Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival Opens Its 18th Season, Previews Begin 6/3

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A bold, irreverent romp through 37 of Shakespeare's plays in just 99 minutes, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) is a wildly comic valentine to the Bard. Three brave actors reenact some of Shakespeare's best-known plays with blazing hilarity that promises to be a sidesplitting roller coaster ride.

The production previews June 3 and 4, opens June 5 and runs through June 28 in the Labuda Center's Schubert Theatre. Single ticket prices range from $25 to $49, and $10 for student rush. Performances are 7pm Tuesday, 8pm Wednesday through Saturday, Sundays at 2 pm (with additional 7:30pm shows on June 7 and 14); 2pm matinees are Saturday, June 13, 20 and 27; and Wednesday June 17 and 24. For tickets, call 610.282.WILL [9455] or online at http://www.pashakespeare.org.

Production Sponsor is the Amaranth Foundation and co-sponsor is Keenan-Nagle Advertising, Inc.

Making its debut at the renowned Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 1987, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) was the brainchild of actors Adam Long, Daniel Singer, and Jess Winfield. Calling themselves "The Reduced Shakespeare Company" (a reference to the Royal Shakespeare Company of Stratford, England) the trio took the play to the Criterion Theatre in London, where it ran for nine record-breaking years. Today it has become one of the world's most popular shows, playing frequently in a variety of languages.

Improvisation plays an important role in Complete Works, and actors customarily deviate from the script. Whether engaging with the audience or referencing current pop culture, each performance has the potential to be different. Director Matt Pfeiffer ­ a recent recipient of the F. Otto Haas Award ­ returns for his 13th season with PSF, following last year's Dracula: The Journal of Jonathan Harker. Other PSF directing credits include WillPower tours of A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Taming of the Shrew. A five-time Barrymore nominee, Pfeiffer serves as the Associate Artistic Director of Theatre Exile.

Actors Shawn Fagan, Chris Faith, and Christopher Patrick Mullen do the honors ­ and a few dishonors ­ to Shakespeare. Though a PSF newcomer, Fagan is no stranger to the Bard, having performed in Romeo and Juliet, King Lear, and Twelfth Night. Faith returns to PSF for his third summer after playing the Fool in last season's King Lear. PSF veteran Mullen returns to the stage after last year's tour-de-force in Dracula: The Journal of Jonathan Harker. He has appeared in more than 20 PSF productions.

The designers are Bob Phillips, sets; Amy Lobmeyer Best, costumes; Thom Weaver, lighting and Matthew Given, sound. Phillips designed last season's King Lear, Dracula and The Jungle Book, and has worked as scenic designer for more than two dozen PSF productions since 1995. He has received the Outer Critics Circle, Villager, Madison, and Lillian Stoates Awards for his stage work and six Emmys for his television designs. Best designed costumes for last season's The Jungle Book, and has designed costumes for Act 1 for the past nine seasons. Given returns to PSF for his sixth season as resident sound designer and his second as production manager. Weaver received the 2007 Audelco Award for Signature Theatre's King Hedley II.

Hannah Woodward is the Production Stage Manager.

The 2009 Festival also features the Tony Award-winning musical 1776 (June 17-July 5 on the Main Stage), Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream (July 8-August 2 in the Schubert), Antony and Cleopatra (July 15-August 2, on the Main Stage) and Cinderella (May 29-August 1, in the Schubert
Theatre).  A new performance experience, Shakespeare for Kids, runs on the Main Stage July 22-August 1 at 10am.

The free outdoor Green Show completes the season's offerings and is performed one hour prior to each evening performance.

Single ticket prices range from $25 to $49. Discounts are available for subscribers, seniors, students, and groups.  Season tickets are still available and offer patrons the greatest discounts and flexibility. Tickets can be ordered by calling 610-282 WILL or online at www.pashakespeare.org.

Dr. and Mrs. Frank J. Szarko are the 2009 Season Sponsors. Associate Season Sponsors are the Harry C. Trexler Trust, The Morning Call and Service Electric Cable TV & Communications.

The Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival 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 Theatre Alliance of Greater Philadelphia and the Shakespeare Theatre Association of America.

For ticket information, contact PSF at 610-282-WILL or online at www.pashakespeare.org.

Patrick Mulcahy, Producing Artistic Director, will direct Antony and Cleopatra this season. Since assuming leadership in 2003, Mr. Mulcahy has overseen PSF's return to artistic excellence and financial stability, rebuilding the professional company of artists and achieving increasing national recognition for the Festival. Further accomplishments include: PSF's awards from the National Endowment for the Arts; featuring artists who are 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 attendance, and the expansion of the number of Actors' Equity contracts per season.  As a professional director, actor, and fight director, his credits include Broadway, Off-Broadway, regional theatre, television and radio.  For PSF, he directed The Winter's Tale (2007), Henry IV, Part 1 (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, he 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. in directing from Syracuse University.

Amy Lobmeyer Best (Costume Designer, Complete Works/Cinderella) designed Dracula: The Journal of Jonathan Harker and The Jungle Book last season, and Winnie the Pooh and The Green Show in 2007. She has designed the costumes for Act 1 for the past nine seasons. Amy also served as PSF's production manager in 2006 and 2005. PSF design credits also include Around the World in 80 Days, The Little Mermaid, Private Lives, Aladdin, Pinocchio, and The Princess and the Pea. Her designs have been seen in and around Chicago, Texas, Kansas, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and England.

