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The Original Battle of the Sexes Comedy

By William Shakespeare
Directed by Matt Pfeiffer

JULY 13 - AUGUST 7 | MAIN STAGE

A wealthy merchant is besieged with suitors for his daughter, Bianca—but even a rich dowry cannot attract anyone to court her fiery older sister, Katherina! Enter Petruchio, the swaggering adventurer who seeks a wife with a fortune and “will woo this wildcat.” With Bianca’s suitors waiting to battle for her heart, Petruchio and Katherina marry, but who will tame whom in the zaniest and funniest of Shakespearean comedies? Ages 8+

Sponsor:

Sponsored in memory of Fr. Gerard J. Schubert, OSFS, by a grateful DeSales University Community

Co-Sponsors:

Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival’s productions of Julius Caesar, The Taming of the Shrew, and Love’s Labour’s Lost are part of Shakespeare in American Communities, a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.

Extras

  • Prologues: join us for insights into the play in an informal setting. Free. Held in the theatre 45 minutes prior to curtain.
  • Opening Night, Friday, July 15: Join the PSF actors and staff for a friendly post-show champagne toast.
  • Meet the actors for an informal talk-back after the show Thursday, August 4th.
  • Savoring Shakespeare: Specialty dinner themed to the play with behind-the-scenes insights 5:00pm, Friday, July 29th; Saturday, August 6th, and Sunday, August 7th.
  • The Taming of the Shrew and Blithe Spirit will play in repertory with the same cast. Please order early for the best seating options.
  • Contemporary Context: Join us in the theater immediately following the 2pm performance on Saturday, July 30th for an engaging roundtable-style discussion on the relationship dynamics at work in the play. A panel of guest speakers and PSF artists will examine the societal undercurrents of Kate and Petruchio’s story through the perspective of different generations of women connecting Shakespeare’s time to today. Free to all ticketholders.

Reviews

Paul Willistein, Lehigh Valley Press

“Handley’s Katherina emphasizes sophistication, elegance and a strong-will born of intellectual rigor and not mere stubbornness, recalcitrance, or plain orneriness.”
“This is a delightful ‘Shrew, a light-hearted Shrew,’ an intelligent ‘Shrew and a robust Shrew’ that’s immensely entertaining.”
“As Petruchio, Ian Merrill Peakes … brings a muscular athleticism to bear, matched by a bright-eyes charisma that would be difficult for anyone to resist. Peakes’ Petruchio is a charmer.”
“…shear fun. Get ready to laugh and break into spontaneous applause of delight at this joyful reinterpretation of a classic.”

Howard Shapiro, WHYY/Newsworks

 “…beautifully acted”
“gracefully directed by Matt Pfeiffer with sure-fire”
“This is a ‘Shrew’ made mostly for laughs, and I laughed a lot.”

Ellen Wilson Dilks, delcoculturevultures.com

 “There’s nothing tame about PSF’s ‘Taming of the Shrew’… rollicking”
“truly gifted comedic actors”
“Eleanor Handley, a lovely lithesome Brit, sends sparks across the stage as the willful Kate. She’s smart and strong and has no intention of being anyone’s chattel.”
“Ian Merrill Peakes … is a force to be reckoned with…. It is a magnificent performance.”
“The entire ensemble goes for comedy gold—and wins.”

Tim Dunleavy, dcmetrotheaterarts.com

“Pfeiffer’s raucous production delivers those laughs, over and over again.
 “a top-notch Shakespearean ensemble,
 “a series of verbal and physical jousts that give the show a huge blast of energy.”
 “Handley and Peakes give as good as they get, and it’s a lot of fun seeing these two face off against each other.”

Reading Eagle

“Hilarious and wise”
“Brilliant”
“A marvelous Eleanor Handley”
“Her journey is fascinating to watch, and her scenes with Petruchio, played by Ian Merrill Peakes with a combination of danger, lunacy and tenderness, are crackling with electricity and the physicality of kids sorting out their positions on the playground”
“Magical”
“I never dreamed I would laugh so hard at a production of this play”

Features

The Taming of the Shrew: The Original Battle of the Sexes Comedy

Imagine waking up one morning and your independent and sovereign nation is being threatened by the greatest military force in the world—and a woman is the ruler of your nation. In mid-July 1588, the people of England found themselves surrounded by seven miles of 130 Spanish battleships, sent from King Phillip II of Spain.

