The ladies charge the floorboards for this season's selections at Canada's Shaw Festival
By James MacKillop
Many Syracuse New Times readers saw the glossy brochure from the Shaw Festival tucked into the June 18 issue. On its cover are two smiling young women in 1930s costumes, representing the Sherwood sisters, Ruth and Eileen, of the neglected Leonard Bernstein musical Wonderful Town. It’s the top-featured musical revival this season, richly restaged in the main Festival Theatre, and running until Oct. 5. Even if Wonderful Town is only one of 11 productions, the cover reveals much about what’s happening at Ontario, Canada’s Niagara-on-the-Lake this year.
In her fifth season on the job, Shaw Festival artistic director Jackie Maxwell is producing the first dominantly gynocentric season. That’s when women’s issues or women’s points of view are made central. It does not mean feminist agitprop or male bashing, but instead all the plenty that live theater can provide: comedies, dramas, melodramas and musicals, but with attention to women. George Bernard Shaw, a famous champion of women’s rights, would surely go along.