Stage Door News

Niagara-on-the-Lake: The Shaw Festival cancels 2021 production of “Gypsy”

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

New COVID-19 restrictions, along with the recent decision to continue the Niagara Region’s placement in the Grey-Lockdown Zone, has made it clear the Shaw Festival is unable to produce Gypsy: A Musical Fable in 2021. The restrictive measures placed on the rehearsal and performance of brass/wind instruments and singing severely impacts director/choreographer Kimberley Rampersad and her creative team’s original and artistic vision for this classic and beloved musical. Since planning for the 2022 season is well underway, Gypsy: A Musical Fable is now intended for production in 2023.

“To collaborate on Gypsy: A Musical Fable – one of the greatest musicals of all time – with this particular group of artists has been an immense joy,” shared Paul Sportelli, Music Director. “I feel a deep sadness that we can't bring our fully-realized production into the world in 2021, but the restrictions on our musicians and singing actors simply make it impossible to achieve what we intended this show to be. I look forward to the day we can offer up our Gypsy: A Musical Fableand I'm excited about how the show will eventually “sing out” with this extraordinary group of actors, musicians and theatre artists.”

“However much we have grown used to being nimble and adaptable in the ever-shifting landscape of this pandemic, this is still a pretty heart-rending decision to have to make,” said Tim Carroll, Artistic Director. “But as one door closes, another opens: we were already planning a fabulous range of outdoor events, musical, theatrical, you name it; having this group of amazing performers available for that work increases our scope hugely. We will announce details of our mystery projects in the coming weeks.”

The remainder of The Shaw’s 2021 playbill is not currently affected by the changes to the performance protocols impacting the musical and will continue as originally scheduled. Performances of The Devil’s Disciple, Sherlock Holmes and The Raven’s Curse, Charley’s Aunt, Flush, Desire Under the Elms, Trouble in Mind, A Christmas Carol and Holiday Innwill continue in reduced-capacity theatres as mandated by public health requirements.

“We remain confident The Shaw will be able to present the remaining shows of the 2021 season,” stated Tim Jennings, Executive Director/CEO. “Our theatres are at the heart of Niagara-on-the-Lake and we are deeply aware of The Shaw’s economic impact on our surrounding communities. With this in mind, supplementing the playbill with additional performance offerings will allow us to support the artists and crew of Gypsy: A Musical Fable – and by extension, our community – while offering our audiences safe, entertaining and inspired outdoor alternatives. We will make announcements about our new add-ons for this season throughout the coming weeks and as opportunities present themselves. Stay tuned!”

In addition to following and exceeding the directives of local, provincial and federal governments and their respective public health agencies, the Shaw Festival has implemented a robust Duty of Care initiative and is committed to ensuring the health and safety of its audiences, company members and communities.

Box office representatives will be reaching out to all affected ticket holders to discuss options, including refunds. Patrons with questions or concerns regarding their tickets can call the Shaw Festival Box Office at 1-800-511-7429, Monday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., or by email at


Photo: Kate Hennig as Mamma Rose in Gypsy. © 2020 Andrew Lusztyk.