Read More

Artists

Cast

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ALEX J. BECHTEL*

Hortensio

Alex is a Philadelphia-based theatre artist. As an actor, composer, sound designer, writer, and director, Bechtel’s work has appeared on the stages of most Philadelphia theatre companies. He is a graduate of The Pig Iron School for Advanced Performance Training (graduate of the inaugural class, 2013) and The University of the Arts (BFA 2008), where he now teaches Freshman Acting Studio. PSF credits: Thurio/Music: Two Gents (2014), and Music/Sound Design: Henry V (2015).

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ALLY BORGSTROM

Bianca

Allyis a rising senior at DeSales University! Act 1 credits include Little Women (Jo), Me and My Girl (Jacqueline), and Bus Stop (Cherie). She would like to thank her family, her teachers, and everyone involved in PSF for such a wonderful opportunity and experience.

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JOYCE COHEN*

Pedant

Broadway: Once A Catholic. Off-Broadway: Mint Theater, Playwrights Horizons, Westside Arts. Regional: Pioneer Theatre, Denver Center Theatre, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Salt Lake Acting Co., Peterborough Players, Utah Shakespeare Festival, Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse. Film/TV includes: Christmas Under Wraps, Granite Flats (recurring), SLC Punk, Independence Day, High School Musical, Read It and Weep, Touched by an Angel, Unabomber-The True Story. Sundance Institute Film & Theatre Labs, Cleveland Playhouse New Ground Theatre Festival, CO New Play Summit.

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CORINA RAINE CONNELLY

Ensemble

Corina is making her PSF debut. She recently graduated from DeSales with a BA in Musical Theatre. Her credits include the Act 3 production of Sleeping Beauty (Bluebird and u/s to Princess Rosalind), Amy March in Little Women, Khorus member in Elektra, ensemble in Merry Christmas George Bailey, Margot in Legally Blonde and Hot Box Girl in Guys and Dolls.  She thanks Mumsie and Popsicle, boyfriend Paul and close friends and family for all their love and support they have given over the years.

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ANELISE DIAZ

Enselmble

Anelise will be a junior Theatre/ Secondary Education major this fall at DeSales University. Anelise would like to thank God for endless blessings, her mom, dad, and brother for their support, and Hector for love and happiness.

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BRENDAN DOYLE

Curtis

Brendan is returning to spend his third summer with PSF. A recent DeSales graduate, some of his favorite show credits are Me & My Girl, Merry Christmas George Bailey!, Les Misérables, Rapunzel, Pericles, and I Love a Piano. Many thanks to Dennis, Patrick, Stephen Casey, Nate, Matt, and Taibi for so many wonderful opportunities. For Grandma Pumpkin. 

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GRACE GONGLEWSKI*

Baptista

Off-Broadway: The Flea, The Guys with Tom Wopat, director Tommy Kail. Regional: Arden (26 roles), Walnut Street (8 roles), Cape Cod Playhouse, Cape May Stage, Delaware Theatre Company, PSF (8 seasons), Orlando Shakespeare Festival, Philadelphia Theatre Company, Two River, Wilma, 1812, and a tour of Ireland with Interact. Grace has received four Barrymores, Haas Award, Haas Fellowship, and BFA/North Carolina School of the Arts. She is the voice of Alex’s Lemonade Stand, CarSense, and Valley Forge Casino etc.

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ELEANOR HANDLEY*

Katherina

PSF: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Maggie), Much Ado About Nothing (Beatrice), Lend Me a Tenor (Diana), Macbeth (Witch), Comedy of Errors (Adriana), The Two Noble Kinsman (Emilia). NYC: Jericho (NYT Critic's pick), Limonade tous les Jours (opposite Austin Pendleton), A Christmas Carol (with Dominic Chianese). Regional highlights: Troilus & Cressida (Cressida), King Lear (Regan), Lost in Yonkers (Bella) - Barrymore Nomination, Betrayal (Emma). TV: Royal Pains (USA), As the World Turns, Unforgettable (CBS). MFA: New School for Drama. With love to Michael, and for Mum and Dad, who travelled an awfully long way to be here. 

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ERIC HISSOM*

Grumio

Eric has appeared at PSF in The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, A Man for All Seasons, The Tempest, Around the World Eighty Days, Pericles, and King John. Recent credits include: The Body of an American at Theater J in Washington D.C., Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike at Arena Stage, Equivocation at the Arden Theatre, the world premier of Ken Ludwig’s The Game’s Afoot at Cleveland Playhouse, and the national tour of The 39 Steps. He has an MFA from Florida State University’s Asolo Conservatory.

