LSM Newswire

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Shaw Festival: A Little Night Music and The President Preview

Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, June 10, 2008 Ķ Previews began on Saturday in the Royal George Theatre for the Shaw Festivals lunchtime production of the fast-paced comedy The President, written by Ferenc Molnr and adapted for The Shaw by Morwyn Brebner.

In the manic world of Molnrs play, the clock starts ticking for powerful bank president Norrison (Lorne Kennedy) when the young heiress under his care (Chilina Kennedy) announces her secret marriage to a Communist taxi driver (Jeff Meadows). Norrison tries in vain to convince her to divorce him, but she is prepared to make her big announcement to her parents, who are arriving imminently. Norrison then sets about to transform this wholly unsuitable suitor into a perfectly well-bred, well-mannered, well-spoken son-in-law all in under an hour.

On the surface, The President is a mad-cap, real-time comedy where the Presidents office becomes the epicentre of a storm of frantic activity that must achieve what seems impossible. Yet the play was written in 1936, when the world was in a great struggle between capitalists and socialists to control industrialism. Using every tactic at his disposal to succeed, no matter how self-serving or corrupt, President Norrison personifies Molnrs view of capitalism.

Hungarian playwright, novelist and journalist Ferenc Molnr (1878-1952) achieved international recognition for such plays as The Devil, The Swan, The Plays the Thing and Olympia, as well as for his novel The Paul Street Boys. In 1940 he moved to New York to escape fascism and lived there until his death. Morwyn Brebner, a playwright-in-residence at Torontos Tarragon Theatre, is known to Shaw audiences as the adapter of two Chekhov farces in the delightful Love Among the Russians in 2006. The Shaw Festivals production of her adaptation of The President is its premiere.

The cast of The President also includes Al Kozlik as George/Ferdinand and David Schurmann as Bartleby, as well as Michael Ball, Guy Bannerman, Nicol Correia-Damude, Melanie Janzen, Thom Marriott, Peter Millard, Mike Nadajewski, Melanie Phillipson, Kiera Sangster, and William Vickers.

The President is directed by Blair Williams, with design by Cameron Porteous, and lighting design by Jennifer Jimenez. The stage management team includes Stage Manager Beatrice Campbell and Assistant Stage Manager Amy Jewell.

The President began preview performances Saturday, June 7; opens Saturday, July 5; and plays in repertory until Saturday, October 4. For tickets and information, visit or call 1-800-511-7429 or 905-468-2172 (local).

The President is sponsored by Lombard Insurance Company.

The 2008 season is proudly presented by HSBC Bank Canada/HSBC Bank USA, N.A.

Previews begin at the Shaw Festival for Stephen Sondheims sophisticated musical A Little Night Music

Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, June 10, 2008 Ķ Previews began on June 1 in the Court House Theatre for the Shaw Festivals intimate production of Stephen Sondheims celebrated and sophisticated musical A Little Night Music.

In Sweden at the turn of the century, three mismatched couples gather for a weekend in the country. On a magical night under the midnight sun, loves are lost and found, longed for and forgotten, all set to some of musical theatres most enduring songs including the classic Send in the Clowns.

Based on the Ingmar Bergman film Smiles of a Summer Night, the original production of A Little Night Music won five Tony Awards including Best Musical. The musicals romantic story is matched by an acclaimed score that combines the elegant and emotional with the rousingly infectious and bursting with life. Morris Panychs production uses the intimate space of the Court House Theatre to draw the audience closer to the characters and the powerful emotion of both the story and the songs of this American classic.

Newly orchestrated by Jason Jestadt, The Shaws production features five onstage musicians, rather than the usual large orchestra, to create chamber music at its most colourful. As is always the case with The Shaws musicals in the Court House and Royal George theatres, there is no amplification of voices or instruments. The result is an increasingly rare event: acoustic musical theatre.

Sets for A Little Night Music are designed by Panychs frequent collaborator Ken MacDonald. Panych and MacDonald are the creative team behind such renowned Shaw productions as Hotel Peccadillo (2007), Design for Living (2006), You Never Can Tell (2005) and Nothing Sacred (2004).

The cast of A Little Night Music includes Goldie Semple as Desire Armfeldt, George Masswohl as Fredrik Egerman, Thom Allison as Count Carl-Magnus Malcolm, Robin Evan Willis as Anne Egerman, Donna Belleville as Madame Armfeldt, Patty Jamieson as Countess Charlotte Malcolm, Julie Martell as Petra and Justin Stadnyk as Henrik Egerman, as well as Michaela Bekenn, Gabrielle Jones, Jeff Madden, Glynis Ranney, Mark Uhre, and Jenny L. Wright.

Musical direction for A Little Night Music is by Paul Sportelli, with choreography by Valerie Moore, costume design by Charlotte Dean, and lighting design by Alan Brodie. The stage management team includes Stage Manager Alison Peddie and Assistant Stage Manager Evan R. Klassen.

A Little Night Music began preview performances Sunday, June 1; opens Friday, July 4; and plays in repertory until Saturday, October 4. For tickets and information, visit or call 1-800-511-7429 or 905-468-2172 (local).

A Little Night Music is sponsored by TD Canada Trust Music.

Music Gallery is the Official Piano Provider of the Shaw Festival.

A Little Night Music

music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim

book by Hugh Wheeler

suggested by a film by Ingmar Bergman

originally produced and directed on Broadway by Harold Prince

A Little Night Music

is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI).

All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI.

421 West 54th Street, New York, NY 10019

Phone: 212-541-4684 Fax: 212-397-4684

The 2008 season is proudly presented by HSBC Bank Canada/HSBC Bank USA, N.A.

Summer of Sondheim Follies: In Concert

For four performances only, The Shaw presents Sondheims celebrated Follies, the bittersweet tale of the reunion of Broadway showgirls and the men in their lives, in a simple and sophisticated concert form. Presented August 29, September 12 and 27, and October 4 in the Festival Theatre.

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