Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival Announces 2023 Summer Season Featuring World Premiere of PENELOPE & More

HVSF’s Mainstage season will include William Shakespeare’s exuberant comedy Love’s Labor’s Lost, directed by Amanda Dehnert and more.

By: Nov. 10, 2022
Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival Announces 2023 Summer Season Featuring World Premiere of PENELOPE & More

The Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival has announced their 2023 Season, which will feature a double-bill of Shakespeare plays, a World Premiere, HVSF2 Readings, an Educational Tour, and two interactive, site-specific events bookending the season.

HVSF's Mainstage season will include William Shakespeare's exuberant comedy Love's Labor's Lost, directed by Amanda Dehnert (HVSF's Pride and Prejudice in 2017) and featuring original music by Amanda Dehnert and Andre Pleuss. This production had its World Premiere at Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 2018. The season will also include William Shakespeare's Henry V, directed by HVSF Artistic Director Davis McCallum and starring Emily Ota (Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play) in the title role. Both shows will run in rep until Labor Day, after which Penelope will make its World Premiere under the tent in a limited three-week run. Penelope features music & lyrics by Alex Bechtel (The Appointment), a book by Alex Bechtel, Grace McLean, & Eva Steinmetz, will be directed by Eva Steinmetz (The Appointment).

In addition, HVSF will hold two site-specific theatrical events bookending the season. On Earth Day 2023 (April 22) the second annual Highland Lights will be presented by Processional Arts Workshop. In October 2023, at the height of the fall foliage, HVSF will present an original commission tentatively titled A Listening, a sound art project by Orlando Pabotoy, the head of movement at the Juilliard School. Pabotoy has been working with technologists at NYU to develop an immersive sound experience that will be orchestrated wirelessly through headsets with prompts triggered by movement through the HVSF campus.

Davis McCallum, the Festival's Artistic Director said, "With each season, our goal is to build community by engaging, delighting, and inspiring audiences with transformative theatrical experiences that speak to our current moment and are rooted in the landscape of the Hudson Valley. Each of the pieces in our 2023 season opens up thrilling new ways of animating that mission; this is a season that encourages all of us to reconnect to the power of place and the joys of shared experiences."

HVSF will also present a series of developmental readings as part of its HVSF2 series. The series will include Medea: Re-Versed by Luis Quintero and directed by Nathan Winkelstein; The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Heidi Armbruster and directed by Ryan Quinn.

HVSF will also produce an HVSF Educational Tour of William Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet directed by Emma Went which will be available to regional middle and high schools from March 20 - April 28, 2023.

Full details about HVSF's 2023 season, including casting, dates, and ticket information, will be announced at a later date.

This will be HVSF's second season on the grounds of its new home in Garrison, NY, using its pre-existing temporary theater tent while plans are still underway for construction of a permanent open-air theater venue. HVSF has engaged a team of experts including Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects, Jeanne Gang + Studio Gang, and Fisher Dachs Associates Theater Consultants to lead the design process of the performance space and surrounding land. Audiences will continue to experience the company's signature open-air productions and pre-show picnicking on the grounds.


Highland Lights

By Processional Arts Workshop

April 22, 2023

Featuring an outdoor procession of lights and community-built lanterns through The Garrison paths, Highland Lights celebrates the ongoing ecological restoration of the Hudson Valley landscape and heralds the arrival of spring. In the three weeks leading up to the event, HVSF invites the community to join guest artists Alex Kahn and Sophia Michahelles of Processional Arts Workshop for a series of free workshops to create the giant lanterns that will be used at the event.

Love's Labor's Lost

By William Shakespeare

Directed by Amanda Dehnert

With original music by Amanda Dehnert and Andrew Pleuss

June - September 2023

"Let us once lose our oaths to find ourselves, Or else we lose ourselves to keep our oaths."

Four young noblemen absent themselves from society, in order to focus entirely on their studies. They even take a monastic oath: No girls! All books! But when the Princess of France turns up with three young ladies, how long will the men's resolve hold up? Director Amanda Dehnert (Pride and Prejudice) infuses Shakespeare's delightful comedy with an original pop/rock score (by Dehnert and Andre Pleuss) that gives full voice to the heart-pounding experience of being young and in love.

Henry V

By William Shakespeare

Directed by Davis McCallum

Starring Emily Ota

June - September 2023

"All things are ready, if our minds be so."

This Shakespearean epic follows a charismatic warrior King and his cohort through the brutality of warfare, as the ragtag band confronts heavy opposition and their own destinies in an aggressive pursuit of the French crown. Henry V is a deeply ambivalent play about leadership, and the power of language and storytelling to shape our collective identity. The play's central question - What kind of leadership would it take to forge a resilience and unified band of brothers and sisters from a fractious and anxious group of individuals? - resonates with fresh urgency in our contemporary world.

The World Premiere of


Music and Lyrics by Alex Bechtel

Book by Alex Bechtel, Grace McLean, And Eva Steinmetz

Directed by Eva Steinmetz

September 2023

"I could wait for you forever, If you told me what forever was for."

A re-imagining of the story of The Odyssey from the point of view of a character often relegated to the margins of the story, Penelope is a musical love letter to all those who wait: For someone they love. For something they believe in. And hope that the wait will end well. An intimate and explosive music theater piece, Penelope invites the audience to join in a ritual act of storytelling to release the pent-up grief, anger, love and longing that are so familiar after the last three years. Penelope was developed, in part, through the Founders' Club Residency as part of the Orchard Project (Ari Edelson, Artistic Director.)

A Listening

Directed by Orlando Pabotoy

Designed by Attilio Regatti

October 2023

Orlando Pabotoy collaborates with technologists at NYU Abu Dhabi to develop a site-specific audio-drama that can be orchestrated wirelessly through headsets and triggered by the audience members movement through three-dimensional space, such as HVSF's spectacular new 98-acre campus.

HVSF Educational Tour

Romeo & Juliet

By William Shakespeare

Directed by Emma Went

"...when he shall die, Take him and cut him out in little stars, And he will make the face of heaven so fine That all the world will be in love with night."

Two star-crossed souls collide and fall fast in love, only to take their own lives in a tragic twist of fate. In this music-driven, 90-minute production, heightened theatricality and original alt-rock anthems will engage audiences and bring a fresh perspective to Shakespeare's classic tale. Narrated by Benvolio, an unsuccessful peacemaker, Romeo and Juliet is a lesson in loss, destiny, loyalty - and most importantly, love. Learn more about education programming here.


Founded in 1987, Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival (HVSF) is a critically acclaimed (The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal), professional, non-profit theater company based in Garrison, NY, one hour north of Manhattan. The Festival has established a reputation for lucid, engaging, and highly inventive productions staged in rotating repertory under an iconic, open-air theater tent overlooking the Hudson River. In recent years, the Festival has also ventured beyond the tent, touring its work to other venues throughout the Hudson Valley as part of its HVSF On the Road series, transferring productions to other theaters, engaging its community through radically participatory art-making, and reaching over 50,000 students and educators annually through its year-round Education programs. HVSF began performances at its first permanent home in 2022.

Rooted in the landscape of the Hudson Valley, with the plays of William Shakespeare as their touchstone, HVSF engages the widest possible audience in a theatrical celebration of our shared humanity.


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