The Little Mermaid to Open at Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Lisa Higgins • 610.282.WILL, ext. 4
June 1, 2016

Center Valley, PA –With a vibrant cast, imaginative sets and inventive costumes, The Little Mermaid opens at Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival June 3 and runs through August 6 in the Schubert Theatre at the Labuda Center for the Performing Arts at DeSales University.

Appropriate for children ages three through twelve, the production also features a sign-interpreted performance Saturday, July 30 at 10am.

Adapted from Hans Christian Andersen’s famous tale by playwright Linda DaughertyThe Little Mermaid follows one mermaid’s adventure onto land and into the human world.

Pearl, the little mermaid, played by Ally Borgstrom, longs to live above the waves. Her sisters Luna, Coral, and Anemone, portrayed by Beth Egan, Anelise Diaz, Corina Raine Connelly respectively, tell her stories of when merpeople were allowed to go onto dry land. Her father, The Sea King, and grandmother, The Great Mother, played by Justin Ariola and Beth Egan, dismiss these tales and warn Pearl of the dangers of the human world.

Swimming near the surface one day, Pearl saves the life of the handsome Prince Stefan, played by Dane McMichael, falls in love with him and decides to become a human. She makes a deal with the Sea Witch, portrayed by Ilia Paulino, and gives up her voice in exchange for legs. Now, with a newfound resolve, she ascends to the world above determined to find her prince.

The cast also includes Ryan Hagan in the role of Yorick, Stephanie Hodge as Princess Marianna, Brendan Doyle as Puffer, and Marcel Logan and James “Bo” Sayre as Timothy and William respectively.

Making her PSF debut is Taibi Magar, a New York-based director and recipient of a Stephen Sondheim Fellowship, an Oregon Shakespeare Festival Fellowship, and a Public Theater Shakespeare Fellowship, the production features scenic design by PSF veteran Steve TenEyck. The design team includes costumes by Olivera Gajic, lighting by Elizabeth Elliot and sound by Kristian Derek BallEmily Baver serves as the stage manager.

Kids are invited to meet the actors after every performance for photos and autographs. The production sponsors are Steve and Jane Auvil, and the  co-sponsors are Computer Aid and Swim-In Zone.

Tickets for children 12 and under are $12.50 and for adults, $16.50. For ticket information, contact PSF at 610-282-WILL [9455], ext. 1, or online at

Performances are Wednesday through Saturday at 10am from June 3 to June 25, then Tuesday through Saturday at 10am through August 6. Additional 2pm matinees are June 29, August 2, 3 and 4.

The Festival’s 25th season also includes: West Side Story (June 15-July 3), Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar (June 22-Juy 17); The Taming of the Shrew (July 13-Aug. 7); Love’s Labor’s Lost (July 27-Aug. 3) Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit (July 21-Aug. 7); and Shakespeare for Kids (July 27-Aug. 6).

One night events include the return of the The Great Divorce, a one-man performance by Philadelphia actor Anthony Lawton, based on the novel by C.S. Lewis. The performance will take place on Monday, June 27th at 7:30pm. In addition, actor and beloved tenor Mike Eldred will return with pianist Jeff Steinberg for Songs of Life and Love, a medley of Broadway songs on Monday, August 1st at 7:30pm. Both performances are on the Main Stage.

Kathleen Kund Nolan and Timothy E. Nolan are serving as season sponsors for the third time in the Festival’s 25-year history. Associate season sponsors are the Harry C. Trexler Trust, Linda Lapos and Paul Wirth, Dr. James and Penny Pantano and the Szarko Family. The season media sponsor is The Morning Call.

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.

Artist Bios
Taibi Magar (Director) is a New York-based director and a graduate of the Brown/Trinity Rep MFA program. Regional: The Hunchback of SevilleA Christmas Carol (Trinity Repertory Company), and The Comedy of Errors (Shakespeare & Company). She is the recipient of a Stephen Sondheim Fellowship, an Oregon Shakespeare Festival Fellowship, and a Public Theater Shakespeare Fellowship. Upcoming: Marisol (Juilliard School), The Underground Railroad Game (ArsNova, NYC), and We Are Proud to Present… (Guthrie Theater).

Steven TenEyck  (Set Designer) Companies include Madison Opera, Syracuse Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Minnesota Opera, Tacoma Opera, Anchorage Opera, Tri-Cities Opera, Syracuse Stage, TACT–NYC, Big Art Group NYC, The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, The Kitchen Theatre Company, The Hangar Theatre, Merry-go-Round, Ensemble Theatre, and The Herson Group Ltd. Beyond his freelance work, Steve teaches lighting design at Ithaca College and received his MFA from the University of Washington in Seattle and is a member of United Scenic Artists 829.

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; 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.

Elizabeth Elliot (Lighting Designer) has been the resident lighting designer for DeSales University’s Theatre Department since 2007. Over the years, Liz has designed lighting in New York City, Philadelphia, Ohio, Michigan, Utah, as well as internationally. For PSF, Liz has designed Rapunzel, Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, The Jungle Book, Robin Hood, Snow White, and Sleeping Beauty.

