Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival All-Stars Unite in Shakespeare's The Tempest

Center Valley, PA – Shakespeare’s last play, The Tempest, is the first of three Shakespeare plays to open during the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival’s 21st season. 
With preview performances on June 20 and 21, The Tempest opens June 22 in the Schubert Theatre at the Labuda Center for the Performing Arts on the Center Valley campus of DeSales University.

Appearing in his 19th season with the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, Greg Wood takes the stage as Prospero. Wood has starred in many shows throughout his PSF career, including Claudius in last year’s Hamlet (he previously played the title role in PSF’s 1995 production), Richard in Richard III, Cyrano in Cyrano de Bergerac, and countless of other leading roles.

Banished from his dukedom by his usurping brother, Prospero lords over an enchanted isle and raises a tempest that shipwrecks his enemies on its shores. When his beloved daughter Miranda falls in love with one of the castaways, Prospero is reawakened to the better angels of his nature.

Jim Helsinger, who has directed and acted at the Festival for 16 seasons, directs a cast that includes many PSF veterans. Alan Coates and Carl N. Wallnau appear as Alonso and Antonio respectively. Richard B. Watson appears as the earth monster Caliban. Steven Dennis and Wayne S. Turney play Sebastian and Gonzalo, and Eric Hissom and Brad DePlanche serve as Stephano and Trinculo. Among the several newcomers to the Festival are Kelsey Formost as Miranda and Dameka Hayes as the spirit Ariel. Brandon Meeks appears as Ferdinand.

Bob Phillips has designed the mysterious island where the tempest strikes. Sam Fleming has designed the costumes and Thom Weaver, the lighting. Matthew Given serves as the resident sound designer for the Festival, and Stacy Renee Norwood serves as the production stage manager. Martha Ruskai has designed the wigs and make-up, Daniel Levy has created the original compositions for the show, and Dameka Hayes has invented the original Ariel choreography. Wayne S. Turney serves as music director with Magi Ross as masque choreographer.

Performance summary:

  • Opens June 22; Previews on June 20 and June 21

  • Closes July 15

  • 7pm Tuesdays, 8pm Wednesdays through Saturdays, with matinees on Saturdays and Sundays at 2pm (excluding Saturday, June 23rd). One Sunday evening performance is offered at 7:30pm on June 24th.

  • Single tickets: $25-52; $10 student rush 30 minutes prior to curtain, subject to availability.

Single tickets, subscriptions and packages that include tickets to The Tempest are available at www.pashakespeare.org and by contacting the Box Office at 610.282.WILL [9455].

The 2012 season also includes two other plays by Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing (July 11-August 5), and King John (July 25-August 5). Also in the line-up are Tennessee Williams' Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (July 19-August 5), and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (though Amaranth Foundation is the production sponsor. The Season Sponsor is the Rider-Pool Foundation. The Associate Season Sponsors are Linda Lapos and Paul Wirth, Lutron Electronics Company, Inc., and the Harry C. Trexler Trust. Season Media sponsors are The Morning Call and Service Electric Cable TV & Communications.

The Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival is the Official Shakespeare Festival of the Commonwealth and a professional, not-for-profit, theatre company in residence at DeSales University. 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 Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, Lehigh Valley Arts Council and the Shakespeare Theatre Association.

PRINCIPAL ARTISTS' BIOGRAPHIES

ALAN COATES, Alonso. Broadway credits include the Tony award winning productions of Dracula, Sherlock Holmes and Scapino. Lincoln Center: Death and the King's Horseman. Regional: The Crucifer of Blood (Ahmanson Theatre) Plenty, (Goodman Theatre) Uncle Vanya, (Oregon Shakespeare) The Beaux Stratagem (Hartford Stage) A Christmas Carol (Actors Theatre of Louisville) Rough Crossing (Old Globe, San Diego). Musicals: My Fair Lady (PSF), The Prince and the Pauper (National Tour). National Theatre, Young Vic, (seasons 1973-75) and the Royal Shakespeare Company (1975-1976) Films include The Arrival, Sherlock Holmes and the Incident at Victoria Falls and VO work on Transformers 2. This is Coates' seventh season at PSF.

