Steve Burns Takes On The Comedy of Errors

Center Valley, PA — Steve Burns, the original host of the hit children’s TV series, Blue’s Clues, will appear at the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival this summer in The Comedy of Errors opening June 24 at DeSales University.
The Comedy of Errors is Shakespeare earliest comedy and shortest surviving play. Separated at birth, two sets of long-lost twins are loose in the same town. Mistaken identities make for hilarious complications: servants are sent on wrong errands, jewelry is given to the wrong person, and husbands are locked out of their own homes.
Shakespeare’s source for the plot was a comedy about mistaken identity involving a set of twins by the Roman playwright Plautus (c. 254-184 BC). But Shakespeare introduced a second pair of identical twins – separated at birth with their respective masters.

Burns is playing the twin Dromio of Syracuse opposite Chris Faith, who played Hysterium in …Forum at the Festival last summer, as Dromio of Ephesus. Burns, an Emmy nominee, last performed at PSF in the 2007 production of Amadeus in the title role. Burns was an acting intern at PSF and a DeSales University theatre student in the early 90s.
The second set of twins features Ian Bedford, who played Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at PSF in 2009, as Antipholus of Syracuse, and Thomas Matthew Kelley, a Festival first-timer whose many off-Broadway credits include Dog Sees Dog at the Red Door Theatre, as Antipholus of Ephesus. Their father, Egeon, is played by Carl N. Wallnau, a festival veteran who played Senex in last year’s …Forum.

Eleanor Handley, an Australian-born actress who recently starred as Cressida in a critically acclaimed production of Troilus and Cressida at the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, plays the wife of Antipholus of Ephesus, Adriana. Her sister, Luciana is played by Lauren Orkus. The abbess Emelia is played by Anne Lewis, a DeSales Theatre faculty member who has been seen in the films Girl Interrupted and Tenure, among others, and in many roles at the Festival.
Russell Treyz, who has directed plays at PSF since its opening season in 1992, will direct The Comedy of Errors – which he directed at PSF in 1997. “It’s always interesting, fun, and a challenge to revisit a play—especially by Shakespeare,” he says. “Each time I get a chance, I not only rediscover the work, but also discover new aspects of the play. The chemistry of a changed company of actors and a shift of concept and productions team opens up new ideas and regenerates afresh the vision of the play.”

The play will be set in a ‘fable land.’ “Instead of drawing on a specific time and place, we’re using inspiration from a wide variety of sources to create our own special classic storybook world,” says Treyz. Scenic design is by Bob Phillips, whose designs for Sesame Street have earned him six Emmy awards. The lighting has been designed by Thom Weaver, who designed the lights for last year’s The Playboy of the Western World. Marla Jurglanis, the resident costume designer at the People’s Light and Theatre Company, is the costume designer. Sound design is provided by resident sound designer and production manager Matthew Given. Michael Ferguson is the wig and make-up designer.
The production sponsors are Dr. and Mrs. Frank J. Szarko, and co-sponsor is Keenan-Nagle Advertising, Inc.
The production previews June 22 and 23, opens June 24 and runs through July 17 in the Labuda Center’s Main Stage Theatre. Performances are 7pm Tuesday, 8pm Wednesday through Saturday, Sunday at 2pm. One Sunday evening performance is offered at 7:30pm on June 26. Saturday matinees are scheduled July 2, 9 and 16 at 2pm.
Single tickets, subscriptions and packages that include tickets to South Pacific are available at and by contacting the Box Office at 610.282.WILL [9455].

The 2011 Festival also features South Pacific (June 15 – July 3), Hamlet and Pride and Prejudice in repertory with the same cast (June 19 – August 7 on the Main Stage), The Two Noble Kinsmen (July 27 – August 7), Sleeping Beauty (June 3 – August 6) and Shakespeare for Kids (July 27 – August 6).

Season Sponsors are Kathleen Kund Nolan and Timothy Nolan; Associate Season Sponsors are The Morning Call, Service Electric Cable TV & Communications and the Harry C. Trexler Trust. Director Sponsors are Linda Lapos and Paul Wirth.

The Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival 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, Lehigh Valley Arts Council and the Shakespeare Theatre Association.

Artist Biographies

RUSSELL TREYZ (Director) PSF: Romeo and Juliet (Opening Season), Twelfth Night, Merchant of Venice, School for Wives, Comedy of Errors, Richard III, Around the World in 80 Days, As You Like It, and Taming of the Shrew. Recent work: Buddy Holly Story (Riverside Theatre, Vero Beach, Fla.), Sleuth (Cape Playhouse, Dennis, Mass.), Trapezium (Theater on Park, Hartford, Conn.), The 39 Steps (Arts Center of Coastal Carolina), Measure for Pleasure (Florida Studio Theatre), and a short film: North of Providence (Winner Best of the Festival Award—Great Lakes Film Festival).

