Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario; 250 miles by car from Pittsburgh; 54th season; artistic director Jackie Maxwell. A schedule and visitors guide to shows, accommodations, restaurants and attractions is available from the Shaw Festival, Box 774, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada L0S 1J0; phone 1-800-511-SHAW (7429); www.shawfest.com.
Tickets: Prices vary according to play or musical, theater and day of the week. The range is $41-$113 Canadian (U.S. $38-$104; the Canadian dollar is worth about $0.92 U.S.), with many discounts for students and seniors. Also season passes, flex passes, special packages, family outings and selected lunchtime performances.
Accommodations: Through chamber of commerce (1-888-619-5981, www.niagaraonthelake.com). Similar services include the NOTL B&B Association (1-866-855-0123, www.niagarabedandbreakfasts.com); and B&B Concierge (1-866-805-9188, bbstay.ca).
Schedule of Plays
Festival Theatre (856 seats): Masteroff, Kander & Ebb, "Cabaret" (through Oct. 26); Philip Barry, "The Philadelphia Story" (through Oct. 25); G.B. Shaw, "The Philanderer" (June 26-Oct. 12).
Royal George Theatre (328): G.B. Shaw, "Arms and The Man" (through Oct. 18); J.B. Priestley, "When We Are Married" (through Oct. 26); Sean O'Casey, "Juno and the Paycock" (June 28-Oct. 12).
Court House Theatre (327): St John Hankin, "The Charity That Began at Home: A Comedy for Philanthropists" (through Oct. 11); Edward Bond, "The Sea" (June 3- Oct. 12); Tennessee Williams, "A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur" (June 28-Oct. 11).
Studio Theatre (176): Katori Hall, "The Mountaintop" (July 16-Sept. 7).
Other events and attractions:
Reading series; Speakers' series; Continue the Conversation (after select matinees of "Cabaret," "Philanderer" and "Mountaintop"; Coffee Concerts by Shaw Festival Orchestra; Pre-show Talks; Tuesday Q&A (post-show in all four theaters); Backstage Tours. Also: various play and enhancement packages; Shaw Symposium (July 25-27); Shaw Seminar on "Otherness" (Aug. 7-10); education programs; young peoples programs; student packages; theater and dining packages; theater and hotel packages; and special programs for Shaw members.
Stratford, Ontario; 350 miles by car from Pittsburgh; 62nd season; artistic director Antoni Cimolino. A visitors guide, including schedule and info on hotels, B&Bs, restaurants and more, is available from the Stratford Festival, Box 520, Stratford, Ontario, Canada N5A 6V2; 1-800-567-1600; email@example.com; Facebook; www.stratfordfestival.ca includes trailers of shows.
Tickets: Prices vary according to play or musical, theater and day of the week, and beyond that, Stratford employs dynamic pricing, which means specific seats may go up or down in price depending on demand. The overall range is $25 to more than $100 Canadian (U.S. $23-$92 plus; the Canadian dollar is worth about $0.92 U.S.) Discounts for students, seniors and children.
Patron services: Accommodation bureau (1-800-567-1600, www.stratfordaccommodations.com.) Stratford Tourism lists accommodations and more (800-561-SWAN, www.welcometostratford.com). The festival visitors guide lists several more B&B associations.
Schedule of plays
Festival Theatre (1,833 seats): Ludwig, Gershwin & Gershwin, "Crazy for You: The New Gershwin Musical" (now in previews, opens May 27-Oct. 12); Shakespeare, "King Lear" (through Oct. 10); Shakespeare, "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (in previews; opens May 31-Oct. 11); George Farquhar, "The Beaux' Stratagem" (previews start July 31; opens Aug. 15-Oct. 11).
Avon Theatre (1,079): Wasserman, Leigh & Darion (after Cervantes), "Man of La Mancha" (in previews; opens May 29- Oct. 11); Schulich Children's Plays presents James Reaney (after Lewis Carroll), "Alice Through the Looking Glass" (in previews; opens May 31-Oct. 12; Noel Coward, "Hay Fever" (previews start May 28; opens June 19-Oct. 11).
Tom Patterson Theatre (480): Shakespeare, "Antony and Cleopatra" (previews Aug. 3; opens Aug. 14-Sept. 20); Shakespeare, "King John" (previews May 21; opens May 28-Sept. 20); Bertolt Brecht, "Mother Courage and Her Children" (in previews; opens May 30-Sept. 21);
Studio Theatre (260): Michel Marc Bouchard, "Christina, The Girl King" (previews July 29; opens Aug. 14-Sept. 21).
Stratford Masonic Concert Hall: Shakespeare, "A Midsummer Night's Dream: a chamber play" (previews July 11; opens July 24-Sept. 20).
Beyond the stage: "The Forum"
A large range of programs, from discussions and talks to frequent visits by experts in subjects related to the plays, gathered under the general headings of Weekenders, Festival Forays, Showcases, Peer into the Playbill, Night Music, Forum Film Festival, Questions & Conversations, Food for Thought, Active Explorations, Lobby Talks, Tours (Costume and Props Warehouse, festival Theatre Backstage, Archives), education programs for teachers and students, Festival and university courses, special interest theater packages and more.