SWEENEY TODD Opens Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival's 21st Season, Now thru 7/1
The Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival's 21st season opens Friday with Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, and features William Michals and Dee Roscioli, two Broadway actors, as Sweeney Todd and Mrs. Lovett respectively.
Arriving last summer directly from the Tony Award winning landmark Broadway revival of South Pacific to play the same role, Emile DeBecque, at PSF, Michals returns this summer to take the title role in Sweeney Todd, the famed barber of Fleet Street. Michals' credits include both the Beast and Gaston in the Broadway's Beauty and the Beast, and the national tours of Les Miserables (Javert), The Scarlet Pimpernel (Chauvelin), and The Music Man (Harold Hill).
Roscioli, an Easton-area native known for her long run as Elphaba on Broadway, as well as the Chicago, San Francisco, and national touring productions of the hit musical Wicked, will play Mrs. Lovett, the meat pie-making accomplice of Sweeney Todd who sparks their diabolical plan. Ms.Roscioli's national tour credits also include the principal role of Grizabella in Cats.
Based on an adaptation by Christopher Bond, Sweeney Todd tells the story of a barber who has returned to London after 15 years in a penal colony. Working with his landlady, Mrs. Lovett, Sweeney plots his revenge upon the Judge who falsely convicted him and destroyed his family. Sweeney Todd meshes a masterful plot of thrills and unexpected turns together with a beautiful yet haunting score to create a musical experience unlike any other.
Following last season's stellar production of South Pacific, Dennis Razze returns to direct a spectacular cast: in addition to Michals and Roscioli, Broadway veteran Christopher Coucill returns to PSF as the antagonistic Judge Turpin. Michelle Sexton, who has been featured in opera and theatre companies across the country, plays the mysterious Beggar Woman.
The cast also features Dave Schoonover as the devious Pirelli, Paul Louis Lessard as Jonas Fogg, Evan Harrington as The Beadle, and David Garry as the Bird Seller. Katie Wexler, a DeSales alumna plays Johanna, and James Stapb plays the love-struck Anthony Hope.
Vincent Trovato returns to PSF as the music director and conductor of Sondheim's thrilling score. Steve TenEyck has designed the grim, London setting for the show. Eric T. Haugen is the lighting designer. Lisa Zinni, whose New York credits include Hair and Rent has designed the costumes. Martha Ruskai designed wigs and make-up. Erin Hurley choreographed. The sound design has come from Matthew Given, PSF's resident sound designer and production manager. Robin Grady serves as production stage manager.
Sweeney Todd previews tonight and tomorrow, opens June 15 on the Main Stage of the Labuda Center for the Performing Arts on the DeSales University campus in Center Valley and continues through July 1.
The performance times are at 7pm Tuesdays, 8pm Wednesdays through Saturdays, with matinees on Saturdays and Sundays at 2pm (excluding Saturday, June 16th). One Sunday evening performance is offered at 7:30pm on June 17.
Single ticket prices range from $25 to $55. Single tickets, subscriptions and packages that include tickets to Sweeney Todd are available at www.pashakespeare.org and by contacting the Box Office at 610.282.WILL .
The 2012 season also includes three plays by Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing (July 11-August 5), The Tempest (June 20-July 15), and King John (July 25-August 5). Also in the line-up is Tennessee Williams' Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (July 19-August 5), and two children's plays, Shakespeare for Kids (July 25-August 4) and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (thru August 4)
PRINCIPAL ARTISTS' BIOGRAPHIES:
William Michals, Sweeney Todd, appeared in the leading role Emile DeBecque in the recent landmark revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein's South Pacific at Lincoln Center. The Broadway and concert star made his Broadway debut as The Beast in Disney's Beauty and the Beast, and later returned to play Gaston in the same production. His career includes leading roles asJavert in Les Misérables, Billy Flynn in Chicago, Don Quixote in Man of La Mancha, Harold Hill in The Music Man, and the title role in The Phantom of the Opera. A recipient of the prestigious Anselmo Award, he also earned recognition by Chicago's Jefferson Award for his portrayal of Chauvelin in the national tour of The Scarlet Pimpernel. Audiences across the country have enjoyed him as Captain von Trapp in The Sound of Music, and as Billy Flynn in Kander & Ebb's Chicago.