MICHAEL FERGUSON (Wig and Makeup Designer) PSF: A Funny Thing…Forum, Playboy of the Western World, Romeo and Juliet, and The Merry Wives of Windsor. Steel Magnolias and Masquerade (Triad Stage); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (W-S Symphony); 1776, Light Up the Sky, and Albert Herring (UNCSA).

MATTHEW GIVEN (Resident Sound Designer) PSF: Fourth season as production manager and eighth season as resident sound designer. Notable PSF designs include: A Winter’s Tale, King Lear, Dracula, Romeo & Juliet (’10), and The Mystery of Irma Vep. Other credits: The Orlando Shakespeare Theater, The Centenary Stage Company, and Arcadia University.

MARLA JURGLANIS (Costume Designer) PSF: King Lear, Taming of the Shrew, and Othello. As resident costume designer for People’s Light & Theatre Company, Marla has designed more than 70 produc tions. Others: Delaware Theatre Company, The Arden Theatre Company, The Philadelphia Theatre Company, Virginia Stage Company, Alliance Theatre Company, and George Street Playhouse.

BOB PHILLIPS (Scenic Designer) PSF: The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Cinderella last year and more than a dozen PSF shows since 1995. Bob is celebrating his 16th season as resident designer for the Orlando Shakespeare Theatre, where he has designed more than 70 productions. His television designs include Another World, Search for Tomorrow, and Sesame Street, where he has designed 21 seasons. Bob has received the Outer Critics Circle, Villager, Madison, and Lillian Stoates Awards for his stage work and six Emmys for his television designs.

THOM WEAVER (Lighting Designer) PSF: Playboy of the Western World, Merry Wives of Windsor, Complete Works (’09) and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Arden, Wilma, People’s Light, Delaware Theatre Company, Lantern, 1812, Azuka, Curtis Opera, New Paradise Laboratories, Theatre Exile, and Flashpoint Theatre Company where he is also Artistic Director. Other cred its include: Teller’s Play Dead, Theatre J, Cincinnati Playhouse, Virginia Stage, Two River Theatre, Cal Shakes, Vital Theater Company, Children’s Theatre Company, CENTERSTAGE, Folger Theater, Syracuse Stage, Berkshire Theatre Festival, Curtis Opera, Theatre J, 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 6 Barrymore nominations, a 2010 Helen Hayes Nomination, and the 2007 AUDELCO Award.

PATRICK MULCAHY (Producing Artistic Director) Since assuming leader ship in 2003, Mulcahy has led PSF’s return to artis tic excellence and financial stability, rebuilt the profes sional company of artists, and achieved increasing national recogni tion for the Festival. Further accomplish ments include five awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, including PSF’s first, and attracting a company of artists including winners and nominees of the Tony, Obie, Emmy, Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk, Jefferson, and Barrymore awards to the Festival, growth in all income areas, a 50% increase in annual attendance, and the expansion of the number of Actors’ Equity contracts per season. As a professional director, actor and fight director, credits include Broadway, Off-Broadway, regional theatre, television, and radio. Mulcahy has acted with Angela Basset, Peter MacNicol, Hal Holbrook, Joan Cusack, Don Cheadle, AnneMeara, Milo O’Shea, Cynthia Nixon, Tony Shaloub, Bradley Whitford, and others at the New York Shakespeare Festival, Hartford Stage, The Roundabout Theatre, Great Lakes Theatre Festival, Syracuse Stage, and the Walnut Street Theatre. He served as a fight director for Tom Hulse and Timothy Busfield in A Few Good Men on Broadway and for Off-Broadway productions starring John Savage, John Mahoney, Marcia Gay Harden, and Patrick Dempsey. He directed Oscar nominee Vera Farmiga in The Real Thing, and, for PSF, directed Antony and Cleopatra (2009), The Winter’s Tale (2007), Henry IV, Part I (2005), The Tempest (1999), and acted in and served as fight director for The Taming of the Shrew (1998) and Julius Caesar (1997). He holds anM.F.A. from Syracuse University.

STACY RENEE NORWOOD (Production Stage Manager, Comedy/2NK) is a 2006 graduate of Rollins College, she went on to profession ally stage manage multiple seasons at the Depot Theatre and Orlando Shakespeare Theatre. Some favorite stage management productions include: Hank Williams: Lost Highway; Pippin; Big Bang and Chaps: A Jingle Jangle Christmas. She has had the plea sure of stage managing Hamlet and All’s Well That Ends Well in rep as well as Pride and Prejudice and A Midsummer Night’s Dream in rep in Orlando.

