Broadway actors deliver show-stopping numbers and treasured Gershwin songs in Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival’s Crazy for You

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 5, 2019

Contact: Tina.slak@pashakespeare.org

Treasured Gershwin songs meet sparkling, sensational dances in Crazy for You, the ultimate feel-good musical comedy that will kick-off the summer season on PSF’s Main Stage on June 12 at the Labuda Center for the Performing Arts on the Center Valley campus of DeSales University.

From acclaimed Lend Me a Tenor and The Three Musketeers funnyman playwright Ken Ludwig, this Tony Award-winning musical sends a banker with show business stars in his eyes from New York to Deadrock, Nevada on official business. Mistaken identities, love at first sight, and hijinks hilarity resuscitate an abandoned theater and the spirit of a small town.

With a wealth of memorable Gershwin tunes from the American songbook including “I Got Rhythm,” “Someone to Watch Over Me,” and “Nice Work if You Can Get It,” Crazy for You bubbles over with show-stopping numbers and glistens with 1930s glamour.

Similar to the last several seasons, PSF expects the majority of performances to sell out. (Order early for best seating options.)

As previously announced, Crazy for You will star veteran actors from Broadway and National Tours including Danny Gardner and Hayley Podschun, who will star as love interests Bobby Child and Polly Baker, respectively.

A Pennsylvania native, Gardner has performed on Broadway in Dames at Sea and in the National Tours of White Christmas and 42nd Street. He has also performed at Radio City Music Hall and City Center Encores in New York City.

Podschun’s Broadway credits include Hairspray, Chaplin, Sunday in the Park with George, and Anything Goes. She has played the leading role of Glinda in the National Tour of Wicked and was seen in the film Hail, Caesar!.

Joining them in the cast, as Bela Zangler is Vishal Vaidya (credits include Broadway: Groundhog Day, City Center Encores, Arena Stage, and Kennedy Center); Kate Loprest as Irene Roth (Broadway credits: Hairspray, Xanadu, Drowsy Chaperone, and Wonderland); Christopher Coucill as Everett Baker (Broadway: Annie Get Your Gun, Kiss Me Kate, The Graduate); and Matthew Patrick Quinn as Lank Hawkins (National Tour: Finding Neverland).

They will be joined by Rashaan James, II (tours include South Pacific, West Side Story, and 42nd Street); Jerry Gallagher (regional credits include Paper Mill Playhouse, MUNY, and Goodspeed Opera House); and Jason Daniel Rath (Denver Center, Maltz Jupiter Theatre, and Westchester Broadway Theatre).

“Watching this Broadway caliber cast for Crazy for You on the PSF stage will be thrilling—a fireworks display of tap dance, comedy, and song,” says Patrick Mulcahy, producing artistic director. “It’s a dazzling production, not to be missed this summer.”

Also as previously announced,the productionwill be helmed by Broadway actress and director Gina Lamparella, who directed PSF’s King Richard II last season. Her acting credits include the Broadway productions of The Phantom of the Opera, A Little Night Music, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Fiddler on the Roof, Gypsy, Imaginary Friends, Jane Eyre, and Les Misérables; and TV appearances include Master of None, All My ChildrenAs the World Turns, and Guiding Light. Gina’s PSF acting credits include Thaisa in Pericles and Miranda in The Tempest. Her additional PSF directing credits include Beauty and the Beast; the Linny Fowler WillPower Tours of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth, Much Ado About Nothing, and Hamlet; and associate director of The Taming of the Shrew. She has also directed in New York and Florence, Italy.

The creative team for Crazy for You features scenic design by Steve TenEyck, costume design by Sam Fleming, lighting design by Eric T. Haugen, and sound design by Matthew Given. The musical will be under the music direction of, and conducted by, Ryan Touhey with choreography by Stephen Casey.

Crazy for You previews June 12 and June 13 at 8p.m., opens Friday, June 14 at 8p.m. and runs through June 30 at the Labuda Center for the Performing Arts on the Center Valley campus of DeSales University.

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 Production Sponsor is Alvin H. Butz, Inc., and the Co-sponsors are Diefenderfer Electrical Contractors and Air Products. The Orchestra Co-sponsors are Fitzpatrick, Lentz, and Bubba; and Allen Organs.

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, 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.

Artist Bios:

Stephen Casey (Choreographer) Recent PSF:  Ragtime, Evita, West Side Story. Other favorites: The Producers, Jesus Christ Superstar, What a Glorious Feeling (Bristol Riverside Theatre), Catch Me if You Can, (Arizona Broadway Theatre), Dames at Sea (Montgomery Theatre), Cinderella:  A Musical Panto (People’s Light), Me and My Girl, and Pippin (DSU). Three time Barrymore nominee, for his choreography of Ragtime and Little Shop of Horrors at Bristol Riverside, and for his direction of The Musical of Musicals at Montgomery Theatre.

