The Battlefield Within: Shakespeare's Macbeth Opens at Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Lisa Higgins, 610.282.WILL [9455], ext. 4
July 9, 2014
Lisa.Higgins@pashakespeare.org

Center Valley, PA—Visions of power captivate and corrupt as the star couple craft their dark fantasies into crimson reality in Shakespeare's Macbeth as envisioned by PSF Producing Artistic Director Patrick Mulcahy. Previewing July 17 and 18, and opening July 19 on the Main Stage, Macbeth runs through August 3.
"Shakespeare's penetrating and glorious language lays bare our human frailty in a scorching vision of psychic distress borne of errant and abhorrent action," Mulcahy says. "As dark as the play can get, like any great tragedy, it offers insight into what is beautiful and fragile in life. What happens when behaviors are at odds with the soul?"

Returning to the director's chair following his triumphant production of Hamlet in 2011, Mulcahy's Macbeth features a new staging of this mesmerizing tale of ambition and treachery. Deanna Gibson, Eleanor Handley, and Suzanne O'Donnell play three witches who deliver the prophecy that sparks the advent of a new political hierarchy. Festival regular Ian Bedford will play Macbeth, the Scottish general whose ambition and lust for power is ignited when the witches intimate that he will one day be king.

Following her powerful performance as Katherine opposite Bedford in the title role of last season's acclaimed Henry VIII, Susan Riley Stevens returns to play Lady Macbeth—whose appetite for political domination exceeds even that of her husband's.

Macbeth's ambitious (but ethical) ally, Banquo, will be played by Anthony Lawton.

Festival veteran Carl N. Wallnau plays the good King of Scotland, Duncan. His son and heir, Malcolm, is played by Jacob Dresch, who played Octavius Caesar in PSF's 2009 production of Antony and Cleopatra. The resolute Macduff, who helps lead the campaign for Macbeth's defeat and the return of Duncan's line to the throne, will be played by Perry Ojeda.

Scenery is designed by six-time Emmy winner Bob Philips; lighting by Thom Weaver; costumes by Lisa Zinni; and sound by Matthew Given. Mulcahy also serves as fight director. Production stage manager is Stacy Renee Norwood.

Production Sponsor is the Amaranth Foundation. Co-sponsors are David B. and Patrina L. Rothrock and The Rider-Pool Foundation. Actor sponsors are Lee and Dolly Butz. The season sponsor is Breslin Ridyard Fadero Architects. Associate Season Sponsors are Linda Lapos and Paul Wirth, The Szarko Family and the Harry C. Trexler Trust. Media sponsors are The Morning Call and Service Electric Cable TV & Communications.

The production previews June 17 and 18, opens June 19 and runs through August 3 in the Main Stage Theatre in the Labuda Center for the Performing Arts on the Center Valley campus of DeSales University.

Lend Me a Tenor, opening Friday, July 11, and Macbeth will play in repertory with the same cast. Some mature situations. PG 11+. To order tickets call 610.282.WILL [9455] or online at www.pashakespeare.org.

The season also features The Two Gentlemen of Verona (through July 13); Lend Me a Tenor (through August 3) in repertory with Macbeth (July 17 – August 3); Tina Packer's Women of Will (July 20 – August 3); Cinderella (through August 2); and Shakespeare for Kids (July 23 - August 2).

PSF is also offering a one-night-only performance by the world-renowned Baltimore Consort which is premiering: "The Food of Love: Songs for Shakespeare" on Monday, July 28 at 7:30pm.

Media representatives: To schedule reviews and/or interviews or request photos, please contact Lisa Higgins at Lisa.Higgins@pashakespeare.org or call 610.282.9455, ext. 4.

ARTIST BIOS

PATRICK MULCAHY (Producing Artistic Director, PSF; Director, Macbeth) Since assuming leadership in 2003, 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. As a professional director, actor and fight director, credits include Broadway, Off-Broadway, regional theatre, television, and radio. 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 MFA from Syracuse University.

IAN BEDFORD (Macbeth, Macbeth) returns to PSF for his ninth season. PSF favorites: Henry in last season's Henry VIII, A Midsummer Night's Dream (Oberon) (2009), The Two Noble Kinsmen, Macduff in PSF's Macbeth in 2004. Other regional: Macbeth and God of Carnage (Alabama Shakes), School of Night (Mark Taper Forum), Taming of the Shrew (Chicago Shakespeare), Of Mice and Men (People's Light & Theatre), Beaux Stratagem (Shakespeare Theatre Co.), the title roles in Richard III (Lake Tahoe Shakespeare) and Macbeth (Orlando Shakespeare). Recently on television: Unforgettable, How to Get Away with Murder, Nurse Jackie.

