Shaw Festival '97 Announces Casting

News   Shaw Festival '97 Announces Casting Artistic Director Christopher Newton has announced major casting for all productions in the 1997 Shaw Festival at Niagara on the Lake, Ontario.
Oliver Becker as Christy Mahon
Oliver Becker as Christy Mahon Photo by Photo by Andree Lanthier

Artistic Director Christopher Newton has announced major casting for all productions in the 1997 Shaw Festival at Niagara on the Lake, Ontario.

Michael Ball (not the British star, but a Canadian actor) will star with Corrine Koslo and Simon Bradbury in a reprise of 1996's successful Hobson's Choice by Harold Brighouse (previews begin April 4, Regular run May 25-June 28) at the Festival Theatre.

Also in the Festival Theatre will be Mrs. Warren's Profession by George Bernard Shaw (prev. April 30, May 21-Oct. 26), directed by the artistic director of Poland's Stary Theatre, Tadeusz Bradecki. With Nora McLellan as (Mrs. Warren) and Jan Alexandra Smith as Vivie.

Neil Munro will direct Anton Chekhov's The Seagull (prev. June 20, July 10-Oct. 26), translated by David French. Fiona Reid stars, along wi th Ben Carlson, Jim Mezon, Jan Alexandra Smith and Christopher Newton.

Rounding out the season for the Festival Theatre is Will Any Gentleman (Prev May 13, May 23-Oct. 25), a farce written by Vernon Sylvaine, and directed by Newton. Neil Barclay and Barry MacGregor star, alongside Deborah Lambie and Mary Haney. The Court House Theatre's season includes The Playboy of the Western World by J.M. Synge (Prev. May 3, May 23- July 18), directed by Jim Mezon, a reprise performance from '96, with Gordon Rand as Christy Mahon, Kelli Fox as Pegeen Mike, Sarah Orenstein, Richard Farrell and Malcolm Scott.

Also on tap will be Lillian Hellman's The Children's Hour (Prev. June 12, July 9-Sept. 27), directed by Glynis Leyshon and starring Kelli Fox, Stephanie Belding, Richard Binsley and Maggie Blake.

In Good King Charles Golden Days by G.B. Shaw, directed by Allen MacInnis (Prev. July 1, July 11-Sept. 27), features Andrew Gillies as Isaac Newton and Peter Hutt as King Charles II, Sarah Orenstein and Patricia Hamilton. The Secret Life (Prev. Aug. 13, Aug. 22-Sept. 28) by Harley Granville Barker, and directed by Neil Munro, will star Christopher Newton, Fiona Reid, Mike Shara and Nancy Palk.

The Royal George Theatre will present The Two Mrs. Carrolls, written by Martin Vale (alias of Marguerite Veiller) and directed by Joseph Ziegler, Prev. May 9, May 24-Oct. 25. Brigitte Robinson, Laurie Paton and David Schurmann star.

Also due is the 1909 musical adaptation of Shaw's Arms and the Man called The Chocolate Soldier by Oscar Straus (Prev. April 18, May 22-Oct. 26). Stephen Simms, Stephanie McNamara, Karen Wood and Jo-anne Kirwan Clark star.

Lunchtime at the Royal George will be The Conjuror Part 2, by magician David Ben and Patrick Watson (Prev. June 18, July 10-Aug. 3) and Sorry Wrong Number, Lucille Fletcher's thriller, starring Mary Haney (Prev. Aug. 7, Aug. 22-Sept. 21).

Returning to the Lunchtime Theatre for its second year is the Bell Canada Reading Series, featuring Gwen Pharis Ringwood's Still Stands The House, Christopher Newton's adaptation of E.J. Pratt's epic poem, The Titanic, Shaw's Why She Would Not, and Maurice Maeterlinck's The Intruder.

The Shaw season runs from April 4 to Oct. 26.

For tickets ($32-$65; $15 for Lunchtime Series, $7 for Reading Series) more information, and the ticket office, call (1-800) 511-SHAW.

-- By Ray Ellicock
Theatre News Canada and --By David Lefkowitz

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