Veteran Broadway, Television, and Film Stars in Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival's Antony & Cleopatra

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Tina.slak@pashakespeare.org


May 7, 2019

CENTER VALLEY, PA—

Casting has been announced for Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival’s production of Antony and Cleopatra, which will run at the Labuda Center for the Performing Arts on the Center Valley campus of DeSales University July 10 to August 4 as part of the Festival’s 28th season.

Neal Bledsoe will play Roman triumvir Marc Antony opposite Nondumiso Tembe as Cleopatra, the enchanting Queen of Egypt. Both Bledsoe and Tembe, who have extensive theatre, film, and television credits, will make their Festival debuts.

Neal Bledsoe is an award-winning actor, author, fine artist, and filmmaker. His television acting credits include Shameless, The Man in the High Castle, The Last Tycoon, The Mysteries of Laura, Smash, Ironside, Timeless, Ugly Betty, and many more. Bledsoe will be featured alongside Val Kilmer in the upcoming feature film Soldier’s Heart; other film credits include Revolutionary Road and Sex and the City 2. He has won several awards for his work in the independent features Junction, West Endand After The Sun Fell.

On stage he starred in Michael Arden’s production of The Pride at The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills California (LA Stage Alliance Ovation Award Nominee), he originated the role of The Count in Stephen Wadsworth’s The Figaro Plays at the McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton, and worked with Jeremy Irons, Joan Allen, Andre De Shields, Marsha Mason, and Jack O’Brien on Broadway in Impressionism.

As an artist he has collaborated with Jon Kessler on his work The Web in New York City and in Basel, Switzerland; and also with Contemporary Artist Mark Flood in Austin, Texas. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (2005).

Born in Durban, South Africa and raised in New York City, Nondumiso Tembe is a multi award-winning actress, singer, songwriter, dancer, and writer. The daughter of two of Africa’s most successful opera singers, she is the first South African actress to obtain a Masters of Fine Arts in Acting from the famed Yale School of Drama.

Tembe’s regional theatre credits include performances at the McCarter Theatre Center, Yale Repertory Theatre, Long Wharf Theatre in Connecticut, the Miller Theatre at Columbia University, and the Boston Court Theatre in New York City. Additionally she has performed award-winning roles in prestigious South African venues including The Playhouse Company, the Fugard Theatre, and Kwasuka Theatre.

Her notable television credits include recurring roles on History Channel/A+E Studios’ military drama, Six; the role of Mavis in HBO’s Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winning True Blood, and she is a series regular on Africa’s popular television show, Generations.

Other recent film and television credits include Lifetime’s Michael Jackson: Searching for Neverland, Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, the 6-part international mini-series Book of Negroes, and the upcoming romantic comedy feature film Zulu Wedding. Additionally, she has had guest starring roles on television’s NCIS, NCIS:LA and Castle.

Tembe’s vocal concert performances include Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday celebration at his home in Qunu, South Africa as well as tribute performances at the United Nations UNESCO in Paris.

Joining Bledsoe and Tembe in the cast are Festival newcomers Justin Mark as Octavius Caesar (The Julliard School; TV: Law and Order SVU, Madame Secretary, and a recurring role on Gotham), with Liam Craig as Enobarbus (Broadway’s Boeing-Boeing; TV: Boston Legal, As the Would Turns, Law and Order SVU), Talley Gale as Octavia (The Old Globe, Steppenwolf and Oldcastle theatres), and Matthew Floyd Miller as Eros (Broadway’s Lincoln Center and Circle in the Square; TV: Hand of God, Criminal Minds, and Law and Order).

Returning to the Festival, are Eleanor Handley as Agrippa (PSF: Twelfth Night, Blithe Spirit, The Taming of the Shrew and more; Broadway’s Lincoln Center; Regional: Hudson Valley Shakespeare, Bristol Riverside Theatre; TV: Royal Pains, As the World Turns, Unforgettable), with Luigi Sottile as Pompey and Thidias (PSF: Shakespeare in Love, Troilus and Cressida, The Two Gentlemen of Verona; Regional: Steppenwolf, Chicago Shakespeare, Folger, Utah Shakespeare, Walnut Street theatres; TV: Chicago PD), and Ilia Paulino as Charmian (PSF: Young Company; alumna of the DeSales University theatre program; Twelfth Night at Yale Repertory Theatre).

As previously announced, Antony and Cleopatra will be directed by Eleanor Holdridge, acclaimed director and playwright, whose Off-Broadway and regional directing credits include 24 of Shakespeare’s 38 plays, many of them multiple times,  and numerous world premieres including David Grimm’s adaptation of Cyrano de Bergerac at Cincinnati Playhouse and the Roundhouse Theatre’s production of Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley. Holdridge holds an MFA from the Yale School of Drama, and is a professor at Catholic University of America, where she is head of directing, producer, and chair of the Department of Drama.

