Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival to Present Staged Reading Of Marisela Treviño Orta's THE RIVER BRIDE

The River Bride tells the tale of two sisters who struggle to find their own happily-ever-after when a mysterious visitor arrives before an anticipated family wedding.

By: Jun. 28, 2022
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Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival to Present Staged Reading Of Marisela Treviño Orta's THE RIVER BRIDE

A staged reading of award-winning playwright Marisela Treviño Orta's Latinx fairytale The River Bride will be presented for a limited engagement July 1 to July 3 at Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, the professional theatre on the campus of DeSales University in Center Valley, PA.

The River Bride is part of a trilogy of fairy tales for adults written by Treviño Orta inspired by Latinx mythology, and influenced by The Brothers Grimm. The play was developed in residency with Altertheater Ensemble in San Rafael, California. It was elected as the National Latino Playwrighting Award Co-winner at the Arizona Theatre Company and it world premiered in 2016 at Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

Set in a small Brazilian fishing village along the Amazon River, The River Bride tells the tale of two sisters who struggle to find their own happily-ever-after when a mysterious visitor arrives before a much-anticipated family wedding. The river holds many secrets, and the sisters are tested to find their own ways to remain true to themselves and to each other.

Often compared to audiobooks and radio plays, a staged reading is a rehearsed read-through of a script performed in front of an audience. Performers can either sit or stand as they read from scripts on a music stand, and a narrator will read aloud the stage directions. Very few if any visual elements, such as props, sets, and costumes, are included. For audiences, staged readings can be a gateway to hear new plays and be exposed to playwrights they don't yet know about.

The River Bride is directed by KJ Sanchez. Sanchez, who is the founder and CEO of American Records, also serves as Associate Professor at UT Austin and heads the MFA Playwrighting/Directing programs. A recipient of the 2014 Rella Lossy Playwright Award, she is both a Fox Fellow, and Douglas Wallop Fellow, and has worked as both a director and playwright in regional theatres across the country.

Washington, DC based actor, writer, and educator Alina Collins Maldonado, and PSF and DeSales University alumna Allie Vazquez will play the sisters Helena and Belmira, respectively. Maldonado currently serves as an Artist in Residence at University of Maryland's Calrice Smith Performing Arts Center, developing her one-woman show, No Salgas Con El Pelo Mojado. As an educator, she builds programs and workshops to help guide young artists. She has performed on the stages of the Lincoln Center, Shakespeare Theatre Company, John F. Kennedy Center, GALA Hispanic Theatre, and Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, to name a few. Vazquez, is a film, television, and stage actor who was most recently seen as Ana in Hulu's Only Murders in the Building and as Anaya in Lover's Leap at the Maryland Film Festival.

Joining them are Hugo Carbajal (Moises) and Eddie Cruz Jr. (Duarte). Carbajal is an actor, director and teacher who is currently a professor of drama at Los Medanos College and CSU Channel Islands. His credits include guest starring roles on television shows such as SWAT, Good Girls, and Brooklyn Nine Nine, to name a few. Cruz has worked regionally throughout the country performing at theatres such as Hartford Stage, Cape Cod Shakespeare Festival, and TheaterWorks.

Rounding out the cast are Orlando Arriaga as Señor Costa and Sheila Tapia as Señora Costa. Both Arriaga and Tapia have been seen in numerous regional productions across the country, in addition to having many Off-Broadway, film, and television credits.

Erin Joy Swank will serve as Stage Manager of the reading. Swank, who is a published author, having collaborated on Off Headset: Essays on Stage Management Work, Life, and Career, has worked in a variety of genres including five holiday seasons touring the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.

Tickets can be purchased online or by calling the PSF box office at 610.282.WILL [9455].

Summer 2022 Season

Main Stage: A Chorus Line (June 22 to July 10), Fences (July 27 to August 7), Shakespeare for Kids (July 28 to Aug 6).

Schubert Theatre: Little Red (June 3 to Aug 6), Every Brilliant Thing (June 7 to June 19), Much Ado About Nothing (July 13 to Aug 7), The River Bride (a staged reading, July 1 to July 3).

The season is now open and runs to August 7 at the Labuda Center for the Performing Arts on the bucolic campus of DeSales University in Center Valley.

Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival features acclaimed actors from Broadway, television, and film, and is summer home to over 200 artists from around the country, including winners and nominees of the Tony, Obie, Emmy, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Jefferson, and Barrymore awards.

About Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival

Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, under the leadership of Producing Artistic Director Patrick Mulcahy, is the only professional Equity theatre of its scope and scale within a 50-mile radius. PSF is one of only a handful of theatres on the continent producing Shakespeare, musicals, classics, and contemporary plays, all of which can normally be seen in rep and in multiple spaces within a few visits in a single summer season. Similarly, PSF was among just a handful of theatres on the continent in recent summers to produce three Shakespeare plays in a single summer season. A patron would have to travel seven to nine hours from PSF to find a comparable range of offerings at a single theatre within a few weeks' time.

