Shakespeare’s Henry V: A Young King Leads the Original Band of Brothers into Battle

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Lisa Higgins, 610.282.WILL [9455], ext. 4
July 9, 2015

Center Valley, PA—A ‘muse of fire’ ignites Shakespeare’s royal tale of England’s celebrated King in the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival’s production of Henry V on the Main Stage of the Labuda Center for the Performing arts on the campus of DeSales University.

The production previews July 16 and 17, opens July 18 and continues through August 2 in repertory with Larry Shue’s American comedy, The Foreigner.

On the battlefield, a young King Henry rallies his soldiers “unto the breach.” Shakespeare’s masterwork celebrates the power of language to shape destiny as it explores the enigmatic morality of leadership: At what cost to his land, his subjects and his conscience does Henry pursue the glories of his nation and his reign?

Henry V opens with Chorus, a single character who narrates, played by Greg Wood, a PSF veteran of twenty seasons:

O, for a muse of fire, that would ascend

The brightest heaven of invention,

A kingdom for a stage, princes to act

And monarchs to behold the swelling scene!

“What intrigues me in this epic tale of British history is that Shakespeare strips down to the bare essentials: the characters’ journey and what makes them flawed human beings,” says PSF veteran director Matt Pfeiffer, who directed last season’s The Two Gentlemen of Verona. Shakespeare explores the humanity in the relationships on the battlefield, though all the actual fighting and bloodshed is offstage.

Zack Robidas plays the young king Henry, now past his party days and planning for war. Despite being vastly outnumbered by the French army, Henry leads his men to conquer France and considers marrying the French princess Katherine, portrayed by Marnie Schulenburg. (Both Robidas and Schulenburg are long-time PSF actors and married in real life.)

Jane Ridley joins the cast as Alice, a servant to Katherine, and also portrays Hostess Quickly, the keeper of the Boar’s Head Tavern in London, married to Pistol, a commoner who joins the fight for England, played by William Zielinksi.

Anthony Lawton portrays multiple characters including the powerful Archbishop of Canterbury, who urges Henry to claim the French throne; Lord Scroop, who’s bribed by the French to kill Henry and Captain Fluellen, Henry’s quirky but loyal fellow strategist.

Henry’s uncle and trusted advisor, Exeter, who carries important messages to the King of France is played by Wayne S. Turney. Unlike his son, Louis the Dauphin, played by Jacob Dresch, The King of France does not underestimate Henry’s power. Carl N. Wallnau is double cast as both the King of France and Bardolph, a former friend from Henry’s wild youth.

Dan Hodge appears in multiple roles as the Earl of Cambridge, the Constable of France, and as Michael Williams, a common soldier who King Henry, in disguise, meets the night before the history-making Battle of Agincourt.

The cast also includes Akeem Davis and David Scheffler as Bedford and Westmoreland, respectively.

Bob Phillips has designed a formidable ‘half-wooden O,’ in honor of the playing space of Shakespeare’s original Globe Theatre, though not an actual historic representation. The costumes inspired by the period of the play are designed by Sam Fleming.

Alex J. Bechtel has composed original music and also serves as sound designer and musical director. J. Alex Cordaro is fight director and Alison Hassman is production stage manager.

Production sponsors are Kathleen Kund Nolan and Timothy E. Nolan. Co-sponsors ate The Rider-Pool Foundation and David B. and Patrina L. Rothrock.

Henry V is performed in repertory with The Foreigner (through August 2). Performances of Henry V are:

Preview: Thu., July 16th, 8pm
Preview: Fri., July 17th, 8pm
Opening: Sat., July 18th, 8pm
Sun., July 19th, 7:30pm
Tue., July 21st, 7pm
Thu., July 23rd, 8pm
Sat., July 25th, 2pm
Wed., July 29th, 8pm
Fri., July 31st, 8pm
Sat., Aug. 1st, 8pm
Sun., Aug. 2nd, 2pm

The Festival also features Pericles (July 22 through August 2), Rapunzel (through August 1), and Shakespeare for Kids (July 22 through August 1). Also, Jeremiah James will perform a special concert, Choose Love, on Monday, July 27 at 7:30pm on the Main Stage. James recently played Javert in PSF’s record-breaking production of Les Misérables.

Amaranth Foundation is the 2015 season sponsor. Associate season sponsors are the Szarko Family, Harry C. Trexler Trust, Dr. James and Penny Pantano, and Linda Lapos and Paul Wirth.

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.