STEVEN DENNIS, Sebastian, has performed in New York, Los Angeles, and with many Tony Award-winning regional theaters, garnering enthusiastic notice from The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and The Village Voice. He was named Best Dramatic Actor by The Daily Record for his one-man performance of Underneath The Lintel, and Best Director by The Newark Star-Ledger. Television work includes Enterprise, The Young & the Restless, and Star Trek: Voyager. Winner of the LA Weekly Award, Mr. Dennis is an artistic associate with PSF.

BRAD DEPLANCHE, Trinculo. PSF roles: Pseudolus- Forum, Irma Vep, Passepartout- 80 Days. Recent: As a company member of Florida Repertory Theatre; Irma Vep, Nick- Bedroom Farce, Clarence- It's a Wonderful Life, Ken- Rumors; Both Dromios-The Comedy of Errors (Shakespeare Santa Cruz); Three productions- The 39 Steps. NYC: China; The Whole Enchilada (NY Fringe), Gameshow! (Dodger Theatricals), Cloud Nine (Classic Stage Company). Regional: People's Light and Theater, Actors Theatre of Louisville, American Conservatory Theater, South Coast Repertory, Syracuse Stage, Utah Shakespearean Festival. MFA: American Conservatory Theatre.

SAM FLEMING, Costume Designer. Credits include: Los Angeles Opera, San Francisco Opera, Alley Theatre, Alliance Theatre, Arizona Theatre Co., Playmaker's Repertory, Hartford Stage, Denver Center, Peterborough Players, Center Stage, Houston Opera Studio, Skylight Opera, ACT Seattle, Georgia Shakespeare Festival and Berkeley Rep. She has designed more than 50 productions for Milwaukee Repertory Theater during 14 seasons. NYC credits include Pearl Theatre, and The Mint. She is the associate costume designer for The Phantom of the Opera USA.

KELSEY FORMOST, Miranda, recently graduated from Davidson College where she performed the role of Juliet with the Royal Shakespeare Company and worked on their productions of The Winter's Tale, and Pericles. Recent NYC credits: Sleep No More (Off-Broadway), Final Sunday (Playwrights Horizons Resident Workshop), Dancing at Lughnasa (Gallery Players), and Getting Even With Shakespeare (NY Fringe).

MATTHEW GIVEN, 5th season as production manager and 9th season as resident sound designer at PSF. PSF designs include: A Winter's Tale, King Lear, Dracula, Romeo & Juliet ('10), and The Mystery of Irma Vep. Regional: The Orlando Shakespeare Theater, The Centenary Stage Company, and Arcadia University. He holds an M.F.A. in sound design from Ohio University.

DAMEKA HAYES, Ariel, Original Ariel Choreography. Some of her best-loved credits include dancing for P. Diddy, The Los Angeles Laker Girls, and Disney's The Lion King, where she was also a featured aerial artist. She was recently on the road with Oprah Winfrey's The Color Purple First National Tour. On television, she was a featured dancer on Scrubs, The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, and Boston Public.

JIM HELSINGER, Director. 16th Season. PSF directing credits: The Merry Wives of Windsor, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Mystery of Irma Vep, Sleuth, The Imaginary Invalid, Charley's Aunt, and The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged). His adaptation of Dracula the Journal of Jonathan Harker was also produced at PSF. PSF acting credits include: Love's Labour's Lost, Twelfth Night, The School for Wives, Much Ado About Nothing, All's Well that Ends Well, The Merchant of Venice and A Midsummer Night's Dream. Other directing: Actors Theatre of Louisville, Florida Studio Theatre, Actor's Playhouse, Florida Repertory Theatre, Cape May Stage, New York Fringe Festival and Orlando Shakespeare Theater in Partnership with UCF (where he serves as Artistic Director).