Christopher Coucill* (Everett Baker) PSF: Richard II, Man of La Mancha, King Lear, 1776, Hamlet, Sweeney Todd. Broadway: The Graduate, Kiss Me Kate, Annie Get Your Gun. Philadelphia: Body Awareness (The Wilma), Crazy for You (The Forrest), Annie Get Your Gun (The Prince). Regional: McCarter, Arena Stage, Hartford Stage, Shakespeare & Company, The Huntington, Boston Shakespeare Company, Dallas Theater Center, and many others. Television: Deadline, Law & Order, One Life to Live, O Pioneers!, Margaret Mead: An Observer Observed. 

Sam Fleming (Costume Designer) Her designs have been seen at theatres across the country including the Los Angeles Opera, San Francisco Opera, Alley Theatre, Alliance Theatre, Arizona Theatre Co, Playmaker's Repertory, Hartford Stage, Denver Center, Center Stage, Peterborough Players, Houston Opera Studio, Skylight Opera, ACT Seattle, Georgia Shakespeare Festival and Berkeley Rep. She designed over 50 productions for Milwaukee Repertory Theater during her 14 years with the company. In New York, she has worked with the Pearl Theatre, and The Mint. She is the associate costume designer for The Phantom of the Opera.

Jerry Gallagher* (Moose) has performed around the country and the world in Guys & Dolls, Big River, City of Angels, My Fair Lady, All Shook Up, Annie Get Your Gun, and Crazy for You. In 2017, Jerry recreated the role of Moose in the 25th Anniversary Concert production of Crazy for You at Lincoln Center, directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman. Regional: Goodspeed, Paper Mill, MUNY, Pittsburgh CLO. Television:  Guiding Light, The Big C, and PBS Great Performances.

Danny Gardner* (Bobby Child) Dames At Sea (Broadway) The NY Spectacular starring the Radio City Rockettes (Radio City Music Hall). Lady, Be Good! (Encores!). Irving Berlin’s White Christmas (National Tour). 42nd Street (National Tour). Here to Stay - The Gershwin Experience (National Symphonic Tour). Neurosis (Off-Broadway), Room 17B and Everybody Gets Cake (Off-Broadway). Crazy For You (Signature Theatre). Gentleman’s Guide To Love & Murder (Engeman Theatre). Mary Poppins (Theatre Under The Stars). Singin’ In The Rain (Marriott Lincolnshire). The Music Man (Asolo Repertory Theatre).

Matthew Given (Sound Designer) was PSF’s resident sound designer for 10 years, during which time he designed over 40 productions. Some of his notable PSF designs include: Macbeth (2014), A Winter’s Tale, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, King Lear, and Dracula. In 2014 Matthew joined Bucks County Playhouse as Director of Production & Facilities. Matthew holds an MFA in sound design from Ohio University. 

Rashaan James II* (Sam) PSF debut, he went to University at Buffalo for a BFA in musical theatre and a BA in dance. Some of his favorite credits include, Crazy for You at Lincoln Center (Junior) directed by Susan Stroman, Oklahoma! at DCPA as Ike Skidmore/Ensemble, Damn Yankees at SMC (ensemble), Joseph…Dreamcoat at Dallas Theater Center (Naphtali), Dreamgirls with Jennifer Holliday (Tru-Tone/5 Tuxes), Swing! (Sexy Couple), The Wiz at MSMT (Featured Ensemble), Dirty Dancing US tour (Ensemble), West Side Story international tour, South Pacific 1st National Tour (Swing) and 42nd Street National Tour.

Gina Lamparella (Director) directed PSF’s King Richard II last season. Her acting credits include the Broadway productions of The Phantom of the Opera, A Little Night Music, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Fiddler on the Roof, Gypsy, Imaginary Friends, Jane Eyre, and Les Miserables; and TV appearances include Master of None, All My ChildrenAs the World Turns, and Guiding Light. Gina’s PSF acting credits include Thaisa in Pericles and Miranda in The Tempest. Her additional PSF directing credits include Beauty and the Beast; the Linny Fowler WillPower Tours of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth, Much Ado About Nothing, and Hamlet; and associate director of The Taming of the Shrew. She has also directed in New York and Florence, Italy.

Kate Loprest* (Irene) PSF debut. Broadway: First Date (Allison), Hairspray (Amber), Wonderland, Xanadu, and Drowsy Chaperone. Tours: Wicked (Glinda/Nessarose u/s) and Little House on the Prairie (Nellie Oleson). Recent: Gentleman’s Guide (Sibella) Engeman Theater; Noises Off (Brooke) Guthrie; Chicago (Roxie) Hangar Theatre; A Chorus Line (Sheila) Gateway Playhouse. Other favorites: Company (Susan) Barrington Stage; Bright Star (Lucy) Old Globe; Showboat (Ellie) Washington National and Dallas Opera. TV: All My Children, Running Wilde, Boardwalk Empire.