For tickets, call 610.282.WILL [9455] or go online to

Company Bios

MATT PFEIFFER (Director) is a Philly born actor and director who serves as the Associate Artistic Director of Theatre Exile. 17th season at PSF where credits include directing The Two Gentlemen of Verona, The 39 Steps, The Complete Works Abridged, and Dracula. Also: Arden Theatre, Two River Theatre, Walnut Street Theatre, Delaware Theatre Co., Orlando Shakespeare, Lantern Theatre, 1812 Productions, Gulfshore Playhouse, Theatre Horizon, and InterAct Theatre. A nine-time Barrymore nominee, he is recipient of the F. Otto Haas Award.

BOB PHILLIPS (Scenic Designer) has designed 50 shows for PSF over the past 20 years: favorites include The Tempest, The Winter’s Tale, School for Wives, Measure for Measure, and Sleuth, as well as last season’s rep shows Macbeth and Lend Me a Tenor. Bob is Resident Designer for Centenary Stage Company. Television designs include Another World, Search for Tomorrow, Encyclopedia and Sesame Street. He has received the Villager, Madison, Outer Critics Circle and Lillie Stoates awards for his stage designs, and six Emmys for his television work.

ALEX BECHTEL (Composer/Sound Designer/Music Director) is a Philadelphia-based theatre artist. Last season he composed music and served as music director for PSF’s The Two Gentlemen of Verona. As an actor, writer, composer, sound designer, music director, and director, he has worked with 1812 Productions, Arden Theatre Company, Walnut Street Theatre, New Paradise Laboratories, People’s Light & Theatre Company, Act II Playhouse, Applied Mechanics, Groundswell Theatre Company, Theatre Horizon, Drexel University, and The Philadelphia Orchestra. In 2011, Alex received a Barrymore Award for Outstanding Music Direction for his work on The Walnut’s My Way.

SAM FLEMING (Costume Designer) PSF: Fiddler, The Tempest and Much Ado About Nothing (both in 2012), South Pacific, Pride & Prejudice and Hamlet (2011). Her designs have been seen at theatres across the country including the Los Angeles Opera, San Francisco Opera, Alley Theatre, Alliance Theatre, Arizona Theatre Co, Playmaker’s Repertory, Hartford Stage, Denver Center, Peterborough Players, Center Stage, Houston Opera Studio, Skylight Opera, ACT Seattle, Georgia Shakespeare Festival and Berkeley Rep. She designed more than 50 productions for Milwaukee Repertory Theater during 14 seasons. NYC credits include Pearl Theatre, and The Mint. She is the associate costume designer for The Phantom of the Opera USA.

ALISON HASSMAN (Production Stage Manager) This season marks productions #7 and #8 for PSF. Off-Broadway: Lin Manuel-Miranda’s Hamilton, Phoenix (with Julia Stiles), Los Monólogos de la Vagina, and The Brightness of Heaven. New York: 24 Play Company, Cherry Lane, 59E59, the York. Dance: New York City Ballet, Hunter College. Regional: Two River, McCarter, Philadelphia Theatre Company, Trinity Rep.

DAN HODGE (Cambridge/Constable of France/Michael Williams) PSF credits: The Winter’s Tale, King Lear and Measure for Measure. Based in Philadelphia, he has worked with the Walnut Street, Wilma, InterAct, and Theatre Exile among others. He is a founding member of the Philadelphia Artists’ Collective where his one-man The Rape of Lucrece premiered. He holds an MFA from the Old Globe, San Diego.

JACOB DRESCH (Dauphin/Nym) returns to the PSF repertory company after performing last year as both Max and Malcolm in Lend Me a Tenor and Macbeth. Other PSF favorites include: Octavius Caesar in Antony & Cleopatra, Shawn Keogh in Playboy of the Western World and Fenton/Nym in The Merry Wives of Windsor. He currently teaches at the New York Film Academy. Training: MFA from UC Irvine, BA from DeSales University.

ANTHONY LAWTON (Canterbury/Fluellen/Scroop) has worked as a professional actor for 23 years. Favorite roles include Feste in Twelfth Night (twice at PSF, once at Lantern), George in Of Mice and Men (Walnut St.), Friar Laurence in Romeo and Juliet (Arden); man in Brief Interviews with Hideous Men (1812 Productions), Coleman in Lonesome West (Lantern), and Stephano in The Tempest (PSF). Since 1998, he has produced solo and small-cast works under the rubric of The Mirror Theatre Company, including C. S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce and The Screwtape Letters, and Lawton’s autobiographical play, Heresy.

