Wed 4/4-Sun 10/28
Canada’s Shaw Festival is a tribute to George Bernard Shaw and his writing contemporaries.
Many Clevelanders take the four-hour drive up to “The Shaw,” as it is called by locals, just to participate in theater. Others tour the “most beautiful little city in Canada,” eat at the many restaurants and go shopping for Canadian goods. Some take a side trip to Niagara Falls to see the world’s water wonder or to gamble. Whatever, The Shaw is a wonderful spring, summer or fall adventure.
It’s a good idea to make both theater and lodging reservations early, especially with the B&Bs on weekends. Our home away from home is the beautiful and well-placed Wellington House, directly across the street from the Festival Theatre, and within easy walking distance of all the theatres. I also like the Two Bees B&B, which is downtown. For information on other B&Bs go to niagaraonthelake/showbedandbreakfasts.
There are some wonderful restaurants. My in-town favorites are The Grill on King Street, Ginger Restaurant and Niagara’s Finest Thai, with Old Winery a worth-while ten-minute ride from downtown.
Tim Carroll, in his second season as the Shaw’s artistic director, dedicates this season to a chance to put into practice what he learned in his first season. The audiences love musicals, passion, crime, laughter, brilliant writing, pure escapism, in-person performers and romance. So, here are his 2018 theater offerings:
THE MAGICIAN’S NEPHEW—C. S. Lewis’s plunge into Narnia at its very beginning. An adventure of what it means to do the right thing. (World Premiere) April 4-October 13.
GRAND HOTEL—Check into the lavish Grand Hotel, where the lives of ten hotel guests collide over one unforgettable night with songs and dance. May 3-October 14.
MYTHOS—Stephen Fry, one of the great story tellers, uses humor and a company of the Greek gods, heroes and men, to tell gripping tales. May 24-July 15.
THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES—Sherlock Holmes is on the case to find a murderer in this sly, darkly funny and suspenseful tale. August 1-October 27.
STAGE KISS—In this modern romantic comedy by Pulitzer Prize finalist Sarah Ruhl, two bitter exes are cast in the same play as passionate lovers. Will they strangle or seduce each other? April 11-September 1.
OF MARRIAGE AND MEN—A Comedy Double Bill: Two great humorous short plays about marriage in a single show about the hitches of being hitched. May 13-September 2.
O’FLAHERTY V.C.—Packed with family feuding and witty repartee, this G. B. Shaw one-act skewers every illusion about why we go to war.
OH WHAT A LOVELY WAR—A provocative WWI musical intended to make audiences laugh, cry and clench their fists. July 14-October 13.
THE ORCHARD (After Chekhov)—It’s Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard transformed into the tale of two immigrant families fighting to hold onto their orchard in British Columbia. June 7-September 1.
THE BARONESS AND THE PIG—An idealistic 19th century baroness has found her next maid — a girl who can barely speak, let along keep house. This Canadian play cuts to the core of what it means to be “civilized.”Mature content. June 10-October 6.
HENRY V—A troop of Canadian soldiers is hunkered down in a dugout during WWI with some copies of Shakespeare’s Henry V for company. July 22-October 28.
A CHRISTMAS CAROL—Ebenezer Scrooge is a miserable old miser, but . . .! November 14-December 23.
For theater information, a brochure or tickets, call 800-511-7429 or go to shawfest.com. Ask about packages that include lodging, meals and tickets. Also be aware that the festival offers day-of-the-show rush tickets and senior matinee prices.