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DAN HODGE*

Tranio

Dan is returning to PSF where he appeared previously in Henry V, Measure For Measure, King Lear and The Winter’s Tale. Regionally, Dan has worked with the Walnut Street, Arden, Wilma, InterAct, and Theatre Exile, among others. He is a cofounder of the Philadelphia Artists’ Collective where he created his one-man show The Rape of Lucrece, seen here last season. Dan holds his MFA in Acting from the USD/Old Globe, San Diego.

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DANE McMICHAEL

Biondello

Dane is returning to PSF for his third season in the Young Company, where his credits include Rapunzel, Macbeth, Fiddler, Les Miz, Henry V and Cinderella. Act 1: The Miser, Elektra, The Music Man, How to Succeed..., and others. Dane also works with the DSU film department as an actor, writer and director. Thanks to his incomparable family, peerless friends, stellar housemates, the tireless people that make this festival possible, PD, JB, RW, YOU, and God.

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ILIA PAULINO

Ensemble

Ilia is a rising junior at Desales University She will also be assisting director Anne Lewis with Blithe Spirit ¡Gracias a mis padres y a mi bella familia, por siempre apoyarme en todo lo que hago!

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KAREN PEAKES*

Widow/Nathaniel/Tailer

Karen is returning to PSF for the first time since 1997, when she was a member of the intern company! A graduate of DeSales (back when it was Allentown College), she has performed at many Philadelphia area theaters, including The Arden, The Walnut, Delaware Theatre Company, The Wilma, Act II Playhouse, People's Light, 1812 Productions, Interact, Bristol Riverside Theatre, and others. She has also frequently performed with The Peterborough Players (in New Hampshire), and The Folger (in D.C.). Karen also narrates audio books through Brilliance Audio and her books can be found on audible.com.

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IAN MERRILL PEAKES*

Petruchio

10th PSF production (Much Ado, Othello, Henry IV, among others). Delighted to be back where he met his wife 20 years ago. Upcoming: Charles III at ACT in San Francisco, Seattle Rep and The Shakespeare Theatre in DC. Two Best of Denver Awards, and nominated for six Barrymores (won 3), four Helen Hayes Awards, and the winner of the 2003 F. Otto Haas Award for Emerging Artist. Proud to be a Philadelphia actor. For Karen and Owen.

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BRANDON J. PIERCE*

Lucentio

Off-Broadway: Exit Strategy (Primary Stages) Regional: Exit Strategy (Philadelphia Theatre Company); Metamorphoses, Charlotte’s Web (Arden Theatre Company); Hands Up (Flashpoint Theatre Company); Dutch Masters (Azuka Theatre); Milk Like Sugar (Simpatico Theatre Project); Sunjata Kamalenya (Experiential Theatre Company); Fair Maid of the West (Philadelphia Artists’ Collective); Romeo and Juliet, Comedy of Errors (Shakespeare Theatre of NJ); The Winter’s Tale, Henry IV (Shakespeare in Clark Park); Macbeth (Revolution Shakespeare) Training: BFA University of the Arts. Love to Mom and Dad.

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DAVE SCHEFFLER

Vincentio

In previous seasons, Dave has appeared in Henry V, Fiddler on the Roof, Macbeth, Oklahoma!, King John, South Pacific, The Playboy of the Western World and 1776. Elsewhere, in relatively recent times, he has been Marley in A Christmas Carol: The Musical, Judge Gaffney in Harvey, Dr. McSharry in The Cripple of Inishmaan and Mr. Bumble in Oliver!

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CARL N. WALLNAU*

Gremio

Carl is pleased to return to PSF as part of it’s 25th anniversary season. Favorite past roles here include Froggy in last season’s The Foreigner, Saunders in Lend Me A Tenor, Malvolio in Twelfth Night, Andrew Wyke in Sleuth, Senex in …Forum and Sir Francis in Charlie’s Aunt.  Recent credits include the title role in the world premiere of Funnyman by Bruce Graham at the Arden Theatre in Philadelphia directed by Matt Pfeiffer. He has worked at numerous regional theatres including Paper Mill Playhouse, Hartford Stage, Second Stage in NYC, People’s Light, York Musical Theatre, 1812 Productions, The Lark Theatre, Bristol Riverside, Forum Theatre, Premiere Stages, as well as the First National Tour of Titanic. He is currently Artistic Director at CSC, an Equity theatre located on the campus of Centenary College in Hackettstown, NJ, where he is also Professor of Theatre Arts and Chairman of the Fine Arts Department. He received his MFA from Rutgers University Mason Gross School of the Arts and his married to his favorite actress Colleen Smith Wallnau.