The production will feature scenic design by Roman Tatarowicz, costume design by Sarah Cubbage, lighting by Eric T. Haugen, and sound design by William Neal.

As civil unrest plagues Rome, this exotic and intriguing tale illuminates the collision of power and passion as empires hang in the balance. Shakespeare’s dark and intimate portrait of this storied affair features some of the most transcendent poetry on love and loss in the canon. In a world of great nations and greater longing, the quest for transcendence yields both tragedy and triumph in one of history’s greatest love stories.

Antony and Cleopatra previews July 10 and 11, opens July 12 and runs in repertory with Noël Coward’s Private Lives through August 4 on the Main Stage.

Subscription packages and single tickets can be purchased online at www.pashakespeare.org or by calling the PSF box office at 610.282.WILL [9455].

The Antony and Cleopatra production sponsor is Breslin Ridyard Fadero Architects, and the production co-sponsor is The Rider-Pool Foundation.

The 2019 Festival Season Sponsor is Valerie Moritz Smith. The Associate Season Sponsors are Linda Lapos and Paul Wirth, Kathleen Kund Nolan and Timothy E. Nolan, the Szarko family, and Harry C. Trexler Trust.

The professional theatre company at DeSales University, PSF features acclaimed actors from Broadway, television, and film, winners and nominees of the Tony, Obie, Drama Desk, and other major theatre awards, from New York, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and around the country.

Summer 2019 Season:

Main Stage: Crazy for You (June 12 to June 30), Antony and Cleopatra (July 10 to Aug 4), Private Lives (July 18 to Aug 4), Shakespeare for Kids (July 24 to Aug 3).

Schubert Theatre: The Adventures of Robin Hood and Maid Marian (May 31 to Aug 3), The Mystery of Irma Vep (June 20 to July 14), Henry IV, Part 1 (July 24 to Aug 4).

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 all 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 this summer 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, Playbill.com, 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. With 150 performances of seven productions, the Festival attracts patrons each summer from 30+ states. In 27 years, PSF has offered 168 total productions (72 Shakespeare), and entertained 900,000+ 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. 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, the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, and the Shakespeare Theatre Association. 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 work.

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-ever 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.

Actors:

NEAL BLEDSOE (Antony, A&C) is an actor and writer. Theatre Michael Arden’s The Pride at The Wallis Annenberg (Ovation nom.), he originated the role of The Count in Stephen Wadsworth’s The Figaro Plays at McCarter Theater, and worked with Jeremy Irons, Joan Allen, Andre De Shields, Marsha Mason and Jack O’Brien on Broadway’s Impressionism. TV: Shameless, The Man in the High Castle, The Last Tycoon, The Mysteries of Laura, Smash, Ironside, Timeless, Ugly Betty, and many more. Film: Revolutionary Road, Sex and the City 2 and upcoming Soldier’s Heart alongside Val Kilmer. His has won several awards for independent features Junction, West Endand After The Sun Fell. Since 2014, he has been a sports journalist contributor to Sports Illustrated’s MMQB. His series The Delicate Moron chronicles his attempt to play for the LA KISS, the now defunct Arena League pro football team owned by Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley. As an artist he has collaborated with Jon Kessler on his work The Web in New York City and Basel, Switzerland; and with Contemporary American artist Mark Flood in Austin, TX. He is also a filmmaker, author, poet and was once even an Old Spice man. He is a graduate of UNCSA’s school of drama, (BFA ’05) making his Festival debut with Antony and Cleopatra.

NONDUMISO TEMBE (Cleopatra, A&C) born in Durban, South Africa, and raised in NYC, she is the daughter of two of Africa’s most successful opera singers. She has studied theatre at world-renowned institutions and classical ballet (20 years). She is the first South African actress to earn an MFA from Yale School of Drama. Regional: McCarter Theatre, Yale Rep, Miller Theatre, and Boston Court; South Africa, award-winning performances: the musical, King Kong (Joyce),title role, Rogers’ and Hammerstein’s Cinderella; and David Mamet’s, Race (Susan); TV: Six, True Blood, NCIS, NCIS: LA, Book of Negroes, Generations and Castle; Film: Michael Jackson: Searching for Neverland, Avengers II, and upcoming Zulu Wedding. Debut album: IZWI LAMI; My Voice (MetroFM Music Award). Tribute Concerts: Nelson Mandela’s birthday (Qunu, South Africa) and United Nations UNESCO, Paris.