JANE RIDLEY (Quickly/Alice) PSF: A Man for All Seasons, The Importance of Being Earnest, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and School for Wives. Regional: Walnut Street Theatre, Philadelphia; Mill Mountain Theatre in Virginia; Pennsylvania Centre Stage; Delaware Theatre Company; Round House Theatre in Washington, D.C.; Barter Theatre, Virginia; and multiple seasons for Orlando Shakespeare Theater and The Utah Shakespeare Festival.

ZACH ROBIDAS (Henry V) PSF: The Importance of Being Earnest, Measure for Measure, Much Ado, Othello, The Winter’s Tale, The Taming of the Shrew, Henry IV Part 1, Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Merchant of Venice. He has also worked on multiple productions with The Orlando Shakespeare Theater and NYC’s Flux Theatre Ensemble. Film: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Arbitrage, It’s Complicated, Tooth and Nail, and The Golden Scallop. TV: Blue Blood, 30 Rock, CSI:NY, Law and Order, L&O Criminal Intent, I Just Want My Pants Back, Kings, as well as ESPN’s digital series The Pretty Good Sports Show.

MARNIE SCHULENBURG (Katherine) PSF: South Pacific and The Two Gentleman of Verona. NY/Regional: How I Learned to Drive (Second Stage), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (On the Square), The Yellow Wood (NYMF dir. B.D Wong), Hearts like Fists, The Angel Eaters, and Pretty Theft (Flux Theatre Ensemble). TV/FILM: Alison Stewart on As The World Turns, Young & The Restless, Jo Sullivan on One Life To Live, plus guest star and recurring roles on Manhattan Love Story, Royal Pains, Alpha House, Army Wives, Canterbury’s Law, & Fringe. Marnie can also be seen in films such as Made for Each Other, Penny Dreadful, and The Golden Scallop.

WAYNE S. TURNEY (Exeter) is a professor on the Theatre faculty at DeSales, where he recently directed Moliere’s The Miser. He also tours the country in his solo performance of The Gospel According to Saint Mark. A PSF regular, Turney arrived in 2005 to perform the title character in Moliere’s The Imaginary Invalid and stayed on to play myriad old men, most recently Escalus in Measure for Measure and Chasuble in The Importance of being Earnest. Credits include Great Lakes Theatre Festival, Actors’ Summit, the Cleveland Play House, Actor’s Theatre of Louisville and many others.

CARL N. WALLNAU (King of France/Bardolph) Favorite past roles at PSF include last season’s Saunders in Lend Me A Tenor, Malvolio in Twelfth Night, Andrew Wyke in Sleuth, Senex in …Forum and Sir Francis in Charlie’s Aunt. Regional: 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, and The Orlando Shakespeare Theater. He will be appearing this winter at the Arden Theatre in Bruce Graham’s new play Funnyman, directed by Matt Pfeiffer. 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 has directed more than 60 productions including the critically acclaimed The English Bride, which recently had its NY premiere at 59e59. He received his MFA from Rutgers University Mason Gross School of the Arts.

GREG WOOD (Chorus/Erpingham) 20th Season with PSF. Roles include: Prospero in The Tempest, King John in King John, Cyrano in Cyrano de Bergerac, Leontes in The Winter’s Tale, Antony in Antony & Cleopatra, Hamlet/Claudius in Hamlet, Jamie Tyrone in Moon for the Misbegotten and Richard III. Recent credits include: Bill in How to Write a New Book For The Bible for People’s Light & Theatre Co., and Elyot in Private Lives and Judge Margrave in And Then There Were None at the Walnut St. Theatre. Film and television credits include: How to Get Away with Murder, The Sixth Sense, Signs, The Happening, The Discoverers, The Answer Man, Bereavement, Bottleworld, Killing Emmett Young, A Gentlemen’s Game, Law & Order, Ed, Hack, and Homicide.

WILLIAM ZIELINSKI (Ely/Pistol) has been performing in the Philadelphia area for more than 20 years. He was last seen at PSF in the 2003 production of The Mousetrap. Recent: Row After Row, People’s Light & Theatre; Down Past Passyunk, Interact Theatre; The Exonerated, Delaware Theatre Company, and The Sisters Rosensweig, Portland Stage Company. Film and TV: Dead Man Down, Do No Harm, Flikken Maastricht, Night Catches Us, The Wire, and Shot In The Heart. A seven-time Barrymore nominee, and member of four Barrymore winning ensembles, he received his MFA from the Theatre School at Temple University.