Artistic Team

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WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

Playwright

Our knowledge of William Shakespeare’s life is pieced together with information from limited primary sources: his own works, various legal and church documents, and references to him, his plays, and his genius in third-party letters. Here’s what we do know:
            William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon on or about April 23, 1564. Records from Holy Trinity Church tell us he was baptized there on April 26, 1564. His father was John Shakespeare, a glove-maker, and his mother was Mary Arden, a land-owning heiress. William was the third of eight children, three of whom died in childhood. His father was fairly successful and was an alderman and a high-bailiff (mayor) of Stratford. It is assumed that he went to the free grammar school in Stratford, which was considered an excellent school. It seems certain that Shakespeare never went on to University.
            The next documented event is Shakespeare’s marriage to Anne Hathaway on November 28, 1582. They had three children: a daughter, Susanna, and twins, Hamnet and Judith. Hamnet died at age 11. We lose track of Shakespeare for the next seven years. There are rumors that he was fond of poaching and had to flee Stratford after an incident with one of the gentry there. He began to make a name for himself in London by 1592, possibly earlier, as both an actor and a playwright. Unfortunately, the plague forced the closing of the theaters in 1592.
            By 1594 the plague had abated, and Shakespeare was acting, writing, and performing the duties of a managing partner for the Lord Chamberlain’s Men. This was a popular company, enjoyed by the commoners as well as royalty. It was around this time that Shakespeare and company made plans for the Globe Theater. The Globe was to be across the river from London, and was built around 1599. In total, Shakespeare wrote 37 plays that have survived (or 38 or 39, depending on the point of view of the particular scholar) and numerous sonnets and poems.
            April 23, 1616 is the day that marks Shakespeare’s death (the same as his birthday!) though we are uncertain of that date’s precision. We do know he was buried in Stratford, with services at the Holy Trinity Church on April 25, 1616. In his infamous will, he left his properties to his daughter Susanna, and to his wife his “second best bed.”

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MATT PFEIFFER

Director

Matt is a Philly born actor and director who serves as the Associate Artistic Director of Theatre Exile. Matt has directed and/or appeared in over 30 productions in his 17 seasons at PSF. Some highlights include directing recent productions of Henry V, Two Gentlemen of Verona, and The 39 Steps. Recent directing credits include the world premieres of Funnyman (Arden Theatre) and To The Moon (1812 Productions). Other credits: Two River Theatre, Walnut St. Theatre, Delaware Theatre Co, Orlando Shakespeare Theatre, Interact Theatre, Lantern Theatre, The Gulfshore Playhouse, UArts and DeSales University. Matt is an eleven-time Barrymore nominee and winner, for his direction of The Whale (Theatre Exile). He's also a recipient of the F. Otto Haas Award. Love to Kim. 

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GINA LAMPARELLA

Associate Director

Gina has appeared on Broadway in The Phantom of the Opera, A Little Night Music, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Fiddler on the Roof, Gypsy, Imaginary Friends, Jane Eyre, and Les Misérables. For PSF: Thaisa in Pericles and Miranda in The Tempest. Gina’s work as a director includes PSF’s Beauty and the Beast and the Willpower tours of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth, and Much Ado About Nothing. More on www.ginalamp.com

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DAVID P. GORDON

Scenic Designer

David is returning to PSF, where he previously designed Oklahoma! in 2013. He has designed almost 300 productions, worked extensively on and Off-Broadway and for opera companies and regional theatres in this country and abroad. Recent work includes designs for the Public Theater/NYSF, CSC, Theatre for a New Audience, Hartford Stage, Old Globe, Long Wharf, Huntington, McCarter, Goodspeed, Williamstown, Chicago Shakespeare, Arden, Wilma, Walnut St., Philadelphia Theatre Co., Kennedy Center, Westport Playhouse, Lincoln Center, L.A. Opera, Seattle Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Arizona, Berkshire and Sarasota Operas, and the State New Experimental Theatre in Volgograd, Russia. David has received five Barrymore Awards and the 2003 Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Scenic Design, and has been nominated for IRNE, Carbonel and CT Critics Circle awards. He is a professor of set design at Rutgers University’s Mason Gross School of the Arts.