Ken Ludwig (Playwright) is a two-time Olivier Award-winning playwright who has written over 28 plays and musicals, including 6 shows on Broadway and 7 in London's West End.  His first Broadway play, Lend Me A Tenor, won two Tony Awards and was called "one of the classic comedies of the 20th century” by The Washington Post. His other awards include the Helen Hayes Award, the 2017 Samuel French Award for Sustained Excellence in the American Theatre, the Edgar Award for Best Mystery of the Year, and the Edwin Forrest Award for Contributions to the American Theater. His book How To Teach Your Children Shakespeare, published by Penguin/Random House, won the Falstaff Award for Best Shakespeare Book of the Year, and his essays are published by the Yale Review. Ken’s best known works include Crazy For You (5 years on Broadway, Tony and Olivier Awards for Best Musical), Lend Me A Tenor, Moon Over Buffalo, The Game’s Afoot, Baskerville, SherwoodA Fox on the Fairway, A Comedy of Tenors and a stage version of Murder on the Orient Express, written expressly at the request of the Agatha Christie Estate, which will open in the West End next season. His play, The Gods of Comedy, premieres this season at The McCarter Theater in Princeton and The Old Globe Theatre in San Diego. His newest plays are Moriarty and Dear Jack, Dear Louise, which premieres at Arena Stage in fall 2019. On Broadway and the West End, his plays have starred Alec Baldwin, Carol Burnett, Tony Shalhoub, Lynn Redgrave, Joan Collins and Kristen Bell. He holds degrees from Harvard, where he studied music with Leonard Bernstein, and Cambridge University. His work has been performed in over 30 countries in more than 20 languages, and is produced somewhere in the United States every night of the year. www.kenludwig.com

Hayley Podschun* (Polly Baker) PSF debut. Broadway: Wicked (Glinda, National Tour), Hello, Dolly!, Something Rotten!, Chaplin, Anything Goes, Pal Joey, Sunday In The Park…, Hairspray (& National Tour),and The Sound of Music. Regional: I Married An Angel (Anna Murphy, NY City Center), The Royal Family of Broadway (Gwen, Barrington Stage), Holiday Inn (Linda Mason, Paper Mill), Gypsy (Dainty June, Muny), Peter Pan (Peter Pan, ArtPark), Legally Blonde (Elle, Arvada Center) & many others. TV/Film: The Blacklist, Louie, Hairspray (Tammy).

Matthew Patrick Quinn* (Lank) PSF debut. First national tour of Finding Neverland. Regional: Matilda (Northern Stage), Peter and the Starcatcher (Playhouse on Park), The Addams Family (Gateway & Ogunquit), A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder (Engeman Theatre), She Loves Me (Infinity Theatre), Tours: Scooby Doo LIVE! (Warner Bros), The Complete Works Of William Shakespeare Abridged (Windwood Theatricals), Original casts of Villain’s TonightWishes & Aladdin for Disney Cruise Line.

Jason Daniel Rath* (Billy) PSF debut. His previous credits include: Oklahoma!  (Slim u/s Will Parker, Ali Hakim) at the Denver Center of Performing Arts, Anything Goes (Luke) at Westchester Broadway Theatre, West Side Story (Pepe) and Chicago (Fred Casely) at Ivoryton Playhouse. Jason received a BA in Theatre Performance from Wagner College.

Steve TenEyck (Set Designer) PSF: West Side StoryEvitaRagtimeJulius Cesar and Twelfth Night. Design work for companies such as The Dallas Theatre Center, The Gulfshore Playhouse, Syracuse Stage, Big Art Group, The Kitchen Theatre Company, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Hangar Theatre, Madison Opera, Syracuse Opera, Anchorage Opera, Minnesota Opera, Florida Grand Opera. Steve is a member of United Scenic Artists Local 829 and teaches design at Ithaca College in New York.

Ryan Touhey (Music Director/Conductor) PSF debut. BROADWAY: King Kong (Orchestration Assistant) REGIONAL: Paradise Square (Berkeley Rep); Mother Courage (Arena Stage); Sheryl Crow’s Diner (Delaware Theatre Company); Tell Me On A Sunday (Walnut Street Theatre); Fun Home (Arden Theatre Company); Ragtime (Bristol Riverside Theatre). Ryan worked on Rock & Roll Hall of Fame singer Darlene Love’s album Introducing Darlene Love produced by Steve Van Zandt. He is a seven-time Barrymore Award Nominee in Philadelphia, and an AUDELCO Award Winner in New York City.

Vishal Vaidya* (Bela Zangler) makes his PSF debut. Recent theater credits include Larry in Groundhog Day on Broadway, Ovington in How to Succeed at the Kennedy Center, and the new musical Dave at Arena Stage. Vishal spends a lot of time helping composers develop new work for The Public Theater, La Jolla Playhouse, Second Stage, ART, Prospect Theater, and more. Education: American University.