Actor Bios

IAN BEDFORD (Antipholus of Syracuse) PSF: title role in Henry V, Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth, Othello, As You Like It and Henry IV, Part 1. Recent: Petruchio in Taming of the Shrew (Chicago Shakespeare), Superior Donuts (Arden Theater Co.), School of Night (Mark Taper Forum), The Beaux Stratagem and Richard III (Shakespeare Theatre Co.), the title roles in Richard III (Lake Tahoe Shakespeare) and Macbeth (Orlando Shakespeare). TV credits include recurring on Law & Order: SVU.

STEVE BURNS (Dromio of Syracuse) is best known for his Emmy-nominated role as Steve on Nickelodeon’s Blue’s Clues. For PSF: Mozart in Amadeus and Flute in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1994). An indie rocker, he has appeared as a storyteller for The Moth, and has recorded a children’s record with mem bers of the Flaming Lips.

CHRIS FAITH (Dromio of Ephesus,) PSF: Hysterium in Forum; the Fool in King Lear. He has appeared Off-Broadway and performed oppo site Linda Eder in Vince Marinia and Jack Murphy’s (lyricist of The Civil War and Wonderland on Broadway) The Seduction ofSheila Valentine, soon to be given a Broadway backers’ audi tion. Barrymore nominee for Best Actor/Play and Best Supporting Actor/Musical and winner for Best Ensemble. Credits: Wilma Theater, Arden Theatre, People’s Light and Theatre, 1812 Productions, Act II Playhouse, Media Theatre, and others.

GORDON GRAY (Angelo) is return ing for his sixth summer with PSF. Last season he appeared as the host in The Merry Wives of Windsor. Other PSF roles: Chase in 1776 and Mountfluery in Cyrano. Formerly a professor of Theatre Arts at Barnard College, for the past 15 years Gordon has appeared in numerous tours of Broadway musicals. Favorite roles include Schultz in Cabaret, Pop Carnes in Oklahoma, and Max in The Sound of Music. He is co-author with Isy Monk, and director of the PBS teleplay We Ain’t What We Was.

ELEANOR HANDLEY (Adriana) originally from Melbourne, Australia, Eleanor has worked extensively with the Hudson ValleyShakespeare Festival play ing Maria in Twelfth Night, Lady Macbeth in Macbeth and most recently Cressida in the critically acclaimed production of Troilus and Cressida. Off Broadway she has appeared opposite Austin Pendleton in the New York premiere of Chuck Mee’s Limonade Tous les Jour and with Dominic Chianese in A Chamber Christmas Carol. Regional: Joanne Galloway in A Few Good Men, Sylvia in Sylvia, and Cecily Pigeon in The Odd Couple. TV: Guiding Light and As the World Turns.

THOMAS MATTHEW KELLEY (Antipholus of Ephesus) Off-Broadway: Wife to James Whelan (Mint Theatre Company), Dust (Westside Theatre), Phenomenon (HERE Arts Center), Dog Sees God (The Red Door Theatre). Regional: Cardenio, Julius Caesar, and Donnie Darko (American Repertory Theatre); Pride and Prejudice, As You Like It, and Christmas Carol (Actors Theatre of Louisville). TV: How to Make It in America (HBO) Film: The Strangest Bullet in my Skull (AlphaSixty Productions).

ANNE LEWIS (Emelia) was last seen at PSF as Paulina in The Winter’s Tale. A member the DeSales the atre faculty, Anne directed the Act 1 productions of Death of a Salesman and Of Mice and Men. The Morning Call cited both as the number one productions in the Lehigh Valley in the past two years. Some of Anne’s film work includes Monica Bates in Tenure, the Dance Instructor in Girl Interrupted, and Meg in Let’s Talk. Anne also directed Shakespeare: A Political Subversive for the International Institute for Culture in Philadelphia and served as the director of the Summer Theatre Institute at DeSales.

LAUREN ORKUS (Luciana, Comedy) Credits: My Sweet Charlie (June Havoc Theatre, NYC), The Diary of Anne Frank (St. Louis Rep.), Doubt (Weston Playhouse), Night of the Iguana (Berkshire Theatre Fest.), The House in Hydesville (Geva Theatre), Ivanvov (Gene Frankel, NYC) Arms and the Man (Orlando Shakespeare Theater), Hollow (NYC). M.F.A. Acting: FSU/Asolo Theatre Conservatory, B.A. Theater: Penn State.

CARL N. WALLNAU (Egeon) PSF: Senex in last year’s Forum, Malvolio in Twelfth Night, Andrew Wyke in Sleuth, Sir FrancisChesney in Charlie’s Aunt and Comte DeGuiche in Cyrano de Bergerac. His most recent credits include Milt in Laughter on the 23rd Floor for 1812 Productions and Fagin in Oliver for Centenary Stage. He is currently artistic director of the Centenary Stage Company, an Equity theatre located on the campus of Centenary College in Hackettstown, N.J., where he is also associ ate professor of theatre arts and chairman of the fine arts department.