essential that we program the Festival Theatre with works of broad appeal, brought to new life by brilliant creative teams”, remarked Artistic Director Jackie Maxwell. "To this end we will continue our successful re-envisioning of major musicals with Cabaret, the Tony Award-winner based on stories from the Christopher Isherwood novel, Goodbye to Berlin, with music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb.”

Set in 1931 Berlin as the Nazis are rising to power, Cabaretfocuses on the decadent nightlife in the seedy Kit Kat Klub, led by its eerily compelling Master of Ceremonies and cabaret singer Sally Bowles, and the world of landlady Fräulein Schneider's apartments. It is here that Sally meets American writer Cliff Bradshaw as outside political realities begin to infiltrate their lives. Chosen for its strong book, fascinating story and resonant political context, Cabaret will be directed by Peter Hinton, who returns to The Shaw after his hugely successful production of Lady Windermere's Fan, one of the current season's major hits.

Commenting on her choice of director, Ms. Maxwell said: “Anyone who has seen Peter's work will appreciate his ability to evoke an era from a new and contemporary point of view. He thinks conceptually and visually and I know he will bring the world ofCabaret to the Festival stage in a rich, detailed and wonderfully surprising way.”

Creative team members for Cabaret include choreographer Denise Clarke, a Calgary-based, internationally hailed artist in dance and theatre who is making a welcomed debut at The Shaw; resident Music Director Paul Sportelli, set designer Michael Gianfrancesco, costume designer Judith Bowden and lighting designer Bonnie Beecher.

The second production planned for the Festival Stage is The Philadelphia Story. This beloved romantic comedy was written in 1939 by American Philip Barry and made famous by the film starring Katherine Hepburn as socialite Tracy Lord. A high-end East Coast household is thrown into disarray as Tracy’s wedding plans are complicated by the simultaneous arrival of her ex-husband and a journalist determined to dig up some tabloid dirt. The Philadelphia Story will be directed by Dennis Garnhum, Artistic Director of Theatre Calgary, with The Shaw's Head of Design William Schmuck, taking on sets and costumes, and lighting by Kevin Lamotte, Head of Lighting Design. After the close of the Shaw's 2014 season, the production will travel to Calgary to be part of Theatre Calgary’s 2014/15 season.

“Building connections with other theatre companies across Canada and the United States is something we are very focused on here at The Shaw”, said Ms. Maxwell. “Over the last 10 years, we have visited companies in cities such as Toronto, Ottawa, Chicago, Detroit and are thrilled to add Theatre Calgary to the list, currently one of the most vital regional theatres in Canada.”

Rounding out the Festival Theatre's 2014 playbill is a popular early work by the Festival's namesake, The Philanderer. The Shaw is thrilled that Lisa Peterson, a two-time Obie Award winner, self described Bernard Shaw fan and one of North America's most sought after freelance directors, will make her Shaw Festival debut with this delightfully barbed comedy. Written in 1893, The Philanderer is set in the fictitious Ibsen Club where unusually both sexes can become members. The only stipulation is the men must prove they are unmanly and the women unwomanly! Forced to make changes to the script by the British censor, Shaw wrote a new third act. The 2014 production will feature Shaw's original version. Ms. Peterson will be joined by designer Sue LePage, who has designed set and costumes for many Shaw plays at the Festival. Plans are already afoot to create a whole new landscape in which to view this provocative story.

Casting and full creative teams will be announced at a later date.

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