ERIC HISSOM, Stefano, has appeared at PSF in The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), A Man for All Seasons, Around the World in Eighty Days, and The Tempest. Recent credits include: the world premiere of Ken Ludwig's The Game's Afoot at Cleveland Playhouse, Cyrano at the Arden Theatre, the national tour The 39 Steps, and directing a production of The 39 Steps at Florida Studio Theatre. He has an MFA from Florida State University's Asolo Conservatory.

BRANDON MEEKS, Ferdinand, returns to PSF after performing the roles of Hamlet and Romeo in the past two seasons of the Linny Fowler Willpower Tour. Last season is appeared as the Duke in The Comedy of Errors. Other credits include: The Winter's Tale (Roxy Regional Theatre), Macbeth (American Theatre of Actors), Urinetown: The Musical (University of Louisville).

STACY RENEE NORWOOD, Production Stage Manager, has professionally stage managed multiple seasons at the Depot Theatre and Orlando Shakespeare Theater, including several repertory companies.

BOB PHILLIPS, Scenic Designer, is also designing Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Snow White this season for PSF. He designed The Comedy of Errors and Sleeping Beauty last summer and more than three dozen PSF shows since 1995. For 18 seasons, Bob has served as resident designer for the Orlando Shakespeare Theatre, where he has designed more than 70 productions. His television designs include Another World, Search for Tomorrow, and Sesame Street, where he has designed 23 seasons. Bob has received the Outer Critics Circle, Villager, Madison, and Lillian Stoates Awards for his stage work and 6 Emmys for his television designs.

MARTHA RUSKAI, Wig & Make-up Designer. PSF debut: Amadeus, and later, Cyrano. She began her 25-year career working with such legendary singers as Jerome Hines, John Alexander, and Dame Joan Sutherland. She has designed for 25+ companies encompassing all of the performing arts. Credits as a makeup artist, wig maker, and designer include, The Pearl Theatre, Cincinnati Playhouse, Georgia Shakespeare Festival; Santa Fe, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Toledo, Nashville, Atlanta, and National operas; Atlanta Ballet and North Carolina Dance Theatre. In addition to fashion runway and historic re-enactment films, Ruskai has styled print and TV ads. She gives master classes at universities and co-authored the book, Wig Making and Styling: A Complete Guide for Theatre & Film.

WAYNE S. TURNEY, Gonzalo, is a professor with the performing arts fac­ulty at DeSales, where he directed the recent produc­tion of Shooting Stars. A regular with PSF, Turney arrived in 2005 to perform the title char­acter in Moliere's The Imaginary Invalid and stayed on to play myriad old men, most recently Polonius in last season's Hamlet. Turney has appeared with the Great Lakes Theatre Festival, Actors' Summit, the Cleveland Play House, Actors Theatre of Louisville and others.

CARL N. WALLNAU, Antonio. Last season at PSF: Aegeon in Comedy of Errors. PSF credits include: Senex in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Malvolio in Twelfth Night, Andrew Wyke in Sleuth, Sir Francis Chesney in Charlie's Aunt, Comte DeGuiche in Cyrano de Bergerac, The Emperor in Amadeus and Peter Quince in A Midsummer Night's Dream. His recent credits include Monsieur Molenoux in The Ladies Man for Centenary Stage Company (CSC), where he is Artistic Director. CSC is an Equity theatre located on the campus of Centenary College in Hackettstown, NJ, where he is also Professor of Theatre Arts and Chairman of the Fine Arts Department.

