Romeo and Juliet: Shakespeare’s greatest masterpiece now on the road in Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival’s WillPower Tour

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 10, 2017
Contact: Tina Slak, 610.282.WILL [9455], ext.  4
tina.slak@pashakespeare.org

From the page and to the stage, William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet launches Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival’s annual WillPower Tour which will perform for 50 schools across Pennsylvania and New Jersey through November 17.

Now in its 18th year, the WillPower Tour has served more than 174,000 students in 40 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties as well as New Jersey and Delaware. The tour includes a professionally directed 80-minute production with set and costumes, trained actor-teachers, and quality curriculum through workshops and other sessions with the students.

“The live theatre experience is the perfect complement for educators and students when incorporated before, during, or after reading the text of Romeo and Juliet in the classroom,” says Jill Arington, PSF Education Director.

To enhance the experience educators receive a study guide designed to complement the classroom reading and to broaden the students’ understanding of the play and critical thinking skills about Shakespeare’s language and characters.

“We are thrilled to support the work that teachers do in the classroom to keep Shakespeare alive and to introduce his works to the next generation,”says Arington.

A major goal of WillPower is to “turn on” young minds to the power of language. PSF’s Where There’s a WILL, There’s a Way program seeks to deepen this experience and provide WillPower attendees with access to the Festival’s summer productions, as well.

Fully titled the Linny Fowler WillPower Tour in honor of an endowment gift by its namesake, Marlene “Linny” Fowler, who passionately believed in the power of theatre and education.

The National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest presents Shakespeare in American Communities. The Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival is one of 40 professional theater companies selected to participate in bringing the finest productions of Shakespeare to middle- and high-school students across the United States.

Romeo and Juliet is directed by Matt Pfeiffer, who has directed numerous PSF productions including this past summer season’s As You Like It. Scenic design is by Steve TenEyck and costumes designed by Janus Stefanowicz. Sound was designed by Josh Totora and fights were choreographed by J. Alex Cordaro.

The tour will perform at schools in ten counties in Pennsylvania, including Berks, Bucks, Delaware, Lehigh, and Northampton, and three counties in New Jersey, Monroe, Camden, and Warren.

Presently the 2017 tour is sold-out. For more information about PSF’s educational programming, school representatives may contact Director of Education Jill Arington at 610.282.WILL (9455), ext. 9, jill.arington@pashakespeare.org or www.pashakespeare.org/willpower.

Cast & Artistic Team

Jonathan Rion Bethea (Friar Laurence & ensemble) Acting credits include: The Wiz (The Lion), And Then There Were None (Wargrave), Sgouros & Bell's Frankenstein (The Monster), The Two Gentlemen Of Verona (Valentine), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Theseus/Oberon), and many others.

Carlo Campbell (Capulet & ensemble) Carlo most recently appeared in Provincetown in Die Cast Theatre's Pericles, Revolution Shakespeare's King John, Theatre In The X's Othello, Quintessence Theatre Group's Mother Courage and Richard II, and Delaware Shakespeare's Henry V. Carlo is co-founder of Theatre In The X. He recently published his first book of poetry, Afloematic, and wrote, produced and starred in a short film The Wrong Jawn. He studied with Tom Todoroff Conservatory and Ozzie Jones in Philadelphia.

Ollie Corchado (Romeo & ensemble) Selected professional stage credits include: Indian Head (Luna Stage); Richard III (Gallery Players) Peter and the Starcatcher (Milwaukee Repertory and Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park); Forever 27 (NYC Downtown Urban Theatre Festival); Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (Berkshire Theatre Group). TV credits include: Stalked Someone's Watching (Investigation Discovery); Deadly Sins (Investigation Discovery) as well as voiceover work on the award winning Gray Scale Podcast (Critical Point Theater).

J. Alex Cordaro (Fight Director) Most recent fight direction PSF’s 2016 summer production of Julius Caesar. The McCarter Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Wilma Theatre, Philadelphia Shakespeare Festival, Three Rivers Shakespeare Festival, Lantern Theatre Company, Theatre Exile, Inis Nua Theatre Company, Arden Theatre, Philadelphia Artists Collective, Philadelphia Opera Company. And others. His choreography has been seen all across Europe. He is a certified teacher and Theatrical Firearms Safety Instructor with the Society of American Fight Directors, a two-time Barrymore Award nominee and was featured on Discovery Channel’s “Project Discovery” series Careers in the Arts: Fight Director, and his choreography is currently on file at the Lincoln Center in New York.

Matt Pfeiffer (Director) a Philly born actor and director, and 19th season at PSF. He most recently directed PSF’s production of As You Like It. Other previous PSF productions: The Taming of the Shrew, Henry V, The Town Gentlemen of Verona, and The 39 Steps. Recent credits include: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Arden), Hand to God (Philadelphia Theater Company), and Constellations (Gulfshore Playhouse). Other credits: InterAct, Walnut Street, 1812 Productions, Lantern, Delaware Theatre Co., Orlando Shakespeare, UArts, and UPenn’s Mask and Wig. Matt is a twelve-time Barrymore Award nominee and winner for his direction of The Whale and The Invisible Hand (Theatre Exile). He is also a recipient of the F. Otto Haas Award. Matt is a graduate of DeSales University.