Dee Roscioli, Mrs. Lovett, recently completed her run as Elphaba in the National Tour of Wicked. Prior to the tour, she appeared in Wicked on Broadway, after closing the record-breaking Chicago production and performing the role in cities across the US. Ms. Roscioli holds the distinction of having played Elphaba in more performances than any other actress. Additional NY credits include The 24-Hour Musicals, Murder Ballad (Workshop, Manhattan Theatre Club), Dedalus Lounge (InterArt Theater Annex), Therapy Rocks (NYMF). National tour: Cats (Grizabella). She recently workshopped Bobby Cronin's Welcome to My Life, and Liberty.
Christopher Coucill, Judge Turpin. PSF: Man of La Mancha, King Lear, 1776, Hamlet. Broadway: The Graduate, Kiss Me Kate, Annie Get Your Gun. Philadelphia: Body Awareness (The Wilma), Crazy for You (The Forrest), Annie Get Your Gun (The Prince), Silverhill (InterAct). Regional: McCarter, Arena Stage, Hartford Stage, Shakespeare & Company, The Huntington, Boston Shakespeare Company, Dallas Theatre Center, and many others. Television: Deadline, Law & Order, One Life to Live, O Pioneers!, Margaret Mead: An Observer Observed.
David Garry, Birdseller. Broadway/Tour: Company, Sweeney Todd. Off-Broadway: Roadshow, Beowulf, Mirete, Miss Liberty. Regional:Merrily We Roll Along,Cincinnati Play House, Camelot and My Fair Lady, John W. Engeman Theatre; South Pacific, The Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival; Ragtime, The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat, Arkansas Repertory Theater; Carnival!, Paper Mill Playhouse
MATTHEW GIVEN, Resident Sound Designer, Production Manager, PSF. Fifth season as production manager and ninth season as resident sound designer at PSF. PSF designs include: A Winter's Tale, King Lear, Dracula, Romeo and Juliet ('10), and The Mystery of Irma Vep. Other regional: The Orlando Shakespeare Theater, The Centenary Stage Company, and Arcadia University. M.F.A. in sound design from Ohio University.
Evan Harrington, Beadle Bamford. Broadway: Avenue Q (Brian) and The Phantom of the Opera(Ubaldo Piangi). National tours: The Music Man,Phantom and Camelot. Others: 30 Rock (Roy), Mary Zimmerman's Candide (Grand Inquisitor/Orator), Into the Woods (Baker).
Paul Louis Lessard, Jonas Fogg. NY: NYMF's Open The Dark Door as Peter – Outstanding Individual Performance Award. Regional: Mary Sunshine in Chicago (Northern Stage); Chantal in La Cage Aux Folles (The Maltz Jupiter Theatre); Cliff in Sunset Boulevard (Portland Center Stage); the Young Fool in Big River (Music Theatre of Wichita). Many NY Concerts including Lincoln Center and Birdland. University of Michigan. London Dramatic Academy.
Patrick Mulcahy, PSF Producing Artistic Director. Since assuming leadership in 2003, Mr. Mulcahy has led PSF's return to artistic excellence and financial stability, rebuilt the professional company of artists, and achieved increasing national recognition for the Festival. Further accomplishments include PSF's first-ever award from the National Endowment for the Arts, and attracting a company of artists including winners and nominees of the Tony, Obie, Emmy, Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk, Jefferson, and Barrymore awards to the Festival, growth in all income areas, a 50% increase in annual attendance, and the expansion of the number of Actors' Equity contracts per season.
As a professional director, actor and fight director, credits include Broadway, Off-Broadway, regional theatre, television, and radio. Mr. Mulcahy has acted with Angela Basset, Peter MacNicol, HAl Holbrook, Joan Cusack, Don Cheadle,Anne Meara, Milo O'Shea, Cynthia Nixon, Tony Shaloub, Bradley Whitford, and others at the New York Shakespeare Festival, Hartford Stage, Roundabout Theatre Company, Great Lakes Theatre Festival, Syracuse Stage, and the Walnut Street Theatre. He served as a fight director for Tom Hulse and Timothy Busfield in A Few Good Men on Broadway and for Off-Broadway productions starring John Savage, John Mahoney, Marcia Gay Harden, and Patrick Dempsey. He directed Oscar nominee Vera Farmiga in The Real Thing, and, for PSF, directed Hamlet (2011), Antony and Cleopatra (2009), The Winter's Tale (2007), Henry IV, Part I (2005), The Tempest (1999), and acted in and served as fight director for The Taming of the Shrew (1998) and Julius Caesar (1997). As Head of Acting at DeSales, Patrick directed ten productions for Act 1, including I Hate Hamlet, The Grapes of Wrath, The Foreigner, and The Diary of Anne Frank. He holds an M.F.A. from Syracuse University.
