Premiere of New Outdoor Theatre Space with The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) [revised] [again]

Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival will be heading outdoors for an updated revival of the three-person comedy The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) [revised] [again] presented on a new outdoor stage in front of the Trexler Library at DeSales University. The show previews, Wednesday and Thursday, June 28 and 29, opens Friday, June 30, and runs through July 16.

Director Matt Pfeiffer brings the Bard outdoors again following PSF’s first fully produced outdoor production A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 2021. Pfeiffer is looking forward to returning to outdoor performances, he says, “The experience we had with Midsummer was so celebratory and free. When Complete Works was originally made, it was often done outside. There was a looseness and adaptability to this at its core, so there is some connective tissue to the roots of the piece as an outdoor performance or a street performance.” The open-air environment of this new festival stage, according to Pfeiffer “lends itself to feeling more spontaneous—I think the whole summer is an attempt to really put the capital “F” back in the Shakespeare Festival, and Complete Works is just a perfect expression of that—a perfect expression of effervescent joy.”

Pfeiffer directs Sean Close, Eli Lynn, and Sabrina Lynne Sawyer who will attempt to take on Shakespeare’s entire canon in 99 hilarious minutes. Close was last seen at PSF as Don John in Much Ado About Nothing, and regionally performs with 1812 Productions, Theatre Horizon, Arden Theatre Company, Quintessence Theatre Group, Delaware Theatre Company, and many others. Lynn is a trans nonbinary actor, IDC-certified Intimacy Director, and Barrymore-nominated fight director whose regional credits include 1812 Productions, American Shakespeare Center, Cleveland Playhouse, Folger Theatre, among others. They are also an Artistic Associate with Philadelphia Artists’ Collective. Sawyer was recently seen in several productions at Folger Theatre and National Tours of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and A Raisin in the Sun (National Players: Olney Theatre Center).

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) written by Adam Long, Daniel Singer, and Jess Winfield (with new revisions by Daniel Singer and Jess Winfield) has been entertaining audiences for more than 30 years with its raucous revue of the Shakespearean canon. Originally developed by American comedy troupe The Reduced Shakespeare Company, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) was staged at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 1987 and went on to run for a record-setting nine years in London’s West End. Since its debut, the show has been performed all over the world and has been twice revised, each iteration more uproarious than the last.

When asked how he would pitch this show to someone who doesn’t consider themselves to be an expert on Shakespeare, Pfeiffer said: “Love Shakespeare, hate Shakespeare, indifferent to Shakespeare, if you’re looking to have a good time, you will like our show. It is a fun take-down of pretentiousness and self-seriousness, but it’s also a love letter to the poetic (and pretentious) world of Shakespeare. If you love Shakespeare, you’ll find this incredibly rewarding, and if you’ve never understood Shakespeare, this might be your best shot!”

The Complete Works creative team includes Costume Designer Rebecca Callan, Sound Designer David M. Greenberg, and Set Designer Joshua Rose. John “JP” Pollard is the stage manager.

Audiences can enhance the experience before every performance with live music and a variety of dining options “On the Green.” Other special offerings are an Opening Night post-show champagne toast with the PSF Company on Friday, June 30; a talk-back with the actors after the show on Thursday, July 6 and July 13; and an Audio Described and American Sign Language performance on Saturday, July 15, at 2:00pm.

The Production Sponsor for Complete Works is Air Products. The 2023 Season Sponsors are Yvonne Payne and Edward Spitzer. The Associate Season Sponsors are Douglas Dykhouse, Linda Lapos and Paul Wirth, Kathleen Kund Nolan and Timothy E. Nolan, The Szarko Family, and Harry C. Trexler Trust.

Subscriptions and single tickets can be purchased online or by calling 610.282.WILL [9455] or by visiting the PSF box office at the Labuda Center for the Performing Arts.


Summer 2023 Season:

Schubert Stage: Henry IV, Part 2 (May 31 to June 11); James and the Giant Peach (July 7 to Aug 5); Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill (July 19 to August 6).

Main Stage: In the Heights (June 14 to July 2); The Tempest (July 12 to August 6); Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility (July 20 to August 6); Shakespeare for Kids (July 26 to August 5).

Outdoor Summer Stage: The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) [revised] [again] (June 28 to July 16).

“Play On!” A Midsummer Night’s Dream Community Tour: (June 2 to June 18).

Artistic Leadership, Cast, and Creative Bios, here.