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ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA Makes PSF Debut, Plays 7/15-8/2 At Main Stage

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Fueled by legend, passion for the transcendent, and the quest for power, Antony and Cleopatra makes its debut at PSF this summer. Based on the electrifying relationship between celebrated Roman warrior Mark Antony and sultry Egyptian queen Cleopatra, Antony and Cleopatra is set amidst the impending rise of the Roman Empire and its quest to control its exotic eastern frontiers.

"It's a play most people have not seen on stage," notes producing artistic director, Patrick Mulcahy, who is directing. "Yet, some consider it Shakespeare's most wonderful play for its valiancy, insight, depth and energy. There is a electricity in rehearsals that is indescribable." He adds, "these are the joys of delving deeply into the Shakespeare canon, as we did last year with King Lear and The Winter's Tale in 2007."

The production previews July 15 and July 16, opens July 17, and runs through August 2 on the Main Stage. Single ticket prices range from $25 to $49, and $10 for student rush 30 minutes prior to curtain. Performances are 7pm Tuesdays, 8pm Wednesdays through Saturdays (additional 2pm matinees are Saturday, July 25 and August 1), and Sundays at 2 pm (with an additional 7:30pm show on July 19). For tickets call 610.282.WILL [9455] or online at www.pashakespeare.org.

Antony & Cleopatra begins four years after Julius Caesar's death, with the brilliant warrior Mark Antony ruling Rome as one of three triumvirs. Julius Caesar's nephew and adopted son, Octavius Caesar and Aemilius Lepidus also rule. Antony however, prefers to spend his time in Alexandria with his mistress, Cleopatra. He is forced to return to Rome with the impending threat from Pompey, but inexplicably finds himself drawn back to Cleopatra. Antony's loyalty soon shifts to Egypt as he and Cleopatra fight for fulfillment of their immeasurable passion.

Says Mulcahy, "the plot unfolds in antiquity; but the play is about people in any era. The play focuses on the universal human ache to transcend earthly limitation, to achieve a soaring experience - perfection."

Playing the celebrated warrior Mark Antony is PSF veteran actor Greg Wood, who played the title role in Cyrano de Bergerac last season. Stepping into the role of Cleopatra is Lauren Lovett. Lovett was last seen at PSF playing Rosalind in As You Like It in 2006.

The captivating role of Cleopatra is demanding, arguably one of Shakespeare's most complex female characters. Lovett says she prepared for the role by trying to "imagine being a woman of such reputed power and magnetism-a queen in a world of brutal male rulers-who has at last found the man with whom she might die, or at least for whom she might die."

The ‘scarce-bearded' Octavius Caesar, a shrewd and manipulative politician who stands in the way of Antony and Cleopatra's happiness, is played by Jacob R. Dresch, a veritable PSF prodigy in his second summer with the Festival.

Other supporting roles include Dominitius Enobarbus, a follower of Antony portrayed by Barrymore-nominee Anthony Lawton. Scarus, a loyal friend of Antony, is played by H. Michael Walls. Walls' recent PSF credits include 2007 productions of The Winter's Tale and The Taming of the Shrew.

Wayne S. Turney plays three alternating roles: Lepidus, a schoolmaster, and a clown. Last season he provided comic relief in Cyrano de Bergerac in his role as Ragueneau. Ian Merrill Peakes also plays alternating roles of Canidius, a general of Antony's, and Proculeius, a lieutenant to Octavius. Peakes played Iago, Benedick, and Hotspur for PSF and is the winner of the 2003 F. Otto Haas Award for Emerging Artist in Philadelphia.

Spencer Plachy, who portrays Thomas Jefferson in PSF's current production of 1776, will play Agrippa, the military commander and advisor of Octavius. Last summer at PSF he was Christian in Cyrano de Bergerac.

Erin Clare Hurley plays Charmian, a maid of honor attending Cleopatra. Last season Hurley was seen playing Viola in Twelfth Night.

The designers for Antony and Cleopatra are Steve TenEyck, sets and lighting; Lisa L. Zinni, costumes; and Matthew Given, sound.

TenEyck designs for theatre, dance, opera, performance art and live event both nationally and internationally. Credits include Tacoma Opera, Syracuse Opera, Big Art Group New York City, and Pacific Performance Project.

Zinni is a Barrymore-nominated costume designer, whose New York design credits include productions Off Broadway and with New York Musical Theatre Festival. She served as associate costume designer for Rent for 12 years and recently served as assistant costume designer for the Broadway hit revival of Hair.

This is Matt Given's sixth season as resident sound designer and his second as production manager for PSF.

Blair Walsleben is the Production Stage Manager.

The 2009 Festival also features the Tony Award-winning musical 1776 (through July 5 on the Main Stage), Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream (July 8-August 2, in the Schubert); Cinderella (through August 1, in the Schubert Theatre). A new production, Shakespeare for Kids, runs on the Main Stage with performances July 22-25 & July 28-August 1 at 10am. The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) ran June 3 through June 28, and has closed.

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.


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