Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival Launches Season with Record-Breaking Productions
With the 2017 summer season just reaching its halfway mark, the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival boasts landmark attendance, record-breaking ticket sales, and critical acclaim throughout the Lehigh Valley and Philadelphia.
"Breaking attendance records is always delightful, but for us the deeper satisfaction is in the feedback we receive on the quality of the productions," said Patrick Mulcahy, producing artistic director. "That's where we put most of our energy, months and years in advance. This season is off to a great start and more excitement lies ahead."
The Main Stage musical Evita broke the previous attendance record held by 2015's Les Misérables. Over the three-week run Evita played to 103% capacity and brought in over 10,760 patrons.
Evita opened the season to critical acclaim with testaments to leading actress Dee Roscioli, director Dennis Razze's staging, and PSF's world-class mission. "At the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, art transcends history and truth," wrote Jim Rutter in his review for The Philadelphia Inquirer. "Go with an open heart and it will overwhelm you."
The Hound of the Baskervilles, currently playing in the Schubert Theatre, is also boasting a sold-out run and is on track to be the highest attended show in the 187-seat Schubert theatre-a goal set by director Jim Helsinger before rehearsals even began.
"I would like for this to be the highest selling show in the Schubert Theatre," said Helsinger. "That means that audiences are having a great time."
Festival audiences are howling at The Hound of the Baskervilles, a comedic retelling of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's classic Sherlock Holmes novel helmed by veteran PSF actors Greg Wood, Carl N. Wallnau, and Jacob Dresch: "The kind of work that can only be pulled off by deceptively skilled, confident and wildly charismatic actors, and our triumphant trio comes through with flying colors," wrote Daniel Friedman for The Morning Call.
The Festival's 150 performances of seven productions feature professional Equity actors as part of a seasonal company staff of more than 200 artists and artisans from 23 states, including accomplished Broadway stars and award-winning directors and designers.
"Normally when you see this level of work you're in a 2,000-seat house," Mulcahy says. "Here, you are never more than 60 feet from the stage. I do think that is part of the magic." The Main Stage has 473 seats and the intimate Schubert Theatre seats 187.
The remainder the of the summer season includes: Ken Ludwig's swashbuckling romp The Three Musketeers in repertory with Shakespeare's most popular comedy As You Like It and PSF's "Extreme Shakespeare" production of Troilus and Cressida-not often produced and a must-see for the Shakespeare enthusiast. (Extreme Shakespeare: Actors arrive with their lines learned, rehearse on their own, wear what they can find, and open in a matter of days.)
PSF produces two original children's productions this season: The Ice Princess, a new adaptation of Hans Christian Anderson's The Snow Queen, now running thru August 5; and Shakespeare for Kids which opens July 26thru August 5.
There will also be a one-night only concert. Dee Roscioli (Eva Peron in Evita) returns to the Festival on Monday, July 31 at 7:30PM. Join us for an eclectic evening of Broadway, pop hits, and new original work on the Main Stage. Tickets are $38.
Order tickets online at pashakespeare.org, or by calling the box office at 610.282.WILL , ext. 1, or in person at the Labuda Center for the Performing Arts on the Center Valley campus of DeSales University.
David B. Rothrock and Patrina L. Rothrock are the 2017 season sponsors. Associate season sponsors are the Szarko Family, Harry C. Trexler Trust, and Linda Lapos and Paul Wirth.
Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, a professional company in residence at DeSales University, is the Official Shakespeare Festival of the Commonwealth and a professional, not-for-profit theatre company. An independent 501 c 3 organization, PSF receives support from DeSales University and relies on contributions from individuals, government agencies, corporations, and foundations.
PSF is a constituent of the Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for the American theatre, and a member of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, the Shakespeare Theatre Association, the Lehigh Valley Arts Council, and Discover Lehigh Valley.
2017 Summer Season
Main Stage Theatre
The Three Musketeers • Now - August 6
As You Like It • July 20 - August 6
Shakespeare for Kids • July 26 - August 5
The Hound of the Baskervilles • Now - July 16
The Ice Princess • Now - August 5
Troilus and Cressida• July 26 - August 6
One Night Only Event
Dee Roscioli • July 31
Patrick Mulcahy (Producing Artistic Director) Since assuming leadership in 2003, Mulcahy has led PSF's return to artistic excellence and financial stability, built the professional company of artists, oversaw the quadrupling of the endowment, and achieved increasing national recognition for the Festival. Further accomplishments include PSF's first-ever awards 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 75% 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. Mulcahy has acted with Angela Bassett, 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 St. 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 Julius Caesar (2016), Macbeth (2014), 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). Also head of acting at DeSales, Patrick holds an MFA from Syracuse University.