Shakespeare for Kids 10th Anniversary Production Opens at Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Tina Slak • 610.282.WILL, ext. 4
tina.slak@pashakespeare.org

July 19, 2018

All-encompassing sock puppets, sing-a-longs, and the super-secret Shakespeare assignment—Shakespeare for Kids opens at Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival July 25 for its 10th anniversary production. The show will run through August 4 on the Main Stage of the Labuda Center for the Performing Arts on the campus of DeSales University.

This season celebrates the production and playwright’s 10th anniversary, as Erin Sheffield transforms William Shakespeare’s spirited comedy Twelfth Night into a high-energy one-hour production designed for children ages 4 to 10 to actively experience Shakespeare’s vibrant language and characters.

Over her 10 years of writing S4K productions for PSF, Sheffield has taken “the directive to introduce kids to Shakespeare long before he would make it onto their reading list or into their classroom.

“Shakespeare’s characters naturally appeal to kids: they are bold, unique, and passionate. Shakespeare’s language naturally appeals to kids: it is poetic, rhythmic and sparks the imagination,” says Sheffield.

With a different play from Shakespeare’s canon serving as the subject for Sheffield’s new work, and featured as the main theme of the show each year, the production instantaneously matches the energy of the fresh lenses the children of the audience will bring. This year’s message, “let me be me, and you be you,” comes directly from the plot of Twelfth Night.

Guiding the audience along this kid-friendly trip to Twelfth Night’s magical land of Illyria is S4K’s Team Shakespeare: Arrianna Daniels, Kailey Edwards, and J. Dane McMichael.

The show is directed by Matt Pfeiffer, who recently directed PSF’s highly lauded production of Twelfth Night in the Schubert Theater. Shakespeare for Kids is sponsored by Brenda and John McGlade. The project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Single tickets are $10 for children and $11 for adults and can be purchased online at www.pashakespeare.org or by calling the box office at 610.282.WILL [9455]; group discounts are available. 

Performances Include:
Wednesday, July 25 at 10am
Thursday, July 26 at 10am
Friday, July 27 at 10am
Saturday, July 28 at 10am
Tuesday, July 31, at 10am
Wednesday, Aug 1 at 10am and 2pm
Thursday, Aug 2 at 10am
Friday, Aug 3 at 10am
Saturday, Aug 4 at 10am

Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival’s 27th season also features the stage adaptation of Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard’s highly acclaimed Academy Award-winning screenplay Shakespeare in Love playing in repertory withWilliam Shakespeare’s epic King Richard II. “Extreme Shakespeare” opens in the Schubert Theatre on July 25 with Shakespeare’s bittersweet comedy All’s Well That Ends Well.

Now through August 4, children’s programming continues in the Schubert Theatre with Alice in Wonderland and PSF’s Shakespeare for Kids which is presented on the Main Stage, July 25 through August 4.
 
For one night only, Dan Domenech returns to PSF after a successful run in last summer’s hit Evita. Bootleg Famous: To Broadway and Beyond is a showcase of songs and stories from his 16-year career spanning Broadway, world tours, and unintentional internet theater fame on Monday, July 30 at 7:30pm.

The 2018 Festival Season Sponsors are Keith and Stefanie Wexler. 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 season will run to August 5 at the Labuda Center for the Performing Arts on the bucolic Center Valley campus of DeSales University.
 
Single tickets and subscription packages can be purchased online at www.pashakespeare.org or by calling the box office at 610.282.WILL [9455].
 
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 15,000 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:

PATRICK MULCAHY (Director, Shake in Love; 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 75% increase in 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 and Julius Caesar. Also Head of Acting at DeSales, Patrick holds degrees in acting and directing from Syracuse University.

MATT PFEIFFER (Director) is a Philly born actor and director. Festival credits include: As You Like It, Henry V, The Taming of the Shrew, and The Two Gentlemen of Verona; Recentcredits include: A Midsummer Nights Dream (Arden Theatre), Camelot (Act 2 Playhouse), Buzzer (Theatre Exile) Heisenberg (Delaware Theatre Co) and Blackbird (Fulton Theatre); Other Credits: Philadelphia Theatre Co., InterAct Theatre, Walnut St. Theatre, 1812 Productions, Lantern Theatre, Gulfshore Playhouse, Orlando Shakespeare Theater, UArts, UPenn’s Mask and Wig, 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. Matt is a graduate of DeSales University.

ARRIANNA DANIELS (Self) As a rising junior 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 understudy to Frau Blucher in Young Frankenstein.

KAILEY EDWARDS (Self) Kailey is also the administrative intern for PSF, and is entering her junior year at DeSales as a Musical Theatre and English double major. 

J. DANE MCMICHAEL (S4K) PSF: MacBeth, Henry V, The Taming of the Shrew, As You Like It, The Three Musketeers, Les Misérables and West Side Story, and several PSF children’s shows; Other: Over the Tavern at the Montgomery Theater.