Shawn Fagan (Actor) credits include: Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey), Romeo in Romeo and Juliet (American Players Theatre), Edgar in King Lear (Utah Shakespearean Festival), and roles in Twelfth Night, Hamlet, Julius Caesar, and The Tempest. Selected regional theatre: Acaste in The Misanthrope (Dallas Theatre Center), Marchbanks in Candida (Utah Shakes), Christy in The Playboy of the Western World (APT), Intimations for Saxophone (Arena Stage, dir. Anne Bogart), and A Moon for the Misbegotten (Delaware Theatre Company).

Chris Faith (Actor) played Grumio in The Taming of the Shrew (2007) and the Fool in last season's King Lear. Chris received two Barrymore nominations this past year for "Best Actor in a Play" and "Best Supporting Actor in a Musical." He has appeared Off-Broadway in The Secret Garden and Like It Is. He has also performed opposite Linda Eder in the Broadway-bound The Seduction of Shelia Valentine.  Other credits: The Wilma Theater, the Arden, 1812 Productions, Lenape Regional Arts Center, Act II Playhouse, People's Light, Luna Theatre, the Kimmel Center, Media Theatre, and in the near future, the Mauckingbird Theatre Company, where he will perform Tru, the one-man show based on Truman Capote.

Matthew Given (Sound Designer) recently became PSF's full-time production manager. This season marks his sixth as resident sound designer. Some PSF designs include: Dracula, King Lear, The Winter's Tale, and The Merchant of Venice. Matthew has also designed at the Orlando Shakespeare Theater, The Gala Hispanic Theatre, Rutgers University, and various theatres in the New York City area. He holds an M.F.A. in sound design from Ohio University.

Christopher Patrick Mullen* (Actor) will also perform as Oberon/Theseus in PSF's A Midsummer Night's Dream.  PSF credits include King Lear, Dracula: The Journal of Jonathan Harker, The Mystery of Irma Vep, As You Like It, Hamlet, The Glass Menagerie, and Twelfth Night. He's a member of the resident ensemble of artists at The People's Light & Theatre Company where past productions include Crispin: The Cross of Lead, Getting Near to Baby, The Tempest, The Crucible, and Julius Caesar. Other credits include: When You Comin' Back, Red Ryder? (Retro Productions); Candide and Assassins (Arden Theatre Co.). TV credits: Law & Order.

Matt Pfeiffer (Director) returns to PSF for his 13th season, where his credits include directing Dracula: The Journal of Jonathan Harker, and the Will Power tours of A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Taming of the Shrew. He's also appeared in Cyrano de Bergerac, The Taming of the Shrew, and Charley's Aunt among others. Matt is a five time Barrymore Nominee and recipient of the F. Otto Haas Award for an Emerging Philadelphia Theatre Artist. He also serves as the Associate Artistic Director of Theatre Exile where he's directed critically acclaimed productions of Glengarry GLen Ross, Bug, and most recently American Buffalo. He's also worked with the Walnut
St., 1812 Productions, Delaware Theatre Co., and the Arden Theatre where he will direct Romeo and Juliet next season.

Bob Phillips (Scenic Designer, Complete Works/Midsummer/Cinderella) designed The Jungle Book, Dracula: The Journal of Jonathan Harker, and King Lear last year and more than two dozen PSF shows since 1995. Bob celebrates his fifteenth season as Resident Designer for the Orlando Shakespeare Theatre where he has designed over 66 productions. His television designs include
Another World, Search for Tomorrow, and Sesame Street, where he just finished his 20th season, and is now the production designer. Bob has received the Outer Critics Circle, Villager, Madison, and Lillian Stoates Awards for his stage work and six Emmys for his television designs.

Thom Weaver (Lighting Designer, Complete Works/Midsummer) Recent projects include Arcadia (Folger Theatre), American Buffalo (Theatre Exile), Scorched (Wilma), Murderers (Asolo Rep), ReENTRY (Two River), My Name is Asher Lev (Arden), A Year with Frog and Toad (Two River), Two Rooms (Lion Theatre, NY), Five Fingers of Funk (Children's Theatre Company), Twelfth Night (Cal
Shakes).  Other: Centerstage, Syracuse Stage, Berkshire Theatre Festival, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Folger Theatre, Signature Theater Company, Media Theatre, Berkshire Opera, Delaware Theatre Company, York Theatre, Summer Play Festival, 37 ARTS, Spoleto Festival USA, City Theatre, Pittsburgh Public Theatre, and Yale Rep. 2007 AUDELCO Award for Signature Theater's King Hedley II.  Education:  Carnegie Mellon and Yale.

Hannah Woodward (Production Stage Manager, Complete Works/Midsummer) returns to PSF where her credits include: The Winter's Tale, The Mystery of Irma Vep, King Lear.  New York: In Paradise, She Plundered Him, All Eyes & Ears, Night Over Taos (all with Intar), 24 Hour Plays on Broadway, Paula, Brutality of Fact. Regional: McCarter, Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, Luna Stage, Helen Hayes Youth Theater, and Ogunquit Playhouse.



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