Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival Announces Christian Coulson as King Richard II

Contact: Tina Slak, 610.282.WILL [9455]
Tina.Slak@pashakespeare.org

March 20, 2018

Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival announces that Christian Coulson, a featured actor in the Harry Potter film series, will play the title role in William Shakespeares epic King Richard II.

Mr. Coulson is an English actor who is most widely recognized for his role as Tom Riddle in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Other notable film credits include The Hours (starring Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore, and Nicole Kidman), Leaving Circadia and I am Nasrine. Television credits include a recurring role on Nashville, as well as Nurse Jackie, The Good Wife, and Gossip Girl

Coulson’s classical theatre credits include performances at such prestigious venues as The Old Globe theatre in San Diego, McCarter Theatre in Princeton, NJ, as well as national tours and West End productions in London.

“Christian Coulson is at the perfect point in his career to tackle this magnificent role,” says Producing Artistic Director Patrick Mulcahy.  “He is a consummate artist and craftsman and has the capacity for the full range of this role, most notably the extraordinary subtlety and nuance required to bring Richard’s 360 degree journey to poignant fruition.”

King Richard II
will run June 19– August 5, 2018 on the Main Stage and will play in repertory, with the same cast alternating performances daily and often on the same day, with the play Shakespeare in Love, based on the screenplay by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard.  Mr. Coulson will also play the role of Wessex in Shakespeare in Love.

Convinced of his divine right to rule, King Richard acts recklessly and provides the canny Henry Bolingbroke an opening to seize the crown. Filled with magnificent verse and Shakespeare’s singular wisdom and insight, King Richard II is a deeply moving and illuminating portrait of how the forces of history collide to set in motion a dynastic civil war that lasts 100 years. King Richard II is the first chapter in Shakespeare’s epic cycle of history plays chronicling the wars that shaped the nation’s political landscape. In coming seasons, PSF will produce the next two chapters: Henry IV, Parts I and II. 

As the Festival continues its ambitious progression through the canon, King Richard II will be the 30th of Shakespeare’s 38 plays PSF has produced. 

The production will be helmed by Broadway actress and director Gina Lamparella. Lamparella’s 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. For PSF: Thaisa in Pericles and Miranda in The Tempest. 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.

King Richard II previews, 8pm, July 19 – 20. Opening night is Saturday, July 21 at 8pm. Single tickets start at $25 and can be purchased online at www.pashakespeare.org or by calling the box office at 610.282.WILL [9455].

Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival’s 27th summer season will launch on June 13 with the Tony Award-winning musical Ragtime and will also feature William Shakespeare’s popular comedy Twelfth Night, and an actor-driven production of Shakespeare’s spirited and bittersweet comedy All’s Well That Ends Well

The season will run June 1 to August 5 at the Labuda Center for the Performing Arts on the bucolic Center Valley campus of DeSales University.

Children’s programming opens on June 1 with Alice in Wonderland and runs through August 4.  Celebrating its ten-year anniversary is PSF’s Shakespeare for Kids, a one-hour production designed for pre-school and elementary age students to actively experience Shakespeare’s vibrant language and characters. On the Main Stage, July 25 through August 4.

The 2018 Festival Season Sponsors are Keith and Stefanie Wexler. The Associate Season Sponsors are Linda Lapos and Paul Wirth, Kathleen Kund Noland and Timothy E. Nolan, the Szarko family, and Harry C. Trexler Trust.

New subscriptions and single tickets are now on sale at: www.pashakespeare.org or by calling the box office at 610.282.WILL [9455].

Summer 2018 Season:

Main Stage: Ragtime (June 13 to July 1), Shakespeare in Love (July 11 to Aug 5), King Richard II (July 19 to Aug 5), Shakespeare for Kids (July 25 to Aug 4).

Schubert Theatre: Alice in Wonderland (June 1 to Aug 4), Twelfth Night
(June 21 to July 15), All’s Well That Ends Well (July 25 to Aug 5).

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 will be 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, 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 26 years, PSF has offered 161 total productions (69 Shakespeare), and entertained 900,000+ patrons from 50 states, now averaging 38,000+ in attendance each summer season, plus another 14,000 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.

BIOS:

CHRISTIAN COULSON (King Richard II) Theater: Constellations (The Old Globe), The Changeling (Red Bull Theatre), Everything You Touch (Rattlestick Playwrights Theater), Hedda Gabler (Palimpsest, London), A Picture of Autumn (Mint Theater), Travesties (McCarter), Dutch Masters (Berkshire Theatre Festival), Rumble Ghost (PS122), Ghosts (London’s Gate Theatre), Festen (UK national tour), Journey’s End (West End), Romeo in Romeo and Juliet (Liverpool Playhouse). Film: “Bite Me,” “Peter & John,” ”Love is Strange", "Those Who Wander", “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby”, “Gayby”, “Leaving Circadia”, “I am Nasrine”, “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets”, “The Hours”, “Four Feathers”. TV: “Nashville,” “Mozart in the Jungle,” “Eye Candy,” “Nurse Jackie”, “The Good Wife”, “Gossip Girl”, “Miss Marple” “Charles II”, “Little Britain”, “Hornblower”, “Forsyte Saga”, “Love in a Cold Climate”. 

GINA LAMPARELLA (Director) Her previous directing work includes PSF’s 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. Gina’s acting work includes 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. For PSF: Thaisa in Pericles and Miranda in The Tempest.

PATRICK MULCAHY (Producing Artistic Director) Since assuming leadership in 2003, Mulcahy has led PSF’s return to artistic excellence and financial stability, built the professional company of artists, oversaw the quadrupling of the endowment, and achieved increasing national recognition for the Festival. Further accomplishments include PSF’s first-ever awards 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 75% 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. Mulcahy has acted with Angela Bassett, 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 St. He served as a fight director for 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 Julius Caesar (2016), Macbeth (2014), 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). Also head of acting at DeSales, Patrick holds an MFA from Syracuse University.