Chris Garofalo (Tybalt & ensemble) Chris is an actor and teaching artist who works between Philadelphia and New York City. Recent: Julius Caesar at The Public Theater (Ensemble), Love's Labor's Lost at Quintessence Theatre Group (Lord Dumaine) and StupidBird at The Arden Theater Co. (Dev U/S). Training: UArts BFA Acting.
Emilie Gubler (Nurse & ensemble) a recent DeSales University musical theatre graduate. PSF credits include The Ice Princess (Queen) and Evita (ensemble). DeSales Act 1 credits include The Crucible (Elizabeth Proctor), Me and My Girl (Lady Diss), and Little Women (Marmee).

Austin Lucas (Benvolio & ensemble) He was most recently seen as an Ensemble member in The Three Musketeers. He is a recent graduate of the University of Oklahoma. Other credits include: Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park: The Winter’s Tale (Florizel), Julius Caesar (Soothsayer). OU University Theatre: Let the Right One In (Mr. Avlia), Trojan Women (Talthybius). OU Lab Theatre: Biloxi Blues (Wykowski).

Frank Nardi Jr. (Montague & ensemble) is a recent graduate of The University of the Arts with a BFA in Acting.  UArts: Servant of Two Masters; Love, too, will ruin us; I Know the Way Home; Ladybug Skins; God’s Ear; Pocatello and The Real Whisper. Off-Bway & Nat’l Tour: Tony and Tina’s Wedding. Regional: Buzzer (Theatre Exile). Brutish
(Stage-reading/InterAct). 11 operas with Philadelphia Opera Company. Films: Hitch, Invincible, Tenderness, Shooter and Of Darkness. Bravo Channel Production Asst. and Cast Wrangler for Top Chef and Work of Art. One-Man-Show, All Day Affair - Philadelphia SoLow Festival

Janus Stefanowicz (Costume Designer) has designed for numerous theatre companies in NYC and Philadelphia. Janus is the resident Costume Designer and shop manager for Villanova University’s Theatre Department, where she is an adjunct professor. Since 1996, she has been nominated for 16 Barrymore Awards (Philadelphia) and has won three: the 2006 Barrymore Award for Best Costume for Intimate Apparel at Philadelphia Theatre Company, the 2003 Barrymore Award for Big Love and 1998 Award for On The Razzle both at the Wilma Theatre.

Steven TenEyck (Set Designer) Most recent design for PSF: Evita set design, and The Hound of the Baskervilles lighting designer. Companies include Madison Opera, Syracuse Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Minnesota Opera, Tacoma Opera, Anchorage Opera, Tri-Cities Opera, Syracuse Stage, TACT-NYC, Big Art Group NYC, The Rep Theatre of St. Louis, The Kitchen Theatre Company, The Hangar Theatre. Beyond his freelance work, Steve teaches light design at Ithaca College and received his MFA from the University of Washington in Seattle and is a member of United Scenic Artists 829.

Jahzeer Terrell (Mercutio, Prince & ensemble) Jahzeer Terrell is a Philadelphia-based actor, teaching artist, voiceover artist, and musician. He has been involved in numerous productions in and around the Philadelphia area, and regularly teaches at Germantown Friends School.

Cassia Thompson (Juliet & ensemble) Cassia hails from Dallas, TX is a graduate of the BFA Acting program at Conservatory of Theatre Arts at Webster University. She currently resides in New York City. Credits include Perdita in The Winter’s Tale, Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Shakespeare Festival St. Louis), Miranda in The Tempest (New Art Theatre), and Roxie in Safe House (Repertory Theatre of St. Louis).

Katie Willmorth (Lady Capulet & ensemble) Credits include: Buckingham in Richard III (Smith Street Stage), Kattrin in Mother Courage (Harold Clurman Lab, dir. John Gould Rubin), Miranda in The Tempest (Idaho Shakespeare Festival), Essie in The Devil’s Disciple (Shakespeare Theatre of NJ). Katie graduated from NYU, training at The Stella Adler Studio of Acting in NYC and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London. She is a proud artistic board member of Smith Street Stage in NYC.

Miranda Simonne (Stage Manager) Regional SM credits include: The Taffetas

(Interlakes), The Addams Family (Interlakes), Fame! (PDP), School House Rock LIVE! Jr.

(PDP). Various on-stage & off-stage jobs with the Tony Award-winning Signature Theatre, Toby's Dinner Theatre, Wohlfahrt Haus Dinner Theatre, Lake Dillon Theatre Co., AMDA College & Conservatory, and Northwestern University. Miranda is a trained actor/singer, professional trumpeter, and a former theatre management intern with the National Park Service. Graduate of American Musical & Dramatic Academy (NY).