The Festival's award-winning company of many world-class artists includes Broadway, film, and television veterans, and winners and nominees of the Tony, Emmy, Obie, Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk, Jefferson, Hayes, Lortel, and Barrymore awards. A leading Shakespeare theatre with a national reputation for excellence, PSF has received coverage in The Washington Post, NPR, American Theatre Magazine, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and in recent seasons The New York Times has identified PSF as one of the leading summer theatre festivals in the nation. "A world-class theater experience on a par with the top Bard fests," is how one New York Drama Desk reviewer characterized PSF.

Founded in 1992 and the Official Shakespeare Festival of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, PSF's mission is to enrich, inspire, engage, and entertain the widest possible audience through first-rate productions of classical and contemporary plays, with a core commitment to Shakespeare and other master dramatists, and through an array of education and mentorship programs. A not-for-profit theatre, PSF receives significant support from its host, DeSales University, from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Traditionally, with 150 performances of seven productions, the Festival attracts patrons each summer from 30+ states. In 30 years, PSF has offered 200+ total productions (82 Shakespeare), and entertained 1,000,000+ patrons from 50 states, now averaging 34,000-40,000 in attendance each summer season, plus another 13,000 students each year through its WillPower Tour to schools. PSF is a multi-year recipient of awards from the National Endowment for the Arts: Shakespeare in American Communities, and is a constituent of Theatre Communications Group, and the Shakespeare Theatre Association (STA). In 2013, leaders of the world's premier Shakespeare theatres gathered at PSF as the Festival hosted the international STA Conference.

The Festival's vision is for world-class theatre.

Patrick Mulcahy (Producing Artistic Director, PSF) Since assuming leadership in 2003, Mulcahy has led PSF's surge in artistic excellence, financial stability, and national recognition. Accomplishments include first and subsequent grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, attracting a multitude of award-winning artists including winners and nominees of the Tony, Obie, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Barrymore, and Emmy awards, a doubling of annual attendance, a successful campaign to double the Festival's endowment, and the expansion of the number of Actors' Equity contracts per season. He led the strategic planning process that led to PSF's Vision 2030, a commitment to world-class professional theatre, and coverage in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and The Washington Post. As a professional director, actor, and fight director, credits include Broadway, Off-Broadway, regional theatre, television and radio. Mr. Mulcahy has acted with many industry luminaries including Don Cheadle, Angela Bassett, Cynthia Nixon, and Tony Shaloub at the New York Shakespeare Festival, The Roundabout Theatre, Hartford Stage, Great Lakes Theatre Festival, and the Walnut Street Theatre. He served as fight director for A Few Good Men on Broadway, and multiple Off-Broadway productions starring Marcia Gay Harden, John Mahoney, Patrick Dempsey, and John Savage. He directed Oscar nominee Vera Farmiga in The Real Thing, and, for PSF, directed The Winter's Tale, Henry IV, Part 1, The Tempest, Antony and Cleopatra, Hamlet, Macbeth, Julius Caesar, and Shakespeare in Love. Also Head of Acting at DeSales, Patrick holds degrees in acting and directing from Syracuse University.

Artist Bios:

ORLANDO ARRIAGA* (Señor Costa) Off-Broadway: Don Pedro De La Cebolla (Symphony Space). Off-Off-Broadway: Balsero (Treehouse Theater), The Algonquin (Treehouse Theater), The Maltese Walter (Open Tent Theater). Regional: 72 miles to go... (Alley Theatre), Romeo y Juliet (Cal Shakes), American Mariachi (TheatreSquared), Quixote Nuevo (Hartford Stage Company, Huntington Theatre Company, Alley Theatre), El Chuco Town Forever (Alley Theatre), Fade (Kitchen Theatre Company), The Little Foxes (A.D. Players at the George), Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train (4th Wall Theatre), The House of the Spirits (Main Street Theater), A Midsummer Night's Dream (Miller Outdoor Theatre). Film: A Question of Selves, Dream to Build a Kiss On. Television: Follow Your Arrow (Kacey Musgraves music video), Crimes to Riches (VH1). Education BA Theatre Arts, Lamar University. Web:

HUGO CARBAJAL* (Moises) has been a theatre artist for over 20 years as an actor, director, and teacher. Hugo has played with companies such as Cal Shakes, Hartford Stage, Huntington Theatre, The Alley, SF Mime Troupe, Shotgun Players, Cuttingball Theatre, TeatroVision, Bay Area Children's Theatre, and LA Playground among others. Currently a professor of drama at Los Medanos College and CSU Channel Islands. Look for him on TV shows like SWAT, Bosch, Good Girls, Brooklyn Nine Nine, and more. @hugoecarbajal Web:

EDDIE CRUZ JR.* (Duarte) is overjoyed to be making his debut at PSF. Upcoming: Twelfth Night, A Midsummer Night's Dream (Cape Cod Shakespeare Festival in Chatham). Regional: Quixote Nuevo (Hartford Stage), Sweat, As You Like It (Capital Classics Theatre), You Can't Take It With You (Monomoy Theatre). Readings: Simona's Search (Hartford Stage), El Borracho (TheaterWorks), Moonlighters (HartBeat Ensemble). Film: The Changed (2021). Commercial: "State I'm In" Tourism Campaign (CTVisit). Education: BFA Acting, The Hartt School (Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train, Life of Galileo). I owe a tremendous thank you to KJ Sánchez for this opportunity. Rest easy, Maestro. Love always to Mom, Dad, Leo and Tito. IG: @eddiecruzjr |

