Canadian Premiere of John Guare's His Girl Friday, With Nicole Underhay and Benedict Campbell, Opens July 7

By Michael Gioia
July 7, 2012

The Canadian premiere of His Girl Friday, John Guare's inspired combo of Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur's The Front Page and the film "His Girl Friday," officially opens July 7, following previews that began June 10, at the 2012 Shaw Festival.



Directed by Jim Mezon, His Girl Friday plays in repertory through Oct. 5 at the Shaw's Festival Theatre.

The cast includes Nicole Underhay, Kevin Bundy, Benedict Campbell, Guy Bannerman, Neil Barclay, Kevin Hanchard, Peter Krantz, Kevin McGarry, Jeff Meadows, Ric Reid, Wendy Thatcher, Thom Allison, Andrew Bunker, Jeremy Carver-James, Aadin Church, Krista Colosimo, Lorne Kennedy, Thom Marriott, Peter Millard, Kiera Sangster, Evan Alexander Smith, Jivaro Smith and Kelly Wong.

In His Girl Friday, according to the Shaw Festival, "tough-talking, ace word-slinger Hildy Johnson (Underhay) has had enough of the Chicago newspaper racket. She's ready to throw it all away to catch the midnight train east, settle down with her fiancé Bruce Baldwin (Bundy) and become a lady of leisure. But that's before her former editor and ex-husband Walter Burns (Campbell) puts the kibosh on her plans, luring her back with the biggest breaking story of the year — no, it's not the threat of an impending war, but some poor dope who lost his job, went berserk, shot a cop and is waiting to swing; all this so the mayor can be re-elected."

His Girl Friday began life as The Front Page, Hecht and MacArthur's 1920s comedy about Chicago newsmen (produced at The Shaw in 1994). It was adapted by film director Howard Hawks in 1940 as "His Girl Friday," starring Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell, with the script rewritten to make the character of Hildy a woman and the ex-wife of editor Walter Burns. Guare's adaptation combines the original play and film adaptation.

Other members of the creative team include designer Peter Hartwell, lighting designer Kevin Lamotte, stage manager Meredith Macdonald and assistant stage manager Amy Jewell and sound designer John Gzowski, who also provides original music.

The Shaw Festival's season began April 10 and runs through Oct. 28. For more information and tickets, visit ShawFest.com.