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Shaw Announces 2023 Season

The Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, has announced an ambitious 17-play 2023 season and it looks promising.

The Shaw’s 2023 season will kick off with a two-part, six-hour updating of the Sanskrit epic The Mahabarata, featuring an all South Asian cast. It will run for just four weeks, from late February through March, prior to a world tour. Also on the large Festival Stage Shaw will present the musical Gypsy, starring the protean Kate Hennig as Mama Rose, Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit, and James Baldwin’s The Amen Corner, featuring a gospel choir.

Shows appearing at the historic Royal George Theatre are Prince Caspian, based on the C. S. Lewis novel of the same name, On The Razzle, a seldom seen early piece by Tom Stoppard, Bernard Shaw’s Village Wooing (a lunch-time one-act), and Edith Wharton’s recently discovered and never before produced mystery drama The Shadow of a Doubt.

The small Jackie Maxwell Studio Theatre will host John Millington Synge’s The Playboy of the Western World, directed by Maxwell herself, Shaw’s satiric comedy The Apple Cart, and The Clearing by Helen Edmundson, a 1993 drama about the ethnic cleansing of Ireland by Oliver Cromwell. Following the lead of the all-South-Asian Mahabarata, the production of Playboy will feature an all-Irish cast. (Just kidding.)

The Shaw Festival, having learned during the pandemic just how much fun it is to produce outdoor theatre, will present several shows al fresco including an improvised romp with a different cast each show taking off from Pierre de Marivaux’s The Game of Love and Chance. Others in this category include Mother, Daughter, which will feature people plucked from the audience; a one-act version of Rodger’s and Hammerstein’s A Grand Night For Singing; and a return engagement for the puppet show A Short History of Niagara.

Their “Holiday Season” (November and December) will feature Artistic Director Tim Carroll’s own adaptation of Dicken’s A Christmas Carol and a revival of Shaw’s production of Lerner and Loewe’s Brigadoon.

Casting will be announced later.

It’s interesting to note, that plays by G. B. Shaw himself are taking something of a back seat next season. Correct me if I’m wrong, but this may be the first time ever that a Shaw play hasn’t graced the stage of the Festival Theatre.

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