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OLIVERA GAJIC

Costume Designer

Theater: Salzburg Festival, Austria; Vineyard Theatre; Juilliard School; Pig Iron; CSC; Lake Lucille; Talking Band, Two River; Arden; Trinity Rep and many other regional theaters. Other: US National Exhibit at the 2004 and 2007 Prague Quadrennial. 2004 NEA/TCG Career Development Program for Designers, 2010 IT Award for Outstanding Costume Design, 2011 TDF/Irene Sharaff Young Master Award, 2012 Barrymore Award for Outstanding Costume Design, and 2014 Bessie Award for Outstanding Visual Design. USA local 829 www.oliveragajic.com

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THOM WEAVER

Lighting Designer

8th season. Designs in the Philadelphia area have been seen at Wilma, Arden, 1812, Azuka, People’s Light, DTC, Headlong, Walnut, PTC, Theatre Exile, Curtis Opera, Kimmel Center, Lantern.  Other theatre credits include: Public Theatre/NYSF, Chicago Shakespeare, Primary Stages, Huntington, 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.  Awards include 3 Barrymore Awards (21 nominations), 4 Helen Hayes nominations, and the 2 AUDELCO Awards.  He is a member of Wingspace Design Group.  Education: Carnegie Mellon and Yale

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ALEX J. BECHTEL*

Composer/Sound Designer/Music Director

Alex is a Philadelphia-based theatre artist. As an actor, composer, sound designer, writer, and director, Bechtel’s work has appeared on the stages of most Philadelphia theatre companies. He is a graduate of The Pig Iron School for Advanced Performance Training (graduate of the inaugural class, 2013) and The University of the Arts (BFA 2008), where he now teaches Freshman Acting Studio. PSF credits: Thurio/Music: Two Gents (2014), and Music/Sound Design: Henry V (2015).

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DALE ANTHONY GIRARD

Fight Director and Choreographer

Dale is an award-winning fight director, stunt coordinator and author of the stage combat manual Actors On Guard. His credits include productions at the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, Folger Theatre, Signature Theatre, Yale Repertory Theatre, Hartford Stage, Denver Center Theatre, Florida Grand Opera, American Repertory Theatre, Opera Carolina, Long Warf Theatre, Pioneer Theatre, Studio Arena Theatre and San Diego Opera. Recent film credits include Shifting Gears, One & Two, Sleeping Around and the critically-acclaimed Junebug.

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ALISON HASSMAN*

Production Stage Manager

Alison is glad to be back in the Valley for PSF productions #9 and #10.  Off-Broadway: Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton, Phoenix (w. Julia Stiles), Los Monólogos de la Vagina, Catch the Butcher, The Brightness of Heaven.  Regional: Bristol Riverside, Two River, McCarter, Premiere Stages, Philadelphia Theatre Company, Trinity Rep.  New York: New York City Ballet at Lincoln Center, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Cherry Lane, 595E59, the York, 24 Hour Play Company.  Upcoming: A New Brain at Theatre Horizon. As always, for CW and AS

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CAROLYN REICH*

Assistant Stage Manager

Credits include: The Surgeon and Her Daughters (Cherry Lane Theatre); Would You Still Love Me If… (22Q Productions); The Bridges of Madison County (NETworks National Tour); Les Misérables, Henry V, The Foreigner (Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival); The Grapes of Wrath, A Christmas Carol, (Trinity Repertory Company); Into the Woods, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (McCarter Theatre Center). Carolyn is a graduate of the University of Michigan and a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association.

ACTORS’ EQUITY ASSOCIATION

AEA was founded in 1913 as the first of the American actor unions. Equity’s mission is to advance, promote and foster the art of live theatre as an essential component of our society. Today, Equity represents more than 40,000 actors, singers, dancers and stage managers working in hundreds of theatres across the United States. Equity members are dedicated to working in the theatre as a profession, upholding the highest artistic standards.

MUSIC THEATRE INTERNATIONAL

MTI is one of the world's leading theatrical licensing agencies, granting schools as well as amateur and professional theatres from around the world the rights to perform the largest selection of great musicals from Broadway and beyond. MTI works directly with the composers, lyricists and book writers of these shows to provide official scripts, musical materials and dynamic theatrical resources to over 60,000 theatrical organizations in the US and in over 60 countries worldwide.

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