JACOB R. DRESCH (Malcolm, Macbeth; Max, Tenor) recently received his MFA from the University of California at Irvine. PSF: Octavius Caesar (Antony and Cleopatra), Rosencrantz (Hamlet), and Shawn Keogh (Playboy of the Western World). Credits include: Roy Cohn in Kushner's Angels in America, Dromio of Syracuse in Chautauqua Institute's production of The Comedy of Errors, and the titular role in Par Lagerkvist's The Dwarf: a new work personally devised in partnership with Counter Balance Theatre.

DEANNA GIBSON (Lady Macduff/Witch/others, Macbeth; Maggie, Tenor). NYC: Monster (Pan Asian Repertory), Richard III (Secret Theatre), Ghosts (Metropolitan Playhouse), angel/buddy (Fringe Festival). Regional: The Taming of the Shrew, The Importance of Being Earnest (Orlando Shakespeare); Boeing-Boeing, Collected Stories, Born Yesterday (Florida Repertory); The 39 Steps (Actors' Playhouse); Lady Windermere's Fan, Trying, Enchanted April (Asolo Repertory); The Gates of Gold (Bay Street Theatre). MFA from FSU/Asolo Conservatory.

MATTHEW GIVEN (Resident Sound Designer, Production Manager) 11th season as Resident Sound Designer for PSF; Matt has designed 40+ productions. Favorites include: The Winter's Tale, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, King Lear, Dracula, Hamlet (2011), Romeo & Juliet (2010), Sleeping Beauty and The Mystery of Irma Vep. Other regional: The Orlando Shakespeare Theater, Theatre Exile, The Centenary Stage Company, and Arcadia University. He holds an MFA in sound design from Ohio University.

ELEANOR HANDLEY (Diana, Tenor; Witch, Macbeth) PSF: Maggie (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof), Beatrice (Much Ado about Nothing), Adriana (Comedy of Errors), Emilia (The Two Noble Kinsman). Originally from Melbourne, Australia, Eleanor moved to New York to complete her MFA at the New School for Drama. She has worked extensively with the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, most recently as Regan (King Lear), Milady (Three Musketeers) and Cressida (Troilus and Cressida). Off-Broadway: Beth (Jericho), Ya-Ya (Limonade Tous les Jour, opposite Austin Pendleton). TV: Royal Pains, As the World Turns.

ANTHONY LAWTON (Banquo, Macbeth; Bellhop, Tenor) has worked as a professional actor for 22 years. Favorite roles include Feste in Twelfth Night (twice at PSF, once at Lantern), George in Of Mice and Men (Walnut St.), Friar Laurence in Romeo and Juliet (Arden); man in Brief Interviews with Hideous Men (1812 Productions), Coleman in Lonesome West (Lantern), and Stephano in The Tempest (PSF). Since 1998, he has produced solo and small-cast works under the rubric of The Mirror Theatre Company, the mission statement of which is "Spiritual Theatre for a Specular Audience." These works include Lewis' The Great Divorce and The Screwtape Letters, and Lawton's autobiographical play, Heresy.

STACY RENEE NORWOOD (Stage Manager, Macbeth/Tenor) Fourth season with PSF. Previous productions include: The Importance of Being Earnest, Measure for Measure, The Tempest and Comedy of Errors. She spends the rest of the year in Florida, stage managing at Orlando Shakespeare Theater.

SUZANNE O'DONNELL (Witch/others, Macbeth; Maria, Tenor) PSF: Juliet (in the inaugural 1992 season), Hermia, Viola, Lady Macduff, Phoebe, Nerissa, Agnes, Mistress Ford in The Merry Wives of Windsor, and most recently Mistress Overdone in Measure for Measure and Miss Prism in The Importance of Being Earnest. Other regional: The Arden Theatre (Dancing at Lughnasa, Romeo and Juliet), The Folger Theatre (Arcadia, The Comedy of Errors) and 1812 Productions (Boston Marriage). Recent Orlando Shakespeare Theatre credits: Sara in The Cortez Method (world premiere), Lana Sherwood in It's a Wonderful Life and Elizabeth in Pluto (NNPN rolling world premiere).Suzanne is a proud graduate of DeSales University.

