Shaw Festival launches outdoor concerts and events starting July

James Baldwin, Duke Ellington, Stephen Sondheim and GB Shaw are included in new slate of open-air shows


Live in-person performance is returning to Niagara-on-the-Lake this summer and early fall. It’ll just be outdoors, not at the Shaw Festival’s indoor theatres.

Earlier in the year, the festival announced it would be presenting open-air performances of The Devil’s Disciple, Flush, Charley’s Aunt and A Short History Of Niagara. (The first performances were pushed to later in the year because of the province’s COVID-19 reopening plan.)

Now the festival has added Outdoors @ The Shaw, a complementary series of concerts and events to run from July 10 through October 9 on the grounds of the Festival Theatre and Royal George Theatre. The series features some of the country’s most talented artists.

One highlight is Gatsby’s Jazz, Sonny’s Blues, which will include excerpts from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby and James Baldwin’s story Sonny’s Blues, along with music. Philip Akin directs a cast that includes Kaleb Alexander, Fiona Byrne, Peter Fernandes and Alexis Gordon. The show runs from July 10 to October 8 at the BMO Stage.

Shaw Festival associate artistic director Kimberley Rampersad directs and choreographs The Duke And Two Irenes. The revue features the music of Duke Ellington with songs he wrote with Irene Higginbotham and Irene Kitchings, both of whom had ties with the legendary Billie Holiday. The cast includes Andrew Broderick, James Daly, Kristi Frank, Jonathan Tan and Kelly Wong, and runs from July 14 to October 7 at the Festival Theatre Grounds.

Rampersad also directs Nobel Prize winner Rabindranath Tagore’s one-act play Chitra, based on a tale from the Mahabharata about a warrior princess. Andrew Lawrie, Marie Mahabal, Michelle Mohammed, Gabi Sundar Singh and Sanjay Talwar star in the work, which runs from July 15 to 31 at the Royal George Theatre Gallery Lawn and Gardens.

Other highlights include Assassins In Concert, a special concert version of Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman’s musical about nine people who attempted to kill American presidents (July 18 to September 29, the BMO Stage); Fairground, curated by Sanjay Talwar and created by the Shaw Ensemble, a guided walk through the Festival Theatre Grounds featuring a five-piece band, poetry and dance (July 23 to October 8); and the complementary Shawground, also curated by Talwar and created by the Ensemble, drawing on the works and spirit of Bernard Shaw himself (August 9 to October 6 at the Festival Theatre Grounds).

Tickets for Outdoors @ The Shaw go on sale to the public July 6. Prices range from $10 to $35. shawfest.com.

@glennsumi

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