In addition to the musicals Wonderful Town by Betty Comden, Adolph Green and Leonard Bernstein, at the Festival Theatre, and the Morris Panych-directed A Little Night Music at the tiny Court House Theatre, the festival will present four concert performances of the musical Follies, at the flagship Festival Theatre.
For purists who have come to embrace the Ontario festival's core mandate — fully staged works by George Bernard Shaw or plays about (or produced during) the time in which he lived — the 1971 Stephen Sondheim-James Goldman musical concerning a reunion of former Broadway revue stars would seem to further stretch the boundaries of the mission. Still, musical theatre fans hungry to see the groundbreaking Sondheim musical on a big stage will likely flock to the show.
The 2008 Shaw fest line-up includes ten productions on the festival's three Niagara-on-the-Lake stages: the Festival Theatre, the Court House Theatre and the Royal George Theatre, as well as the Follies concert.
The season opens with J.B. Priestley’s chilling mystery An Inspector Calls, directed by the Shaw's associate director Neil Munro.
Two plays by the Festival's namesake are presented this season. Jackie Maxwell directs Mrs. Warren's Profession, Shaw's "still-controversial story of love, sex, money and morality," in the Festival Theatre. At the Royal George Joseph Ziegler directs Shaw's Getting Married, "a witty and provocative look at the institution of marriage." Roger Hodgman, director of the Shaw's hit production She Loves Me (2000), will stage Wonderful Town, based on My Sister Eileen, about two Ohio sisters settling into Greenwich Village in the 1930s. Herbert Fields and Jerome Chodorov wrote the libretto.
The intimate Court House season opens with the Canadian premiere of Githa Sowerby's newly discovered 1924 play The Stepmother, directed by Maxwell. Shaw produced Sowerby's first play, Rutherford and Son, in 2004 to great critical acclaim.
A remount of the 2005 hit production of Ann-Marie MacDonald's gothic comedy Belle Moral, directed by Alisa Palmer, closes the Court House season.
Also on the Royal George stage are Lillian Hellman's family melodrama The Little Foxes, directed by Eda Holmes; Terence Rattigan's tale of a lost generation, After the Dance, directed by Munro; and the lunchtime production, Ferenc Molnár’s one-act The President, newly adapted for the festival by Morwyn Brebner and directed by ensemble member Blair Williams.
Tickets for the 2008 season go on sale to Shaw Festival Members, according to Membership level, starting Nov. 10. Tickets go on sale to groups on Jan. 3, 2008. For the general public tickets go on sale Jan. 2, 2008, by mail, fax or online and on Jan. 12, 2008, by phone or in person.
For more information, visit www.shawfest.org.