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You Never Can Tell poster

You Never Can Tell

By George Bernard Shaw
Directed by Artistic Associate Shawn Douglass

Featuring Artistic Associate Greg Matthew Anderson

Presented November 21, 2012 - January 6, 2013

Greenhouse Theater Center, Upstairs Mainstage

Shaw one-ups The Importance of Being Earnest.

When Shaw saw The Importance of Being Earnest, he decided to show Oscar Wilde how to really write comedy. The result was You Never Can Tell, loaded with dazzling wit and pointed jabs at turn of the century British society.

Set in an English seaside resort, a young penniless dentist is swept up into the delightful world of a formidable feminist authoress and her three eccentrically-raised children, none of whom know the identity of their father. Invited to lunch, the dentist instantly falls in love with the elder daughter and must now negotiate a maze of family dramas, lawyers, and long-lost fathers, aided and abetted by a kindly old waiter. Shaw's beloved combination of dazzling wit and clear-eyed social critique makes this romantic comedy of mismatched parents and children a perfect holiday treat for the whole family.

Will lovers unite? Will the children ever learn who their father is? Will parents’ wills prevail? Will the twins ever shut up? And will these men survive Shaw’s “woman of the 20th century”? You never can tell.

Shawn Douglass, who directed our acclaimed presentation of Earnest, is back at the helm, and Greg Matthew Anderson back on the boards, in this multi-generational romp of mistaken identity and ever-changing relationships at a seaside resort.

"buoyant laughter... effervescent, fast-moving... tremendously gifted and attractive cast that knows precisely how to bite into Shaw’s demanding language"

– Hedy Weiss, Sun-Times

"impeccably revived…another glowing feat from the ever-polished Remy Bumppo Theatre Company...(Shawn) Douglass gets the chemistry endearingly right"

– Lawrence Bommer, Stage and Cinema

"scenic and costume team does an impeccable job... sumptuously cast... a nearly perfect balance”

– John Accrocco, Newcity Stage

"hilarious comedy of errors... masterfully played by a game cast of actors... This is fantastic theatre – don’t miss it!"

– Tom Williams, Chicago Critic
Jeff Awards Recommended


You Never Can Tell video stillWatch video clips, and view photos from You Never Can Tell on our multimedia page You Never Can Tell Field GuideExplore our online Field Guide, featuring research, study tools, and snippets about the production, or download our print-version of the Field Guide.

Between The Lines

Elaine Hadley headshot

Saturday, December 8, 2012, at 1:30 pm

Elaine Hadley, Professor of English Literature and Language and Gender Studies at the University of Chicago will discuss George Bernard Shaw’s You Never Can Tell.
Learn more >


The 2012/2013 Season is generously underwritten by:

You Never Can Tell is underwritten, in part, by:

JUDY JOHANSON, Costume Design Sponsor
KAREN RANDOLPH AND BILL LINDEN, Associate Production Sponsors

DIANE FALK, Assistant Production Sponsor
BRUCE AND MARY FEAY, Assistant Production Sponsors
GMD & PARTNERS, LTD., Assistant Production Sponsor
ANONYMOUS, Assistant Production Sponsor


Greg Matthew Anderson headshot
Greg Matthew Anderson
as Valentine
Dale Benson headshot
Dale Benson
as William
Darrin French headshot
Darrin French
as Jo
Kaitlin Gilgenbach headshot
Kaitlin Gilgenbach
as Parlourmaid
Rob Glidden headshot
Rob Glidden
as Bohun
Doug Hendel headshot
Doug Hendel
as Crampton
C. Jaye Miller headshot
C. Jaye Miller
as Dorothy
Elaine Rivkin headshot
Elaine Rivkin
as Mrs. Clandon
Peter A. Davis headshot
Peter A. Davis
as McComas
Eliza Stoughton headshot
Eliza Stoughton
as Gloria
Alex Weisman headshot
Alex Weisman
as Philip