Center Valley, PA – The Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival’s 23rd season features Shakespeare’s Macbeth in repertory with the inventive hit comedy Lend Me a Tenor, the Bard’s romantic comedy The Two Gentlemen of Verona and the beloved musical Fiddler on the Roof. The season also includes Tina Packer’s masterful Women of Will, which will launch a national tour following its run at PSF.
“The vibrant interaction between the artists and the audiences at PSF continues to be the centerpiece of a uniquely enriching experience for our patrons,” says Patrick Mulcahy, producing artistic director. “Record subscriptions are a great sign that it’s working.
“Expanded programming has led to deeper engagement by giving our audiences more opportunities for pre- and post-show experiences.”
For the fourth consecutive season, PSF will produce two plays in repertory on its main stage: Macbeth and Lend Me a Tenor. Mulcahy returns to the director’s chair with Macbeth for the first time since his triumphant production of Hamlet in 2011. “This is a scorching personal and political nightmare made real – and I’m envisioning a production that will appeal to multiple generations, as Shakespeare always has and always will,” he says.
Lend Me a Tenor will be directed by long-time Festival artist Jim Helsinger, who directed The Importance of Being Earnest last season and also played the role of Lady Bracknell to rave reviews. “My favorite description of the play is an accelerating snowball of laughter,” Mulcahy says. “It has the class and charm of a Kaufman and Hart comedy plus all the door-slamming hilarity of a Marx Brothers’ classic like Room Service. It’s a masterwork of comic mayhem.”
Following his lauded production of Oklahoma! last summer, PSF Associate Artistic Director Dennis Razze will direct Fiddler on the Roof “Fiddler on the Roof is the great American musical. The combined talents of Jerry Bock, Sheldon Harnick, Joseph Stein, and Jerome Robbins all perfectly coalesced to create this modern masterpiece based on Tevye the Dairyman and other tales by Yiddish writer Sholem Aleichem. Set in 1905 in Czarist Russia, this musical has been performed all over the world and appreciated by people of every faith and culture. The fiddler balanced precariously on the roof is a metaphor of survival, and of the traditions and faith that help provide balance and direction in the upheaval of challenging times.”
Best friends fall for the same girl in Shakespeare’s earliest romantic comedy The Two Gentlemen of Verona. A Duke, a debutante and a dog join the cast in this lively exploration of loyalty and love. Matt Pfeiffer, who previously directed last season’s hit The 39 Steps, returns to direct.
Funny and fierce, Women of Will is the masterful summation of Tina’s Packer’s 40-plus years investigating all things Shakespeare. Exploring themes of love, loss, freedom, control, violence and power through the heroines in Shakespeare’s text, Packer traces the chronological evolution of Shakespeare’s female characters. Founding Artistic Director of the renowned Shakespeare & Company, Tina Packer has won accolades from Ben Brantley of The New York Times for this work. Starring Ms. Packer and Nigel Gore, Women of Will will be directed by Eric Tucker.
The production runs July 20 through August 3 in the intimate Schubert Theatre, and will launch a national tour. “Tina has been a force of nature in Shakespeare performance in England and in America for decades,” says Mulcahy. “Any understanding of Shakespeare’s women would be incomplete without Women of Will.”
The 2014 season will also include two productions for children: Cinderella and Shakespeare for Kids. The season opens May 30 and runs through August 3 in the Labuda Center for the Performing Arts on the Center Valley campus of DeSales University.
Subscription renewals are available in mid-November; new subscriptions will be available after January 1st.
The Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, a professional company in residence at DeSales University, is the Official Shakespeare Festival of the Commonwealth and a professional, not-for-profit theatre company. An independent 501 c 3 organization, PSF receives support from DeSales University and relies on contributions from individuals, government agencies, corporations and foundations. PSF is a constituent of the Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for the American theatre, and a member of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, the Shakespeare Theatre Association, the Lehigh Valley Arts Council, and Discover Lehigh Valley.
Main Stage Theatre
Fiddler on the Roof • June 11 – June 29
Macbeth • July 17 – August 3
Lend Me a Tenor • July 9 – Aug. 3
Shakespeare for Kids • July 23 – August 2
The Two Gentlemen of Verona • June 18 – July 13
Women of Will • July 20 – August 3
Cinderella • May 30 – August 2