DENNIS RAZZE, Director; Associate Artistic Director, PSF. Chairman of the theatre department of DeSales University and a founding member of PSF. Lastsummer, he directed PSF's production of South Pacific and more recently, Act 1's sold out hit musical Anything Goes. He has directed many of PSF's acclaimed productions including A Funny Thing…Forum, 1776, Cyrano de Bergerac, My Fair Lady, Amadeus, Man of La Mancha, The Taming of the Shrew, Twelfth Night, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and As You Like It. Razze also composed musical scores for PSF's Cyrano, The Tempest, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Twelfth Night, Romeo and Juliet, and A Midsummer Night's Dream. He was awarded Certificates of Merit from the American College Theatre Festival for his direction of Fiddler on the Roof, Oklahoma! and The Music Man and he was the guest director for Lehigh University's production of The Music Man at Zoellner Arts Center in 2003.
DAVE SCHOONOVER, Pirelli. Tours: Young Frankenstein (Dr. Frankenstein u/s), Cats (Tugger). Regional: Annie (Rooster), Pirates! (Huntington, upcoming at MUNY). BFA UWSP.
MICHELE SEXTON, Beggar Woman, has performed extensively with opera companies, theaters and music festivals throughout the U.S. and Europe. Nationally- Opera: Des Moines Metro Opera, New Jersey Opera Theater, Bohème Opera, Natchez Music Festival, Springfield Regional Opera, Shaker Mountain Festival. Leading soprano in La Traviata, La Bohème, Carmen, Don Giovanni (Anna), Marriage of Figaro (Countess), Falstaff, Romeo et Juliette, Die Fledermaus. Theatre: Fiona-Brigadoon; Laurey-OKLAHOMA!, Hope-Anything Goes, Isabel-Scrooge, Nimue-Camelot. Manhattan School of Music-BM, MM.
JAMESSTABP, Anthony Hope. PSF: Sailor (South Pacific), Bernardo/Lucianus (Hamlet) DeSales: – Lancelot (Camelot), Reuben (Joseph...) and Sailor (Anything Goes).
STEVEN TENEYCK, Set Designer. Design work in theatre, dance, opera, performance art and live event has been seen both nationally and internationally. Companies include Tacoma Opera, Syracuse Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Minnesota Opera,Tri-Cities Opera, Syracuse Stage, TACT NYC, Big Art Group NYC, Pacific Performance Project, The Kitchen Theatre Company, The Hangar Theatre, Merry-go-Round, Ensemble Theatre, and The Herson Group Ltd. Beyond his freelance work, Steve teaches lighting design at Ithaca College and received his M.F.A. from the University of Washington in Seattle.
Vincent Trovato, Musical Director/Conductor. PSF: 1776. He has musically directed many national and area productions. In 2010 he contributed arrangements and orchestrations for the Muhlenberg College premiere of An American Tragedy, a new Charles Strouse musical. He also provided arrangements and accompaniment for Sandy Duncan's one-woman show Free Fall at the Berkshire Theatre Festival. Vincent recently made his debutwith the Pennsylvania Sinfonia Orchestra, offering a program of Broadway and Operetta repertoire.
KATIE WEXLER, Johanna. PSF: Mary (Pride and Prejudice), Martha Jefferson (1776). Act 1 credits include Dot (Sunday in the Park), Reno Sweeney (Anything Goes), and Guinevere (Camelot).
Lisa Zinni, Costume Designer. PSF: Antony and Cleopatra, Amadeus, The Man of La Mancha, My Fair Lady, The Imaginary Invalid, The Mystery of Irma Vep, Charley's Aunt, and A Midsummer Nights Dream Associate Costume Designer for the Broadway, National Tours and international Companies of both RENT and HAIR. Design credits include productions Off Broadway, NY Musical Theatre Festival, NY Fringe Festival, Kef Theatrical Productions, Ars Nova, The Arden Theatre Company, Orlando Shakespeare Theatre, Syracuse Stage, The Cape Playhouse, Riverside Theatre in Vero Beach, and Bristol Riverside Theatre. MFA Penn State, BA DeSales.