Kristian Derek Ball (Sound Design) designs sound and composes for theatre, film and multimedia companies both nationally and internationally, as well as records and produces music for various artists and musicians worldwide. He is a professional member of the Theatrical Sound Designers and Composers Association ( and has designed with the Metropolitan Theatre Ensemble (Kansas City), Children’s Theatre Company (Minneapolis) among many others.

Emily J. Baver (Stage Manager) – Served as stage manager for Shakespeare for Kids (2014); assistant stage manager for Fiddler on the Roof; production assistant for Macbeth and Lend Me a Tenor; as well as a Violin Minstrel On the Green for three seasons. A recent graduate of DeSales University, her credits include production stage manager for Me & My Girl, Merry Christmas, George Bailey!, Harvey and dance concerts and Company Manager for Act 3’s Sleeping Beauty.

Justin Ariola (Sea King) – Bethlehem, PA. A recent DeSales theatre graduate, he appeared in Act 1 productions of The Miser, Bus Stop, and, Elektra. He will also appear in Julius Caesar (Popillus Lena/Lepidus) and Love’s Labour’s Lost (Dull)

Ally Borgstrom (PearlThe Little Mermaid) – Hackettstown, NJ. This season at PSF she will play Bianca in The Taming of the Shrew and Edith in Blithe Spirit. A rising senior at DeSales University, her Act 1 credits include Little Women (Jo), Me and My Girl (Jacqueline) and Bus Stop (Cherie).

Corina Raine Connelly (Anemone) – Conestoga, PA. A recent DeSales graduate with a BA in musical theatre, she is the understudy for Anybodys in West Side and a member of the ensemble in The Taming of the Shrew. Other credits include Sleeping Beauty, Little Women, and Elektra.

Anelise Diaz (Coral) – Allentown, PA. Will be a junior Theatre/ Secondary Education major this fall at DeSales University. She is understudy for Portia in Julius Caesar and in the ensemble for The Taming of the Shrew.

Brendan Doyle (Sea Creature) – Wall Township, NJ. A recent DeSales graduate, his credits include Me & My Girl, Merry Christmas George Bailey!, Les Misérables, Rapunzel, and Pericles. He is playing Glad Hand and serving as assistant to the director for West Side Story and playing Curtis in The Taming of the Shrew.

Beth Egan (Great Mother/Luna) – West Chester, PA. Additional PSF roles: Servant to Caesar, Julius Caesar and Jaquenetta, Love’s Labour’s Lost. A recent DeSales graduate, her Act 1 credits include Me & My Girl (Maria, Duchess of Dene), Elektra (Khoregos), and Bus Stop (Grace Hoylard).

Ryan Hagan (Yorick) – Limerick, PA. A recent DeSales graduate, his PSF credits include Rapunzel, 80 Days and Pericles. This season he is also playing Lucius in Julius Caesar and Dumaine in Love’s Labour’s Lost.

Stephanie Hodge (Princess Mariana) – Royersford, PA. Played the title role in last summer’s Rapunzel. PSF: Servant to Octavius/ Ensemble, Caesar; Katherine, Love’s Labour’s Lost; Pericles, 80 Days. Act 1: Elektra, Bus Stop.

Marcel Logan (Timothy) – Philadelphia, PA. A recent graduate of DeSales University, other credits this season include Julius Caesar (Artemidorius/Octavius)and Loves Labour’s Lost(Lord/ Forester/Mercade).

Dane McMichael (Prince Stefan) – Silverdale, PA.  PSF credits: Mouthpiece/Male Swing, West Side Story; Biondello, The Taming of the Shrew, Rapunzel, Macbeth, Fiddler, Les Miz, Henry V and Cinderella. Act 1 credits: The Miser, Elektra, The Music Man, How to Succeed…, and others.

Ilia Paulino (Sea Witch) – Lawrence, MA. Will understudy the role of Calpurnia in Julius Caesar andis serving as assistant to the director for Blithe Spirit. She isa rising junior at Desales University.

James “Bo” Sayre (William) – Collegeville, PA. A rising junior musical theatre major at DeSales University, his Act 1 credits include: Little Women (Professor Bhaer), Dancing at Lughnasa (Michael), and Elektra (Orestes). PSF roles include Flavius/Trebonius in Caesar and Nathaniel in Love’s Labour’s Lost.

Patrick Mulcahy (Producing Artistic Director). Since assuming leadership in 2003, Mulcahy has led PSF’s return to artistic excellence and financial stability, built the professional company of artists, oversaw the quadrupling of the endowment, and achieved increasing national recognition for the Festival. Accomplishments include PSF’s first-ever awards from the National Endowment for the Arts 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, a75% increase in annual attendance, and the expansion of the number of Actors’ Equity contracts per season.

Media representatives: For tickets and photos, please contact: Lisa Higgins, 610.282.WILL [9455] or