PERRY OJEDA (Macduff, Macbeth; Tito Merelli, Tenor) Broadway: On The Town, Blood Brothers & Imaginary Friends. London's West End: Dolly West's Kitchen. Off-Broadway: Die, Mommie, Die!, Babes In Arms (City Center ENCORES!). He has performed in several national tours and at dozens of regional theaters including The Old Globe, Goodspeed Opera House, San Jose Rep, Cleveland Playhouse, Arena Stage, Pittsburgh CLO, St. Louis MUNI, Geva Theater and most recently as El Gallo in The Fantasticks (for which he received a Best Lead Performance nomination from LA Drama Critics Circle) and Signor Naccarelli in Light in the Piazza both at South Coast Rep. TV/film: Imagination Movers, Desperate Housewives, Eli Stone, Days Of Our Lives, One Life To Live, All My Children, Guiding Light, The Day Lincoln Was Shot for TNT, Earthfall for SyFy Network& the award winning short film Pride. Training: Interlochen Arts Academy, University of Michigan Musical Theater Program. He is a long-time voice student of Ira Siff.

BOB PHILLIPS (Scenic Designer, Macbeth/Tenor) has designed more than 40 shows for PSF over the past 20 years: some favorites include The Tempest, Winter's Tale, Around the World in 80 Days, School for Wives and Sleuth, as well as last season's rep shows The Importance of Being Earnest and Measure for Measure. Bob is Resident Designer for Orlando Shakespeare Theatre and Centenary Stage Company. He designs often for Florida Studio Theatre, Arts Center of Coastal Carolina, Alpine Theatre Project, 1812 Company and the Arden Theatre. Bob's television designs include Another World, Search for Tomorrow, Encyclopedia and Sesame Street where he is currently Production Designer. Bob has received the Villager, Madison, Outer Critics Circle and Lillie Stoates awards for his stage designs, and six Emmys for his television work.

SUSAN RILEY STEVENS (Lady Macbeth, Macbeth; Julia, Tenor)Seventh season at PSF. Last summer she played Katherine in King Henry VIII, and previously was seen in King John, Hamlet, Pride & Prejudice, Romeo and Juliet, King Lear and Othello. In the fall, she played Jenny Jones in the world premiere of Jon Jory's adaptation of Tom Jones at Actors Theatre of Louisville. Other recent credits: God Of Carnage, Fallen Angels, A Streetcar Named Desire, Walnut Street Theatre; It's My Party, The Women And Comedy Project, This Is The Week That Is, 1812 Productions; Bad Dates, Act 2 Playhouse, (Barrymore Award). Regional: Arden Theatre, Peterborough Players, Bristol Riverside, Dallas Theatre Center, People's Light, Portland Stage Co, Asolo Rep. MFA, Yale School of Drama.

CARL N. WALLNAU (Duncan, Macbeth; Saunders, Tenor) PSF credits include Malvolio in Twelfth Night, Andrew Wyke in Sleuth, Senex in Forum and Sir Francis in Charlie's Aunt. Recent roles include Val in Laughter on the 23rd Floor at Bristol Riverside, Sydney Bruel in Deathtrap at Centenary Stage Company (CSC) and The Baron in Storyville, nominated for an Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Off Broadway Musical at the York Theatre. He is Artistic Director at CSC, an Equity theatre located on the campus of Centenary College in Hackettstown, N.J., where he is also Professor of Theatre Arts and Chairman of the Fine Arts Department. He has directed more than 60 productions including the critically acclaimed The English Bride, which recently had its NY premiere at 59e59. He received his MFA from Rutgers University Mason Gross School of the Arts.

THOM WEAVER (Lighting Designer, Macbeth/Tenor) PSF: Measure for Measure, Importance of Being Earnest, 39 Steps, Much Ado, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Tempest, Comedy of Errors, Playboy of the Western World, Merry Wives of Windsor, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Complete Works. Designs in the area: Wilma, Arden, 1812, Azuka, People's Light, DTC, Headlong, Walnut, PTC, Theatre Exile, Curtis Opera, Kimmel Center, Lantern, and Flashpoint Theatre Company, where he is Artistic Director. Other theatre credits: Teller's Play Dead, Cal Shakes, Children's Theatre Company, Milwaukee Rep, CenterStage, Folger Theater, Hangar, Cincinnati Playhouse, Syracuse Stage, Cleveland Playhouse, Roundhouse, Theatre J, Portland Center Stage, 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. 2 Barrymore Awards (14 nominations), 3 Helen Hayes nominations, and the 2007 AUDELCO Award for King Hedley II, Signature Theatre. He is a member of Wingspace Design Group. Education: Carnegie Mellon and Yale.

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Media representatives: To schedule reviews and/or interviews or request photos, please contact Lisa Higgins at Lisa.Higgins@pashakespeare.org or call 610.282.9455, ext. 4.