ALINA COLLINS MALDONADO* (Helena) is an actor, writer, and theater educator born and raised in the Washington, DC area. As an actor, she has performed at The Lincoln Center, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, The John F. Kennedy Center, Folger Theatre, 1st Stage, and GALA Hispanic Theatre, among others. As a theater educator, she has built programs and workshops guiding young artists in creating and producing their work. Alina creates theatre extensively with students from ESOL classes and backgrounds. She is currently an Artist in Residence at University of Maryland's Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center to develop her one-woman show, No Salgas Con El Pelo Mojado. Alina holds a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies, from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Sheila Tapia* (Señora Costa) Off-Broadway: CQ/CX (Atlantic Theater Co.), La Ruta (The Working Theater), ReEntry (Urban Stages), Elliot, A Soldiers Fugue (Culture Project/P73), Welcome To Arroyos (Lark/NYC Hip Hop Festival/NYTW). Regional: Speed The Plow (Shakerbridge Theater), ReEntry (Baltimore Center Stage), Private Lives, ReEntry (Two River Theater), How The Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents (Round House Theater). Film: Side Effects alongside Jude Law & Catherine Zeta Jones, Tick, Tick . . .Boom!. TV: Madam Secretary, Blindspot, New Amsterdam, Mrs. Fletcher, Mysteries of Laura, Royal Pains, Law & Order, Law & Order: SVU. Education: BA, University of Florida; MFA: Ohio University. Member AEA.

ALLIE VAZQUEZ (Belmira) she/her is a creative multi-hyphenate actor that has had the pleasure to work with talented individuals in various film, television, and theatre productions such as 20th Century, Hulu, The Civilians, and Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival. She's most recently been seen as "Ana" in Only Murders in the Building, and as "Anaya" in Lover's Leap, an official selection of the Maryland Film Festival premiering June 17th. In her spare time, she likes to explore her interests in modeling, video editing, the art form of drag, and writing music and screenplays. Her identity as a proud Boricua and member of the LGBTQ+ community pushes and inspires her to participate in and/or create projects authentically and with integrity.

Creative Team Bios:

MARISELA TREVIÑO ORTA (Playwright) Her plays include Heart Shaped Nebula, Somewhere, Wolf at the Door and The River Bride, which premiered in 2016 at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and has had subsequent productions at Arizona Theatre Company, Stages Repertory Theatre, and American Players Theatre. Her work has been presented by A.C.T. Young Conservatory, the Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Brava Theater, Camino Real Productions, Halcyon Theater, Kitchen Dog Theater, Marin Theatre, Milagro, Nashville Children's Theatre, New Jersey Rep, Shotgun Players, Su Teatro, and Those Women Productions. Recently her Audible-commissioned audio play Nightfall launched on their platform. Marisela is an alum of the Playwrights Foundation Resident Playwright Initiative (2008-2011), Goodman Theatre Playwrights Unit (2018-2019), and Playwrights' Center Core Writer program (2018-2021). Currently she is a member of the Latino Theatre Company's Circle of Imaginistas who are under commission to create new work. She is the recipient of the 2006 Chicano/Latino Literary Award in Drama, 2009 PEN Center USA Literary Award in Drama, 2013 National Latino Playwriting Award, and 2019 Alliance Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Award Finalist. Marisela has an MFA in Poetry from the University of San Francisco and an MFA in Playwriting from the Iowa Playwrights Workshop.

KJ Sanchez (Director) is the founder and CEO of American Records, dedicated to making theatre that chronicles our time, theatre that serves as a bridge between people. She is also an Associate Professor at UT Austin and head of the MFA Playwriting/Directing programs. Her productions - as a director/playwright - include (select list) The Guthrie Theater, Hartford Stage, Huntington Theatre, The Alley, Berkeley Rep, Baltimore Center Stage, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Playmakers Rep, Asolo Rep, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Two River Theater, Frontera Rep, Round House, Studio Theatre in D.C., Cornerstone Theater Company and Off-Broadway at Urban Stages, HERE Arts Center and the Gene Frankel Theatre. KJ is a Fox Fellow, Douglass Wallop Fellow, and a recipient of the 2014 Rella Lossy Playwright Award.

ERIN JOY SWANK* (Stage Manager) She/Her enjoys working in a variety of genres; recent credits include Baltimore Center Stage, Tantrum Theater, Memphis Opera, Cirque Dreams Holidaze, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Tuacahn Center for the Arts, and The Nutcracker in Las Vegas. Five Christmases of yore were spent touring the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, featuring The Rockettes and three adorable camels. Erin recently became a published author, collaborating on Off Headset: Essays on Stage Management Work, Life, and Career (Routledge), and writes a popular blog geeking out about stage management.

*Member of Actors' Equity Association


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