RICHARD B. WATSON, Caliban. Recently closed Mark Brown's Around the World in 80 Days at Pittsburgh Public directed by Marcia Milgrom Dodge, and was Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady with Kate Baldwin at Sacramento Music Circus, along with Sherlock in Sherlock Holmes & the West End Horror at the Asolo and Pioneer theaters. NYC: Devils Disciple at Irish Rep, Serendib at Ensemble Studio Theater, and Venus Flytrap at Active Theater. Film/TV: PS, I Love You; Law & Order CI; Delocated; Onion Sports Network; Art=(Love)²; and a pilot, Powerless, for FX. Richard played George in Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? and is an inaugural company member at American Stage Theater In St. Petersburg, FL, winning the first ever Jeff Norton Award for "Best Actor in a Leading Role." He was awarded his MFA from the Academy for Classical Acting at the George Washington University / Shakespeare Theatre Company.

THOM WEAVER, Lighting Designer. PSF: The Comedy of Errors, Playboy of the Western World, The Merry Wives of Windsor, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Complete Works. Designs in the region: Wilma, Arden, 1812, Azuka, People's Light, DTC, Headlong, Walnut, Theatre Exile, Curtis Opera, Lantern, and Flashpoint Theatre Company, where he is Artistic Director. Others: Teller's Play Dead in Las Vegas and NYC, Cal Shakes, Children's Theatre Company, CENTERSTAGE, Folger Theater, Hangar, Cincinnati Playhouse, Syracuse Stage, Cleveland Playhouse, Roundhouse, Theatre J, Portland CenterStage, Berkshire Theatre Festival, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Signature Theater Company, Berkshire Opera, Lincoln Center Institute, Lincoln Center Festival, York Theatre, Summer Play Festival, 37 ARTS, Spoleto Festival USA, City Theatre, Pittsburgh Public Theatre, and Yale Rep. Awards include 9 Barrymore nominations (winning in 2011 for In the Next Room), two-time City Paper's Best Lighting Design, 2-time Helen Hayes Nominee, and the 2007 AUDELCO Award for King Hedley II, Signature Theatre. He is a member of Wingspace Design Group. Education: Carnegie Mellon and Yale.

GREG WOOD, Prospero. Greg is appearing in his 19th season at PSF. Memorable roles include: Hamlet and Claudius in Hamlet, Richard in Richard III, Jamie Tyrone in A Moon for the Misbegotten, Elyot in Private Lives, Bluntschlii in Arms and the Man, both Taming of the Shrews, Leontes in The Winter's Tale, Cyrano in Cyrano de Bergerac, Antony in Antony & Cleopatra, and many more. Other recent credits include: Slippery as Sin with Passage Theatre and God of Carnage for the Walnut St. and Fulton Theatres. Film and TV credits: The Happening, The Lovely Bones, Signs, The Sixth Sense, Killing Emmett Young, Law& Order, Ed, and Homicide.

PATRICK MULCAHY, PSF Producing Artistic Director. Since assuming leadership in 2003, Mr. Mulcahy has led PSF's return to artistic excellence and financial stability, rebuilt the professional company of artists, and achieved increasing national recognition for the Festival. Further accomplishments include PSF's first-ever award from the National Endowment for the Arts, and attracting a company of artists including 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 annual attendance, and the expansion of the number of Actors' Equity contracts per season.

As a professional director, actor and fight director, credits include Broadway, Off-Broadway, regional theatre, television, and radio. Mr. Mulcahy has acted with Angela Basset, Peter MacNicol, Hal Holbrook, Joan Cusack, Don Cheadle, Anne Meara, Milo O'Shea, Cynthia Nixon, Tony Shaloub, Bradley Whitford, and others at the New York Shakespeare Festival, Hartford Stage, Roundabout Theatre Company, Great Lakes Theatre Festival, Syracuse Stage, and the Walnut Street Theatre. He served as a fight director for Tom Hulse and Timothy Busfield in A Few Good Men on Broadway and for Off-Broadway productions starring John Savage, John Mahoney, Marcia Gay Harden, and Patrick Dempsey. He directed Oscar nominee Vera Farmiga in The Real Thing, and, for PSF, directed Hamlet (2011), Antony and Cleopatra (2009), The Winter's Tale (2007), Henry IV, Part I (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, Patrick 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. from Syracuse University.