PG trip bound for Shaw, Stratford fests
Canada calls. For the 35th consecutive year, the PostGazette’s Critics Choice theater tour sets off by motorcoach for five days at Canada’s Shaw and Stratford festivals, July 11-15, including at each a generous selection of three very different shows and one option.
At both the famous Shaw, a half-hour north of Niagara Falls, and the even more famous Stratford, in Ontario farm country, we’ll see plays from three different historical eras, stretching from romantic tragedy to comedy of wit and from pure musical comedy to swashbuckling adventure. There’s even one Shakespeare (timely news, since this notice comes on April 23, Shakespeare’s birthday).
Included are two comfortable hotels, a welcoming dinner, picnic lunch and a postshow get-together over drinks, with discussions along the way led by the tour’s longtime leader, senior theater critic Chris Rawson.
First up is the Shaw Festival in picturesque Niagaraon-the-Lake, where we stay at the Pillar & Post. Staged in different theaters, the three shows are:
• “The Madness of George III,” a comic but not-unfriendly look back at the last king of that part of North America that became the United States.
• “1837: The Farmers’ Revolt,” a play told with vaudevillian verve about Canada’s own rebellion against the mother country.
• “Me and My Girl,” a delicious musical comedy of the Cinderella variety, except the hero raised suddenly to the peerage is a guy.
• The Shaw Festival option is “Wilde Tales,” a lunchtime play based on stories for young and old by master wit Oscar Wilde.
Then, on to the larger town of Stratford, where we stay at the Arden Park Hotel, on the edge of the main festival grounds, and see, also in three different theaters:
• “Treasure Island,” a Robert Louis Stevenson adventure for all ages.
• “The School for Scandal,” a comic classic by Richard Brinsley Sheridan, in which wit wars with sentiment.
• “Romeo and Juliet,” the grandparent of all romantic tragedies.
• The Stratford Festival option is “The Changeling,” a noir thriller by contemporaries of Shakespeare.
The tour price is $1,677 per person, based on double occupancy. The single supplement is $387. A deposit of $500 per person holds a reservation; status of your reservation will be confirmed upon receipt of deposit.
Deposits should be made payable to and mailed to Gulliver’s Travels, 460 S. Graham St., Pittsburgh, PA 15232-1210; phone 412-3457576 or, outside Pittsburgh, 1-800-848-4084.
Call Gulliver’s with questions about trip details, but call Mr. Rawson at 412-2161944 with questions about the plays.