Something wickedly fun this way comes—Shakespeare for Kids

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                      Contact: Tina.slak@pashakespeare.org

Center Valley, PA— Complete with sock puppets, sing-a-longs, and the Shakespeare Hokey-Pokey, Shakespeare for Kids, written by Erin Sheffield and composed by Andrew Kane, opens at Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival July 24 and runs through August 3 at 10am on the Main Stage of the Labuda Center for the Performing Arts on the campus of DeSales University.

Ideal for children ages 4 to 10, Shakespeare for Kids (S4K) is a high-energy one-hour production designed for children to actively experience Shakespeare’s vibrant language and characters. Using a combination of songs, puppets, and scenes from William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, S4K provides families with the opportunity to introduce their children to Shakespeare in a welcoming, kid-friendly environment. 

“Shakespeare’s tragedies teach us great lessons about right and wrong and most importantly how to be a good friend to your family and community,” says Director Matt Pfeiffer. “In S4K we use some of the scary elements of Macbeth to have fun and play, hopefully providing kids a chance to get Shakespeare’s medicine with just the right amount of sugar.”

Helmed by Pfeiffer, the audience will be guided through Shakespeare’s popular play by S4K’s Team Shakespeare: MJ Bird, Brandon Edward Burton, Arrianna Daniels and J. Dane McMichael.

Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival will offer a sensory-friendly Relaxed Performance of S4K at 2pm, on July 31.

A Relaxed Performance is a specially adjusted sensory-friendly show designed to create a theatre experience for individuals with a wide range of sensory, learning, and communication differences. Some patrons who may benefit from a relaxed experience, in addition to those on the autism spectrum, include individuals with neurological and communication differences such as ADHD, social anxiety, OCD, dementia, and agoraphobia, as well as families with small children.

The production stage manager for S4K is Deanna Kahn and the production is sponsored by Brenda & John McGlade. 

Single tickets are $10 for children and $11 for adults and can be purchased at the box office or online at www.pashakespeare.org. Group discounts are available for parties of 10 or more by calling the box office at 610.282.9455, ext. 1.

Family Fun Passes available: Receive one ticket each to both children’s productions, The Adventures of Robin Hood and Maid Marian and Shakespeare for Kids for one low price, $22. Choose your dates now or later—www.pashakespeare.org.

Performances on the Main Stage:
Wednesday, July 24              10AM
Thursday, July 25                 10AM
Friday, July 26                       10AM
Saturday, July 27                  10AM
Tuesday, July 30                   10AM
Wednesday, July 31              10AM, 2pm (Relaxed Performance)
Thursday, August 1              10AM
Friday, August 2                    10AM
Saturday, August 3               10AM

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.

Cast Bios:
MJ BIRD (Self) is a recent DeSales University graduate seen in the 2019 senior showcase and is moving to New York in the fall to pursue an acting career.

BRANDON EDWARD BURTON (Self) Third PSF season. Regional: Macbeth, Richard II, and Antony and Cleopatra. Yale Theater: Othello (Othello), Henry VI, Part 3 (York, George, Bona), Marty and the Hands That Could (Mike Money), Last Days of Judas Iscariot (Sigmund Freud, St. Thomas). Brandon is a third-year MFA acting candidate at the Yale School of Drama.

ARRIANNA DANIELS (Self) is a rising senior at DeSales University, previous credits include Molly Aster in Peter and the Starcatcher, The Witch u/s in Into the Woods, and both ensemble and u/s to Frau Blucher in Young Frankenstein.

J. DANE MCMICHAEL (Self) returns to PSF for his sixth season. Regional credits include Romeo & Juliet and Our Town (Alabama Shakespeare Fest), Over the Tavern (Montgomery Theater) and many PSF productions, including Richard II, As You Like It, West Side Story, Henry V and The Three Musketeers.

Creative Bios:
ERIN SHEFFIELD (Playwright) 26th PSF season. PSF credits: Pride and Prejudice (director), Education Director (2006-2011), and she has taught at DeSales and directed for ACT 1 productions. Member of Actors’ Equity association, she is presently the General Manager at People’s Light in Malvern. MFA: Case Western University, and a graduate of DeSales University.

DEANNA KAHN (Stage Manager) returns to PSF for a second year. She has previously stage managed children’s shows at the Jewish Community Center and is a design technology student at DeSales University.

ANDREW KANE (Composer) wrote the songs for all of Erin Sheffield’s Shakespeare for Kids series. He has worked as a writer, actor, composer, educator, and/or director for: 1812 Productions, Arden Theatre, Atlanta Shakespeare Company, Bristol Riverside Theatre, DeSales University, Festival Stage of Winston-Salem, Lantern Theater, Montgomery Theater, PSF, People’s Light, Rude Alchemy, Theatre Exile, and Theatre Horizon.

MATT PFEIFFER (Director) is a Philly born actor and director. He has worked with PSF for 20 seasons. Other credits include: Arden Theatre, Bristol Riverside, InterAct, Walnut Street, 1812 Productions, Lantern Theatre, Delaware Theatre Co., The Gulfshore Playhouse, Orlando Shakespeare Theater, UArts, and Villanova University. Matt is a twelve-time Barrymore nominee and winner for his direction of The Whale and The Invisible Hand both with Theatre Exile. He’s also a recipient of the F. Otto Haas Award and a graduate of DeSales University.