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You Never Can Tell

By George Bernard Shaw

Department of Theatre & Drama

Arthur Miller Theatre

March 27-30 & April 3-6, 2008


The Story:
Who knew that a trip to the dentist could be so enjoyable? The Clandon family, consisting of their modern mother, a famed writer of moralist treatises, and three young adults, returns to England after an eighteen-year self-imposed exile in Spain. Vexed by the class-consciousness of English society where everyone wants to know the name of their father, the three children ply their reluctant mother to reveal his identity. When they invite a local dentist, Valentine, and his landlord for lunch, coincidences abound when the landlord turns out to be the family’s long-estranged father!  As the entire family reacts to the sudden reunion, Valentine uses shameless flattery and intellectual guile to try to win over the free-thinking, strong-willed eldest daughter. You Never Can Tell is a splendid confection full of hilarity, wit, and delicious absurdity as well as a penetrating social commentary on Shaw’s England.

Artistic Significance:

Considered the second greatest English language playwright after Shakespeare, George Bernard Shaw was equally as prolific, writing 29 plays and countless books, essays, articles and reviews in his lifetime. GBS published You Never Can Tell in 1898 as one of his “Plays Pleasant,” the first work he specifically wrote for a commercial audience. While the plot of the play takes its base from commedia del’arte, Shaw’s signature social statements shine through with pointed comments on class, feminism, familial relationships, and the nature of love. Long considered one of Shaw’s neglected plays, You Never Can Tell is a frothy romantic comedy with surprising depth.


Nico Ager (Bloomfield Hills, MI), Lee Chrisman (Kalamazoo, MI), Brittany Connors (Ann Arbor MI), Maggie Ferguson-Wagstaffe (Indianapolis, IN),

Daniel Kane (Northbrook, IL), Joey Richter (Laguna Niguel CA), J. Patrick Rourke (Port Huron, MI), John Samela (Winsted, CT), Dylan Saunders (Mill Valley CA), Meredith Stepien (Pinckney, MI),

Alison Kay Velasco (Monroe, NC)



Marketing graphic from You Never Can Tell


Director Priscilla Lindsay
Scenic Designer Elyse Handelman
Costume Designer Jessica Hahn
Lighting Designer Justin Lang
Stage Manager

Meghann Shelly

Production Photos

Click here to view photos from You Never Can Tell


Click here to view the program from You Never Can Tell

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Photography Credits:

U-M Photo Services

Joe Welsh

Peter Smith

David Smith

Glen Behring

Tom Bower