Typifying the fine Shaw Festival casts are (left to right) Fiona Reid, Jim Mezon and Laurie Paton in "The Charity That Began at Home."
The Post-Gazette's annual Critic's Choice theater tour to the Shaw Festival heads north, Sept. 10-13.
The Shaw is in pretty, compact Niagara-on-the-Lake, north of Niagara Falls, five hours from Pittsburgh by motor coach. People love it: This is the 34th year PG senior theater critic Chris Rawson has led trips to the Shaw.
In addition to the stimulating plays and flower-bedecked town, another attraction is our charming Edwardian hotel, The Prince of Wales, a few steps from all three theaters, not to mention shops, parks and Lake Ontario.
We see five shows plus one option, a rich mixture of comedy, drama and music. Authors include Sean O’Casey, Tennessee Williams, Kander & Ebb and St John Hankin (bet you never heard of him), plus Shaw, whose comi-intellectual influence is everywhere in this smorgasbord, and the optional J.B. Priestley.
• “Cabaret,” Kander & Ebb’s tart, stirring musical set on the edge of World War II.
• “Juno and the Paycock,” O’Casey’s great comi-tragedy about life in 1924 Dublin, focusing on the magnificently self-delusive “Captain” Boyle and his family.
• “The Philanderer,” Shaw’s comedy about love and sex, including, as is rarely done, the controversial third act.
• “The Charity That Began at Home: A Comedy for Philanthropists,” St John Hankin’s 1906 high comedy about the extent to which personal kindness can go. Shaw called Hankin “the most gifted writer of … a stirring and important criticism of life.” Christopher Newton directs.
• “A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur,” Tennessee Williams’ sweet, compassionate view of four women, set in 1930s St. Louis -- a lunchtime one-act.
• The option is “When We Are Married,” a choice comedy by J.B. Priestley, in which three proper 1938 Yorkshire couples discover on their 25th anniversary that they aren’t properly married. Farce, re-discovery and a surprising streak of feminism ensue.
Included in the package are a welcoming dinner and a post-show get-together over drinks to discuss the plays.
The prices are $1,396 per person (just $7 more than last year), based on double occupancy, with a single supplement of $457. A deposit of $500 per person is required to hold a reservation; status of reservation will be sent upon receipt of deposit.
Space is limited. Deposits are made payable and mailed to Gulliver's Travels, 460 S. Graham St., Pittsburgh, PA 15232-1210; phone 412-345-7576.
Call Gulliver's with questions about trip details, but contact Mr. Rawson with questions about the plays (412-216-1944).
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